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England. Somerset ran away; was recaptured, and was placed on the ship Mary and Ann to be carried to Jamaica and sold. On learning this fact Sharp took the negro from the ship on the usual writ, and it was agreed that the case should turn on the broad question "Whether an African slave coming into England becomes free."

That was a trial to stir the kingdom, for it was an open attack not alone on the planters of distant colonies, but on the whole foreign commerce of the nation that had been developed, nurtured, improved, and brought to the leading place on the sea through the profits of the slave-trade. Worse yet, from a business point of view, it was an attack upon many interests ashore. The distilleries that made rum, the factories that made ropes, sails, and other ship fittings, even the whole industry of Manchester that turned out cloths for the African trade-all these were interested in the success of the slavers.

The wealth of the nation and the power of society gathered on one side. On the other side stood a timorous negro slave and Granville Sharp. Lord Mansfield in his robes presided.

For six months-from January to June, 1772, inclusive-blind Justice held the scales aloft in that court while learned counsel heaped this side and that with lore and statute bald, and strove with fierce as well as pleading breath to sway the poised beam. And then he who stood for the oppressed, rising above the obscuring, tape-bound "chaos of formulas," asked in a voice that was heard in spite of clamor:

"Shall the Right prevail in England?”

When those words were heard a hush fell upon all

in that court, as if God had spoken. And then Justice raised her sword, and, while the timorous slave and the arrogant master listened, the justice who was appointed to speak said:

"Immemorial usage preserves the memory of positive law long after all traces of the occasion, reason, authority, and time of its introduction are lost; and in a case so odious as that of the condition of slaves, must be taken strictly (tracing the subject to natural principles, the claim of slavery never can be supported). The power claimed by this return never was in use here. We cannot say the cause set forth by this return is allowed or approved of by the laws of this kingdom, and therefore the man must be discharged."


That was said on Monday, June 22, 1772. that day slave-traders lost England as a landing-place -lost her waters even as ports of call while their human cargoes were on board. The slave-trade had been actually restricted regardless of business considerations.

Not only did the case of Somerset serve to restrict the territory of the slave-traders; the stir it created in public talk was of tremendous effect. For it should be recalled that under the laws of England and of the colonies in those days it was libellous to tell the truth in public print about the ill-treatment a slave might receive from his master, unless, indeed, the story of it were first told in open court during a trial involving the matter. The cases which Granville Sharp brought into court enabled the masses of the English-speaking people who held no slaves to learn lawfully how slaves were treated by slave-own

ers, and this set them to considering whether or not slave-owning was right.

Granville Sharp, in fighting the battle of an unfortunate negro, prepared the way in England for the discussion of slavery and the slave-trade on their merits. The voiceless negro through him appealed to the justice and humanity of the dominant race.

In America no such appeal as that was heard, but a demand was made there for universal liberty, and it was heard around the world because emphasized by the thunder of cannon.

When the colonists united to oppose British oppression, the talk about slavery and slaves, which had reference to their own condition, turned their thoughts to the unfortunate negro slaves, and on Thursday, October 20, 1774, they signed an agreement that they would "not purchase any slave imported after the first day of December next; after which time we will wholly discontinue the slave-trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our commodities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it."



British Abolitionists and Their Work-After a Crusade of only Twenty Years, They Outlawed a Trade that, from a Business Point of View, had been the most Profitable in the United Kingdom-The Slave-trade and the American Constitution-Inauguration of the System of Compromises that Led to the Civil War-Slave-trade Legislation of the States-The Act of March 2, 1807.

ALTHOUGH the British American colonies, from Massachusetts to Georgia, had become the United States of America before anything was done through a love of humanity for the legal abolition of the traffic, it is necessary, for the purposes of this history, to consider the progress of the trade, and of its opponents, very much as if no separation had taken place between the colonies and the mother country.

Although the notable decision that right should prevail in England, as far as the negro Somerset was concerned, was made in 1772, it was not until 1787 that a "Society for the Abolition of the African Slavetrade," was formed in London. However, an abolition association, or committee without special organization, was formed as early as 1783. The immediate cause of its formation was the story of the slaver Zong already related.

The first meeting of the committee was held July 7,

1783, "to consider what steps they should take for the relief and liberation of the Negro slaves in the West Indies, and for the discouragement of the Slave-trade on the coast of Africa." The result of the agitation of this private committee was the formation on May 22, 1787, of the "Society for the Abolition of the African Slave-trade," of which Granville Sharp was the chairman, and Thomas Clarkson was, next to Sharp, the most active member. In Parliament William Wilberforce became the champion of the society, chiefly through the work of Clarkson. Of the standing of the supporters of the trade we have a sufficient indication in the fact that their leader was His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence, afterward William IV.

How the society held meetings and published appeals, and how the slavers were forced to reply but failed to show convincing arguments, cannot be told here. But in the meantime David Hartley, a member of Parliament from Hull, made a motion in the House, in 1776, "That the slave-trade is contrary to the laws of God and the rights of man." In support of this resolution he laid on the table of the House some of the irons used in securing slaves on the slave-ships. Sir George Saville seconded the motion, but, of course, it failed even of a respectful hearing.

In 1783 an effort was made to regulate the slavetrade, and it was then the abolition committee began its work. The bill of 1783 failed, but because of the continually increasing agitation by the abolitionists "the King by an order in council, dated February 11th, 1788, directed that a committee of the Privy Council should sit as a board of trade to take into their consideration the present state of the African

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