A Short Sketch of Temporary Regulations (Until Better shall be Proposed) for the Intended Settlement on the Grain Coast of Africa, Near Sierra Leona.

SHARP Granville (1786.)


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Second edition. Two folding tables. 12mo in 4s. Contemporary sheep, expertly rebacked, spine gilt, some toning to pages. 184pp. London, H. Baldwin,

A very good copy of Granville Sharp's important outline for the government of this new colony. Printed in the same year as the first edition, this is nearly a hundred pages longer and has two folding tables.


Along with William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp was one of the most important English abolitionists and with the founding of Sierra Leone one of the most forward looking. Originally proposed by Henry Smeathman, "Sierra Leone was imagined as a counterpoint to the Caribbean colonies" (Lambert). Sharp, whose concerns about the impoverished Black population in London fed into this project, took a leading role, "he helped to sponsor the establishment of a colony for freed slaves at Sierra Leone and published a Short Sketch for its government in 1786. Sharp was also one of the first directors of the St George's Company, which managed the settlement until it was ceded to the crown in 1808, and he became one of the first directors of the African Institution in 1807" (ODNB).


The Short Sketch shows the structure and purposes of the colony and is divided as follows: Frankpledge (by which members of society were mutually responsible for the law enforcement and policing of their peers); Watch and Ward; Free Labour; Freedom and Protection to Strangers; Redemption from Slavery; Agrarian Law; Exception; Limitation of Landed Possessions; Publick Revenue and Paper Currency of Intrinsic Value; Tax on Pride and Indolence, and on Persons who have Superior Emoluments above the Ordinary Class of Labourers; Additional Regulations; Appendix I: Short Forms of Prayers; Appendix II: (Memorandums.) On Diet or Temperance. The two tables list: "the Total Amount of the Public Allowances for the Whole Settlement" and "the Proposed Form of an Indenture for Free, or Public Labour."


The first attempt at settlement in 1787 was unsuccessful, but another attempt was made in 1790. Under the direction of the St George's Bay Company, the colony was established. With the 1807 abolition of the slave trade, Sierra Leone became the hub of British operations to suppress it in Africa.


Lambert, D., "Sierra Leone and Other Sites in the War of Representation over Slavery" in History Workshop Journal No.64 (Autumn, 2007) p.105.

Stock Code: 247354

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