"HERE BEGAN THE HORRID PRACTICE OF FORCING AFRICANS INTO SLAVERY": FIRST EDITION OF CLARKSON'S HISTORY, 1808, WITH FAMOUS FOLDING PLATE OF THE SLAVE-SHIP BROOKES
(SLAVERY) CLARKSON, Thomas. The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave-Trade by the British Parliament. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1808. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary brown tree calf sympathetically rebacked, red morocco spine labels,
First edition of Clarkson's classic history of the slave trade, with the famous large folding engraving of the arrangement of slaves on decks of the slave-ship Brookes according to the "humane" Dolben Bill of 1788, in contemporary tree calf boards, a handsome copy.
Thomas Clarkson, who was "the heart and soul of the campaign for abolition," led a handful of fervent activists working to untie slave-holding from the fabric of British life (Thomas, 495). His History would prove a vital document in the abolitionist struggles of Britain and America. The famous folding engraved plate of slaves closely fitted on decks of the slave-ship Brookes is one of the most powerful and influential images in the history of the anti-slavery movement. The Dolben Bill of 1788 had exacted a limit of the number of slaves per ship's tonnage at five slaves per three tons. Anti-slavery activists obtained the measurements of the Brookes and imposed slaves on its decks in the ratio required by the "humane" Dolben Bill with stupefying results. In 1789, William Wilberforce had a scale model of the Brookes built (with images from this plate pasted on its decks), which he presented to the House of Commons during one of his most passionate and persuasive speeches. Diagram of the Brookes in Volume II; also with folding map and engraved plate of shackles in Volume I. Occasional mispagination as issued without loss of text. Dumond, Antislavery, 169. Sabin 13486. Kress B5319. Goldsmiths 19725. McCulloch 316.
Interior generally fresh with light scattered foxing, folding plate and map with expert repairs, handsome tree calf boards with light wear to edges.