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Thomas Clarkson Papers
2 linear feet
Thomas Clarkson (b.1760 d.1846) was a renowned English abolitionist who spent his adult life fighting to end slavery. As a leader in the British anti-slavery society, Clarkson was instrumental in getting Parliament to ban the slave trade in 1807 and to abolish the institution of slavery in 1833.
The majority of this collection is comprised of correspondence from Thomas Clarkson and his wife, Catherine, to her father, William Buck. Other letters noting significant historical meetings are present, including a noteworthy letter dated October 11, 1818 from Clarkson to his wife which refers to an interview between him and "the Emperor" [Alexander I of Russia]. Clarkson expresses hope that the Emperor may influence the French against an invasion of Haiti. Notable writings by Clarkson include the original essay "An Liceat Nolentes In Servitutom Dare?" ["Is It Lawful to Make Slaves of Others Against Their Will?"]. A journal, dated August 1789, recounts Clarkson's trip to France and his observations in Paris of French Revolutionary activity. There is a copy of the New Testament with extensive marginalia written by Clarkson. The collection includes two anti-slavery medallions produced in the mid-1800s with a rendering of an African kneeling, shackled in wrist chains, and the inscription "Am I not a man and a brother?" Related only tangentially is a collection of letters written by Clarkson's daughter-in-law, Mary Dickinson describing festivities at the household of Edward, Prince of Wales, Sandringham Palace, from 1863 to 1871.