Portugal found out about selling slaves for profit by sheer luck. The first slave purchase is said to have taken place in when the Portuguese caught two African males while they were along the coast. The Africans in the nearby village paid them in gold for their return. Slave traders used many slave forts to protect themselves and their shipments. This was a way of guarding themselves against any attackers. It was also a way of holding slaves until they could be sold and shipped to the New World.
The Africans were sold in many ways. They were sold to traders by other Africans, and eventually forced into slavery by men with guns.
From here, slaves were placed aboard ships to be taken across the Atlantic on a voyage that was eventually coined "the middle passage. Africans were chained and packed into quarters unfit for movement or proper breathing. The only hope of escape rested in suicide by jumping overboard. With the British Parliament's outlaw of the slave trade in , the naval superpower set sail to enforce total European abolition.
The Society of Friends, along with other such concerned parties, published accounts of the horrific middle passage to distribute amongst still practicing nations. These accounts, supported by memoirs such as Oladuah Equiano's, who survived the journey, informed the masses and catalyzed the destruction of slavery. The atrocities continued once the Africans arrived in the West Indies, but resistance began to grow once on the plantation. In the West Indies, slaves searched for an outlet to vent their frustrations.
To be successful in alleviating their frustrations and resisting in some way, slaves had to unite. One of the more popular ways slaves accomplished this was through the Christian religion. When it was allowed by the planters, Christianized slaves could resist the institution of slavery by looking to God.
The ideals that Christianity held were easy for Africans to understand and adapt. Doing so meant that the slaves would lose some of their African heritage, but the plusses far outweighed the minuses. Slaves "Africanized" Christianity in the West Indies and thus created a new culture among them. Those who chose, or who were allowed, to be baptized were successful at resisting slavery and uniting together with a common interest in God. It included crops , spices and raw materials , along with refined trade goods.
Clarkson noticed that pictures and artifacts could influence public opinion more than words alone. He began to display items from his collection of fine goods to reinforce his anti-slavery lectures. Demonstrating that Africans were highly skilled artisans, he argued for an alternative humane trading system based on goods rather than laborers. He carried a "box" featuring his collection, which became an important part his public meetings. It was an early example of a visual aid.
He enlisted the help of Alexander Falconbridge and James Arnold, two ship's surgeons whom he met in Liverpool. They had been on many voyages aboard slave ships, and were able to recount their experiences in detail for publication.
Clarkson also continued to write against the slave trade. He filled his works with vivid firsthand descriptions from sailors, surgeons and others who had been involved in the slave traffic. Another example was his "An Essay on the Slave Trade" , the account of a sailor who had served aboard a slave ship. These works provided a grounding for William Wilberforce's first abolitionist speech in the House of Commons on 12 May , and his 12 propositions. Olaudah Equiano Gustavus Vassa published his memoir, one of the genre of what became known as slave narratives - accounts by slaves who achieved freedom.
As an African with direct experience of the slave trade and slavery, Equiano was pleased that his book became highly influential in the anti-slavery movement. Clarkson wrote to the Rev. Jones at Trinity College , to introduce Equiano to him and the community. He asked for aid from the Rev. Jones in selling copies of the memoir and arranging for Equiano to visit Cambridge to lecture. In Wilberforce introduced the first Bill to abolish the slave trade; it was easily defeated by votes to As Wilberforce continued to bring the issue of the slave trade before Parliament, Clarkson traveled and wrote anti-slavery works.
Based on a plan of a slave ship he acquired in Portsmouth, he had an image drawn of slaves loaded on the slave ship Brookes; he published this in London in , took the image with him on lectures, and provided it to Wilberforce with other anti-slave trade materials for use in parliament. This was the beginning of their protracted parliamentary campaign, during which Wilberforce introduced a motion in favour of abolition almost every year.
Clarkson, Wilberforce and the other members of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and their supporters, were responsible for generating and sustaining a national movement that mobilised public opinion as never before. Parliament, however, refused to pass the bill. The outbreak of War with France effectively prevented further debate for many years. By , Clarkson's health was failing, as he suffered from exhaustion.
He retired from the campaign and spent some time in the Lake District , where he bought an estate at Ullswater. There he became a friend of the poet William Wordsworth. They moved back to the south of England for the sake of Catherine's health, and settled at Bury St Edmunds from to When the war with France appeared to be almost over, in Clarkson and his allies revived the anti-slave trade campaign.
After his ten years' retreat, he mounted his horse to travel again all over Great Britain and canvass support for the measure. He appeared to have returned with all his old enthusiasm and vigour.
He was especially active in persuading MPs to back the parliamentary campaign. Passage of the Slave Trade Act in ended the trade and provided for British naval support to enforce the law. Clarkson directed his efforts toward enforcement and extending the campaign to the rest of Europe, as Spain and France continued a trade in their American colonies. The United States also prohibited the international trade in , and operated chiefly in the Caribbean to interdict illegal slave ships.
In Clarkson published a book about the progress in abolition of the slave trade. Clarkson traveled the country to build support for its goal. This resulted in petitions being delivered to parliament demanding the total emancipation of slaves.
When the society adopted a policy of immediate emancipation, Clarkson and Wilberforce appeared together for the last time to lend their support. In the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, with emancipation to be completed by in the British colonies. Although his eyesight was failing, he continued to campaign for abolition, focusing on the United States, where slavery had expanded in the Deep South and some states west of the Mississippi River.
The conference was designed to build support for abolishing slavery worldwide and included delegates from France, the USA, Haiti established in as the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere and Jamaica. The scene at Clarkson's opening address was painted in a commemorative work, now in the National Portrait Gallery , London.
The emancipated slave, Henry Beckford a Baptist deacon in Jamaica , is shown in the right foreground. Clarkson and the prominent abolitionist Quaker William Allen were to the left, the main axis of interest. In Clarkson was host to Frederick Douglass , an American former slave who had escaped to freedom in the North and became a prominent abolitionist , on his first visit to England.
At risk after passage in the US of the Fugitive Slave Law of , Douglass was grateful when British friends raised the money and negotiated purchase of his freedom from his former master.
Then a rural Surrey village, it is now part of inner London. Here in the early s he met his wife, a niece of Mrs Hardcastle. Thomas was not the only notable member of his family.
His younger brother John Clarkson at age 28 took a major part in organizing and coordinating the relocation of approximately Black Loyalists to Africa in early John Clarkson was appointed as its first Governor and helped the settlers survive terrible conditions in the first year. He also aided the settlers in their goal of political independence, which was more than the Sierra Leone commercial company wanted, and they forced him to resign. Thomas Clarkson died on 26 September in Playford, Suffolk.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other people named Thomas Clarkson, see Thomas Clarkson disambiguation. A Cambridge Alumni Database. Papers of Thomas Clarkson". HarperCollins, Pbk, p. Accessed 19 January, Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history.
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