Slavery to be Abolished?
Lord Grenville moved the order of the day for implementing the Abolition of Slavery Bill. The Bishop of Landtaff described the African slave trade as to be so barbaric and inhuman that the abolition would be applauded by the angels and saints in heaven and could save the country from the wrath of God.
What is the Slave Trade?
The triangular route takes British-made goods to Africa to buy slaves and then transports the enslaved to the West Indies. African slaves then grow products such as sugar, tobacco, and cotton and take them to Britain, This trade represents about 80 percent of Great Britain's foreign income.
Today Britain dominates the trade, supplying French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and British colonies, and currently carries forty thousand enslaved men, women and children across the Atlantic.
It is estimated by Lord Wilberforce that the horrific conditions of the middle passage result in one in 10 slaves dying during the voyage. This amounts to almost 1.4 million Africans dying during the passage.
The Campaign to abolish the slave trade is began last year with the establishment of the Quakers' antislavery committees, and their presentation to Parliament of the first slave trade petition in 1780.
Lord Wilberforce witnessed the conditions endured by the slaves, both at sea and on the plantations and has horrified him.
Interested in promoting Christianity and moral improvement in Britain and overseas, they were appalled by Ramsay's reports of the depraved lifestyles of slave owners, the cruel treatment meted out to the enslaved, and the lack of Christian instruction provided to the slaves.
With their encouragement and help, Ramsay spent three years writing An essay on the treatment and conversion of African slaves in the British sugar colonies, which was highly critical of slavery in the West Indies. The book, published in 1770, was to have an important impact in raising public awareness and interest, and it excited the ire of West Indian planters who in the coming years attacked both Ramsay and his ideas in a series of pro-slavery tracts.