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An Act to Prevent the Importation of Slaves, by any of His Majesty's Subjects, into any Islands, Colonies, Plantations, and or Territories belonging to any Foreign Sovereign, State, or Power;

and also to render more effectual a certain order, made by His Majesty in council on the fifteenth day of August one thousand eight hundred and five: for prohibiting the importation of slaves (except in certain cases), into any of the settlements, islands, colonies, or plantations on the continent of America, or in the West Indies, which have been surrendered to His Majesty's arms during the present war; and to prevent the fitting out of foreign slave ships from British ports. [23d May 1806].

[London: Printed by George Eyre and Andrew Strahan, 1806] Stock Code: 135092
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The end of the slave trade

The parliamentary act banning all slave trading outside the British Empire, paving the way for the complete abolition of the slave trade the following year. The death of Pitt in January 1806 led to the appointment of the abolitionist government led by Lord Grenville and Charles James Fox, who introduced the bill soon after, at a time of relative weakness for the West India lobby. Disenchanted after the defeats of the previous few years, the abolitionists inside parliament initially paid the bill little attention, but it passed the early readings with little trouble and the abolitionist faction soon seized upon the bill, correctly recognizing its broader implications. Wilberforce recognized that the passing of the act would severely reduce the scope of the trade, and start a momentum and precedent for full abolition. He carefully played down this significance in parliament, and the bill was passed, despite resistance in the Lords from the Duke of Clarence (the future king William IV) and other peers with West Indian interests. The final debate lasted ten hours, in which Wilberforce - who had promoted abolition for 18 years - received a standing ovation, and the House voted in favour of the Bill by a remarkable 283 votes to 16, essentially making the end of the slave trade within the British Empire inevitable, as occurred within a year. The act is scarce, with WorldCat locating copies in seven institutions, although such acts often go unrecorded in bound volumes in institutional collections.

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Folio. Disbound.


Slight creasing to margin, some toning around type. In very good condition.


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