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Resource Date: 1832

Number: 41

Record Office: Wisbech and Fenland Museum

Record Office Location Number:

Anti-slavery election Campaign poster 1832. The abolitionists realised the importance of electoral reform, as well as ensuring that those sympathetic to their cause were elected, and members of the pro-slavery lobby were reduced in the House of Commons. 

Poster to the Electors of Cambridgshire



"May not a man do what he likes with his own" 

Electors of Cambridgeshire!

Captain Yorke in his speech at Wisbech on Saturday last, asserted that the West India Planters have the same right of property in their slaves as the farmers of Cambridgeshire have in their ploughs and wagons.

Contrast this assertion with the noble and generous sentiments, contained in the following extract from a speech made by Lord Chancellor Brougham on the 13th of July, 1830: -

 "Tell me not of rights - talk not of the property of the Planter in his Slaves. I deny the right - I acknowledge not the property.  The principals, the feelings of our common nature rise in rebellion against it. Be the appeal made to the understanding, or to the heart, the sentence is the same that rejects it. In vein you will tell me of laws that sanction such a claim. There is a law above all the enactments  of human codes - the same throughout the world, the same in all times - such as it was before the daring genius of Columbus pierced the night of ages, and opened to our world the sources of power, wealth and knowledge; to another all unutterable woes - such as it is this day: It is in the law written by the finger of god on the heart of man: and by that law, unchangeable and eternal while men despise fraud and , loath rapine,  and abhor blood, they shall reject with indignation the wild and guilty fantasy, that man can hold property in man!"

Captain Yorke also asserted that the West India Slaves were better off than the free English Labourers.

It is true that many of the Labourers of this Country have been reduced to a state of wretchedness and poverty through the heavy taxes raised to pay the Placemen, Sinecurists, and Pensioners, who have so long fattened upon the wealth of the nation (and the family of Yorke has had its share). But, than God, English Laboureres fo not work in chains - English Labourers cannot be bought or sold; nor can any Englishman (nor Englishwoman either) be flogged, or tortured at will of an inhuman taskmaster.

ELECTORS! As ENGLISHMEN, as CHRISTAINS, your duty to your country and your God calls upon you to reject a man who can give utterance to such brutal sentiments as those avowed by Captain Yorke, and to Vote only for those Candidates who will support and effectual abolition of the system of Slavery, which is a disgrace to the Colonies, to England, and to Mankind.

NB the Electors may rely upon the substantial correctness of the above statements, although, since the first edition of this address was printed, some of Captain York's injudicious partisans, have issues an abusive handbill, in which (without denying that the Captain used the unchristian and horrid sentiments imputed to him), they call him "the Friend of the Slave" What sort of a friend, the Electors may much better judge from the Captain's own language, than from the assertions of his SUPPORTERS.

September 7th 1832

Source Files:
With kind permission of the Wisbech and Fenland Museum
Election Poster
673.1 KB Image

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