Clarkson begins his account by tracing the history of the slave trade, from its origins in antiquity to its flourishing in the 18th century. He then describes the rise of the abolitionist movement in Britain, and the various campaigns and strategies that were used to raise public awareness of the evils of the slave trade and to pressure the government to take action.
Clarkson goes on to describe the parliamentary debates over the slave trade, and the various attempts to pass legislation to ban it. He also discusses the opposition to abolition, which came from a variety of quarters, including the slave traders themselves, as well as merchants and planters who benefited from the slave trade.
Despite the opposition, Clarkson and his fellow abolitionists were eventually successful in getting Parliament to pass the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which banned the trans-Atlantic slave trade from British ports. Clarkson's book is a valuable historical resource, and it provides a firsthand account of one of the most important social movements of the 18th century.
Here is a summary of the main points of Volume I: