Image 'Philanthropic consolations, after the loss of the Slave-Bill', 1796

TLF ID M008753

This is a political cartoon lampooning two of the principal campaigners for the abolition of the slave trade in the 18th century. The colour engraving depicts William Wilberforce and Samuel Horsley, Bishop of Rochester, consoling themselves for the defeat of their slave bill in parliament by entertaining two black women. Wilberforce and one of the women sit on a couch smoking tobacco. Horsley, in his bishop's robes, embraces the other woman as a black servant brings in a tray of drinks. The engraving was drawn by satirist James Gillray and appeared on 4 April 1796.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This virulent cartoon is a useful source for the year 9 history depth study elective Movement of peoples (1750-1901), which studies the influence of the industrial revolution on the movement of peoples throughout the world, including the transatlantic slave trade. The cartoon's attempt to denigrate the abolitionists' motives indicates the power of the pro-slavery lobby, led by wealthy industrialists and merchants, and their desire to influence public opinion.
  • William Wilberforce (1759-1833) is the most famous of the British abolitionists and it was due to his efforts and those of others that Britain eventually transformed itself from the world's foremost slaving nation to an international anti-slavery enforcer. Every year for 18 years from 1789 Wilberforce introduced anti-slave trade bills into the parliament. They all failed. In 1807, however, after decades of struggle on both sides of the Atlantic, opinion changed and parliament voted to abolish the slave trade, although the total abolition of slavery by the British Parliament did not take place until 1833.
Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: James Gillray
  • Description: author
  • Contributor
  • Name: The Library of Congress
  • Organization: The Library of Congress
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: UNITED STATES
  • URL:
  • Person: James Gillray
  • Description: author
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, communicate and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.