BRITISH ANTI SLAVERY MOVEMENT
The movement in Britain to end both the slave trade and slavery was a long drawn out affair which involved the efforts of key individuals and groups: Quakers
Also known as the Society of Friends
First campaigners against the slave trade and in 1727 passed a proposal against the trade Acted as a pressure group in the movement for the abolition of slavery. Their strategy was to win over public opinion by carrying the arguments for abolition into every home in Britain through pamphlets, the Press and the pulpit. Leading force in the movement outside of Parliament
The Clapham Sect
Also known as The Saints
They gave practical, supporting evidence to the other members of the sect, especially those in Parliament, who had considerable influence in public affairs. Members included: William Wilberforce, Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, James Ramsay, James Stephen and Zachary Macaulay. James Ramsay served as a surgeon on a warship bound for St Kit Kitts . There he had been called to attend an epidemic on a slave ship and never forgot the horrors he saw in the middle decks. He became an Aglican priest and served in St Kitts for 14 years, making outspoken attacks on slavery. In 1781 he returned to England and joined the abolitionists. He published in 1784 an “Essay on the Testament and Conversion of the African Slaves in the Sugar Colonies.” James Stephen a lawyer in St Kitts for 10 years
Zachary Macaulay the under manager on a Jamaican estate for 4 years In Parliament, they complemented the Quakers who had don e so much to arouse public opinion in the same cause. Granville Sharp
Concerned himself with the question of whether a person could be held in slavery in Britain. He questionned the legality of slavery. Read on the Somerset Case and Mansfield Judgement. (Caribbean Experience pg63,Caribbean Story pg 145, Caribbean History for CSEC pg 94) He went to court to get the English law on slavery clarified. Judge Mansfield decided there was no legal definition of slavery in England. This decision made it illegal to take a salve against his will back to the slave colonies, so a slave could walk away from slavery by refusing to go back and merging with the free black population in England. The Mansfield Judgement helped bolster public opinion against slavery.
Member of the Saints or Clapham Sect
Vice President of the Society for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery or Anti- Slavery Society Wealthy politician
He had tremendous influence in Parliament- he was friends with William Pitt, the future Prime Minister of Britain. He was an excellent orator in the House of Commons who spoke regularly against abolition. In 1789, he condemned the slave trade in a masterly three hour speech. In 1791, he introduced a bill abolishing the slave trade. However, he was unsuccessful. Thomas Clarkson
He furnished Wilberforce with evidence of the atrocities of the slave trade. He could be called the ears and eyes of Willberforce. He travelled to Liverpool and Bristol where he carefully checked all the information about slave ships. As evidence of the horrors of the slave trade he collected shackles, thumb screws, teeth chisls and branding irons. He wrote down the names and stories of 20,000 seamen. Wrote an essay entitled “A Summary View of the Slave Trade and the Probable Consequences of its Abolition”. It was distributed in pamphlet form and 15, 000 copies were distributed. In 1785 he won a Latin Essay Prize at Cambridge in which he showed that there was no justification for slavery. This essay was circulated to influential people. The Society for Effecting the Abolition of The Slave Trade ( Read Emancipation to Emigration pg 66) Formed by the Quakers in 1787
Their seal was “Am I Not A Man And A Brother?” showing a black slave in chains. Josiah Wedgewood, a wealthy potter and philanthropist, who was an early member of the Society, reproduced the design at his...
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