Robert Wedderburn, son of an enslaved Jamaican woman and a Scottish slave-owner, is a key figure in Britain’s history of radical, working-class activism. Born in 1762, the year after the slave uprising in Jamaica known as Tacky’s Rebellion, Wedderburn’s political life would come to be shaped by two traumatic episodes from his childhood: the flogging of his pregnant mother, and later his grandmother. After serving in the Royal Navy, Wedderburn settled in London and became involved with members of the radical scene, where his voice soon made its way into print. The Axe Laid to the Root, which published six issues in total, is Wedderburn’s pamphlet in which he advocated for abolition, radical political reform, and, uniquely for his time, non violence against women. Poems are published alongside essays and letters, and Wedderburn would later go on to publish The Horrors of Slavery, a stinging attack on the culture of Jamaican slavery and that of slavery in general. He was a lifelong Spencean who promoted land reform, and an anti-establishmentarian whose idea of emancipation always took the form of revolution ‘from below’.