Chronological History of the West Indies 3 Volume Set
19 Mar 2015
Thomas Southey (1777-1838) joined the navy at the age of twelve, saw action during the French Revolutionary Wars, and was first posted to the West Indies in early 1804. Promoted to captain in 1811 and later employed as a customs officer, he died on the voyage home from his last posting in Demerara. His only book, published in 1827, is dedicated to his older brother, Robert, a Romantic poet, who also wrote on historical subjects (his books on Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, and Brazil are also available in the Cambridge Library Collection). Thomas' three-volume work is organised chronologically, from Columbus to 1816. It draws on extensive reading, with substantial passages quoted verbatim from his sources. He concludes that the history of the West Indies presents 'little more than a melancholy series of calamities and crimes', but expresses the hope that the British government will succeed in abolishing slavery.