Collection online

The abolition of the slave trade

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The abolition of the slave trade
  • Description

    The deck of a slave-ship showing the stern, the lower part of a mast and sail. A negro girl is suspended by an ankle from a rope held over a pulley by a sailor (right), who hauls at it, leaning back, and saying, "Dam me if I like it I have a good mind to let go". Two other sailors on the extreme right walk away, saying, "My Eyes Jack our Girles at Wapping are never flogged for their modesty," and, "By G-d that's too bad if he had taken her to bed to him it would be well enough, Split me I'm allmost sick of this Black Business." The captain (Kimber) stands on the left looking at the spectator with a grinning leer, his hands to his chest as if laughing; in his right hand is a whip. Two scourges lie on the deck. In the background three naked negroes are sitting. Beneath the title is etched: 'Or the Inhumanity of Dealers in human flesh exemplified in Captn Kimber's treatment of a Young Negro Girl of 15 for her Virjen Modesty.' 10 April 1792.
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1792
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 250 millimetres
    • Width: 350 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, text within, artist's name and publishing details: '[I. Cruikshank.] Pub April 10 1792 by S W Fores N 3 Picca...'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    This brutality was described by Wilberforce in the House of Commons on 2 April, and in response of cries from all parts of the House of 'Name!', he gave that of Captain Kimber, 'Parl. Hist.' xxix. 1070-1. Kimber was tried at the Admiralty on 7 June 1792 on a charge of murdering a negro girl by terrible punishments for refusing to join the other negroes in dancing. The evidence was that of the ship's surgeon Dowling and the mate, who were both committed for perjury, Kimber being honourably acquitted. Dowling had given evidence before the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, without speaking of this 'murder', but had 'mentioned' it to Wilberforce the day before his speech for abolition. 'Trial of Captain John Kimber' and 'Lond. Chronicle', 9 June 1792. Wilberforce, however, believed Kimber substantially guilty, and thought the witnesses 'scandalously used'. When released Kimber demanded 'a public apology, £5000 in money, and such a place as will make me comfortable'. 'Life of Wilberforce', i. 356 - 9. Cf. BMSat 8081. For the slave trade see BMSat 7848, &c.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 8079 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    2007 April-May, Hull, Ferens AG (Sth Bank Tour), Blake
    2007/8 Nov-Jan, Glasgow, Burrell Coll (Sth Bank Tour), Blake
    2008 Jan-April, Manchester, Whitworth AG (Sth Bank Tour), Blake

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  10 April 1792.  Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 10 April 1792. Hand-coloured etching

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA148152

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help