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Clarkson - Extract from 1840 speech


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Extract 2 - reading of a speech given by Thomas Clarkson at Ipswich 1840.

"Perhaps many of you here are not acquainted with the Subject of Slavery. I will therefore explain to you what it is. First, let us imagine a child to have been born of Slave - Parents. Poor unfortunate child! From that very Day his Birthday he is considered and classed as a Brute. From that very Day he becomes Property, the Property of a Master, who may sell him, and do with him what he pleases. Let us now look at him as a grown up Man at his Labour in the Field. He works there, but he is not paid for his Labour. He works there, but not freely and willingly, as our Labourers do, but he is followed by a Driver, whose whip leaves the marks of its severity on his Back during the Remainder of his Life, but if he is found to be what is brutally called sulky or obstinate, there is yet in Store for him - the Chain - the Iron Neck - Collar with its frightful spikes - the Dungeon - and other modes of punishment. But let us now look at him in another Situation. Weary of his Life he flies from Oppression and he runs away from the Estate; but he is almost sure of being brought back and returned to an enraged master; and have who can imagine, but they, who live in Slave Countries, what further Punishment awaits him. Perhaps he dies in consequence of the Cruelties then inflicted upon him; But the Murderer escapes. The Matter is hushed up. Who on the Estate dares to reveal it? ………Perhaps a Slave has a Wife and Family. So much the worse; for He may be sold at any moment to go to a Plantation perhaps a hundred Miles off, never to see them more. The Wife may be severed from her Husband and Children in like Manner, and the Children may be severed from their Parents, one after another, or all together, as it suits the Purchaser. This is not an ideal Case, but a case of every Days' Occurrence. These are some of the Evils which you are called upon this Night to try to put an End to. I do not doubt your Humanity. I do not doubt your Willingness to pity and befriend the oppressed at home, and can you overlook this monstrous oppression, these monstrous Outrages upon human Nature, which have been brought before you, because they take place in a foreign Land. Christianity, true Christianity, does not confine her Sympathy to Country or Colour, but feels for all who are persecuted wherever they may live."

6th Dec 2007 by Diane Earl

Citizenship, History

Key Stages:
Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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