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Liberty's Call: Richard Robert Madden's Voice in the Anti-Slavery Movement (1833-1842)

By Gera Burton 



[1] It should be noted that the 1829 Act lost much of its significance through the simultaneous disenfranchisement of the forty-shilling freeholders, the core constituency of Catholic politicians representing a substantial proportion of the population. 

[2] This was the Liberal Constantine Henry Phipps, later first Marquis of Normanby, who favoured Catholic Emancipation and the abolition of slavery. Following his Jamaica posting, Lord Mulgrave was appointed Britain’s Lord-Lieutenant in Ireland for the period 1835-1839.

[3] For a detailed description, see Emancipation and Apprenticeship in the British West Indies by W.L. Burn, Jonathan Cape, 1937.

[4] Following a pirate raid on the return journey, Aban Bakr was captured and once again sold into slavery in Africa. Madden made an unsuccessful attempt to locate him. For details, see A Twelvemonth Residence.

[5] A specimen worthy of mention for its vital role in Jamaican history is the prolific tillandsia, whose amazing properties permit growth without roots. Developed from seeds scattered by the wind, the tillandsia plant’s capacity to attach itself to trees and conserve several ounces of water in a natural reservoir meant that it could provide sustenance, ensuring the survival of fugitive slaves in woodland areas.

[6] For a detailed account of the operation of the Mixed Commission Courts, see Leslie Bethell’s ‘The Mixed Commissions for the Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century’ in The Journal of African History 7:1 (1966), pp. 70-93.

[7] The 35 surviving Africans were eventually released and allowed to return to Sierra Leone.

[8] This was the same Nicholas Trist who negotiated the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo signed on 2 February 1848. The treaty provided for the cession of 55% of Mexican territory to the United States.

[9] See A Letter to Wm. E. Channing, D.D. in Reply to One Addressed to him by R.R. Madden, on the Abuse of the Flag of the United States in the Island of Cuba, for Promoting the Slave Trade (Boston: William D. Ticknor, 1840).

[10] Madden also addressed the second anti-slavery conference in Paris on 17 March 1842.

[11] Most scholars conclude that Manzano’s manumission was procured by the members of Domingo Del Monte’s literary circle.

[12] A Spanish translation of this work was published by the Consejo Nacional de Cultura, Havana, in 1966, entitled, La Isla de Cuba: Sus Recuerdos, Progresos y Perspectives.


- Burn, William, Emancipation and Apprenticeship in the British West Indies (London: Jonathan Cape, 1937).

- Burton, Gera, Ambivalence and the Postcolonial Subject: The Strategic Alliance of Juan Francisco Manzano and Richard Robert Madden (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2004).

- Emmet, Thomas, Incidents of My Life: Professional-Literary-Social, with Services in the Cause of Ireland (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1911).

- Jones, Howard, Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on America’s Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

- Madden, Richard, A Twelvemonth Residence in the Island of Jamaica During the Transition from Slavery to Apprenticeship (London: James Cochran & Co., 1835).

- _____, The Island of Cuba: Its Resources, Progress, and Prospects (London: Charles Gilpin, 1849).

- _____, The Memoirs (Chiefly Autobiographical) from 1798-1886 of Richard Robert Madden (Thomas M. Madden [ed.], London: Ward and Downey [Dublin: Duffy], 1891).

- Murray, David, ‘Richard Robert Madden: His Career as a Slavery Abolitionist’ in Studies (Spring 1972), pp. 41-53.

- Ó Broin, Leon, ‘R. R. Madden: Historian and Public Servant’ in Irish Journal of Medical Science, History of Medicine, 30 April 1958, pp. 315-326.

- ____, An Maidíneach: Starai na nÉireanneach Aontaithe (Dublin: Sáirséal agus Dill, 1971).

- Ortiz, Fernando, Hampa Afrocubana: los negros esclavos (estudio sociológico y de derecho público) (La Habana: Revista Bimestre Cubana, 1916).

- Temperley, Howard, British Antislavery 1833-1870 (Columbia, South Carolina: Longman, 1972).


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Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2007

Online published: 11 November 2007
Edited: 07 May 2009

Burton, Gera, "Liberty’s Call: Richard Robert Madden’s Voice in the Anti-Slavery Movement (1833-1842)
" in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" 5:3 (November 2007), pp. 199-206. Available online (, accessed .


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