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A “Very Extensive System of Peculation and Jobbing”: The Liberated African Department of Sierra Leone, humanitarian governance and the fraud inquiry of 1848

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalJournal of Colonialism and Colonial History
Issue number3
Early online date2 Dec 2016
Accepted/In press26 Sep 2016
E-pub ahead of print2 Dec 2016
PublishedDec 2016



King's Authors


After the Abolition Act of 1807, over 100,000 Africans were liberated at Sierra Leone, and “disposed of” by the Liberated African Department. For over half a century, this department was integrated deeply into the fabric of colonial life. In 1848, a “most extensive and searching investigation” was launched into allegations of corruption and embezzlement. This article seeks to evaluate how the 1848 enquiry can inform our understanding of humanitarian governance in the British Empire, and broader, related intersecting themes of empire, slave emancipation, labour organisation and the possibilities of freedom for formerly enslaved Africans.

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