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

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748624324

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624324.001.0001

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Pulpits, Presbyteries and Petitions on the Trade

Pulpits, Presbyteries and Petitions on the Trade

(p.70) 3 Pulpits, Presbyteries and Petitions on the Trade
Scotland and the Abolition of Black Slavery, 1756-1838

Iain Whyte

Edinburgh University Press

Many of the first petitions to Parliament against the slave trade in 1788 came from the Church of Scotland Presbyteries. An early one in Edinburgh was proposed by Rev. Robert Walker, Raeburn's'Skating minister.' In 1792 one third of the 561 sent to London from the British Isles came from Scotland. This was the result of a three month tour by the Moffat-born William Dickson on behalf of the London Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Thomas Clarkson sent Dickson to distribute copies of the evidence gathered by the society and to talk of his experiences in Barbados to ministers and civic leaders. Not all were sympathetic. The fear of revolutionary France inhibited any ‘radical’ talk, let alone action, against the status quo, and the commercial and filial ties with Scots in the West Indies made some hostile to Dickson's message. Scotland's many arguments against the slave trade on moral, religious, and humane grounds forced Prime Minister William Pitt's Key minister in Scotland, Henry Dundas, to promise the abolition of the trade but at an unspecified date.

Keywords:   Dickson, Ministers, Presbyteries, Petitions, Societies

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