Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: 'Tremble, Britannia!' : Fear, providence and the abolition of the slave trade, 1758-1807
Authors: Coffey, John R. D.
First Published: 1-Aug-2012
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Citation: English Historical Review, 2012, 127 (527), pp. 844-881
Abstract: Parliament’s abolition of the British Atlantic slave trade in 1807 was celebrated as a national triumph. In Joseph Collyer’s engraving, ‘Britannia Trampling the Emblems of Slavery’, the regal subject stands in glorious array, flanked by Justice and Religion, who points to the Golden Rule. To her right stands a slave-ship; to her left, a bust of Wilberforce and a scroll containing the names of parliamentarians who spoke in favour of abolition.1 A commemorative medal ‘designed and executed by eminent Artists’ also bears an image of Wilberforce, ‘the Friend of Africa’; on the reverse, Britannia sits enthroned, attended by Wisdom and Justice as she commands Commerce to stop the trade.2 Both images suggest that abolition was driven by what Kwame Anthony Appiah calls ‘the honor code’, and by the need to rebuild the nation’s ‘moral capital’.
DOI Link: 10.1093/ehr/ces149
ISSN: 0013-8266
eISSN: 1477-4534
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2012, Oxford University Press. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website.
Description: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in English Historical Review following peer review. The version of record English Historical Review, 2012, 127 (527), pp. 844-881 is available online at:
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Historical Studies

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
tremblebritannia.pdfPost-review (final submitted)373.28 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in LRA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.