|dc.description.abstract||This thesis studies the history of the Scottish
anti-slavery societies after the abolition of British
West Indian slavery in 1833.
These societies aimed at abolition of slavery
throughout the world. In practice, however, because of
the close tics between Britain and North America, they
focused their attention on Negro slavery in the Southern
States of the U. S. A. Due to the strong tradition of
abolitionist enthusiasm in Scotland and the personal
influence of George Thompson, the societies in Glasgow
and Edinburgh wore founded before bodies with similar
aims existed in England. Even before the anti-slavery
movement split up in 1841, they maintained their independence,
and in some cases differed from London abolitionists over
the correct actions to be taken against slavery.
By 1840, the American anti-slavery societies were
divided Into a conservative faction or 'New Organisation',
and a radical or Garrisonian faction referred to as the 'Old
Organisation'. This split was revealed to British abolitionists
at the 1840 London World's Anti-Slavery Convention, and they
themselves divided in 1841 during the visit of the American
Garrisonian abolitionist John Anderson Collins. In this
division, the national anti-slavery society took a conservative
or 'New Organisation' standpoint. Groups of abolitionists
in Glasgow and Edinburgh, allied with another group in Dublin,
supported the 'Old Organisation' led by William Lloyd Garrison.
Throughout the forties, this division persisted.
Nevertheless, abolitionists continually tried to influence
the relationship between the British churches and slavery.
Three test-cases may be taken to show the way in which
different denominations used the slavery issue to attack
their rivals. The some concern over church policy on slavery
appears in the fifties. The fifties also saw the 'Old
Organisation'/''New Organisation' split persist, although
the 'Old Organisation' now had many supporters in the
provinces outside Scotland and Ireland, notably in Bristol.
However, by the 1850's the movement In Scotland and
elsewhere was going into a decline, although interest in
slavery persisted until after the Civil War. British
enthusiasm for Harriet Beecher Stowe was very different
from the work of the old anti; slavery societies. Division
and impotence to affect the American situation eventually
hamstrung the British anti-slavery societies.
The conclusions of the thesis are that the divisions in
the British anti-slavery movement were identical to American
ones, and that these divisions were used to gain advantage in
Scottish or national disputes on other subjects. This
demonstrates the extraordinarily close comity between the
Atlantic middle classes in the middle third of the last century.
It is also suggested that the relation between Scotland and
London caused the Scottish abolitionists to behave differently
in abolitionist controversies from the metropolitan leaders
of the movement.||en