Defenders of the trade

Some individuals and groups wanted the slave trade to continue - some owned plantations which depended on slave labour while others profited from the trade of goods produced using slave labour.

It was not just rich planters or merchants who sought to defend the slave trade. Many ordinary British workers made a living from the industries which depended upon it, such as:

  • sugar refining
  • tobacco trading
  • manufacturing metal goods
  • making cloth

Where did opposition come from?

MPs - Some MPs were planters themselves or had business interests which made money out of slavery.

Merchants and workers - British cities which had grown rich on the profits of the slave trade were also keen to continue their success.

African rulers - Some African rulers who had benefitted from the slave trade tried to defend it. When the British abolished the slave trade in 1807, the King of Bonny wrote to Parliament to complain.