This is very significant:
“Far from strengthening the authority of natural science on this question, the British debate over slavery tended to marginalize racial analysis, insofar as it tended to imply inherent and inherited differences in potential and behavior. In marked contrast to debates in the United States during the generation before emancipation, appeals to race played almost no role in the British parliamentary discussions of the slave trade and slavery between the emergence of abolitionism in 1788 and the end of the colonial apprenticeship system just fifty years later. In the final debates over British emancipation in the House of Commons in 1833, not a single MP argued for, or from, any racial incapacity of Africans. If an emancipation-resistant conservative like Sir Robert Peel wished to give any weight whatever to racial differences as an obstacle to the emancipation bill, he had to emphasize the hostility of overseas whites toward blacks in slave societies or the inadequate acculturation of British slaves to British civilization. Any reference to the debilitating characteristics of blacks as natural or inherent was preemptively dismissed out of hand. In introducing the government’s emancipation resolution, Edward Stanley simply would “not credit what some people say about the Negro character.” No one dared to reopen the issue. Stanley did agree to consider “what is said about the slave character” as “the effect of tropical climate,” offering temptations to recur to “the primitive habits of savage life.” The emancipation debates would include grounds of climate and of civilization, of place and pace, not race.”
Incredibly, racialism was so weak in Britain during the early nineteenth century under the moralizing black cloud of abolitionism, which was inspired by the rise of liberalism and evangelical Christianity, that no one in Parliament during the emancipation debates doubted that the 800,000 negro slaves in the British West Indies lacked the racial capacity to preserve civilization and prosper as free laborers!
Note: For those who wish to follow along, this excerpt comes from Seymour Drescher’s The Mighty Experiment: Free Labor versus Slavery in British Emancipation.