Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Sunday, 25 March 2007

An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade

William Wilberforce, the sickly shrimp of a man who sank the slave ships, often saw his personal battle against slavery as a divinely ordained crusade.

200 year ago today, March 25, 1807, An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade received Royal Assent: "Be it therefore enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That from and after the First Day of May One thousand eight hundred and seven, the African Slave Trade, and all and all manner of dealing and trading in the Purchase, Sale, Barter, or Transfer of Slaves, or of Persons intended to be sold, transferred, used, or dealt with as Slaves, practiced or carried on, in, at, to or from any Part of the Coast or Countries of Africa, shall be, and the same is hereby utterly abolished, prohibited, and declared to be unlawful"

Enabled by Lord Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, which had given Britain the sea power to ensure that any ban could be enforced, Great Britain set about convincing other nations to follow same. Incredibly, the United States abolished its African slave trade at the same time. Both laws were finalized in March of 1807, the British law being effective on May 1, 1807 and the American law on January 1, 1808.


Anonymous said...

If only the Arabs had been bound by that law.


Younghusband said...

Not so fast with the back-patting, chaps.
Just as it's hard to celebrate Britain's abolition of the death penalty when London's PC rules on capital punishment caes in the Caribbean, so too did this Act not restrict slavery among its colonies in the British Caribbean and the Americas. British slave traders continued trafficking in slaves throughout the British West Indian islands and the Guiana colonies of Berbice and Demerara-Essequibo. George Stephen wrote that in 1809, slave ships, under foreign flags, had been fitted out in London and Liverpool, in order to import enslaved persons to British colonies, via Spanish and Portuguese settlements.
It's possible that Britain made more money out of the trade and slavery AFTER 1807 and the 1833 Emancipation Act, which made owning slaves illegal. (The enslaved were freed only in the West Indies and Cape Town; the last Acts abolishing slavery were, as I tell my class learning about the League of Nations, in Sierra Leone as late as 1927 and the Gold Coast in 1928.)

Kristan Tetens said...

In this painting Wilberforce bears a remarkable likeness to Alan Rickman. -- Kristan at The Victorian Peeper (