Techniques Deployed by Abolition Writers

The continued pride of Britons in individual liberty was a contrast of their desire to gain wealth through the slave trade. The slave trade was rooted deep in the eighteenth century, linked all the way to the nineteenth century. In this regard, there was a need to abolish the growing demand for slaves. The meager efforts of early activists like Thomas Clarkson in 1787 and other writers including The Quake Publisher James Phillips did play a critical role in the abolishment of the slave trade. Other public figures, who were blacks did not relent in using their literary skills in recognizing the abolition of the slave trade. Olauda Equiano and Ottobah Cuguano are just but a few names to mention. Parliamentary efforts were also beneficial in strengthening the works of writers.

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Thomas Clarkson joined the movement to highlight the plight of slaves through a Latin composition contest. He thereafter developed the idea of using his skills to create awareness of the uncouth treatment of slaves. He went ahead to utilize imaginative aspects of literature to fix his readers in the position of slaves. In his writing, he went on to unearth imaginary scenes in Africa and even an imaginary conversation with an African. Clarkson’s biggest desire was to put his audience into the shoes of slaves. In this regard, it would be easier to relate with his works, other than highlight the negatives of the trade. Some of his most prominent works include imaginary Scenes in Africa and Imaginary conversation with an African. The technique did work well and proved a point in the heated debates of ending slavery back then. Clarkson also detailed his writing on the happenings between the picking of slaves and their delivery to masters. The writings did derive a feeling of pain and uneasiness to any audience at the time.

William Cowper a poet who studied law also entered the books of history for his efforts to end the slave trade. Having attempted suicide in 1763, he decided to move away from London. The works of Cowper in 1785, the task played a huge role in asserting the need to put slavery to an end. He used very moving lines to create a poem which was widely read. He mentioned the iron hearts of slave masters and their sense of guilt by putting other people at their disposal. The Negro’s Complaint which was also widely accepted was written in a manner that was hard to get past. The poem published in the 1780s was very phenomenal. He also created a sense of pain slaves undergo as a result of intense traveling to satisfy the demands of their masters. Cowper did mention that everyone was human and did not find it any better being forced from home, in this unsettling poem.

Olauda Equiano was another vocal black writer who dedicated his skills of writing to create awareness of the condition slaves were being subjected. He took pride in having written a memoir to create awareness, finishing with a statement, and “Written by Himself.” The memoir was not only meant to create awareness among British slavery but also in other parts of the globe where such inhumane acts were being conducted. In light of the works of other abolitionist writers, he mentioned efforts being channeled towards the vice. Equiano pictured blacks as the most abused slaves and subject of intense suffering.