This document is an account of evidence given by Thomas Clarkson,
one of the leaders of the anti-slavery campaign. In it, he uses
perhaps a rather unexpected argument - that seamen's lives are lost
in the African trade - to object to the slave trade.
The document shows that Clarkson had carried out research in Liverpool
and Bristol. It also provides evidence of the wide variety of goods
and commodities involved in the trade. He believed that these could
be obtained in a more humane manner - by paying Africans for the
goods they produced in their own country.
Eric Williams, in his book Capitalism and Slavery, famously
argued that Britain agreed to the abolition of the (British) slave
trade out of self-interest. Historians have debated ever since whether
this interpretation is correct.
BT 6/10, pp. 642-4(11 June 1788)