Monday, March 19, 2007

The Abolition of the Slave Trade

This is the first page of the Slave Trade Act of 1807. The image is subject to Parliamentary Copyright but it may be reproduced without formal permission for the purposes of non-commercial research or news reporting provided that it is appropriately attributed.

The Act of Parliament to abolish the British Slave Trade, passed on 25 March 1807, was the culmination of one of the first and most successful public campaigns in history. To mark the bicentenary the Parliamentary Archives has digitised a wealth of archival material which provides evidence of the issues, processes and people at the heart of Parliament's relationship with the slave trade.

Soon you will be able to click on the link "wealth of archival material" in order to study this story in detail. You may have already seen TV and Radio programmes. It would have been difficult to follow up an interest of this sort before the Broadband Revolution.

The abolition took place over a long period time, but we can look back to the revolutionary times in which our ancestors lived. Many British merchants gained their living from the trade and there were several sugar plantations in Jamaica with close connections with my home city.

We can also look back at the efforts of the Anti-Slavery Committee, many of whom were Quakers. I have a special admiration for the work of John Barton, the economist, who lived in Chichester, Stoughton and Leigh Park, Havant and followed his father in the fight against slavery. Without the help of my broadband connection, I would not have discovered a link in my family history with John Barton. I think that this explains why my family moved from Brighton to Chichester about 150 years ago.

No comments: