Thoughts on the Necessity of Improving the Condition of the Slaves in the British Colonies, with a view to their ultimate Emancipation; and on the practicability, the safety, and the advantages of the latter measure
Richard Taylor [printer]
Abolition Campaigns
Anti-Slavery International, 'Recovered Histories' collection. Friends House Library, London. Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature, University of London. British Library. Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
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Slavery British Colonies Condition Slaves Reform Mitigation Law Emancipation Anti-Slavery
This pamphlet calls for reform of the slave system in the British colonies, in order to gradually prepare for emancipation. It suggests that while some improvements in the treatment of slaves had been noted since the 1807 abolition of the slave trade, many abuses still remained, and called for "an entire new code of laws" (6) in the colonies. Clarkson predicts that: "many years will not pass, before the West Indian slavery will fall, and that future ages will contemplate with astonishment how the preceding could have tolerated it" (11-12). His pamphlet aims to demonstrate that ending slavery is feasible, safe, and even advantageous for the colonies. He takes examples from the former slave populations of Saint Domingue/Haiti, Sierra Leone and Columbia, as well as smaller groups of freed slaves in the British West Indies in order to show "how those who were liberated [...] conducted themselves after this change in their situation" (24).
This text was first published by Clarkson in The Inquirer. Four editions were then published between 1823 and 1824.