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Heroes of the Campaign Against Slavery


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:05 PM

Thomas Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson was born in Wisbech in 1760. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, and was afterwards ordained as a deacon.

In 1785 Cambridge University held an essay competition with the title: "Is it rights to make men slaves against their will?" Clarkson had not considered the matter before but after carrying out considerable research on the subject submitted his essay. Clarkson won first prize and was asked to read his essay to the University Senate. On his way home to London he had a spiritual experience. He later described how he had "a direct revelation from God ordering me to devote my life to abolishing the trade."

Clarkson contacted Granville Sharp, who had already started a campaign to end the slave-trade. In 1787 Clarkson and Sharp formed the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Of the twelve members on the committee, nine were Quakers. Influential figures such as John Wesley and Josiah Wedgwood gave their support to the campaign. Later they persuaded William Wilberforce, the MP for Hull, to be their spokesman in the House of Commons.

Thomas Clarkson was given the responsibility of collecting information to support the abolition of the slave trade. This included interviewing 20,000 sailors and obtaining equipment used on the slave-ships such as iron handcuffs, leg-shackles, thumb screws, instruments for forcing open slave's jaws and branding irons. In 1787 he published his pamphlet, A Summary View of the Slave Trade and of the Probable Consequences of Its Abolition. Clarkson was a brilliant writer and Jane Austin, who completely disagreed with his views on slavery, was so impressed with his writing style that she claimed after reading one of his books that she was "in love with its author".

After the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 Clarkson published his book History of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade. Clarkson was not satisfied with the measures passed by Parliament and joined with Thomas Fowell Buxton to form the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery. However, Clarkson had to wait until 1833 before Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act that gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom.

Thomas Clarkson retired to Ipswich, Suffolk, where he died on 26th September, 1846.

http://www.spartacus.../REclarkson.htm

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#2 John Simkin

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:06 PM

Alexander Falconbridge

Alexander Falconbridge was born in Bristol in about 1760. He had a strong desire to become a doctor and in 1779 he became a pupil in Bristol Infirmary. He was too poor to establish himself as a doctor so in 1780 he became a surgeon on board a slave ship. As his biographer, Christopher Fyfe, has pointed out, this was "a potentially lucrative employment since surgeons received, as well as their salary, 1s. a head per slave landed, and the chance of eventually becoming a ship's captain". Over the next seven years he worked on four different ships that sailed along the west coast of Africa and to the Caribbean. At first he was a supporter of the slave-trade: "Previous to my being in this employ I entertained a belief, as many others have done, that the kings and principal men bred Negroes for sale as we do cattle."

Falconbridge later recalled: "When the negroes whom the black traders have to dispose of are shown to the European purchasers, they first examine them relative to age. They then minutely inspect their persons, and inquire into their state of health; if they are afflicted with any infirmity, or are deformed, or have bad eyes or teeth; if they are lame, or weak in the joints, or distorted in the back, or of a slender make, or are narrow in the chest; in short, if they have been afflicted in any manner so as to render them incapable of such labour they are rejected. The traders frequently beat those negroes which are objected to by the captains. Instances have happened that the traders, when any of their negroes have been objected to have instantly beheaded them in the sight of the captain."

Falconbridge became increasing critical of the slave trade. In 1787 he left it in disgust and went back to working as a pupil with a Bristol doctor. Soon afterwards he met Thomas Clarkson, who along with Granville Sharp, had established the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Clarkson was given the responsibility of collecting information to support the abolition of the slave trade. Falconbridge was willing to testify publicly about the way slaves were treated. He accompanied Clarkson to Liverpool where he acted as his bodyguard. Clarkson later called him "an athletic and resolute-looking man".

Falconbridge also gave evidence to a privy council committee, and underwent four days of questions by a House of Commons committee. He explained how badly the slaves were treated on the ships: "The men, on being brought aboard the ship, are immediately fastened together, two and two, by handcuffs on their wrists and by irons rivetted on their legs. They are then sent down between the decks and placed in an apartment partitioned off for that purpose.... They are frequently stowed so close, as to admit of no other position than lying on their sides. Nor will the height between decks, unless directly under the grating, permit the indulgence of an erect posture; especially where there are platforms, which is generally the case. These platforms are a kind of shelf, about eight or nine feet in breadth, extending from the side of the ship toward the centre. They are placed nearly midway between the decks, at the distance of two or three feet from each deck, Upon these the Negroes are stowed in the same manner as they are on the deck underneath."

As the ship's doctor, Falconbridge observed: "The hardships and inconveniences suffered by the Negroes during the passage are scarcely to be enumerated or conceived. They are far more violently affected by seasickness than Europeans. It frequently terminates in death, especially among the women. But the exclusion of fresh air is among the most intolerable. For the purpose of admitting this needful refreshment, most of the ships in the slave trade are provided, between the decks, with five or six air-ports on each side of the ship, of about five inches in length and four in breadth. In addition, some ships, but not one in twenty, have what they denominate wind-sails. But whenever the sea is rough and the rain heavy it becomes necessary to shut these and every other conveyance by which the air is admitted. The fresh air being thus excluded, the Negroes' rooms soon grow intolerable hot. The confined air, rendered noxious by the effluvia exhaled from their bodies and being repeatedly breathed, soon produces fevers and fluxes which generally carries off great numbers of them."

Falconbridge was encouraged by other opponents of the slave-trade to publish the information he provided to the House of Commons. The pamphlet, An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa was published in 1790. He sold the copyright to the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade which printed 6000 copies, and with the proceeds set up as a doctor at Lodway, near Bristol. On 16th October 1788 he married Anna Maria Horwood.

In 1790 Thomas Clarkson recruited Falconbridge to go out to Sierra Leone on behalf of the St George's Bay Company. The main objective of the company was to establish a colony of free black settlers. Falconbridge was appointed as a commercial agent with a £300 salary. The colony was eventually named Freetown. Falconbridge became an alcoholic and Henry Thornton, the chairman of the renamed Sierra Leone Company, eventually replaced him as the company's commercial agent.

Alexander Falconbridge died on 19th December 1792. Falconbridge's wife had accompanied him to Africa and in 1794 she published details of their experiences in Narrative of Two Voyages to the River Sierra Leone. Clearly upset by her husband's drinking, she portrayed him in an unfavourable light. Christopher Fyfe argued that this "diminished the memory of his courageous pioneer achievements in the campaign against the slave trade".

http://www.spartacus...alconbridge.htm

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 05:15 PM

John Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson sent his brother, John Clarkson to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where there was a community of former American slaves who had fought for the British in the War of Independence, to recruit settlers for the abolitionist colony. With the support of Thomas Peters, the black loyalist leader, he led a fleet of fifteen vessels, carrying 1196 settlers, to Sierra Leone, which they reached on 6th March, 1792. Although sixty-five of the Nova Scotians died during the voyage, they continued to support Clarkson who they called "their Moses".

John Clarkson became governor of the colony that was appropriately named as Freetown. However, as Hugh Brogan has argued: "It was the understanding between Clarkson and the Nova Scotians that got the colony through its very difficult first year. Clarkson's services were at first generally recognized. But great strains arose between him and the company directors, partly religious (he was not sympathetic to the insistent evangelicalism of Henry Thornton, the company chairman), partly because of the usual tension between head office and the man on the spot, and above all because Clarkson insisted on putting the views and interests of the Nova Scotians first, whereas the directors wanted the enterprise to show an early profit, so that they could compete successfully with the slave traders and bring to Africa Christianity." Clarkson was dismissed as governor on 23rd April 1793.

http://www.spartacus...REclarksonJ.htm

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#4 John Simkin

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 11:21 AM

Granville Sharp

Granville Sharp, the ninth and youngest son of Thomas Sharp (1693–1758) and his wife, Judith Wheler,was born in Durham on 10th November 1735. The son of the archdeacon of Northumberland, and the grandson of John Sharp, the Archbishop of York, he decided against a career in the Church of England and instead served an apprenticeship in May 1750 to a Quaker linen draper in London.

According to his biographer, Grayson Ditchfield: "These contacts encouraged Sharp to engage in theological disputation, and he used his leisure to acquire that largely self-taught knowledge of Greek and Hebrew which formed an important basis for his career as a writer."

In 1757 he completed his apprenticeship and became a freeman of the City of London as a member of the Fishmongers' Company. The following year he obtained a post as a clerk in the Ordnance Office at the Tower of London. In 1764 he received promotion to the minuting branch as a clerk-in-ordinary.

In 1765 Sharp was living with his brother, a surgeon in Wapping. One day Jonathan Strong, a black man, arrived at the house. Strong was a slave who had been so badly beaten by his master, David Lisle, that he was close to death. Sharp took Strong to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, where he had to spend four months recovering from his injuries. Strong told Sharp how Lisle, had brought him to England from Barbados. Lisle had apparently been dissatisfied with Strong's services and after beating him with his pistol, had thrown him onto the streets.

After Jonathan Strong had regained his health, David Lisle paid two men to recapture him. When Sharp heard the news he took Lisle to court claiming that as Strong was in England he was no longer a slave. However, it was not until 1768 that the courts ruled in Strong's favour. The case received national publicity and Sharp was able to use this in his campaign against slavery.

In 1769 Sharp published A Representation of the Injustice and Dangerous Tendency of Tolerating Slavery. Soon afterwards he began to correspond and collaborate with the Quaker abolitionist Anthony Benezet and the Philadelphia abolitionist Benjamin Rush. He also took up the cases of other slaves such as Thomas Lewis and James Somersett, and convinced the courts that "as soon as any slave sets foot upon English territory, he becomes free."

Granville Sharp developed radical political opinions about other issues as well. He argued in favour of parliamentary reform and an increase in the low wages paid to farm labourers. Sharp also supported the American colonists against the British government and as a result, had to resign from the civil service in 1776.

Sharp became a member of the Society for Constitutional Information that had been formed by Major John Cartwright in 1780. Grayson Ditchfield points out that "Sharp corresponded with Christopher Wyvill, John Jebb, and other reformers; he wrote strongly against triennial parliaments as an insufficient measure; and he supported the legislative independence of the Irish parliament. In the belief that the ancient constitution represented people rather than property, and as an alternative to the universal suffrage for which he was not an enthusiast, Sharp advocated a revival of the Anglo-Saxon system of frankpledge. It would involve a system of administration from tithing courts to parliament, which would secure the involvement in government, and the preservation of the rights, of an active citizenry."

In 1787 Sharp and his friend Thomas Clarkson decided to form the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Although Sharp and Clarkson were both Anglicans, nine out of the twelve members on the committee, were Quakers. Influential figures such as John Wesley and Josiah Wedgwood gave their support to the campaign. Sharp was the only member of the committee who wanted the immediate abolition of slavery itself as well as an end to the slave-trade. Later the society persuaded William Wilberforce, the MP for Hull, to be their spokesman in the House of Commons.

Every year William Wilberforce introduced his motion for abolition in the House of Commons, but Parliament refused to pass the bill. Sharp and Thomas Clarkson became extremely unpopular when they supported the French Revolution. According to Grayson Ditchfield: "In common with many radicals Sharp compared the state of slavery to that of political reformers allegedly repressed by an unjust government in his own country. Like them, too, he was more concerned with constitutional issues than with the social grievances of the poor in Britain."

After the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 Sharp joined with Thomas Clarkson and Thomas Fowell Buxton to form the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery. However, Granville Sharp was not to see the final abolition of slavery as he died on 6th July, 1813 and was buried in Fulham churchyard seven years later.

http://www.spartacus....uk/REsharp.htm

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#5 John Simkin

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:43 PM

Elizabeth Heyrick

Elizabeth Coltman was born in Leicester on 4th December 1769. Her father, John Coltman, a committed Unitarian, was a successful worsted manufacturer. Her mother, Elizabeth Cartwright (1737–1811), was a published poet and book reviewer. Her parents held progressive political views and as a young women she was introduced to the ideas of Tom Paine.

On 10th March 1787 Elizabeth married John Heyrick, a Methodist lawyer. Elizabeth Heyrick was still childless when her husband died of a heart-attack eight years later. According to her biographer: "The marriage was said to have been stormy, but she mourned fervently, with lifelong observance of the anniversary of his death. They had no children."

After the death of her husband Elizabeth moved back into her parents home. Elizabeth, now a member of the Society of Friends, renounced all worldly pleasures and devoted herself to social reform. She campaigned against bull-baiting and became a prison visitor. Elizabeth also wrote eighteen political pamphlets on a wide variety of subjects including, the Corn Laws and the harsh treatment of vagrants.

Isobel Grundy has argued: "Elizabeth Heyrick's philanthropy has been better recognized than her executive acumen, her grasp of power systems and of pressure-group politics, and her forceful analysis of the interdependence of social evils... Her twenty or more books and pamphlets also address war, prisons, corporal punishment, the level of wages and the plight of the industrial poor, election issues, and vagrancy legislation. In 1809 she stopped a bull-baiting at Bonsall in Derbyshire by purchasing the bull."

Heyrick's main concern was the campaign against slavery. Elizabeth organised a sugar boycott in Leicester and with the help of Mary Lloyd, Lucy Townsend, Sophia Sturge and Sarah Wedgwood helped to form the Birmingham Ladies Society for the Relief of Negro Slaves (later the group changed its name to the Female Society for Birmingham).

In 1824 Elizabeth Heyrick published her pamphlet Immediate not Gradual Abolition. In her pamphlet Heyrick argued passionately in favour of the immediate emancipation of the slaves in the British colonies. This differed from the official policy of the Anti-Slavery Society that believed in gradual abolition. The leadership of the organisation attempted to suppress information about the existence of this pamphlet and William Wilberforce gave out instructions for leaders of the movement not to speak at women's anti-slavery societies.

Most of the Women's Anti-Slavery groups in Britain supported Heyrick's call for the immediate emancipation of slaves. In 1830, Heyrick who was the leader of the Leicester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society and treasurer of the Female Society for Birmingham, had helped to establish a network of women's anti-slavery groups and her pamphlet, Immediate not Gradual Abolition, was distributed and discussed at meetings all over the country.

In 1830, the Female Society for Birmingham submitted a resolution to the National Conference of the Anti-Slavery Society calling for the organisation to campaign for an immediate end to slavery in the British colonies. Heyrick, who was treasurer of the organisation suggested a new strategy to persuade the male leadership to change its mind on this issue. She suggested that the society should threaten to withdraw its funding of the Anti-Slavery Society if it did not support this resolution. This was a serious threat as it was one of the largest local society donors to central funds, and also had great influence over the network of ladies associations which supplied over a fifth of all donations. At the conference in May 1830, the Anti-Slavery Society agreed to drop the words "gradual abolition" from its title. It also agreed to support Female Society's plan for a new campaign to bring about immediate abolition.

Elizabeth Heyrick died on 18th October 1831 and therefore did not live to see the passing of the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act.

http://www.spartacus...k/REheyrick.htm

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#6 John Simkin

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 11:36 AM

Thomas Fowell Buxton was born at Castle Hedingham, Essex on 1st April 1786. His mother was a member of the Society of Friends and she introduced him to the famous Quaker family, the Gurneys from Norwich. Thomas became a close friend of Joseph Gurney and his sister, Elizabeth Fry.

Although a member of the Church of England, Buxton began attending meetings of the Society of Friends with the Gurney family. After studying at Trinity College in Dublin, Buxton married Joseph's sister, Hannah Gurney in 1807. Buxton became involved in the Quaker campaign for social reform. This included raising money for the weavers in London who were suffering from the economic consequences of the textile factory system.

Buxton's biographer, Olwyn Mary Blouet has pointed out: "In 1808 Buxton joined the brewers Truman, Hanbury & Co. of Spitalfields, London, where his maternal uncle was a partner. His mother had stressed the importance of philanthropy and, encouraged by William Allen, he became involved in various charitable activities in Spitalfields, especially those connected with education, the Bible Society, and the relief of distressed weavers. He defended the Bible Society in 1812 against the attacks of Herbert Marsh, bishop of Peterborough. In 1816, when hunger was widespread in Spitalfields, Buxton delivered a forcible speech, based on his own investigations of conditions, at a meeting at the Mansion House which raised £43,369."

Buxton also supported Elizabeth Fry and her work for prison reform. In 1817 he joined Fry's Association for the Improvement of the Female Prisoners in Newgate. The following year he published An Inquiry into Prison Discipline, a book based on his investigations of Newgate Prison. The book went through five editions in a year and was translated into French and widely circulated in Europe. Its publication led to the formation of the Society for the Reformation of Prison Discipline, of which Buxton was a committee member.

In 1818 Buxton was elected as MP for Weymouth. His friend, Joseph Gurney, wrote to him arguing: "Do not let thy independence of all party be the means of leading thee away from sound Whiggism. Let us take special care to avoid the spirit of Toryism. I mean that spirit which bears the worst things with endless apathy, because they are old."

In the House of Commons Buxton worked for changes in the criminal law, prison reform and the abolition of the slave trade. In 1820 he became involved in the campaign to abolish capital punishment. He argued that "to inflict death needlessly, can be called by no other name than that of legal murder." Although he never achieved this, he was largely responsible for reducing the number of crimes punishable by death reduced from over two hundred to eight. Following the deaths of his eldest son and three daughters, during an outbreak of whooping cough, he moved with his wife and four remaining children from Hampstead to Cromer Hall in Norfolk. Later, another son died of consumption.

In 1823 Buxton helped form the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery. In a speech in Parliament he argued: "The slave sees the mother of his children stripped naked and flogged unmercifully; he sees his children sent to market, to be sold at the best price they will fetch; he sees in himself not a man, but a thing - an implement of husbandry, a machine to produce sugar, a beast of burden!" His biographer, Olwyn Mary Blouet, pointed out: "In May 1823 Buxton began the parliamentary campaign against colonial slavery by introducing a motion in the House of Commons for the gradual abolition of slavery. It was carried with the addition of some words proposed by Canning to protect planters' interests. The government issued a circular to colonial authorities, recommending ameliorative reforms, but the proposals needed the support of colonial legislatures, which was not forthcoming."

After William Wilberforce retired in 1825, Buxton became the leader of the campaign in the House of Commons. Buxton, with the help of Thomas Clarkson, set about collecting information about slavery and compiling demographic statistics. In a speech on 23rd May 1826 he described the conditions on board a slave-ship: "The voyage, the horrors of which are beyond description. For example, the mode of packing. The hold of a slave vessel is from two to four feet high. It is filled with as many human beings as it will contain. They are made to sit down with their heads between their knees: first, a line is placed close to the side of the vessel; then another line, and then the packer, armed with a heavy club, strikes at the feet of this last line in order to make them press as closely as possible against those behind... Thus it is suffocating for want of air, starving for want of food, parched with thirst for want of water, these poor creatures are compelled to perform a voyage of fourteen hundred miles. No wonder the mortality is dreadful!"

On 15th April 1831, Buxton introduced his resolution for the abolition of slavery, but once again this attempt at legislation failed. The 1832 General Election resulted in a reforming Whig government. The House of Commons now passed a measure to end slavery in the colonies. The Slavery Abolition Act received the royal assent on 23rd August 1833. The colonial legislatures carried the act into effect, and emancipation day was 1st August 1834.

In 1839 Buxton published The African Slave Trade and Its Remedy. In the book Buxton urged the British government to make anti-slave trade treaties with the different rulers in Africa. The government accepted Buxton's suggestion and in 1841 they sent an expedition to the Niger River Delta. A missionary headquarters was established and negotiations began but the party suffered so many deaths from fever they were recalled to London. Although Buxton did not accompany the group, it was later claimed that his health was affected by the failure of the project.

Thomas Fowell Buxton died at Northrepps Hall, Norfolk, on 19th February 1845, and was buried in the ruined chancel of Overstrand Church.

http://www.spartacus...uk/REfowell.htm

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#7 John Dolva

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 01:45 PM

John Newton?



#8 John Simkin

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 10:51 AM

John Newton?



You can find my page on John Newton here:

http://www.spartacus...uk/SnewtonJ.htm

I have mixed feelings about Newton and would not describe him as a "hero" of the campaign against slavery. At the age of eleven he went to sea with his father. A few years later he became a crew member of a slave-ship. He later recalled that he was based in Sierra Leone "for the purpose of purchasing and collecting slaves, to sell to the vessels that arrived from Europe."

On 21st March, 1748, Newton was aboard The Greyhound when he encountered a severe north Atlantic storm. Newton resorted to saying his prayers and because he survived he developed a new faith in God. Newton began to read the Bible and other religious books. However, he continued to work on ships taking slaves from the Guinea coast and the West Indies (1748–9). He became master of slave-trading ships, The Duke of Argyle (1750–51) and The African (1752–54). Bruce Hindmarsh has argued "Newton has sometimes been accused of hypocrisy for holding strong religious convictions at the same time as being active in the slave trade, praying above deck while his human cargo was in abject misery below deck."

Newton did not write about the evils of the slave-trade until 1787 when he published Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade (1787). He admitted that this was "a confession, which... comes too late....It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders."

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#9 John Dolva

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 05:19 PM


John Newton?



You can find my page on John Newton here:

http://www.spartacus...uk/SnewtonJ.htm

I have mixed feelings about Newton and would not describe him as a "hero" of the campaign against slavery. At the age of eleven he went to sea with his father. A few years later he became a crew member of a slave-ship. He later recalled that he was based in Sierra Leone "for the purpose of purchasing and collecting slaves, to sell to the vessels that arrived from Europe."

On 21st March, 1748, Newton was aboard The Greyhound when he encountered a severe north Atlantic storm. Newton resorted to saying his prayers and because he survived he developed a new faith in God. Newton began to read the Bible and other religious books. However, he continued to work on ships taking slaves from the Guinea coast and the West Indies (1748–9). He became master of slave-trading ships, The Duke of Argyle (1750–51) and The African (1752–54). Bruce Hindmarsh has argued "Newton has sometimes been accused of hypocrisy for holding strong religious convictions at the same time as being active in the slave trade, praying above deck while his human cargo was in abject misery below deck."

Newton did not write about the evils of the slave-trade until 1787 when he published Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade (1787). He admitted that this was "a confession, which... comes too late....It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders."


It is for this reason that I suggest him.

People often tend to think a person as being fundamentally unchangeable. I think this can be wrong.
There is such a thing as redemption.
These are courageous words where he condemns himself but in so doing has a positive influence that has reverberated, in this instance, through history.
Sure it has 'religeous' connotations which I suspect to an a-theist may give it a tinge of the unpalatable.
In this instance, even though belated, I think he exhibited traits that changed many hearts and so through his overt suffering did something that can, in relation to the general mundanity of humanity, be called heroic. (IMO)

#10 John Simkin

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 12:08 PM

Mungo Park

Mungo Park was never against slavery but Travels to the Interiors of Africa, published in 1799, did inspire the anti-slavery movement.

Park left for Africa on 22nd May 1795. He arrived in Pisania on the Gambia River in July. Soon after arriving he developed malaria and he spent the next five months in the house of Dr John Laidley, a long-established slave-trader. After his recovery, accompanied by two slaves, Park began to explore the area. He encountered the Mandingo tribe that were part of the Mali Empire. "The Mandingoes, generally speaking, are of a mild, sociable, and obliging disposition. The men are commonly above the middle size, well shaped, strong, and capable of enduring great labour; the women are good-natured, sprightly, and agreeable. The dress of both sexes is composed of cotton cloth, of their own manufacture; that of the men is a loose frock, not unlike a surplice, with drawers which reach half way down the leg; and they wear sandals on their feet, and white cotton caps on their heads. The women's dress consists of two pieces of cloth, each of which they wrap round the waist, which, hanging down to the ankles, answers the purpose of a petticoat: the other is thrown negligently over the bosom and shoulders."

Most of the people he encountered were slaves: "I suppose, not more than one-fourth part of the inhabitants at large; the other three-fourths are in a state of hopeless and hereditary slavery; and are employed in cultivating the land, in the care of cattle, and in servile offices of all kinds, much in the same manner as the slaves in the West Indies. I was told, however, that the Mandingo master can neither deprive his slave of life, nor sell him to a stranger, without first calling a palaver on his conduct; or, in other words, bringing him to a public trial; but this degree of protection is extended only to the native of domestic slave. Captives taken in war, and those unfortunate victims who are condemned to slavery for crimes or insolvency, and, in short, all those unhappy people who are brought down from the interior countries for sale, have no security whatever, but may be treated and disposed of in all respects as the owner thinks proper. It sometimes happens, indeed, when no ships are on the coast, that a humane and considerate master incorporates his purchased slaves among his domestics; and their offspring at least, if not the parents, become entitled to all the privileges of the native class."

He commented in his journal: "And although the African mode of living was at first unpleasant to me, yet I found, at length, that custom surmounted trifling inconveniences, and made everything palatable and easy." By the end of the year Park had covered over 300 miles, and reached the Bambara state of Kaarta. Soon afterwards he was captured by the Moors. He was held for three months before being allowed to continue his journey.

Park, who had lost his two slaves, continued his search for the Niger River. He eventually reached it at Ségou. He wrote in his journal: "I saw with infinite pleasure the great object of my mission; the long sought for majestic Niger, glittering to the morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly to the eastward". However, the ruler denied him entry to his city. After reaching Bamako he turned west. Severely ill with fever, he struggled on to Kamalia where he found a friendly Muslim trader, Karfa Taura, who agreed to look after him.

On 10 June 1797 Park and Taura reached Pisania. The explorer recorded in his journal that this was a slave-trading area: "The slaves are commonly secured by putting the right leg of one, and the left of another into the same pair of fetters. By supporting the fetters with string they can walk very slowly. Every four slaves are likewise fastened together by the necks. They were led out in their fetters every morning to the shade of the tamarind tree where they were encouraged to sing diverting songs to keep up their spirits; for although some of them sustained the hardships of their situation with amazing fortitude, the greater part were very much dejected, and would sit all day in the sort of sullen melancholy with their eyes fixed upon the ground."

Park joined an American slave ship, Charlestown, where he was employed as a surgeon, bound for South Carolina. He later recalled the journal: "The number of slaves received on board this vessel... was one hundred and thirty; of whom about twenty-five had been, I suppose, of free condition in Africa, as most of them, being Bushreens, could write a little Arabic. Nine of them had become captives in the religious war between Abdulkader and Damel.... My conversation with them, in their native language, gave them great comfort; and as the surgeon was dead, I consented to act in a medical capacity in his room for the remainder of the voyage. They had in truth need of every consolation in my power to bestow; not that I observed any wanton acts of cruelty practised either by the master or the seamen towards them; but the mode of confining and securing Negroes in the American slave ships, owing chiefly to the weakness of their crews, being abundantly more rigid and severe than in British vessels employed in the same traffic, made these poor creatures to suffer greatly, and a general sickness prevailed amongst them. Besides the three who died on the Gambia, and six or eight while we remained at Goree, eleven perished at sea, and many of the survivors were reduced to a very weak and emaciated condition."

He eventually arrived back to England after an absence of two years, seven months. Park was able to provide the African Association with a detailed map of the area that he explored. Mungo Park's book, Travels to the Interiors of Africa, was published in 1799. It was a best-seller with three editions published during the first year. His biographer, Christopher Fyfe, has pointed out: "Written in a straightforward, unpretentious, narrative style, it gave readers their first realistic description of everyday life in west Africa, depicted without the censorious, patronizing contempt which so often has disfigured European accounts of Africa... "

http://www.spartacus...uk/USASpark.htm

#11 John Simkin

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 12:34 PM

James Ramsay

James Ramsay was a surgeon on board The Arundel when they intercepted the British slave ship Swift on 27th November 1759. According to his biographer, James Watt: "On boarding her, Ramsay found over 100 slaves wallowing in blood and excreta, a scene of human degradation which remained for ever in his memory and so distracted his attention that, on returning to his ship, he fell and fractured his thigh bone. It was the more serious of two such accidents and he remained lame for life. With an end to his naval service in prospect, Ramsay sought ordination in the Anglican church to enable him to work among slaves."

In July 1761, Ramsay left the navy and in November he was ordained by the Bishop of London. Soon afterwards he travelled to St Kitts. In 1763 he married Rebecca Akers, the daughter of a plantation owner on the island. Over the next few years they had four children. Ramsay was appointed surgeon to several plantations and was shocked by the way the slaves were treated by the overseers. Ramsay later recalled: "At four o'clock in the morning the plantation bell rings to call the slaves into the field.... About nine o'clock they have half an hour for breakfast, which they take into the field. Again they fall to work... until eleven o'clock or noon; the bell rings and the slaves are dispersed in the neighbourhood to pick up natural grass and weeds for the horses and cattle (and to prepare and eat their own lunch)... At two o'clock, the bell summons them to deliver in their grass and to work in the fields... About half an hour before sunset they are again required to collect grass - about seven o'clock in the evening or later according to season - deliver grass as before. The slaves are then dismissed to return to their huts, picking up brushwood or dry cow dung to prepare supper and tomorrow's breakfast. They go to sleep at about midnight."

Richard Reddie, the author of Abolition! The Struggle to Abolish Slavery in the British Colonies (2007) has pointed out: "Ramsay's evangelical brand of Christianity brought him immediately into conflict with West Indian planters who were appalled that he insisted on racially integrating his religious services. He also carried out missionary activities among enslaved Africans, which brought him into further conflict with the white West Indian authorities." The planters were always suspicious of any social action amongst Africans and they quickly turned against Ramsay, accusing him of everything from seditious preaching to serial philandering."

Ramsay was particularly concerned about slave punishments: "The ordinary punishments of slaves, for the common crimes of neglect, absence from work, eating the sugar cane, theft, are cart whipping, beating with a stick, sometimes to the breaking of bones, the chain, an iron crook about the neck... a ring about the ankle, and confinement in the dungeon. There have been instances of slitting of ears, breaking of limbs, so as to make amputation necessary, beating out of eyes, and castration... In short, in the place of decency, sympathy, morality,and religion; slavery produces cruelty and oppression. It is true, that the unfeeling application of the ordinary punishments ruins the constitution, and shortens the life of many a poor wretch."

On his return to Britain in 1777 he became friends with Sir Charles Middleton at Barham Court, Teston, Kent. His stories about life on a slave plantation helped Middleton and his wife to be opponents of the slave trade. In April 1778 he rejoined the navy as chaplain to Admiral Samuel Barrington on the West Indies Station. During this period he wrote Sea Sermons for the Royal Navy (1781).

In January 1782, Ramsay was appointed as vicar of Teston and rector of Nettlestead. He also acted as Middleton's confidential secretary. Ramsay's Essay on the Treatment and Conversion of African Slaves in the British Sugar Colonies appeared in 1784. This book inspired a generation of anti-slavery campaigners. Thomas Clarkson argued that as a result of Ramsay book the "first controversy ever entered into on the subject, during which, as is the case in most controversies, the cause of truth was spread."

Adam Hochschild, the author of Bury the Chains: The British Struggle to Abolish Slavery (2005), argued: "Almost everything else written against slavery was... a mixture of biblical citations, philosophical argument, and second-hand accounts. Ramsay, by contrast, offered a searing eyewitness picture. He vividly described beatings he had seen; he told of weary slaves carrying cane to the mill by moonlight, and how new mothers had to bring their babies to the fields, leaving them in furrows exposed to the sun and rain."

Ramsay was attacked in the press and one plantation owner from St Kitts, Crisp Molyneux, Ramsay's character and professional reputation. As Richard Reddie pointed out: "The planters were always suspicious of any social action amongst Africans and they quickly turned against Ramsay, accusing him of everything from seditious preaching to serial philandering." Although Olaudah Equiano, an emancipated slave, confirmed all that Ramsay had written, he never recovered from this attack. He developed increasingly severe abdominal pain and died from a gastric haemorrhage on 20th July 1789.

James Watt has argued: "His enemies acknowledged his exemplary qualities, while deploring the intemperate language of his books; and the abolition of the British slave trade in 1807 probably owed more to James Ramsay's personal integrity, ethical arguments, and constructive proposals than to any other influence."

http://www.spartacus...uk/REramsay.htm

#12 John Dolva

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 05:38 PM

A thought that occurs to me is whether there were likewise any anti slavery Arabs?

#13 John Simkin

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:22 AM

William Smith

William Smith, the son of Samuel Smith, a grocer, was born in Clapham on 22nd September 1756. He was educated at the Daventry Academy where he began to come under the influence of Unitarians. He went into the family business and by 1777 had become a partner.

On 12th September 1781 he married Frances Coape. The couple moved to Eagle House on Clapham Common. They had five daughters Frances, Joanna Maria, Julia, Anne and Patty. Frances Smith later married William Nightingale and was the mother of Florence Nightingale.

Smith held radical political opinions and was a member of the Society for Constitutional Information in 1782, an organisation established by John Cartwright. Other members included other radicals such as Granville Sharp, Josiah Wedgwood, John Horne Tooke, John Thelwall and Joseph Gales.

In 1794 Smith became the Member of Parliament for Sudbury in Suffolk. In the House of Commons he supported the reform program of the Whigs. Smith was opposed to the slave trade and in 1787 he became a supporter of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, an organisation established by Thomas Clarkson, William Dillwyn and Granville Sharp.

Smith became one of a small group of MPs brave enough to support William Wilberforce in the slave trade debate in April, 1790. Later that year he lost his seat at Sudbury, but the following January he was elected as M.P. for Camelford. Smith joined the Clapham Set, a group of evangelical members of the Anglican Church, centered around Henry Venn, rector of Clapham Church in London.

In 1792 Smith, an active member of the Unitarian Society, became one of the founding members of the Friends of the People Society. In April 1791 he publicly supported the French Revolution. In 1792 he arranged several meetings between William Pitt and Hugues-Bernard Maret, the French foreign minister, in an attempt to avoid war.

William Smith continued to campaign against the slave-trade. One of the major problems facing Smith and his friends was that the slave-trade was highly profitable. As one historian has pointed out: "In one recent study of the Liverpool slave trade the profits in 74 voyages averaged 10.5% at a time when yields on consols (consolidated stocks) were 3 per cent. It was a risky business, and returns fluctured wildly but enough voyages realised 20 to 50 percent to dazzle the investing public."

In 1802 Smith decided to stand for Norwich, which was known for being a gathering place for dissenters and radicals. After the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 Smith joined Thomas Clarkson and Thomas Fowell Buxton to form the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery in 1823. In 1830 the society adopted a policy of immediate emancipation. However, Smith had to wait until 1833 before Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act that gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom.

William Smith died in London on 31st May 1835.

http://www.spartacus...uk/REsmithW.htm

#14 John Simkin

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:25 AM

William Dillwyn

William Dillwyn was born in Philadelphia in 1743. A former assistant to Anthony Benezet, he moved to england in 1774 where he established himself in business. Dillwyn, who was a Quaker, married Sarah Weston in 1777, and they settled at Higham Lodge, Walthamstow. They had eight children.

Dillwyn was opposed to the slave-trade. At his home he tutored Thomas Clarkson in the anti-slavery movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Dillwyn told Clarkson about the work of James Ramsay and Granville Sharp and the attempts by the Society of Friends to bring an end to the trade.

In 1784 Dillwyn joined forces with John Lloyd to publish The Case of our Fellow Creatures, the Oppressed Africans. Dillwyn argued that the slave-trade went against the teachings in the Bible: "It would surely have been more constant with the avowed principles of Englishmen, both as men and as Christians, if their settlement in heathen countries had been succeeded by mild and benevolent attempts to civilize their inhabitants, and to incline them to receive the glad tidings of the gospel. But how different a conduct towards them has been pursued. It has not only been repugnant, in a political view, to those commercial advantages which a fair and honourable treatment might have procured, but has evidently tended to increase the barbarity of their manners, and to excite in their minds an aversion to that religion."

Dillwyn claimed that the slave-trade encouraged wars between the different tribal groups in Africa: "This traffic is the principal source of the destructive wars which prevail among these unhappy people, and is attended with consequences, the mere recital of which is shocking to humanity. The violent reparation of the dearest relatives, the tears of conjugal and parental affection, the reluctance of the slaves to a voyage from which they can have no chance of returning, must present scenes of distress which would pierce the heart of any, in whom the principles of humanity are not wholly effaced. This, however, is but the beginning of sorrows with the poor captives."

In 1787 Dillwyn, Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharp formed the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Although Sharp and Clarkson were both Anglicans, nine out of the twelve members on the committee, were Quakers. This included John Barton (1755-1789); George Harrison (1747-1827); Samuel Hoare Jr. (1751-1825); Joseph Hooper (1732-1789); John Lloyd (1750-1811); Joseph Woods (1738-1812); James Phillips (1745-1799) and Richard Phillips (1756-1836). Influential figures such as John Wesley, Josiah Wedgwood, James Ramsay, Charles Middleton and William Smith gave their support to the campaign.

William Dillwyn, aged 81, died on 28th September 1824, and was buried in the Friends' Burial Ground in Tottenham, Middlesex.

http://www.spartacus...k/REdillwyn.htm

#15 John Simkin

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 10:00 AM

Samuel Romilly

Samuel Romilly was was a strong opponent of the slave trade. In 1787 Granville Sharp and his friend Thomas Clarkson decided to form the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Romilly gave his support to this organisation. Other supporters included William Dillwyn, William Allen, John Wesley, Josiah Wedgwood, Thomas Walker, John Cartwright, James Ramsay, Charles Middleton, Henry Thornton and William Smith. His anti-slave trade activities brought him into contact with William Wilberforce and Jeremy Bentham.

Romilly argued that this large income enabled him to obtain political independence. For example, he supported the London Corresponding Society, an organisation that had been established by Thomas Hardy, John Thelwall, John Horne Tooke, Joseph Gerrald and Maurice Margarot in 1792. As well as campaigning for the vote, the strategy was to create links with other reforming groups in Britain. The society passed a series of resolutions and after being printed on handbills, they were distributed to the public. These resolutions also included statements attacking the government's foreign policy. A petition was started and by May 1793, 6,000 members of the public had signed saying they supported the resolutions of the London Corresponding Society.

Romilly did free legal work for the organisation and in 1797 he successfully defended John Binns, against a charge of seditious words. The Seditious Meetings Act made the organisation of parliamentary reform gatherings extremely difficult. Finally, in 1799, the government persuaded Parliament to pass a Corresponding Societies Act. It was now illegal for the London Corresponding Society to meet and the organisation came to an end.

In May 1804 William Pitt appointed Viscount Melville as his First Lord at the Admiralty. The following year Romilly was appointed a member of the legal team to conduct the impeachment of Melville. Eventually, Melville was forced to resign in April 1805, for failing to prevent the paymaster of the navy mixing public funds with his own money in a private account.

In 1806 Romilly entered the House of Commons as MP for Queenborough. When Lord Grenville was invited by the king to form a new Whig administration he invited Romilly to became his solicitor-general. Grenville, like Romilly, was a strong opponent of the slave trade. Grenville was determined to bring an end to British involvement in the trade. Thomas Clarkson sent a circular to all supporters of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade claiming that "we have rather more friends in the Cabinet than formerly" and suggested "spontaneous" lobbying of MPs. Romilly later recalled that at London dinner parties: "The abolition of the slave trade was the subject of conversation, as it is indeed of almost all conversations."

Grenville's Foreign Secretary, Charles Fox, led the campaign in the House of Commons to ban the slave trade in captured colonies. Clarkson commented that Fox was "determined upon the abolition of it (the slave trade) as the highest glory of his administration, and as the greatest earthly blessing which it was the power of the Government to bestow." This time there was little opposition and it was passed by an overwhelming 114 to 15.

In the House of Lords Lord Greenville made a passionate speech where he argued that the trade was "contrary to the principles of justice, humanity and sound policy" and criticised fellow members for "not having abolished the trade long ago". When the vote was taken the bill was passed in the House of Lords by 41 votes to 20.

In January 1807 Lord Grenville introduced a bill that would stop the trade to British colonies on grounds of "justice, humanity and sound policy". Ellen Gibson Wilson has pointed out: "Lord Grenville masterminded the victory which had eluded the abolitionist for so long... He opposed a delaying inquiry but several last-ditch petitions came from West Indian, London and Liverpool shipping and planting spokesmen.... He was determined to succeed and his canvassing of support had been meticulous." Grenville addressed the Lords for three hours on 4th February and when the vote was taken it was passed by 100 to 34.

Wilberforce commented: "How popular Abolition is, just now! God can turn the hearts of men". During the debate in the House of Commons, Samuel Romilly, paid a fulsome tribute to Wilberforce's unremitting advocacy in Parliament. The trade was abolished by a resounding 283 to 16. According to Thomas Clarkson, it was the largest majority recorded on any issue where the House divided. Romilly felt it to be "the most glorious event, and the happiest for mankind, that has ever taken place since human affairs have been recorded."

http://www.spartacus...k/REromilly.htm




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