Abolition of the Slave Trade and Slavery

The 1790s and early 1800s were difficult years for the anti-slavery campaign. The French Revolution changed the political climate. The terror, execution of the King Louis XVI and the outbreak of war between Britain and France meant that abolitionism, with its emphasis on human rights, could easily be linked with demands for political radicalism and support for an enemy state. Campaigners seemed to be dangerous and unpatriotic. The 1791 Priestley Riots severely weakened the campaign in the West Midlands. Priestley, the philosopher of anti-slavery and political liberty was forced to flee Birmingham after the destruction of his house, books and laboratory and, in 1794, depart as a refugee for the United States.

Nevertheless, significant numbers of British people remained committed to the cause including political conservatives like William Wilberforce MP and Prime Minister William Pitt. In opposition to the economic interests of many within their social class, they secured the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire in 1807. Slavery remained intact however, but many abolitionists hoped that it would wither away once the plantation system was deprived of its injection of new slaves from Africa.  This did not happen quickly. In the 1820s the campaign revived, focusing on the removal of slavery itself. Once again activists in the West Midlands were prominent.

The Female Society for the Relief of British Negro Slaves was founded in 1825. Amongst the supporters were descendants of the Lunar men. Members of the Committee included Mrs Moilliet, the daughter of James Keir, Miss Galton, Mrs Schimmelpenninck (Mary Anne Galton), Mrs Sneyd Edgeworth and Miss Wedgwood. The Society aimed to encourage a “lively sense of the injustice, inhumanity and impiety of our present system of Colonial Slavery” and used its financial resources to support campaigning activities. Amongst other things it reproduced prints and republished newspaper articles drawing attention to its evils of slavery. Joseph Sturge, a Birmingham businessman was also an important abolitionist, becoming Secretary of the local Anti-slavery Society in 1826. Sturge’s impact was most apparent after 1836 when he visited the Caribbean and campaigned for improved labour conditions, after the abolition of slavery in 1833. The West Midlands had developed an important campaigning tradition owed its initial origins to radical members of the Lunar Society.

Commerce, Slavery and Anti-slavery

  • The Anti-Saccharists: 

By 1791 the moral and intellectual case against the slave trade and slavery had been developed and presented in print and propaganda, but the campaigners had not achieved success. After the defeat of an abolitionist bill in the House of Commons in April 1791, the focus changed to economic pressure. A boycott of West Indian sugar was designed to attack the economic basis of slavery. A voluntary ban on sugar had been suggested in pamphlets in the 1780s. One author, William Fox argued that the slave trade would end if 38,000 families boycotted West Indian sugar. By the 1780s, Britain consumed more sugar than the rest of Europe combined, so the anti-saccharists had considerable potential to make an impact. On one of his tours in 1791, Thomas Clarkson noted:

There was no town, through which I passed, in which there was not one individual who had left off the use of sugar….They were of all ranks and parties. Rich and poor, churchmen and dissenters had adopted this measure….in gentlemen’s families, where the master had set the example, the servants had often voluntarily followed it; and even children…excluded with the most virtuous resolution, the sweets…from their lips.

An insight into motives is provided by the young Mary Anne Galton, the daughter of Lunar Society member Samuel Galton junior:

My father had a very large acquaintance with the affluent West India merchants of Liverpool. They were most kindly, generous, and hospitable; their houses were like palaces. I was amazed to see the sumptuous drawing-rooms, rich with satin and silk, in houses where there was no library. But what surprised me most…was the multitude of black servants, almost all of whom had originally been slaves; this deeply moved my compassion, and when I saw the table laden with West India produce, in its various forms of fruit and sweetmeats, and saw the black servants looking on at the produce of a land, their native home, which they had left for us, and of which they might not partake, my heart often ached; and it is no wonder that my resolution was confirmed never to taste anything made with sugar, or to use other West Indian commodities.  

Thousands of people stopped consuming sugar or substituted East Indian sugar for the West Indian version. One report showed that a Birmingham grocer found that his sugar sales were cut by 50% in four months. Despite widespread support, the Anti-saccharist campaign failed to change the law.

  • Boulton and Watt 

Individuals could be compromised – or compromise themselves, when commercial interests conflicted with principles. Matthew Boulton and James Watt were businessmen and were keen to do business with West Indian slave owners. They explored the prospect of selling steam engines to slave plantations in the Caribbean and in 1783 Boulton had entertained Mr Pennant, a notorious slave owner who owned huge estates in Jamaica and sought steam engines for his plantations there.

In 1790 Samuel Galton recommended to John Dawson, a Liverpool-based slave trader, that he should contact Boulton and Watt and about supplying steam engines for Dawson’s sugar works in Trinidad.  The latter wrote to Boulton and Watt on 9 November 1790:

Sirs, I have been considering of the conversation Mr Galton & I had respecting the merits of the Steam Engine as I am going to have some Sugar Works erected in the Island of Trinidad & wish to have your Ideas & the opinion of experienc’d people how far it would be practicable to erect them on that plan: the want of Wind & Water the principle on which they are at present work’d, retards the progress so very much, particularly in crop time, That if an engine could be invented with a certainty of answering the purpose, the Rolers so contriv’d that if possible to have a greater effect in the pressing of the Cane than what is at present used but I must observe to you that without wood fire will answer the same purpose as coal, the undertaking  would be very hazardous, Coals could not be laid in at that island for less than 71/6 pr Chaldron, the duty being 15/6.

I shall thank you to give me every information of the practicability of this scheme for could it be made to answer, a large field would be open in that quarter of the Globe, the King of Spain having granted a loan of a million Dollars to the Inhabitants of Trinidad for the purpose of erecting Sugar Works & purchase of Slaves which I am to have the supplying of. Should be happy to give every encouragement in the introduction of such a plan with yourself  & I can engage the Governor will do the same.

Your reply will oblige Sir

John Dawson 

Boulton and Watt’s reply top Dawson does not survive, but their partnership supplied steam engines to plantations in the West Indies.

  • James Watt 

Watt, nevertheless, was a critic of slavery. On 31 October 1791, he corresponded on behalf of the firm of Boulton and Watt to Messrs Beguye & Co. of Nantes concerning the suspension of the production of their steam engine order following the outbreak of the slave revolt in the French West Indian colony of San Domingo (now Haiti). Watt wrote:


The late unpropitious news from St. Domingo has made us suspend the prosecution of the order for your Engine until we hear from you. We have written to the foundery for that purpose & expect that no material expense has yet been incurred.

We thought it our duty to give you this information, to relieve part of your anxiety in case any fatal accident should have befallen your friend Mr. Bertrand.

We sincerely condole with the unhappy sufferers, though we heartily pray that the system of slavery so disgraceful to humanity were abolished by prudent though progressive measures.

We remain etc.

Boulton & Watt.

  • Samuel Galton junior

The role of another Lunar Society figure and Birmingham manufacturer, Samuel Galton junior provides an insight into the compromises which businessmen had to make when their interests conflicted with principles. Galton was a Quaker and therefore a member of a pacifist sect, but the family firm made huge sums of money exporting guns which were sold as part of the slave trade. Galton was forced by his fellow Quakers to confront the tensions between his beliefs and his business interests.

In 1792 a committee was appointed to collect subscriptions to enlarge the Quaker Meeting House in Bull Street. The appeal raised an ethical point. One of the friends, Joseph Robinson wrote to the committee as follows:

“When so many eyes are opened to scrutinize into the several branches of the African trade,- the minutest of which are likely to be weighed and exposed, the supplying of slightly proved guns to the Merchants of the coast of Guinea, doubtless to be used by the natives in their wars with each other, and for us to receive part of the thousands of pounds which have probably been accumulated by a 40 year’s commerce in these articles, and apply it to the use of Friends, is, I think, a matter which requires your very serious consideration.”

The only two members of the Meeting who were gun makers were Samuel Galton senior and his son Samuel Galton junior. The matter was taken further by local Quakers. Samuel Galton senior retired from the gun trade, but Samuel Galton junior mounted a spirited defence in To the Friends of the Monthly Meeting at Birmingham, 1795.

The censure and the laws of the Society against slavery are as strict and decisive as against war. Now, those who use the produce of the labour of slaves, such as Tobacco, Rum, Sugar, Rice, Indigo and Cotton, are more intimately and directly the promoters of the slave trade, than the vendor of arms is the promoter of war, because the consumption of these articles is the very ground and cause of slavery.       

These arguments did not carry weight with the Society of Friends and on 10 August 1796 it disowned Samuel Galton junior as a member of the Society. Galton continued to attend Quaker worship but could no longer participate in business meetings. When he gave up the gun business in 1804 and started banking, the Society accepted a donation from him towards the enlargement of the Quaker burial ground.  The historian Barbara M D Smith records: “Galton’s attitude reflects an entrepreneur’s pragmatic approach to moral issues that conflict with business and a robust determination to speak out plainly…”

Anti-slavery: Poetry, Images and Ideas

  • Thomas Day 

Other Lunar Society figures were less circumspect. Thomas Day was the first Lunar Society figure publicly to attack slavery. In 1773 he read a newspaper report about a slave working for a ship’s captain who fell in love with a white female servant. The slave ran away to be christened, so that he could marry her. Recaptured, he was locked up in a boat on the Thames and shot himself in the head. Day was moved by the experience to compose a lengthy poem, The Dying Negro, one of the first works of propaganda against slavery. Written in the first person, the poem contrasts the feelings of the dying man with a devastating attack on slavery.

When bursting from the treach’rous bands of sleep, 
Rouz’d by the murmurs of the dashing deep, 
I woke to bondage and ignoble pains, 
And all the horrors of a life in chains. 
Ye Gods of Afric! in that dreadful hour 
Where were your thunders and avenging pow’r! 
Did not my pray’rs, my groans, my tears invoke 
Your slumb’ring justice to direct the stroke? 
No Power descended to assist the brave, 
No lightnings flash’d and I became a slave. 
From lord to lord my wretched carcase sold, 
In Christian traffic, for their sordid gold.

The poem sold well and Day prepared a second edition in 1774 when Britain was stumbling into war with America. The American colonists sought the pursuit of liberty, but as slave owners, they denied freedom to slaves. In the preface to the poem, Day noted:

For them the Negro is dragged from his cottage, and his plantane shade…the rights of nature are invaded; and European faith becomes infamous throughout the globe…These are the men whose clamours for liberty and independence are heard across the Atlantic Ocean! 

Day could not stand hypocrisy. In 1784, he published his Fragment of an original letter on the slavery of Negroes:

If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot signing resolutions of independence with one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves. 

  • Erasmus Darwin 

Dr Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), perhaps the most widely talented Lunar figure was a friend of Thomas Day and Josiah Wedgwood. In 1789 Darwin corresponded with Wedgwood on the matter: “I have just heard that there are muzzles or gags made in Birmingham for the slaves in our islands. If this be true, and such an instrument could be exhibited by a speaker in the house of commons, it might have a great effect.”  But Darwin produced explosive attacks on slavery, in his poem, The Botanic Garden (1789-1791).

In the Loves of the Plants (1789) he called on MPs to abolish slavery

Fierce Slavery stalks, and slips the dogs of hell;
From vale to vale the gathering cries rebound, 
And sable nations tremble at the sound!
Ye bands of Senators! Whose suffrage sways
Britannia realms, whom either Ind obeys;
Who right the injured and reward the brave, 
Stretch your strong arm, for ye have power to save!

 In The Economy of Vegetation (1791) he attacked Britain’s economic exploitation of black African:

Hear, oh, BRITANNIA! Potent Queen of isles,
On whom fair Art and meek Religion smiles, 
How AFRIC’S coasts thy craftier sons invade
With murder, rapine, theft, – and call it Trade!
– The SLAVE, in chains, on supplicating knee,
Spreads his wide arms, and lifts his eyes to Thee;
With hunger pale, with wounds and toil oppress’d,
“ARE WE NOT BRETHREN?” sorrow choaks the rest;-
-AIR! Bear to heaven upon thy azure flood
Their innocent cries! – EARTH! – cover not their blood! 

  • Josiah Wedgwood 

Darwin’s reference at the end of the quotation – “Are we not Brethren?” – refers to the famous design for the anti-slavery campaign commissioned in 1787 by another prominent member of the Lunar Society, Josiah Wedgwood for the Society for the Suppression of the Slave Trade. The image was reproduced as a cameo and became a popular symbol of an individual’s commitment. It was used to illustrate snuff boxes, brooches and coat buttons and became the icon of the movement. Darwin also selected the image to illustrate The Botanic Garden. Thomas Clarkson, the leading abolitionist described their widespread use:

“Some had them inlaid in gold on the lid of their snuff-boxes. Of the ladies, several wore them in bracelets, and others had them fitted up in an ornamental manner as pins for their hair. At length the taste for wearing them became general, and thus a fashion…was seen for once in the honourable office of promoting the cause of justice, humanity and freedom.”

Wedgwood’s commitment was also revealed in his letters. He wrote to James Watt in 1788: “I take it for granted that you & I are on the same side of the question respecting the slave trade. I have joined my brethren here in a petition from the pottery for the abolition of it, as I do not like a half measure in this black business.” Wedgwood successfully appealed to the poet Anna Seward to support the anti-slavery cause. She had argued that abolition would damage West Indian commerce. Wedgwood appealed to her on grounds of human sympathy. He argued that he was unable to relate “an hundredth part of what has come to my knowledge of the accumulated distress brought upon millions of our fellow creatures by this inhuman traffic”.

  • Joseph Priestley 

Dr Joseph Priestley provided a particularly sophisticated attack on slavery. A multi-lingual philosopher, theologian, scientist and radical political writer who had studied many different cultures, Priestley was one of the most important figures of the 18th -century Enlightenment. In 1788 he delivered a sermon in Birmingham, which was subsequently published as a Sermon on the subject of the Slave Trade. Priestley produced a wide range of arguments attacking the slave trade and slavery. His case focused on the psychological and physical cruelty of both activities, but he also produced theoretical arguments underlying the distinctive humanity and philosophy of his approach.

Slavery was, he claimed, “perhaps the greatest, and most crying evil under the sun”. Common humanity required action against it:

You will consider all mankind as brethren, and neighboursAs men, and as Christians…we should not rest ourselves not only for our relations…or friends; not only for our countrymen; not only for Europeans, but for the different inhabitants of Asia, Africa or America; and not only for Christians but for Jews, Mahometans, and Infidels. And as we ought to feel for our fellow men we ought, to the utmost extent of our influence, to exert ourselves to relieve their distresses. 

  • Priestley and the Cruelty of the Slave Trade 

Priestley used many conventional arguments against slavery and the slave trade.

Slavery was psychologically cruel:

I have been informed by a person who resided in Jamaica, that it is usual for the slaves, after they are purchased, to shudder at the sight of a fire, or kitchen utensils, imagining that they are to be killed and eaten, till older slaves convince them that nothing of that kind is intended. What the poor creatures must suffer with this idea on their minds all the voyage, and the terror it must impress on the country in general, in which thousands who are never taken know they are liable to it, is not to be estimated, and for which no good treatment of slaves can compensate. 

The slave trade was also physically brutal:

In order to raise our sugar, and other West-India commodities, perhaps half a million of persons are annually destroyed, and in a manner peculiarly shocking to humanity. To die by an earthquake, by pestilence, or even by famine, would be merciful compared with the manner in which these poor wretches often perish. All the European plantations taken together are said to require an annual supply of sixty thousand fresh slaves; but these are those that remain after so many have died in what is called the seasoning, before they can be brought to bear the labour to which they are made to submit; and after so many more have been lost during the voyage, owing to their mode of confinement, and ill usage on board, that it is said not less than a hundred thousand are annually exported from Africa. And some say that before this ten are destroyed for one that is secured, and safely lodged on board the ships. 

  • Priestley and the Slave- Slave Owner Relationship 

In slavery human beings were subjected to the arbitrary will of others

Under humane masters, slaves may, no doubt, enjoy a certain degree of happiness; but still they are slaves, subject to the wills, and consequently the caprices, of others; and there is no proper security from the greatest outrages, but in the protection of law.  

Slavery was an abuse of power:

In general, it is said, that in our plantations slaves are employed so many hours every day, excepting Sundays, in the service of their masters, that they have only one for themselves, and but little sleep. For remissness in labour they are severely beaten, and for rebellion (as any attempt to recover their liberty is called) they are generally gibetted alive. 

Priestley was prepared to attack people in his own class and country. The English, he said, were the worst slave masters:

No Europeans whatever use their slaves with so much cruelty as the English. The Spanish have excellent regulations in their favour, in consequence of which the slaves can work out their own freedom; and the French government has also interposed by a code of laws enacted for this very purpose. But the slaves belonging to the English are almost wholly left to the mercy of their masters; and the annual consumption of them is itself proof of the most cruel usage.

It is interesting to speculate how far arguments like these contributed to Priestley’s unpopularity amongst sections of Birmingham’s population, which culminated in the Priestley Riots of 1791.

  • Priestley and the Moral Degradation of Slavery

Slavery degraded women and destroyed families:

The shocking indecencies to which the females are subjected during the voyage, and afterwards, and the cruel separation of the nearest relations and friends, husbands and wives, parents and children, both when they are put on board the ships, and at the place of sale, would be heard with horror by all but those who are habituated to this traffic. 

It also dehumanised the owners of slaves. The power that masters wielded debased them morally: “Such a power as that which a master exercises over a slave necessarily tends to make him haughty, cruel, and capricious, unfit for the society of his equals, which is the happiest state of man”.

  • Priestley and the Supremacy of Morality over Economics 

Moral arguments were always more important than economic ones

Some say that if we abandon the slave trade we give up a valuable source of national profit, and yield it to our rivals. Should this be the case, still a Christian nation should not hesitate to do what is right in itself. A trade so circumstanced as this may justly be termed wicked, and unlawful, such as no advantage can justify. 

Even so, Priestley goes on to argue, ending slavery will be economically beneficial: “End the expensive plantation system and enable the African economies to develop with free labour”, he claimed. Priestley also argues that the Quaker masters who freed their chattels and employed them as paid labourers, found that they did more work as freemen than as slaves.

  • Priestley and the Humanity of the African Slave 

Priestley used additional arguments which extended the philosophical and moral language of anti-slavery. Many white opponents of slavery focused on the cruelty and abuses of slavery without seeing Africans as their equals. Priestley recognised the psychological, cultural and intellectual equality of all human beings whatever their colour:

man has the power of reflexion in an eminent degree; and it is this that makes him miserable in a state of servitude. Through agony of mind, great numbers of Negroes put an end to their own lives….And they will be incapable of any degree of happiness in a state of servitude, till their feelings are blunted, and they are reduced to a condition nearly approaching that of the brutes. 

Secondly, Africans were not culturally or intellectually inferior to Europeans:

Some Europeans, finding Negro slaves in this wretched degraded condition, to which they themselves have reduced them, have had the assurance, and the folly, to pronounce them to be a species of men greatly inferior to themselves. But were the Europeans treated in the same manner a sufficient length of time, it is demonstrable that the most intelligent of them would be no better. Those who see Negroes in their native country, or in circumstances of better treatment among ourselves, are satisfied that they are by no means inferior to Europeans in point of understanding. According to the observations of a late ingenious traveller, the ancient Egyptians so famed for their wisdom, were the very same people with the present Negroes.

Anti-slavery and the Midlands

  • Introduction 

The West Midlands region was home to a remarkable collection of individuals during the closing decades of the eighteenth century. Several men of various backgrounds and persuasions formed the Lunar Society, so called because it met at the time of the full-moon. They created new philosophies, scientific and medical approaches and industrial innovations which transformed the ways we understand the world, manipulate the environment and create wealth and labour. The Lunar men were also progressive politically and socially, but one area of their interest which has not been fully explored is their approach to slavery and anti-slavery.

The most extensive discussion of their approach to anti-slavery is contained in Jenny Uglow’s book, The Lunar Men. Biographies of Erasmus Darwin by Desmond King-Hele, Josiah Wedgwood by Robin Reilly and Thomas Day by Peter Rowland also draw attention to the commitments of these individuals. The Boulton and Watt Archives in Birmingham City Archives provide an insight into the ambiguous approaches of these two leading industrialists. The diverse responses of other Lunar figures, Joseph Priestley and Samuel Galton junior require exploration. The Lunar men had aspirations, some were motivated by humanitarian outrage or religious commitment. In other cases, profit outweighed or compromised principles.

  • Slavery and anti-slavery 

Slavery was central to the Britain’s Atlantic commercial empire in the 18th century. Black slaves from Africa were transported from Africa to the Caribbean and America to work on plantations producing sugar in the West Indies and cotton, rice and tobacco on the mainland. They supplied these products in increasing quantities to Britain. The slave system depended on two things: an adequate supply of labour and a buoyant market for the crops that slaves produced and processed. Britain was the most significant slave-trading nation by the late 18th century and the market for sugar sustained Atlantic slavery. British consumption of sugar increased ten-fold between 1700 and 1800 and the country consumed more sugar than the rest of Europe combined.

Most slave economies in the West Indies failed to reproduce themselves, so plantation owners argued that the slave trade was essential to enable demand for produce to be satisfied and maintain their profits. Ports such as Liverpool and Bristol depended on the trade for their prosperity and further inland Birmingham’s manufacturers profited from the guns that were exchanged for slaves and the shackles and chains that restrained them.

The anti-slavery movement had its origins in the efforts of individuals who were shocked by the cruelty of the slave trade and the inhuman treatment of slaves. They included Quakers and other Christians such as Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, John Newton and William Wilberforce. In 1787 a committee was formed in London to demand an end to the trade. It formed the nucleus of a sophisticated campaign which attracted supporters from all social classes. By 1791 the campaign had secured the signatures of 400,000 people on more than 500 petitions against the trade. The Midlands was an important location for the attack on slavery and much of the credit for its depth and sophistication rests with individuals linked with the Lunar Society.

  • The local context 

J. A. Langford in “A Century of Birmingham Life” (1868) traces the origins of anti-slavery in the town to a visit by Thomas Clarkson, the campaigner against slavery in 1787.  Clarkson’s visit did seem to act as a catalyst and he singled out local Quakers as especially supportive, but this was not the only factor. In 1773, Thomas Day, who periodically resided in Lichfield and frequently visited his Lunar friends in Birmingham wrote “The Dying Negro”, a poem denouncing slavery which was a best-selling attack on slavery. The Unitarian philosopher, Dr Joseph Priestley was a leading abolitionist. In 1788 he delivered a sermon attacking slavery which was subsequently published. His attack coincided with a meeting in Birmingham to produce a petition calling for the abolition of slavery.

Other people added their weight to the local campaign. Aris’s Birmingham Gazette of June 28, 1790  notes that Matthew Boulton,  Samuel Galton (presumably the elder) and Joseph Priestley, alongside other prominent local people, were subscribers to Olaudah Equiano’s, Interesting Narrative. This book was a best-selling attack on the slave trade and slavery which also provides a vivid account of his experiences as a West African who was forced into slavery and eventually achieved his freedom. Equiano is thought to have visited Birmingham in 1790 and later wrote thanking his supporters in Birmingham for their “Acts of Kindness and Hospitality”.

Other parts of the Midlands provided centres of activity. In 1787, the Unitarian Josiah Wedgwood produced his famous cameo which provided a public symbol for the abolitionist campaign and provided a nucleus for petitioning activity in Staffordshire. In Shropshire, where they were strong nonconformist and evangelical communities, Clarkson stayed at the home of Archdeacon Plymley and his sister Catherine who recorded local participation in anti-slavery activity in her diaries. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and another convinced abolitionist visited the county frequently, staying at the Madeley home of the Rev. John Fletcher.

The Lunar Society and the Anti-slavery Debate

Text: Malcolm Dick

Image: Illustration from The Female Society for the Relief of Negro Slaves Album (1828)

Summary: Most studies of the men of the Lunar Society have focused on their scientific and industrial achievements. Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood, Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Priestley are remembered for their importance as entrepreneurs and inventors. Their contribution to social change is not so well-known. In the late 18th century, Thomas Day, Erasmus Darwin, Wedgwood and Priestley were influential campaigners against slavery. A boycott of West Indian sugar was also an aspect of the local campaign in 1791. Mary Anne Galton, the daughter of Samuel Galton junior, another Lunar man, was a supporter. Two others, Boulton and Watt were ambiguous in their approach to slavery. In the early 19th century, campaigning against slavery continued, led in part by daughters of the Lunar men.

Sections: [Click on the images on the right to access each section]

1. Anti-slavery and the Midlands
• Introduction
• Slavery and anti-slavery
• The local context
2. Anti-slavery: Poetry, Images and Ideas
• Thomas Day
• Erasmus Darwin
• Josiah Wedgwood
• Joseph Priestley
• Priestley and the Cruelty of the Slave Trade
• Priestley and the Slave- Slave Owner Relationship
• Priestley and the Moral Degradation of Slavery
• Priestley and the Supremacy of Morality over Economics
• Priestley and the Humanity of the African Slave
3. Commerce, Slavery and Anti-slavery
• The Anti-saccharists
• Boulton and Watt
• James Watt
• Samuel Galton junior
4. Abolition of the Slave Trade and Slavery