Scotland and the Abolition of Black Slavery, 1756-1838 by Iain Whyte

By Iain Whyte

Even if a lot has been written approximately Scottish involvement in slavery, the contribution of Scots to the abolition of black slavery has no longer but been sufficiently known. This publication starts off with a Virginian slave looking his freedom in Scotland in 1756 and ends with the abolition of the apprenticeship scheme within the West Indian colonies in 1838.

Contemporary records and periodicals display a groundswell of revulsion to what used to be defined as "the terrible traffik in humans". Petitions to Parliament got here from distant islands in Shetland in addition to from huge public conferences in towns. In a land steeped in faith, ministers and church leaders took the lead in giving theological help to the reason for abolition. The contributions of 5 London Scots who have been pivotal to the crusade all through Britain are set opposed to competition to abolition from many Scots with advertisement pursuits within the slave alternate and the sugar plantations.

Missionaries and miners, trades guilds and legal professionals all performed their elements in not easy slavery. lots of their struggles and frustrations are targeted for the 1st time in an evaluation of the original contribution made by way of Scotland and the Scots to the destruction of an establishment whose results are nonetheless with us today.

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David Spens, who was supported by the saltworkers, would have almost certainly have passed that way. 55 Several months earlier Cullen’s colleague James Ferguson had spoken of ‘a fancy, which enters into the heads of Negroes themselves when brought to this country’, that baptism ‘gives them a title to their freedom’. ’59 That was of course four years before the Talbot and Yorke opinion. Although those advocating freedom seemed unwilling to labour the obvious point that Talbot and Yorke and all that followed from their opinion was applicable only in English law, the defenders of slavery were anxious to show that in continental Europe, particularly in France, embracing Christianity through baptism made no change in the slave’s situation.

41, 44. 87 William Robertson, The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V, 2 vols (Dublin, 1762), Vol. 1, note 20. 88 Memorial for Knight, p. 29. 89 Memorial for Montgomery-Sheddan, p. 6. 90 Memorial for Sheddan, p. 6. 91 Memorial for Wedderburn, p. 14. 92 Answers for Sheddan, p. 3. 40 Scotland and the Abolition of Black Slavery 93 Answers for Montgomery, p. 5. 94 Argument before Lord Kennet, 7 Feb 1775; Memorial for Knight, p. 30. 95 Dalrymple, Petition. 96 Answers for Sheddan, p. 3. 97 Memorial for Wedderburn, p.

99 CM, 21 Feb 1776. 100 John Cairns, ‘The Scottish Law of Slavery’, unpublished lecture, University of Edinburgh, 6 Dec 2000. 101 M. P. , Decisions of the Lords of Council and Session from 1766 to 1791, collected by Lord Hailes (Edinburgh, 1826), pp. 777–9. 102 CM, 17 Jan 1778. 103 Brown, Decisions, pp. 776–8. 104 Sir George Mackenzie, Institutions of the Law of Slavery, second edition (Edinburgh, 1688), p. 20. 105 Quoted by Cairns, Lord Bankton, An Institute of the Law of Scotland, 3 vols (Edinburgh, 1751–4), Vol.

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