Overview of Chapter O : This Scottish businessman epitomizes the interconnectivity of the Atlantic world in the eighteenth century, as well as the horrors that unity produced. Oswald established his own triangular trade by owning a slave station in Sierra Leone, a plantation in Florida, and an office in London. This, combined with his other financial arrangements, including Oswald’s contract to provide supplies during the Seven Years’ War in Europe, made him a wealthy man. It also made him someone who benefited from the misery of others. The chapter concludes with an analysis of Oswald’s role as the chief British negotiator in the Peace of Paris (1783) that ended the American Revolution.
1. Was it possible to be in business in the 18th century and not be complicit in the slave trade? If all were complicit, what would be the modern equivalent today?
2. British billionaire Richard Branson maintains that “succeeding in business is all about making connections.” Is this unique to business or does it apply to other professions as well?
3. Can Oswald be admired or is he worthy of nothing but scorn?
1. Using the data available in the slavevoyages.org website, construct a narrative of a particular ship, or a particular captain.
3. Assume that Oswald was able to negotiate a peace with the Americans from a position of greater strength because of better Parliamentary leadership or world events. Make a prioritized list of the things Oswald should have sought in his negotiations with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay.
4. Examine how sugar is produced and consumed today.
• This article details some of the ways Sierra Leone remained important in Atlantic trade even after the British ended their participation in the slave trade. It helps fill in the picture of what happened in the region once Bance Island ceased operations.
See: Everill Bronwen, “For the Services of Shipwrights, Coopers, and Grumettas”: Freetown’s Ship Repair Cluster in Nineteenth-Century Sierra Leone,” SAGE Choice Open Access, August 13, 2020
• Chapter 3 of this this new book discusses the Treaty of Paris at length.. See: Michael S. Kochin and Michael Taylor, An Independent Empire: Diplomacy & War in the Making of the United States (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2020), 43-58, https://books.google.com