Chapter

Pulpits, Presbyteries and Petitions on the Trade

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/9780748624324.003.0004
Pulpits, Presbyteries and Petitions on the Trade

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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

Chapter.  15048 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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