Imperfect Machinery?. Missions, Imperial Authority, and the Pacific Labour Trade, c.1875-1901
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The study of the Pacific labour trade has been dominated by works dealing with such aspects as the mechanism of labour recruitment and the islanders’ working conditions in the plantations. This book, however, re-emphasises the importance of British imperial intervention in the Pacific to control the labour and arms traffic not only by British but also by foreign traders. The book examines why the British Government attempted to control the traffic and what success it achieved between 1875 and 1901. The main part of this book demonstrates how British missions and humanitarians continued to push the reluctant government to regulate the traffic, and how the Western Pacific High Commissioners and the naval officers attempted to introduce measures to control the traffic. In particular, this book highlights the British Government’s diplomatic endeavours to control the traffic and emphasises the international dimensions of the missionaries’ campaigns for such endeavours. Consequently, this book argues that, despite the British Government’s efforts to control the traffic, it continued to have difficulty because of the active foreign intervention by Germany, France and the United States.
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