Historical sources - an introduction

This section explores a variety of sources dating from the campaign to abolish the transatlantic slave trade and beyond. The historical sources that document this campaign are wide and varying and include iconic items such as the minutes from the very first meeting of the Committee to Abolish the Slave Trade in May 1787 but also political cartoons and newspaper extracts, election handbills and pamphlets, eye witness accounts and other sources from both sides of the debate surrounding slavery.

It is important to remember that much of the information and many of the images in these sources are subject to bias. Some of the sources are anti-slavery while others are in favour of it. It might be that some sources depict a sanitised, idyllic view of slavery while others reveal horrifying and degrading scenes to make a particular point.

Anti-slavery sources

Pro-slavery sources

Eye witness accounts