Regular readers of this website will be familiar with its origins in the letters of the Lee family sent from Jamaica to England. This new book carries on their history to the next generation with the story of Fanny Dashwood who eloped with Matthew Allen Lee. When I found an extensive collection of her papers at the National Archives in Kew, I knew that her story deserved to be better known.
Born to great wealth, but illegitimate, she lost her much loved father Sir Francis Dashwood (he of the Hell-Fire Club) when a small child. Educated in France with princesses, aristocrats and the daughters of Thomas Jefferson, future President of America, she was forced to abandon the studies she loved and return to England at the outbreak of revolution.
Once there she became embroiled in a series of teenage scrapes involving young men, which culminated eventually in elopement, furious rows and separation. Several years later she was abducted and raped, forced to attend a trial that destroyed her reputation and failed to deliver justice. It led Thomas De Quincey to name her as the ‘Female Infidel’.
There are very modern echoes in her persecution by the media, vilification by cartoonists and sufferings at the hands of stalkers. Despite all this she continued her studies and published her Essay on Government, which might have had greater success had she not already achieved notoriety. She is now remembered, if at all, for all the wrong reasons.
History has not been kind to her. I hope this book will help to redress the balance.
Buy the book direct at the special 10% discount price.
Available in perfect bound paperback A5 384 pages with illustrations.
Also available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.
You may be aware that data privacy has been much in the news lately. Not only in relation to the mis-use of data gathered via Facebook, but also because on 25 May 2018 new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR for short) come into force across Europe and by extension across the world. You can read more about GDPR here.
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Anne M Powers
30 April 2018
If anyone was ever in any doubt about the iniquities of the Apprenticeship scheme that followed the apparent abolition of slavery in the British colonies this little book lays out in graphic detail just how much more dreadful things became for those who had been enslaved.
I say ‘apparent abolition’ because although no-one was now legally a slave, the apprenticeship scheme left the formerly enslaved suffering the worst of both worlds. They were still tied to their former owners and required to work for them, and they had lost what minimal legal protection they had previously had.
Nowhere was this more clearly illustrated than in the testimony of young James Williams, formerly enslaved at Penshurst in the parish of St Ann. With the connivance of a corrupt local law enforcement, his previous owners, a Mr Senior and his sister, inflicted terrible punishments on young James and many of his fellow former slaves. James was about eighteen when he gave his testimony in 1837 and his resilient character shines through it.
When first published in Great Britain it caused an outcry and helped in the final abolition of slavery in all its forms throughout the British colonies. In case any should doubt his account, it was backed up by testimony recorded by a formal Commission of Enquiry.
This little book, which is a gripping and horrifying read, was republished in 2014 by Dover publications, unabridged from the original edition of 1838. It is also available as an ebook from Dover and other sources.
Williams, James. (2015) A Narrative of Events: Since the 1st of August, 1834, by James Williams, an Apprenticed Laborer in Jamaica. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications Inc.