The Slavery of the British West India Colonies Delineated: As it Exists Both in Law and Practice, and Compared with the Slavery of Other Countries, Antient and Modern

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The lawyer and leading abolitionist James Stephen (1758-1832) published Volume 1 of The Slavery of the British West India Colonies Delineated in 1824. The volume is an exposure of the cruel and oppressive legal system of slavery in the British West Indies. The work explores the origin of nineteenth-century colonial slave laws, the legal status of individual slaves, the legal relations between slaves and their masters, and the policing and governance of slave populations. In each chapter Stephen exposes the cruelty and inhumanity behind the West Indian slave laws. Stephen had been the legal mastermind of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which abolished the slave trade in the British Empire but not slavery itself. This important work was influential in directing public opinion against slavery and helped lead towards the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act. It is a key text in the progression of the nineteenth-century abolitionist movement.