n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Scotland and the abolition of black slavery, 1756-1838, Iain Whyte : book review

Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



Iain Whyte, a long term campaigner for social justice, has provided a valuable and worthwhile analysis of the contribution of Scottish people to the abolition of black slavery. It started in 1756 when a Virginian slave sought freedom in Scotland, and came to an end in 1838, when the apprenticeship scheme in the West Indies was abolished. He draws extensively on primary sources to support his thesis that the Scottish church and the Scottish people made an extremely important contribution to the demise of slavery in the face of much organised opposition. The Scottish anti-slavery movement was stimulated by the presence of slaves in Scotland, a clear moral and theological challenge to both the trafficking and holding of human beings as property. Added to this was the contribution of London Scots who brought to the debate a combination of evangelical zeal and the best values of the Scottish Enlightenment, combined with a simple belief in the essential evil of slavery. What the author finds significant is the eventual success of the movement in the face of long term sustained opposition from Scottish vested interests in the West Indies and Scotland itself.

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