The Quakers ask Europeans to stand against slavery (1822)

The Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, were among the most forceful critics of slavery and the slave trade as a moral abomination. In this pamphlet, British Quakers try to move Europeans to join them rejecting the slave trade. Britain had formally abolished the slave trade during the Napoleonic wars and committed a small force of old ships to intercepting slave traders along the West African coast. Over the following decades Britain established conventions against the slave trade with other European countries, and this pamphlet can be considered an effort to encourage Europeans to support these measures.

The pamphlet reflects contemporary notions that African civilizations lay somewhat “behind” those of Europe and that Europe had an obligation to help Africans through peaceful trade. At the same time, its uncompromising rejection of slavery rests on the principle that Africans, as children of the same God, are just as capable of being civilized as Europeans. The author calls on readers to spread awareness of slaves’ plight to everyone they know and warns slave traders of the eternal punishment that awaits them if they do not change their ways.



(5) Es gewährte uns ein lauteres … (6) welche die Freudenbotschaft von Christo in sich faßt.

(10) Est ist von Einigen … (13) mit jeder dieser Bemühungen verbunden ist.


Source: Society of Friends of Great Britain and Ireland (Quakers), Ansprach an die Bewohner Europas, über die moralischeVerwerflichkeit des Sklavenhandels (London: J.B.G. Vogel,1822).