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The Beachcombers or Slave-Trading Under the Union Jack by Gilbert Bishop

The Beachcombers or Slave-Trading Under the Union Jack by Gilbert Bishop

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The Beachcombers


Slave-Trading Under the Union Jack

by Gilbert Bishop

Ward, Lock & Co., 1900, [First Edition], gilded fore edges, black and white frontispiece, black and white plates, embossed hardcover

Fair Condition, edge and shelf wear, rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, frontispiece loose, some plates missing, some discolouration, markings and small holes to spine and covers, foxing to some pages especially introductory, text block in tact, slight lean (see photographs)

The very air of the Western Pacific seems impregnated with romance.  From early in the sixteenth century down to present times the vastest of Earth’s oceans has furnished traditions of the most wonderous complexion – legends of exploration and adventure, of piracy and treasure trove, of love and murder, surrounded by a halo off mystery, and enhanced by a certain ideality that not even the rapid spread of prosaic nineteenth century rationalism has had potency to dispel.
The scene of the narrative related in the following pages is laid in the most romantic of the sunny isles of the Pacific – the Solomon Islands – Medana’s historic “Isles of Salomon,” the fame of whose fabled mountains of gold and valleys filled with precious stones once upon a time eclipsed even Sinbad’s marvellous discoveries in magnificence and outshone the scarcely more substantial splendours of El Dorado and Golconda.
But there is a tinge of romance in this story, reality is its chief component – solid, unequivocal reality – black, shameful reality.  Imagination has had no scope for the conception of aggravated horrors.  Only the pen of a Dante could adequately portray the actual enormities of the Polynesian slave trade, by euphemism termed “the labour traffic,” herein described in plain, unvarnished terms – in language purposely moderate and unembellished.  The labour traffic episodes that occur in the narrative are facts – hard, uncompromising, disgraceful truths – of which abundant proofs are to be found among the records of the Australian criminal courts...”


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