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Abolition of Slavery
Transcript of Abolition of Slavery
The Act of 1833
16th century Spanish and Portuguese sailors
17th century English, French, and Dutch
Chattel Slavery: Slaves are treated as commodities, to be bought and sold, and once sold, are considered the property of the owner.
British tried to enslaves the New World natives, but they died of smallpox
British decided to import slaves from Africa
There were always people who disproved
E.g. the Quakers
They condemned slavery as religiously and ethically wrong under any circumstances
These sentiments held as early as the 1600s
1680s to the 1750s
1783 group of 6 Quakers
Roots of the Abolition Movement
Triangular Slave Trade
The practice of taking slaves from Africa to the New World and the Caribbean, then taking products such as tobacco, cotton, and sugar from there back to Britain
Plantations needed a huge supply of cheap labour
Merchants in England depended on the importation
Sugar became a staple
Cotton lowered clothing cost
300-700 slaves on small ships
Death from suicide, pirate attacks, and disease
Treated like animals
Why "Civilized" People owned Slaves
1) Europeans were superior
2) Africans were designed for hard labour
3) The Bible said so
4) Africans were better off enslaved
Bryan Edwards, 1793.
[Slave owners] well know that moderate labour, unaccompanied with that wretched anxiety to which the poor of England are subject in making provision for the day that is passing over them, is a state of comparative felicity: and they know also, that men in savage life have no incentive to emulation: persuasion is lost on such men, and compulsion to a certain degree, is humanity and charity.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Creswell Levinz, verdict for the case Butts. Vs, Penny, 1677.
Trover for 100 Negroes: It was found by special verdict that the Negroes were Infidels, and the subjects of an Infidel Prince. They are usually bought and sold in America as Merchandise, by the custom of merchants, and the plaintiff bought these, and was in possession of them until the Defendant took them. The Court held that Negroes being usually bought and sold among Merchants as merchandise, and also being infidels, there might be a property in them sufficient to maintain Trover, and gave the judgment for the plaintiff .
Henry Wilckens, 1793.
The slave-trade is actually of advantage to the Negroes who are the objects of it. I deem it justifiable; for the disadvantage which an African and West-India merchant, or planter sustains, can be of no weight in the scale of reason and justice and if this trade were, or could be, according to the system of its opponents, abolished, it would put Africa and the Negro states in a more wretched situation than they are at present, under the system of the West Indian slavery and the commerce depending thereon.
Sir Banstre Tarleton , 1791
An abolition would instantly annihilate a trade that annually employs upwards 5500 sailors, upwards 160 ships and exports which amount to 7 000 000 sterling. And the same experience would undoubtedly bring the West India trade to decay… and would prove ruinous to the commercial consequence, to the national honour, and to the political glory of Great Britain.
Effects of the American Revolution
British declared that slaves who abandoned their Patriot masters to join the British army would receive freedom
Influx of former slaves
Advocated for abolition
Ottobah Cugoano, 1787.
No necessity, or any situation of men, however poor, pitiful and wretched they may be, can warrant them to rob others, or oblige them to become thieves because they are poor, miserable, and wretched. [Slavery] is the worst kind of robbery, as most opposite to every precept and injunction of the Divine Law… that men shall love their neighbours.... as to any other laws that slave-holders may make among themselves, as respecting slaves, they can be of no better kind [than] that there may be some honesty among thieves.
22 May, 1787
Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade
12 men: 9 Quakers, 3 Anglicans
Latin contest in 1785
An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species (1786)
1) Against the doctrine of Christianity
2) Morally Wrong
3) Africans not inferior
4) Economic Alternatives
Thomas Clarkson, 1786.
For if liberty is only an adventitious right; if men are by no means superior to brutes; if every social duty is a curse; if cruelty is highly to be esteemed; if murder is strictly honourable, and Christianity is a lye; then it is evident, that the African slavery may be pursued, without either the remorse of conscience, or the imputation of a crime. But if the contrary of this is true, which reason must immediately evince, it is evident that no custom established among men was ever more impious; since it is contrary to reason, justice, nature, the principles of law and government, the whole doctrine, in short, of natural religion, and the revealed voice of God.
Anthony Benezet, 1753.
I can with truth and sincerity declare, that I have found amongst the Negroes as great a variety of talents as amongst a like number of whites; and I am bold to assert, that the notion entertained by some, that the blacks are inferior in their capacities, is a vulgar prejudice, founded on the pride of ignorance of their lordly masters, who have kept their slaves at such a distance, as to be unable to form a right judgment of them.
recruiting new members
Thomas Clarkson's tour
They wrote anti-slavery books, printed posters, organized meetings, signed petitions
“a Letter to our Friends in the Country, to inform them of the state of the Business”
The Spread of the Movement
Politicians attempted to pass laws
Wilberforce was an MP
met Thomas Clarkson and the Quaker Abolitionists in 1787
Introduced a bill in 1789
And again and again
Had friends in high places
On the 28th of August, 1833, the British parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833
This act abolished slavery throughout the British Empire
First of August, 1834
Apprentices until 1840
20 million pounds
Act of 1807
Quakers, ministers, businessmen, aristocrats, politicians, scholars
Am I not a Woman and a Sister?
Josiah Wedgwood, 1787
AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER?
Did not free those already slaves
Clarkson and Wilberforce formed the Anti-Slavery league in 1823
The campaign continued
In 1831, a large slave revolt broke out in Jamaica
Revolt lasted 10 days
resulted in the death of 14 plantation owners and hundreds of Africans
Over a million pounds of property damage
Slave owners questioned their pro-slavery stance
British government held an inquiry
The Baptist War
An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade
Introduced by William Wilberforce
Finally passed 25 March, 1807
Abolished the buying of slaves from Africa
In the British Empire