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Encyclopedia > Thomas Clarkson
Thomas Clarkson by Carl Frederik von Breda

Thomas Clarkson (28 March 176026 September 1846), abolitionist, was born at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, and became a leading campaigner against the slave trade in the British Empire. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... is the 87th day of the year (88th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1760 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1846 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... This article is about the abolition of slavery. ... OS Grid Reference: TF460098 Lat/Lon: Population: 20,200 (2001 Census) Dwellings: 9,145 (2001 Census) Formal status: Town Administration County: Cambridgeshire Region: East of England Nation: England Post Office and Telephone Post town: Wisbech Postcode: PE13, PE14 Dialling Code: 01945 Wisbech (IPA: ) is a market town and inland port... Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs) is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the Transatlantic slave trade, was the trade of African persons supplied to the colonies of the New World that occurred in and around the Atlantic Ocean. ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...

Contents

Early life and education

Clarkson was the son of Rev. John Clarkson (1710–1766), and attended Wisbech Grammar School where his father was headmaster, and went on to St Paul's School in London in 1775, after which he went up to St John's College, Cambridge in 1779, where he was an excellent student. He appears to have enjoyed his time at university, although he was also a serious, devout man. He received his B.A. degree in 1783 and was set to continue at Cambridge with the intention of following in his father’s footsteps and entering the church. He was, in fact, ordained deacon but never proceeded to priest's orders. Wisbech Grammar School is an independent school in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire for ages five to 18. ... St Pauls School is/was the name of many schools, starting with St Pauls School in London, England, which was re-founded in 1509 to replace an earlier foundation of 1103. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... College name The College of Saint John the Evangelist of the University of Cambridge Motto Souvent me Souvient (Latin: I often remember) Named after The Hospital of Saint John the Evangelist Established 1511 Location St. ... A Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B.) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or program in the arts and/or sciences. ...


Revelation of the horrors of slavery

It was while he was in Cambridge, in 1785, that he entered a Latin essay competition which was to set him on the course that he would take for most of the rest of his life. The topic of the essay was Is it lawful to enslave the unconsenting? and it led Clarkson to consider the question of the slave trade, reading everything he could on the subject, including the works of Anthony Benezet. He was appalled and challenged by what he discovered, and it changed his life. He also researched the topic by meeting and interviewing those who had personal experience of the slave trade and slavery. For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Anthony Benezet (1713-1784) American educator and abolitionist. ... Slave redirects here. ...


After winning the prize, Clarkson experienced what he called a spiritual revelation from God as he travelled on horseback between Cambridge and London, having broken his journey at Wadesmill, near Ware, Hertfordshire: 'A thought came into my mind', he wrote, 'that if the contents of the Essay were true, it was time some person should see these calamities to their end' (Clarkson, History, vol. 1). It was this experience and sense of calling that ultimately led him to devote his life to abolishing the slave trade. This article is about the city in England. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... For other uses, see Ware (disambiguation). ... For the similarly named county in the West Midlands region, see Herefordshire. ...


Having translated the essay into English so that it could gain a wider audience, Clarkson published it in 1786 as An essay on the slavery and commerce of the human species, particularly the African, translated from a Latin Dissertation which was honoured with the first prize in the University of Cambridge, for the year 1785.


The publication of the essay had an immediate impact, and he was introduced to many others who were sympathetic to the cause of abolishing slavery, some of whom had already published and campaigned against the slave trade. These included influential men like James Ramsay and Granville Sharp, the Quakers and other nonconformists. The movement had been gathering strength for some years, having been founded by Quakers in both Britain and the United States, with support from other Puritans or nonconformists on both sides of the Atlantic. The first parliamentary petition against the slave trade had been presented to the British Parliament by 300 Quakers, largely from the London area, in 1783. James Ramsay (1733–1789) was a ship’s surgeon, Anglican minister and leading abolitionist. ... Granville Sharp (10 November 1735 - 6 July 1813) was an British campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade. ... The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, or Friends, is a religious community founded in England in the 17th century. ...


Following this initial step, a small offshoot group from amongst the petitioning Quakers, sought to form the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, a small non-denominational group that could lobby more successfully by incorporating Anglican and Parliamentary support (Quakers were disbarred from Parliament until the early nineteenth century whereas the Anglican church was given seats in the House of Lords). The twelve founding members included nine Quakers, and three pioneering Anglicans - Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, and William Wilberforce - all evangelical Christians sympathetic to the religious revival that had predominantly nonconformist origins, but which sought wider non-denominational support for a 'Great Awakening' amongst believers. The Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed on May 22, 1787, when twelve men gathered together at a printing shop in London, England, and committed themselves to founding the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. ... William Wilberforce (24 August 1759–29 July 1833) was a British politician and philanthropist. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The word evangelicalism often refers to... A nonconformist is an English or Welsh Protestant of any non-Anglican denomination, chiefly advocating religious liberty. ...

Slave ship

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (667x982, 347 KB) Summary Thomas Clarkson, 1786 Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of Human Species. Licensing This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of...

The campaign against the trade

Encouraged by publication of Clarkson’s essay, an informal committee was set up between a small group from the petitioning Quakers, Clarkson and others, with the aim of lobbying Members of Parliament (MPs). This was to lead, in May 1787, to the foundation of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The Committee included Granville Sharp as Chairman and Josiah Wedgwood as well as Clarkson himself. Clarkson also approached the young William Wilberforce, who as an (Evangelical) Anglican and an MP could offer them a link into the British Parliament. Wilberforce was one of very few parliamentarians to have had sympathy with the Quaker petition; he had already put a question about the slave trade before the House of Commons, marking himself out as one of the earliest Anglican abolitionists. A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ... The Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed on May 22, 1787, when twelve men gathered together at a printing shop in London, England, and committed themselves to founding the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. ... William Wilberforce (24 August 1759–29 July 1833) was a British politician and philanthropist. ... Type Lower House Speaker Michael Martin, (Non-affiliated) since October 23, 2000 Leader Harriet Harman, (Labour) since June 28, 2007 Shadow Leader Theresa May, (Conservative) since May 5, 2005 Members 659 Political groups Labour Party Conservative Party Liberal Democrats Scottish National Party Plaid Cymru Democratic Unionist Party Sinn Féin... This article is about the abolition of slavery. ...


Clarkson took a leading part in the affairs of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and was given the responsibility for collecting information to support the abolition of the slave trade. The Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed on May 22, 1787, when twelve men gathered together at a printing shop in London, England, and committed themselves to founding the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. ...


He faced much opposition from supporters of the trade in some of the cities he visited, as the slave traders were an influential group and the trade itself was at that time a legitimate and lucrative business, responsible for the prosperity of the ports. On an early visit to Liverpool in 1787, the year the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was founded, he was attacked and nearly killed by a gang of sailors who had been paid to assassinate him. He only just escaped with his life. In this year too, 1787, Clarkson published his pamphlet: A Summary View of the Slave Trade and of the Probable Consequences of Its Abolition. The Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed on May 22, 1787, when twelve men gathered together at a printing shop in London, England, and committed themselves to founding the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. ...


Thomas Clarkson was very effective at giving the Committee a high public profile, spending the next two years riding around England, promoting the cause and gathering evidence. This included his 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) for use in publications and public meetings.

The Seven Stars in Bristol was visited by Clarkson in the course of his research.
The Seven Stars in Bristol was visited by Clarkson in the course of his research.

Thomas Clarkson’s research took him to English ports such as Bristol, where he received a great deal of information from the landlord of the Seven Stars pub, still standing in Thomas Lane, as well as Liverpool and London and his collection of evidence was vital in supporting the arguments of the abolitionists. In the next year he rode some 35,000 miles in search of evidence, seeing local anti-slave trade societies founded in the cities he visited. He enlisted the help of two ship’s surgeons whom he met in Liverpool, Alexander Falconbridge and James Arnold who, between them, had been on many voyages aboard slave ships, and were able to recount and publish their experiences in detail. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 401 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1148 × 1716 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 401 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1148 × 1716 pixel, file size: 1. ... This article is about the English city. ... The Seven Stars Public House (grid reference ST591727) is an historic public house situated on Thomas Lane, Bristol, England. ... For other uses, see Liverpool (disambiguation). ... Alexander Falconbridge (died 1792) was a British surgeon on four travels in slave ships between 1780 and 1787. ...


He continued to write against the slave trade, filling his works with the descriptions he had heard first hand from sailors, surgeons and others who had been themselves involved in the traffic, such as the account of a sailor who had served aboard a slave-ship, which was published in 1789 as An Essay on the Slave Trade. In the previous year he had published his Essay on the Impolicy of the African Slave Trade (1788), which was printed in large numbers. These works provided a firm basis for the first abolitionist speech of William Wilberforce in the House of Commons on 12 May 1789, and the twelve propositions which it contained. is the 132nd day of the year (133rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The publication of a narrative by an African with direct experience of the slave trade and slavery, was also immensely influential at this date. In 1789 Clarkson wrote to the Rev. Mr. Jones at Trinity College, introducing Gustavus Vassa (Olaudah Equiano) the African anti-slavery author, who wished to visit Cambridge, and asking the Rev. Jones for help in selling Equiano's autobiography. Olaudah Equiano Olaudah Equiano (c. ...


Wilberforce introduced the first Bill to abolish the slave trade in 1791, which was easily defeated by 163 votes to 88. As Wilberforce continued to bring the issue of the slave trade before parliament, Clarkson continued to travel and to write anti-slavery works.


This was the beginning of a protracted parliamentary campaign, during which Wilberforce introduced a motion in favour of abolition almost every year. Between them, Clarkson, Wilberforce and the other members of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and their supporters, were responsible for generating and sustaining a national movement which mobilised public opinion as never before. Parliament, however, refused to pass the bill, and the outbreak of War with France effectively prevented further debate for many years. The Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed on May 22, 1787, when twelve men gathered together at a printing shop in London, England, and committed themselves to founding the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. ... Combatants Austria[a] Portugal Prussia[a] Russia[b] Sicily[c] Sardinia  Spain[d]  Sweden[e] United Kingdom French Empire Holland[f] Italy Etruria[g] Naples[h] Duchy of Warsaw[i] Confederation of the Rhine[j] Bavaria Saxony Westphalia Württemberg Denmark-Norway[k] Commanders Archduke Charles Prince Schwarzenberg Karl Mack...


By 1794, Clarkson's health was failing and he was suffering from exhaustion. He retired from the campaign and spent some time in the Lake District, where he bought an estate at Ullswater, and became a friend of the poet William Wordsworth. In 1796 he married Catherine Buck of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and their only child Thomas was born in 1806. They moved back to the south of England for the sake of Catherine’s health, and settled at Bury St Edmunds from 1806 to 1816, after which they lived at Playford Hall, halfway between Ipswich and Woodbridge, Suffolk. The panorama across Eskdale from Ill Crag. ... The middle and lower reaches of Ullswater from Hallin Fell Ullswater is the second largest lake in the English Lake District, being approximately 9 miles (14. ... Wordsworth redirects here. ... , Bury St Edmunds is a town in the county of Suffolk, England, and was formerly the county town of West Suffolk. ... Suffolk (pronounced ) is a large historic and modern non-metropolitan county in East Anglia, England. ... For other uses, see Ipswich (disambiguation). ... Map sources for Woodbridge at grid reference TM2649 Woodbridge is a town in Suffolk, East Anglia, England. ...


When the war with France appeared to be almost over, the slave trade campaign revived again in 1804. After ten years Clarkson’s temporary retirement was also over, and he once again got on his horse to travel all over Great Britain to canvass support for the measure. He appeared to have returned with all his old enthusiasm and vigour, and was especially active in persuading MPs to back the parliamentary campaign.


After the passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 his efforts were mainly directed towards ensuring the enforcement of the act and seeking to further the campaign in the rest of Europe. He travelled to Paris in 1814 and Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, with the aim of arriving at an internationally-agreed timetable for abolition. The Slave Trade Act (citation ) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in 1807 the long title of which is An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Main article: Atlantic slave trade The act abolished the slave trade in the British empire. ...


Later Work

After 1823, when the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery (later the Anti-Slavery Society) was formed, Clarkson once again travelled the length of the country, covering 10,000 miles, activating the vast network of sympathetic anti-slavery societies which had been formed. This resulted in 777 petitions being delivered to parliament demanding the total emancipation of slaves. When the society finally adopted a policy of immediate emancipation, he and Wilberforce appeared together for the last time to lend their support. The Anti-Slavery Society was founded in Britain in 1823. ...


In 1833 the Slavery Abolition Act was finally passed. Clarkson lived for a further thirteen years. Although with his eyesight failing, he continued to campaign for the abolition of slavery, focussing on abolition in the United States. He was the principal speaker at the opening of the anti-slavery convention in Freemasons' Hall, London in 1840, chaired by Thomas Binney which sought to extend slavery abolition worldwide and included delegates from France, the USA, Haiti and Jamaica. The scene at Clarkson's opening address was painted on a huge canvass, now in the National Portrait Gallery, London, with the emancipated slave, Henry Beckford (a Baptist Deacon in Jamaica) in the right foreground to form, with Clarkson and the prominent abolitionist Quaker William Allen to the left, the main axis of interest in the picture. Categories: | | ... Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street, London Freemasons Hall in London is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and a meeting place for the Masonic Lodges in the London area. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Thomas Binney (1798-1874), English Congregationalist divine, was born of Presbyterian parents at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1798, and educated at an ordinary day school. ... The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery in central London which was opened in 1856. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Later life and death

The Clarkson Memorial, Wisbech
The Clarkson Memorial, Wisbech

Throughout his life Thomas Clarkson was a frequent guest of Mr Joseph Hardcastle (the first treasurer of the London Missionary Society) at Hatcham House in Deptford, then a rural Surrey village but now in inner London. It was here that Clarkson wrote a great part of his History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1808). Here too, in the early 1790s he had met his wife, a niece of Mrs Hardcastle. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 321 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (572 × 1069 pixel, file size: 57 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 321 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (572 × 1069 pixel, file size: 57 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... The Clarkson Memorial, located in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, is a memorial to Thomas Clarkson MA, one of the earliest campaigners against slavery in England. ... Joseph Hardcastle (1752-1818) was one of the founders of the London Missionary Society, to which he devoted a great deal of time and money. ... The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa. ... This article is about the district in London. ... This article is about the English county. ...


Thomas was not the only notable member of his family; his remarkable brother, John Clarkson, took a major part in assisting approximately 1200 ex-slaves (loyal to Britain during the American War of Independence) migrate from Nova Scotia, Canada to the new colony of Sierra Leone, and became the first Governor there. John is buried in Woodbridge, Suffolk. This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and revolutionaries within thirteen of her North American colonies. ... Motto: Munit Haec et Altera Vincit (Latin: One defends and the other conquers) Capital Halifax Largest city Halifax Regional Municipality Official languages English (de facto) Government Lieutenant-Governor Mayann E. Francis Premier Rodney MacDonald (PC) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament House seats 11 Senate seats 10 Confederation July 1, 1867... Map sources for Woodbridge at grid reference TM2649 Woodbridge is a town in Suffolk, East Anglia, England. ...


Thomas Clarkson died on 26 September, 1846 at Ipswich, and was buried on 2 October at St Mary’s Church, Playford, Suffolk. is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Ipswich (disambiguation). ... is the 275th day of the year (276th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Playford is a small village in Suffolk, England, on the outskirts of Ipswich. ... Suffolk (pronounced ) is a large historic and modern non-metropolitan county in East Anglia, England. ...


After his death, a monument to Clarkson was erected in 1879, at Wadesmill, that reads: On this spot where stands this monument in the month of June 1785 Thomas Clarkson resolved to devote his life to bringing about the abolition of the slave trade.


Another monument, the Clarkson Memorial was erected to his memory in his birthplace at Wisbech to commemorate his life and work. The Clarkson School, Wisbech is named after him. A secondary school (The Queen's School) was closed and reopened as the 'Thomas Clarkson Community Community College' in September 2007. The Clarkson Memorial, located in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, is a memorial to Thomas Clarkson MA, one of the earliest campaigners against slavery in England. ...


In 1996 a tablet was dedicated to his memory in Westminster Abbey, near the tomb of William Wilberforce. The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, which is almost always referred to by its original name of Westminster Abbey, is a mainly Gothic church, on the scale of a cathedral (and indeed often mistaken for one), in Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. ...


One of his descendants, Canon John Clarkson, continues in his footsteps as one of the leaders of the Anti-Slavery Society. [1]


See also

This article is about the abolition of slavery. ... The Clapham Sect was an influential group of like-minded social reformers in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century (active c. ...

References

  • Barker, G.F.R. Thomas Clarkson in Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: University Press, 1887)
  • Brogan, Hugh. Thomas Clarkson in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: University Press, 2005)
  • Carey, Brycchan. British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment, and Slavery, 1760-1807 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). 131-37.
  • Hochschild, Adam. Bury the Chains, The British Struggle to Abolish Slavery (Basingstoke: Pan Macmillan, 2005)
  • Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. Encyclopedia of Emancipation and Abolition in the Transatlantic World. (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2007)

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Thomas Clarkson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (405 words)
Thomas Clarkson (28 March 1760 - 26 September 1846), born at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, England, was a leading campaigner against the slave trade in the British Empire.
Clarkson was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire in 1760.
Thomas Clarkson had the responsibility of collecting information to support the abolition of the slave trade.
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