The Sweet Price of Freedom

“Those damn women.” He slapped the paper down.
His colleague looked up, surprised.
“This report, sales of West India sugar have slumped. The campaign not to use our sugar, just because of slavery – ‘Am I not a woman and a sister’ indeed.”
“What can we do? We’ve tried everything, it’s not working.”


She sipped her tea, the sugar bowl labelled ‘Not made by slaves’. The report was wonderful news, the campaign was working.
In the newly reformed parliament, the MP’s had been told how to vote, across the tea tables of Britain the battle for freedom was fought – and won.


All true, one of the most remarkable events in the long fight against slavery in the British Empire was the sugar boycott. Mostly organised by women it spread the anti-slavery message widely among middle class families. After the great Reform Act of 1832, these were the people with political power, and they used it.



Written in response to Charli Mills February 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a sugar report. Use its original {US} meaning of a letter from a sweetheart to a soldier, or invent a new use for it. Go where the prompt leads!

I have, of course, been led down a completely different historical byway.


Filed under Georgian

6 responses to “The Sweet Price of Freedom

  1. Amazing how the course of history can be changed by such acts from underestimated corners…or tea tables. What a powerful image to go on a sugar bowl, too. It directly ties consumption to accountability. Thanks for your story, Gordon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The image was designed {in two forms with either a man or a woman} by the great potter Josiah Wedgwood. He made special sugar bowls with the logo on it, they were filled with sugar from India which wasn’t made by slaves.


  2. Loved this. On this side of the pond as well, abolitionists and women’s rights activists were, if not the same person, shared the same podiums, linking their causes and voices. The phrase “Am I not a woman and sister?” reminds me of Sojourner Truth’s call to empathy and action at the Women’s Convention in 1851.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. I only recently discovered that it was the sisters of Sir Thomas Foxwell Buxton (the abolitionist who led the campaign in parliament after Wilberforce retired due to ill health), who persuaded Elizabeth Fry that she should interest herself in Prison reform. Also all three women were founder members of the RSPCA the premier animal welfare charity.


  3. So cool…I had no idea!


  4. Pingback: The Sugar Report « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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