The question any reader of "Bury The Chains" by Adam Hochschild should ask him or herself is: why did abolitionism become an issue in Britain before it ultimately did in its erstwhile colonial possession, America?
Firstly I think,it is easy to forget just how SLOW communications were in the 18th and 19th centuries( even with the telegraph), the fastest mode of transport being the clipper ship and of course there was NO TV, radio or Internet.
Secondly, after the debacle that was the War of Independence, Britons were ready for a new moral crusade- and abolitionism was waiting at hand.
Thirdly, due to the Somerset ruling by the British High Court(1772) there were NO enslaved Africans in Britain per se-although it only freed James Somerset, it was widely thought that the ruling declared that any enslaved person was automatically free once he or she arrived upon British soil- much to the dismay of not just plantation owners in the Caribbean but their fellows in America's Deep South such as future signatories to the Declaration Of Independence such as Patrick Henry and future US Presidents such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and of course my namesake George Washington(who at least freed his own slaves after his death unlike Jefferson).
What I am surprised by is the up to date nature of the tactics used by British abolitionists( product placement, lobbying).
My only complaint is that when slavery was ultimately abolished throught the British Empire in 1834, only the plantation owners and not their erstwhile slaves(which included my own ancestors BTW) received compensation but at least it didn't require secession and a messy Civil War as it did in America nearly a quarter a century later!