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How William Gladstone defended his father’s role in slavery

The great Victorian statesman’s glittering career was financed by huge profits made in the 1820s and 30s on Guyanese estates

William Gladstone’s father, John, was an absentee landlord who never visited his estates in the Caribbean but became fabulously rich from the proceeds of slavery.

His pursuit of profit at the expense of free – and then cheap – labour in Guyana transformed the South American country for ever.

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