Slavery wasn’t stopped in the UK in one nice stroke of a pen. I wish it had been, but alas, it was one act after another that changed it in the end, finally abolishing slavery in the UK in 1833.
In May 1772, Lord Mansfield’s judgment in the Somersett’s Case emancipated a slave in England and thus helped launch the movement to abolish slavery.
The case ruled that slavery was unsupported by law in England and no authority could be exercised on slaves entering English or Scottish soil. In 1785, English poet William Cowper wrote:
We have no slaves at home – Then why abroad?
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free.
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That’s noble, and bespeaks a nation proud.
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein.
By 1783, an anti-slavery movement to abolish the slave trade throughout the Empire had begun among the British public. In 1793, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada John Graves Simcoe signed the Act Against Slavery. Passed by the local Legislative Assembly, it was the first legislation to outlaw the slave trade in a part of the British Empire.
In 1807, Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which outlawed the slave trade, but not slavery itself. Abolitionist Henry Brougham realized that trading would continue and as a new MP successfully introduced the Slave Trade Felony Act 1811 which at last made slave trading criminal throughout the empire. The Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron to suppress the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa. It did suppress the slave trade, but did not stop it entirely. Between 1808 and 1860, the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.
They resettled many in Jamaica and the Bahamas. Britain also used its influence to coerce other countries to agree treaties to end their slave trade and allow the Royal Navy to seize their slave ships.
That the British were, by the late eighteenth century, the biggest proponents of the abolition of slavery worldwide was something of an irony, since they had in previous centuries been the worlds largest slave dealers.
During the Christmas holiday of 1831, a large-scale slave revolt in Jamaica, known as the Baptist War, broke out. It was organised originally as a peaceful strike by the Baptist minister Samuel Sharpe. The rebellion was suppressed by the militia of the Jamaican plantocracy and the British garrison ten days later in early 1832. Because of the loss of property and life in the 1831 rebellion, the British Parliament held two inquiries. The results of these inquiries contributed greatly to the abolition of slavery with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833
So slavery’s abolishment took a very long time and a very large amount of work by a lot of people – it has only been explained in brief above. The stepping stones, however, were important in moving progress along.
So with that in mind, this petition can be seen as one such stepping stone. It is a petition to educate: in this case something that quite frankly doesn’t make sense: cannabis and even Hemp still cannot be grown by us and we all need to try to change these laws now.
We’ve all seen children suffer, and others push for change, personally I’ve pushed for GYO (grow your own) for a long time, as without the right to plant a seed, we have no freedom
#GrowCannabis4Freedom Now! #LetusGrow #Right2Grow