'Meeting of the Society for the extinction of the Slave Trade, & for the Civilization of Africa; On the 1st of June, 1840, at Exeter Hall: His Royal Highness Prince Albert, the President, presided'.
Stupidly rare aquatint with original hand colouring showing the interior view of Exeter Hall; foreground to middle-ground left to right filled with assembly. Prince Albert precedes from the middle-ground right. Organ in background right.
By Blunt, S (fl.1840) (designer) Harris, J (fl.1840) (engraver) Ackermann, C., & Co: 96 Strand, London(publisher). Prince Albert had only just accepted the Office of President of the Society a few days earlier and this was to be his first speech in England since his recent marriage to Queen Victoria on 10th February. Such was the excitement about his presence, that there was a huge demand for tickets and ensuing anxiety to get there early to get the best seats that traffic jams were caused in the streets surrounding. While the transatlantic slave trade was abolished by Parliament in 1807 it was not until 1833 that the abolition of slavery act was passed leading to apprenticeship and emancipation. However, this meeting was the first occasion that the abolitionist movement had the Royal seal of approval and Prince Albert's warm reception did much to speed up the anti-slavery consensus amongst all levels of the British classes.