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Sample text

He was an active petitioner – along with fellow merchants Stephen Gabbidon and William Savage, though unlike them, he tended to stay in the good graces of the government.

22 This gave the original settlers unique insight into the indigenous religions they were encountering as missionaries, as well as a sense of their own British Christianity in contrast to the indigenous African religious identities. With Christianity a minority religion in the region, Liberated Africans and settlers were continually negotiating their own understanding of Christian teachings and what it meant to be ‘civilized’ in contrast to their neighbours. Despite the clear outline for Christian conversion and ‘civilization’ laid out by the colonial government, and apart from those who retained their Islamic or animist beliefs, there were a large number of recaptives who, having been baptized as Christians, subsequently left the church to become Muslim.

29 Maroon petitioners, for instance, wrote that ‘numbers of poor women have also been employed in making clothing for the liberated Africans newly imported ... 30 This is notable because it also shows the definition of women’s work. Sewing was an important domestic skill that missionaries emphasized as vital to the education of girls. 33 But dress was not the only outward display of ‘Britishness’ adopted by the settlers and Liberated Africans. Once commerce had begun in earnest and picked up speed in the 1830s, ties to ‘home’ became tangible as well as institutional.

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