Government steps

Support inside Parliament

MPs such as Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger and Charles James Fox largely supported Wilberforce and the abolitionist cause.

The MP Sir William Dolben supported parliamentary reform and the abolition of slavery. Dolben had put forward a Bill in 1788 to regulate conditions on board slave ships.

The video below looks at establishment opposition to the abolitionist movement.

Support outside Parliament

The Knight vs Wedderburn (1788) legal case in Edinburgh ruled that slavery was not compatible with Scots Law.

An estimated 300,000 people in Britain boycotted (did not buy) slave-grown sugar in the early 1790s.

Pro-abolition campaigners also wrote letters and presented petitions to Parliament.

The video below describes the role of the working class and women in the abolitionist campaigns.