Chapter

Black Slaves in Scotland and Baptism

Iain Whyte

in Scotland and the Abolition of Black Slavery, 1756-1838

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780748624324
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672196 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624324.003.0002
Black Slaves in Scotland and Baptism

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There were few black slaves in Scotland but they featured in newspaper reports of runaways and in three significant cases before the courts in the 1750s and 1770s. Most but not all werein personal service and treated less harshly than their colleagues in Virginia or the West Indies. There were however slave sales and examples of extreme cruelty. Some communities, churches and individuals provided support for some slaves seeking their freedom. There were remarkable stories of courageous defiance by slaves, one of whom persuaded three lawyers to act for him without payment. In religious Scotland Christian baptism made a significant difference to their case for freedom. Enlightenment thinking influenced the Court of Session. Their majority judgement in 1778 in the case of Knight v Wedderburn removed any legal sanction for slavery in Scotland.

Keywords: Slaves; Baptism; Enlightenment; Freedom; Courts

Chapter.  13191 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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