This account by British Private William Wheeler of the 51st Regiment gives a vivid account of the hand–to–hand fighting in Portugal. Wheeler’s letters home were saved by the family and form the basis of their publication in 1949.
Antislavery Agitation: Abbé Raynal, Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies (1770)
Abbé Guillaume–Thomas Raynal (1711–96), known by his clerical title [abbé refers to ecclesiastical training], first published his multivolume history of European colonization anonymously in French in 1770. Today many sections of it seem almost quaint and hopelessly detailed, for Raynal and his collaborators (among them Diderot) gathered every imaginable fact to support their scathing... Read More »
Here Antoine–Pierre Barnave, a well–connected and influential lawyer from Grenoble, represented those interests that wanted to hold onto France’s rich colonial possessions. He wanted to treat the colonies separately from mainland France in order to exempt them from the Constitution as a means of maintaining the production of those colonial products that were such a large part of France’s... Read More »
Photography was critical to imperialism. The French army (and the British army in India) employed the camera’s lens to chronicle military exploits, first in Algeria during the 1850s, and later in Tunisia and Morocco. With advances in photographic technology, portrait studios were established in Europe and in European empires. Most studio photography in this period produced family portraits... Read More »
Benjamin Constant (1767–1830) spent the early years of the French Revolution in a post at a minor German court. He moved to Paris in 1795 and became active in French politics (and became the lover of de Staël). He published pamphlets attacking Napoleon but later reconciled to him during the Hundred Days. He then joined the opposition to the restored Bourbon monarchy. The following comes from... Read More »