This is the first British publication in which an African writer argues for an end to the slave trade and enslavement – ‘that evil, criminal and wicked traffic’. The book’s author, Ottobah Cugoano (c. 1757– after 1791), had been captured in Ghana and forced to work on plantations in Grenada. He gained his freedom after being brought to England in 1772.
Cugoano was an active abolitionist. Africans, he wrote, ‘are born as free, and are brought up with as great a predilection for their own country, freedom and liberty, as the sons and daughters of fair Britain’.