Captain of a slave ship holds a whip as a sailor hangs a young Black girl upside down from her ankle
Original Author: Attributed to Isaac Cruikshank; published by S. W. Fores
Created: 1792
Medium: Hand-colored etching
Publisher: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

The Abolition of the Slave Trade.

In this cartoon, published in London on April 10, 1792, a sailor aboard a slave ship suspends a fifteen-year-old girl upside down by her ankle. The smiling captain, John Kimber, has a whip in his hand as he directs the sailor to hold aloft the doubtless-terrified young girl. Her crime was being too modest—that is, unwilling to submit to the captain's demands. The sailor holding the rope taut proclaims, "Dam me if I like it. I have a good mind to let go." Another sailor says, "My Eyes Jack our Girles at Wapping [in East London] are never flogged for their modesty." Another adds, "By Gales, that's too bad if he had taken her to Blackwall [in East London] all would be well enough. Split me I'm allmost sick of this Black Business."

The cartoon was published in response to accusations made before Parliament of Kimber's cruel treatment of the enslaved aboard his ship. Kimber was tried and subsequently acquitted of murdering an enslaved girl—perhaps this one—for refusing to dance.