The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Race, Savagery and Religion in Eighteenth Century Britain
This essay was written in 2019 as part of a combined MA: English literature and history module
Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa as he was more commonly known during his lifetime, published an autobiography in 1789 about his experiences as a slave, toil to freedom and road to spiritual salvation. Much attention has been paid to his work for its expert literary crafting and polemical role in the British abolitionist movement. From his writing, it is clear that Equiano was not only an enterprising sea-farer and adventurer, but also educated and well-read, for he utilises existing literary forms and makes reference to canonical texts to entertain and shock the reader, and in so doing, reflect on the brutality of slavery.
The aim of this essay is to consider how Equiano responds to eighteenth century discussions of race and savagery in order to challenge justifications for the African slave trade. I aim to examine the philosophical and literary tropes Equiano employs to convince his readers of the abhorrence of the slave trade. In so doing, I will particularly analyse the role of spirituality as it seems to encourage the sympathy of readers but perhaps also reinforces notions of religious superiority that condoned colonialism.
Eighteenth century ideas about race and slavery
Enlightenment thinkers did not present a unified conception of race and ethnicity. In fact, since the coining of the term ‘Enlightenment’ to define the era of reason and discovery, scholars have questioned the relevance of the term and its limitations given the plurality of its associated voices and theories. Further segmentation within the ‘Enlightenment’ have attempted to come to terms with specific approaches relevant to nations, religions, genders and so on1. Thus, in brief summary, intellectuals such as Jonathan Israel and John Pocock argue that British Enlightenment can be defined by its conservatism and maintenance of church and state (with some notable exceptions such as Mary Wollstonecraft), which ‘distanced itself from the egalitarian dimension and instead was associated with social conservative attitudes, as well as with racial hierarchy and empire’2. As a result, Silvia Sebastiani makes the point that ‘the scheme of stages emerges…as central to the intellectual contribution of the Scottish Enlightenment’3. She notes that Adam Smith conceptualises history of man as emerging from a series of successive stages where society progresses from one to the other, beginning at hunting and eventually moving onto commerce. According to this model, societies necessarily advance into different epochs, with British and European societal structures featuring at the height of development.
Consequently, ‘race’ was assumed a part of stadial theory3. Pre-dating Darwin, this a priori method of thinking suggested that societies not only advance culturally, but their advancement can be noted in a person’s physical appearance. Black skin, in opposition to white skin, became synonymous with savagery, or humanity at its most animal stage.
Where ‘savagery’ came from, however, was contested. On the one hand, the monogenism argued that all humanity stemmed from one stock — an Adamic theory influenced by the Bible — implying all society was once savage and will evolve to civilisation. On the other hand, polygenism, influenced by encounters with ‘savages’ of the New World who were understood to precede all stages of European history, proposed that different groups of people, or races, emerged from different stocks4. Alongside this polygenist theory was a sudden interest in anatomical study attempting to reinforce racial difference thereby proving that all humans were not the same.
Polygenist theory can be argued to have encouraged what we would now consider racism. ‘Race’ — here meant as those from other countries — became deterministic and one born with darker skin was limited to a more barbaric stage of human development. Polygenist thinking that the race of black men was not borne of the same stock as the white European race and therefore was not capable of possessing the same human faculties provided one justification for West African slavery.
In conjunction with such theories was Montesquieu’s climate theory suggesting that differing climate alongside environmental conditions explained differences in skin tone, character and behaviour5. Hot climates gave way to idleness yet sensual passion, while cold climates encouraged phlegmatic and bold temperaments. Such characteristics in humans, however, were not deterministic and held the possibility of change given a change of environment. Although seeming to oppose polygenism, the reasoning was still Euro-centric, predicated on the assumption that those in hotter climates operated more on instinct than reason and calculation. Montesquieu’s theories therefore become contradictory as he appeared to condone slavery on the one hand to encourage exotic men to work, whilst contrastingly admonishing it for its inefficiency relative to free men working for personal gain. Despite the above, Montesquieu is often cited as an anti-slavery proponent for his affirmation that Africans were human and thus it was the duty of Christians to treat them with dignity. Montesquieu’s theories on race therefore bore many incongruities on slavery and race hierarchy.
Sebastiani makes the point, however, that pre-existing class hierarchies in Britain and views on paganism also accepted slavery as part of early modern society6. In addition, slavery was often condoned for its economic value to Britain, irrespective of racial narratives. Daniel Defoe, whose novel Robinson Crusoe effectively outlines the ideal model for colonisation, wrote an essay in support of slavery, arguing for its commercial viability and worth to Britain7. According to David Dabydeen, ‘economic rationale was indicative of the materialist mood of the age, one which saw profit as the main criterion of behaviour and morality only as a secondary consideration’8. Although the traffic of humans was acknowleged as ‘barbarous’, such concerns were dismissed on the grounds that the trade was necessary and advantageous to Britain.
Hierarchy, therefore, played an important role in understandings of differences during British Enlightenment positioning non-Europeans as intellectually inferior. However, the presumed innocence of inferior races was sometimes idolised, as shall be discussed below.
The noble savage and contradictions in racial theory
Stadial ideas of race and culture were complicated by fanciful notions of savagery and incorruptibility. Popular in writings such as Robinson Crusoe and in the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality of Mankind, ideas of the noble and selfless savage gained sway. Defoe’s native savage, Friday, represents the ideal servant as he is loyal, protective and generous to the point of self-sacrifice9. He appears inexhaustible in his efforts to satisfy his rescuer, the eponymous Crusoe. Here, the character of Crusoe recounts:
as my jealousy increased, and held some weeks, I was a little more circumspect, and not so familiar and kind to him as before: in which I was certainly wrong too; the honest, grateful creature having no thought about it but what consisted with the best principles, both as a religious Christian and as a grateful friend, as appeared afterwards to my full satisfaction10.
Friday is incapable of behaving in a calculating manner towards Crusoe — he has little capacity or sentiment for vengeance and regards Crusoe as an unassailable father-figure. Thus, although described as a ‘creature’ and therefore decidedly less human than the embattled Crusoe, he plays the role of a moral compass for the protagonist, causing Crusoe to question his own Christianity despite the crusade. Here, the savage is viewed as closer to God: pure and humble given his charitable nature and incapacity for complex thought (though he does ask awkward questions). Friday’s purpose, to propel the saviour-protagonist to success, is achieved through his naivete and innocence. Such a narrative, on the one hand, suggests that natives should be subdued and utilised for the purpose of advancing British interests; on the other, the character of Friday demonstrates the moral superiority of the savage.
Though not of the same vein of thought, Rousseau makes a similar claim that the savage in his most animal state, separate from the corrupting forces of society and liberated from dependence on others, maintains an inviolable level of moral virtue11. He describes a utopian state of plenitude where survival requires no commerce and little need for community. Rousseau argues that in such a condition, man is incapable of pride and thus avarice and therefore offers no threat to other humans. In fact, contrary to Hobbes and similarly to theories of Adam Smith and David Hume, Rousseau argues that the savage could not be ruthless for he holds unalienable sympathy for his fellow man. This state of primitivism could therefore only produce tranquillity.
Rousseau further charges civilised man with moral and physical degradation, arguing that he must debase himself to lies, deceit and manipulation to own property and occupy status. Man, motivated by self-preservation, cares little for his fellow humans, and seeming luxuries such as shelter and medicine actually limit human physical prowess and leave man feeble and helpless. Although describing a non-existent state, it is clear that Rousseau envies those societies linked closest to nature making claims for the physical strength of the natives of various lands.
Rousseau’s view, is of course clouded by a condescension that could play into understandings of the African as governed by mere instinct, lacking self-awareness and complex thought. However, although his philosophy may not have been diametrically opposed to stadial theory, it also did not consider commercial society to be beneficial to humanity. In this sense, his theory could have been used to discourage slavery or colonisation, arguing that rather than improving circumstances in the colonies, European influence could only lead to corruption.
Equiano’s response on race
From the writing of his autobiography, it is clear that Equiano was well aware of the debates surrounding slavery, particularly those related to race and civilisation. Throughout his narratives, Equiano seems to be providing a response to such questions. Laura Doyle makes the statement in her journal article, Reconstructing Race and Freedom in Atlantic Modernity, ‘Equiano’s text works as a counter-narrative, one that presses hard on the race-freedom logic of the Atlantic economy while also operating within it’12. Equiano is thus aware that to air a voice in a debate that excludes him he must conform to a set of norms to be deemed acceptable.
Such an example can be seen in the opening two chapters of Volume I of The Interesting Narrative. It is important to note here that questions have been raised as to the accuracy and validity of the claims Olaudah makes about his childhood. Vincent Carretta provides evidence for Gustavas Vassa having been born in South Carolina rather than modern day Nigeria as Equiano attests to in his autobiography13. Regardless of the reality of Equiano’s birth, I will simply analyse the text as a construction to convince readers of the dignity of the black African.
The second paragraph of the first chapter describes the geography and customs of what Equiano refers to as Guinea. Since it is unlikely that Equiano remembers in such detail the norms of his childhood home, it is likely that Equiano’s account is in some way formulated. In fact, Equiano himself footnotes Anthony Benezet’s Some Historical Account of Guinea when describing Ibo culture, suggesting that his writing has been influenced by Benezet’s.
Anthony Benezet was an abolitionist Quaker, known for his propagation of education for African Americans and his avowal for the equality of the black race14. Benezet’s account recalls, ‘That part of Africa from which the Negroes are sold to be carried into slavery, commonly known by the name of Guinea, extends along the coast three or four thousand miles’15. Equiano’s autobiography similarly claims, ‘That part of Africa known by the name of Guinea, to which the trade for slaves is carried on, extends along the coast above 3400 miles, from the Senegal to Angola, and includes a variety of kingdoms’15. Equiano makes the narrative his own by rearranging the sentence formation, but the echoing would be clear to anyone familiar with Benezet’s account. Furthermore, Equiano adds more accurate detail by citing the figure of ‘3400 miles’ and mentioning the territories of Angola and Senegal to proclaim his validity having lived in this land himself. Angelo Costanzo further asserts that Equiano borrows facts from Benezet about governance and rules regarding theft and adultery.
Equiano’s reusing of Benezet’s historical document would have served two purposes: it would have enabled him to provide details that his memory would elude and would have supplied testimony to his claim of humanity. By citing a respected white Quaker, Equiano could have avoided claims of invention and deceit. It is further important for Equiano to cite a man who affirms the equality of Africans as it would challenge popular polygenist theory that titled the Africans as inherently inferior. In this sense, Equiano provides agency to himself and other black Africans, using the support of a white defender.
In addition, Equiano describes his people as simple, possessing all that was necessary, yet modest, restrained and hygienic. He explains,
The manners and government of a people who have little commerce with other countries are generally very simple; and the history of what passes in one family or village may serve as a specimen of a nation…Our manner of living is entirely plain; for as yet the natives are unacquainted with those refinements in cookery which debauch the taste…In our buildings we study convenience rather than ornaments…As we live in a country where nature is prodigal of her favours, our wants are few and easily supplied16.
These short excerpts make clear the similarity between the descriptions of the Guineans and the noble savage as described by Rousseau. Equiano’s natives avoid corruption because their environment is characterised by abundance, thus there is little role for greed. Equiano specifies the lack of class divisions between his people, emphasising their purity and innocence. Furthermore, the people are not motivated by illusion but functionality, bringing them closer to God. The lack of commercial activity, though affirming Adam Smith’s stadial view that African society was backward, would have found sympathy in Rousseau’s critique of modern Europe. It is clear that Equiano is here trying to stress that his people lived in idyllic bliss; when the European arrived, he destroyed this state of harmony.
Equiano, thus, does not challenge notions of Africa as atavistic in a manner that would be understood by Adam Smith, he rather uses this supposed backwardness to his advantage, hinting at moral superiority. In the second chapter of his autobiography, Equiano compares his community’s understanding of slavery to that of the white’s, claiming his relatively unchanged position in society as a slave in Africa, in contrast to his horrendously inhuman treatment by the white traders during the Middle Passage. He describes a master’s treatment in an unnamed territory of Africa, explaining how he is ‘washed and perfumed’ and made to eat first as the eldest, proclaiming ‘everything here, and all their treatment of me made me forget I was a slave’17. The white man, in opposition appears devoid of basic compassion — ‘one white man…flogged so unmercifully…that he died in consequence of it; and they tossed him over the side as they would have done a brute’ — and he here seems to be drawing on David Hume and Adam Smith’s idea of the sympathetic self, arguing that in this regard, the black possesses more humanity than the white18 19.
Equiano’s critique of racial theory, however, does not always follow in a linear manner — he sometimes appears to contradict himself. At first he seems to be arguing for climatic theory of race based on monogenism: ‘these instances…shew how the complexions of the same persons vary in different climates…Surely the Spaniards did not change with their complexions!’20 Such statements underline the equality of man despite differing conditions, which both support and challenge Montesquieu’s arguments regarding race, suggesting that although people’s skin tone may be influenced by the climate, this has little impact on their mental capacities. However Equiano then goes on to agree with a view of his people as underdeveloped: ‘Let the polished and haughty European recollect that his ancestors were once, like the Africans, uncivilised and even barbarous’19. Although advocating a kind of cultural relativism, Equiano does accept that his people are not as enlightened as the European race, in the spiritual, technical and economic sense. How should this be read in relation to anti-racist writing?
It is worthy to note that the text was produced as part of an ongoing abolitionist movement in Britain, but abolitionism was understood as ending the trade of slaves rather than its practice21. Thus, Equiano does not attempt to address issues of sovereignty and self-governance which came into discussion during colonialism — indeed he appears to be advocating missionary colonialism — but battles the mistreatment of humans based on their perceived race. This is further evident when he describes the injustices faced by free black men who are never permitted to speak against anyone white22. In some ways Equiano accepts slavery when morally conscious, arguing that his master, Robert King’s, superior treatment of the slaves ensured their loyalty and hard work23.
Economics and slavery
Aware that the issue of the slave trade was not merely centred on humanity, Equiano also economically reasons. He condemns the maltreatment of slaves for their monetary alongside human cost. ‘For want therefore of such care and attention to the poor negroes, and otherwise oppressed as they are, it is no wonder that the decrease should require 20,000 new negroes annually to fill up the vacant places of the dead’. His use of statistics not only rings clear the trauma enforced on the black slaves but also argues that such dealing has no economic validity. Again he reiterates ‘this island requires 1,000 negroes annually to keep up the original stock, which is only 80,000. So that the whole term of a negro’s life may be said to be there but sixteen years!’22. Thus he reinforces that to keep slaves in such conditions can only be more costly than to keep them well.
In Chapter XII of his narrative, Equiano provides alternatives for the slave trade, arguing that if Africa were able to commercialise, such an event would develop trade routes for the British, benefiting manufacturers. Furthermore, ‘the hidden treasures of centuries will be brought to light and into circulation. Industry, enterprize, and mining, will have their full scope, proportionably as they civilize’24. Such arguments are akin to Adam Smith’s ‘laissez-faire’ economics and refocus discussion to other means for economic expansion in Britain25. While having some success at countering slavery, the by-product of such arguments was colonisation, which would have enormous repercussions for many African and indeed Asian colonies.
The role of spirituality
Spiritual redemption plays a significant role in The Interesting Narrative. Primarily, spiritual language is used to draw on Christian sympathy and piety to convince readers of the plight of the slave. Believing himself and all others to be children of a Christian God, Equiano proposes human equality and uses sympathetic language to reinforce the notion that all are one under God. He appeals ‘Surely this traffic cannot be good…which violates that first natural right of mankind, equality and independency, and which gives one man a dominion over his fellows which God could never intend!’26.
In addition, this forthright spirituality could be understood as means to demand the humanity of Equiano himself. His commitment to Christianity redeems him of his people’s paganism which, as mentioned above, was considered sufficient reason to enslave people. To further emphasise his loyalty, Equiano begins to take on the role of missionary and spiritual adviser, in ways that appear to mirror Robinson Crusoe. An extract from Crusoe can be read here in tandem with one from The Interesting Narrative:
From Robinson Crusoe
From these things, I began to instruct him in the knowledge of the true God; I told him that the great Maker of all things lived up there, pointing up towards heaven… He listened with great attention, and received with pleasure the notion of Jesus Christ being sent to redeem us; and of the manner of making our prayers to God, and His being able to hear us, even in heaven27.
From The Interesting Narrative
I was very much mortified in finding that they had not frequented any churches since they were here, to be baptized…In our passage, I took all the pains that I could to instruct the Indian prince in the doctrines of Christianity, of which he was entirely ignorant; and to my great joy, he was quite attentive, and received with gladness the truths that the Lord enabled me to set forth to him.28
From the above passages, it is clear that Equiano has now taken on the role of Christian crusader, drawing the pagan into the light of Christianity. Read in the discourse of Robinson Crusoe as a colonialist narrative, Equiano has thus prevailed as a colonised subject and begun to espouse the received doctrine himself. How should this be read in an anti-slavery narrative?
It could be argued that Equiano’s use of Christianity provides him grounds to admonish slavery as anti-slavery movements were largely based on religious principles. In addition, Equiano’s use of Christianity reduces the alienation a white audience might feel.
Conversely, Equiano’s evolution into Christian missionary could suggest the capacity for a black man to become civilised. Equiano does imply that the Ibo people are in need to spiritual redressing. He compares his tribe’s practice of circumcision to those of ‘the Jews’, which, if Judaism is understood as the religious practice preceding Christianity, suggests his people are not far from spiritual redemption but are still lacking29. Furthermore, his chosen role as a Christian missionary exemplifies his view that the African may be created equal by God but is still in need of spiritual development.
Costanzo further asserts that the use of spirituality serves many purposes in slave narratives. Firstly, belief in Christianity guides the slave on a path not only to freedom but continued self-awareness and improvement after liberation. Secondly, adhering to the principles of Christianity enables the once inferior subject to gain superiority over those more privileged — as seen in Equiano’s narrative in the above excerpt and when he professes shock at his fellow crew members’ lack of spiritualism30. Thirdly, linking one’s life to God plan both draws on parallels with West African views on fate and encourages the slave to view his/her trials and tribulations as along the path to betterment31.
The Interesting Narrative, however, bears many resemblances to Crusoe and Doyle argues that ‘Anglo-Atlantic and African-Atlantic texts are not simply opposed; they are dialectically interdependent’ meaning that the slave narrative is dependent on the creation of the Anglo-Atlantic struggle32. Appeals for freedom and emancipation begin with such proclamations in Atlantic trade narratives. While Doyle points out that Equiano’s education and upbringing were primarily formed on the laws of English culture rather than his claimed motherland, she later contends that ‘Equiano’s insinuation of himself into the forms of Anglo-Atlantic narrative continues to provoke a struggle over his text like that which the slave trade enacted on his body’ 33. Unsure of where to firmly place his narrative given his position as a black man (neither inhuman nor citizen), Equiano uses spirituality and employs literary tropes to come to terms with himself and his audience.
Olaudah Equiano employs many techniques to lament the cruelty and economic invalidity of the slave trade. Using spiritualism and monogenist race theory, Equiano demands that his fellow race be viewed as human, with opportunity to develop into moral individuals.
However, The Interesting Narrative, a polemic both attempting to stand out as a literary achievement and address eighteenth-century debates regarding slavery, cannot be viewed today as a pure success at proclaiming race equality. The autobiography has been considered remarkable given its recognition and popularity in late eighteenth and early nineteenth society34. However, in aiming to tackle the enormous issue of slavery, Equiano’s narrative has fallen prey to some inconsistencies and many arguments employed can be viewed as justifications for colonialism.
Bok, Hilary, ‘Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat’ in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ed by Edward N. Zalta (November 2018), <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2018/entries/montesquieu/> [accessed 19 April 2019]
Costanzo, Angelo, Surprising Narrative: Olaudah Equiano and the Beginnings of the Black Autobiography (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1987)
Dabydeen, David, ‘Eighteenth-Century English Literature on Commerce and Slavery’, in The Black Presence in English Literature (Manchester: University of Manchester Press, 1985) pp. 26–49
Defoe, Daniel The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, February 1996 <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/521/521-h/521-h.htm> [accessed 10 April 2019]
Doyle, Laura, ‘Reconstructing Race And Freedom in Atlantic Modernity’ Atlantic Studies (4, 2, 2007) <https://doi.org/10.1080/14788810701510886> [accessed 11 April 2019] pp. 195–244
Equiano, Olaudah, The Interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, The African, Written by Himself ed. by Werner Sollos (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc, 2001) p. 23–25
Gerona, Carla, ‘Benezet, Anthony (formerly Antoine)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (September 2004) <https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1093/ref:odnb/2091> [accessed 16 April 2019]
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, A Discourse Upon The Origin And The Foundation Of The Inequality Among Mankind, February 2004 <http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/11136/pg11136-images.html> [accessed 11 April 2019]
Schaps, Dan, ‘The Debate Over Abolition’ Slave Resistance: A Caribbean Study <https://scholar.library.miami.edu/slaves/slave_trade/individual_essays/dan.html> [accessed 19 April 2019]
Sebastiani, Silvia, The Scottish Enlightenment: Race, Gender and the Limits of Progress trans by. Jeremy Carden (New York: Palgrave and Macmillan, 2013)
Smith, Adam, ‘Of the Sense of Propriety’in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759): <http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smMS1.html> [accessed 11 April 2019] (Pt 1, Sect 1)
Sollos, Werner, ‘Introduction’ in The Interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, The African, Written by Himself ed. by Werner Sollos (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc, 2001) pp. ix-xxxi
Sypher ,Wylie, Guinea’s Captive Kings: British Anti-Slavery Literature of the XIIIth Centutury (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942)
1Silvia Sebastiani The Scottish Enlightenment: Race, Gender and the Limits of Progress trans by. Jeremy Carden (New York: Palgrave and Macmillan, 2013)
2Sebastiani, p. 5
3Sebastiani, p. 7
4Sebastiani, p. 9
5Hilary Bok, ‘Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat’ in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ed by Edward N. Zalta (November 2018), <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2018/entries/montesquieu/> [accessed 19 April 2019]
6Sebastiani, p. 13
7David Dabydeen ‘Eighteenth-Century English Literature on Commerce and Slavery’, in The Black Presence in English Literature (Manchester: University of Manchester Press, 1985) pp. 26–49
8Dadydeen, p. 28
9Daniel Defoe The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, February 1996 <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/521/521-h/521-h.htm> [accessed 10 April 2019]
10Defoe, Chapter XV
11Jean Jacques Rousseau A Discourse Upon The Origin And The Foundation Of The Inequality Among Mankind, February 2004 <http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/11136/pg11136-images.html> [accessed 11 April 2019]
12Laura Doyle, ‘Reconstructing Race And Freedom in Atlantic Modernity’ Atlantic Studies (4, 2, 2007) <https://doi.org/10.1080/14788810701510886> [accessed 11 April 2019] pp. 195–244 (p. 197)
13Werner Sollos ‘Introduction’ in The Interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, The African, Written by Himself ed. by Werner Sollos (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc, 2001) pp. Ix-xxxi (p. xxix)
14Carla Gerona, ‘Benezet, Anthony (formerly Antoine)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (September 2004) <https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.1093/ref:odnb/2091> [accessed 16 April 2019]
15Angelo Costanzo, Surprising Narrative: Olaudah Equiano and the Beginnings of the Black Autobiography (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1987) p. 55
16Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavas Vassa, The African, Written by Himself ed. by Werner Sollos (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc, 2001) p. 23–25
17Equiano, p. 37
18Equiano, p. 40
19Adam Smith, ‘Of the Sense of Propriety’ in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759): <http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smMS1.html> [accessed 11 April 2019] (Pt 1, Sect 1)
20 Equiano, p. 31
21Wylie Sypher, Guinea’s Captive Kings: British Anti-Slavery Literature of the XIIIth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942)
22Equiano, p. 165
23Equiano, p. 79
24Equiano, p. 177
25Dan Schaps, ‘The Debate Over Abolition’ Slave Resistance: A Caribbean Study <https://scholar.library.miami.edu/slaves/slave_trade/individual_essays/dan.html> [accessed 19 April 2019]
26Equiano, p. 83
27Defoe, Chapter XV
28Equiano, p. 153–154
29Equiano, p. 27
30Equiano, p. 160
31Costanzo, p. 19–21
32Doyle, p. 205
33Doyle, p. 210
34Sollos, p. xxvii