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Slave Trade

February 26th, 2017

Letter to the Times, published on 24th February 2017

I wonder if the Rev John Root (letter Feb 23rd), rather than trying to pin the cruelties of the Slave Trade uniquely on his own country, would support the erection of a prominent memorial to the Anti-Slavery Patrols sustained by the Royal Navy in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans for a continuous period of 107 years from 1807 to the outbreak of World War in 1914. 

While many countries participated in the slave trades, only one, Britain, took effective steps to supress them, starting with the 1807 Act of Parliament making it illegal for any British subject (which then meant the whole of the British Empire) to participate in them. The Anti- Slavery patrols arguably represent the most profound sustained action for the relief of suffering by one country on behalf of all humanity – ever.