Proslavery Priest

The Atlantic World of John Lindsay, 1729–1788
B.W. Higman


Book Industry Association of Jamaica, Best Adult Non-Fiction, 2013

2011 IndieFab Award Winner, History (Adult Nonfiction)

Pages and Dimensions: 
376pp 7 x 10



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US$75 (s)


Child of the Church of Scotland and product of the Scottish Enlightenment, John Lindsay was an ordained minister of the Church of England, serving church and state in the British Atlantic. The second half of his life was spent in Jamaica, where – in the midst of slave society – he had leisure to live a life of ideas and develop literary and philosophical interests. As well as sermons, he published a novel, a poem and an account of a voyage to West Africa. At his death, Lindsay left manuscript sermons, a natural history of Jamaica and a proslavery polemic. These texts address central questions of eighteenth-century British imperial thought. How might faith and reason sit together, and the laws of nature with the laws of God? How might conjecture, hypothesis, speculation and curiosity fit with the authority of scripture? What does it mean to be human? How could liberty coexist with slavery?

B.W. Higman is Emeritus Professor of History, University of the West Indies, and Emeritus Professor of History, Australian National University. He is the author of eleven books on Caribbean history, archaeology and geography, including the award-winning publications Slave Population and Economy in Jamaica, 1807–1834; Slave Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807–1834; Jamaica Surveyed: Plantation Maps and Plans of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries; Montpelier, Jamaica: A Plantation Community in Slavery and Freedom, 1739–1912; Writing West Indian Histories; Plantation Jamaica, 1750–1850: Capital and Control in a Colonial Economy; and Jamaican Food: History, Biology, Culture. His most recent books are A Concise History of the Caribbean and How Food Made Histor