By Seymour Drescher
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Additional info for Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective
P' A second mode of de facto change of status was apparently more effective. Historians such as Walvin, Shyllon and Freyer have uncovered extensive evidence of the free black community in London. They conclude that the black community provided a haven for runaways in the face of general white hostility based on racial fears of miscegenation, competition, and so on . However , the evidence from Sir John Fielding, a London magistrate, indicates that both the poor and the magistrates refused to take action to restore runaways to their masters on grounds that no act against the peace or felony had been committed.
On the American side of the line the choice for and proportion of slaves in the labour force was equally pragmatic. In the experimental period of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries severe labour shortages were experienced in every settlement from Canada to South America. The inhabitants of French Canada and New England purchased relatively few slaves and definitive trends waited on the balance between the prices of labour and staples. In 1670 Virginia's proportion of blacks was less than Rhode Island's a century later.
Blacks were, of course, usually recognizable because of their colour. They were socially stereotyped because of their concentration in domestic service and shipping. In London they were sufficiently numerous and mobile to elicit a proclamation prohibiting their entry into the lucrative trades as apprentices. But one must recognize that other groups were also quite distinguishable by their accents and dress and social roles in eighteenth-century England. " An extensive survey of many years of London newspaper letters from the early 17608 to the early 17908 reveals far more complaints about Scottish, Irish, Jewish and other European intruders than Border Skirmish: Neither Wages nor the Whip 31 about blacks.