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Article

Jane Poyner

British colonel turned revolutionary, and African‐Caribbean wife (also described as African‐American in origin). In 1790, when Colonel Despard arrived in London after nearly twenty years of British military service in the Caribbean, he brought with him his wife, Catherine, and their young son James. Catherine's background remains unclear: by some accounts she was the daughter of a Jamaican preacher, by others an educated Spanish Creole. The couple had married some time between 1786 and 1789, while Edward was Superintendent of the newly created British enclave of Belize. The Despards' mixed‐race marriage was perhaps the only such example in Britain at the time.

In London the Despards, turning their backs on respectable society, threw themselves into radical politics, Catherine focusing her energies on abolitionism and prisoners' rights. Edward's political views fell under government suspicion and Catherine took an increasingly public role in defending him against charges of ...

Article

Nazneen Ahmed

First Baron Barham, British naval administrator, and politician active in the campaign to abolish slavery. Middleton entered the Royal Navy in 1741, passing his lieutenant's examination in 1745. He was appointed to the illustrious position of Comptroller of the Navy in 1778, despite a lack of experience of naval administration. He proved to be adept at his role, creating numerous structural and administrative reforms to increase the efficiency of the Navy, for example, the introduction of lemon juice into navy victuals to prevent scurvy, and the introduction of the carronade cannon. His attention to strategic details at ship level contributed significantly to the victory at Trafalgar. His achievements as naval Comptroller were publicly recognized when he was created a baronet in 1781. Middleton and his wife held profoundly evangelical Anglican beliefs. During the 1780s, and through the influence of the clergyman James Ramsay a former ...