The proliferation of computer databases and the digitization of sources online are transforming the profession. Scholars can now do substantial original research without needing to travel to distant archives. Massive collections of documents are at our fingertips. Online databases are encouraging the democratization of historical research.
In 1833, after centuries of resistance and rebellion by enslaved people, decades of popularly-mobilized antislavery protests, and years of economic struggle on colonial plantations, England’s Parliament initiated the process of slave emancipation in the British Empire.
Daniel Livesay’s first monograph comes at an opportune moment. With the recent release of digital projects such as the University of Glasgow’s Runaway Slaves in Britain database, historical attention has focused in on the lives of people of colour in early modern Britain.
Throughout his lengthy career as a leading historian of 18th-century Britain, Peter Marshall has written extensively on, to quote the title of one of his many books, ‘the making and unmaking of empires,’ and he spent more than a decade editing the correspondence of Edmund Burke.(1) But, as he admits on this monograph’s opening page, ‘the West Indies only feature in a p