Duhaime's LawGallery - The Law In Pictures



  • Object type: Photo
  • Formal Title: Photograph taken on HMS Daphne, 1868
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1868
  • Origin: England
  • Current Location: British Museum

This rare photograph was taken on board the HMS Daphne and shows young African men destined for slavery, aboard that British ship.

According to the official caption of the photograph, the Daphne intercepted a slave ship, boarded it and rescued these East African men and boys.

Many more similar pictures later came to light but this remains one of the first ones and was much used by the British in their campaign against slavery. In 1868, photography was still in its early years.

Progress in changing the law to ban slavery was piecemeal and slow but in 1833 (Abolition of Slavery Act), the British had abolished slavery throughout their colonies, including slave trading.

Hence, the HMS Daphne's intervention in 1868 and this photo of what was still legal conduct in many parts of the world.

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