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Mastering the NigerJames MacQueen's African Geography and the Struggle over Atlantic Slavery$
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David Lambert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226078069

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226078236.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Keeping Account of Atlantic Commerce

Keeping Account of Atlantic Commerce

(p.58) Chapter Three Keeping Account of Atlantic Commerce
Mastering the Niger

David Lambert

University of Chicago Press

This chapter links James MacQueen’s speculative geographical claims and proposals to a broader commercial culture of speculation in the Atlantic world. His 1820 proposals were backed by merchants in Glasgow and the chapter considers the mercantile context of which the backers and MacQueen were part, the role of Tory politics in this and why the proposals may have attracted support. The second half of the chapter moves from the urban milieu of early nineteenth-century Glasgow to consider the particular theory of knowledge and epistemology that underwrote the Niger theory and his associated proposals. Relating this to MacQueen’s involvement in bookkeeping in the Caribbean and Scotland, I trace this through to the mercantilist and protectionist vision of trade and empire evident in MacQueen’s proposals, as well as the specific practices of writing and argumentation through which he sought to make his Niger theory credible by reducing complex travel accounts and other sources into the abstract form of a map.

Keywords:   Glasgow, Scotland, Bookkeeping, Accounting, Tory party, Merchants, Mercantilism, Protection, Epistemology, Commerce

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