Granville Sharp & Slavery — New Book

All British historians of slavery in the eighteenth century are familiar with the campaigning work of Granville Sharp. A civil servant, Sharp devoted much time, energy, and money to opposing slavery and promoting its abolition. he was one of the architects of the plan to settle free slaves and the poor blacks found in London in Sierra Leone. He was one of the founders of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

Sharp was involved in promoting cases to free individuals held as slaves in England, as well as intervening in other litigation. Most famous is the story of Jonathan Strong and the case of Somerset v Steuart. Sharp is a well-known figure. Andrew Lyall has recently published with hart Publishing Granville Sharp’s Cases on Slavery (2017). This contains a general contextual narrative; but what is important is the printing of transcripts of cases in which Sharp was involved. This has put a great deal of very useful primary material into much wider circulation. If, like this blogger, you teach a course on slavery, this provides invaluable material accessible to undergraduates.