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Am I Not a Man and a Brother

British Abolitionists

These pages contain detailed information on British abolitionists of the eighteenth and ninteenth centuries. They include men and women who worked in the political campaign against slavery as well as those who wrote antislavery poems, novels, and plays. I have included abolitionists who lived in the British colonies, which for most of the eighteenth century included North America, as well as those who spent their entire lives in the British Isles. Each entry contains a biography, a bibliography and, where possible, an image.

From the start of the eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century, thousands of British men and women campaigned, first against the slave trade and then against slavery itself. Some, like William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846) remain well-known to this day. Others, like Samuel Bowly (1802-1884) or Joseph Soul (1805-1881) are remembered more locally or by their descendants. Some aboltionists, like Ottobah Cugoano (fl. 1788) or Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797) had been enslaved themselves before coming, or being brought, to Great Britain. Many women were active in the abolition campaign, including famous figures such as Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) as well as less well-known campaigners like Mary Morris Knowles (1733-1807).

The 35 biographies provided here are just a start and, over time, will grow to provide information on a large number of abolitionists. Please feel free to nominate any British abolitionist you would like to see included – or offer to write an entry yourself. Many of the biographies on this site were written by people other than myself. Hundreds, if not thousands, of abolitionists could be included here, so for that reason I welcome your contributions!

Most Recent Addition

The most recent addition is an article on John Newton (1725-1807), written by Marylynn Rouse, Director of The John Newton Project. Read it here...

Alphabetical List of British Abolitionists

James Beattie (1735-1803)

Anthony Benezet (1713-1784)

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)

Samuel Bowly (1802-1884)

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (1786-1845)

Mary Birkett Card (1774-1817)

Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846)

William Cowper (1731-1800)

Ottobah Cugoano (fl. 1788)

Thomas Day (1748-1789)

Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797)

William Fox (fl. 1791-1794)

Ukawsaw Gronniosaw (1710?-1774?)

Martha Gurney (1733-1816)

Francis Hargrave (c.1741-1821)

Mary Morris Knowles (1733-1807)

Joseph Jekyll (c.1753-1837)

Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)

Zachary Macaulay (1768-1838)

Sir Charles Middleton (1726-1813)

Hannah More (1745-1833)

John Newton (1725-1807)

Peter Peckard (c.1718-1797)

Beilby Porteus (1731-1809)

James Ramsay (1733-1789)

William Roscoe (1753-1831)

Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780)

Granville Sharp (1735-1813)

Joseph Soul (1805-1881)

James Stephen (1758-1832)

Joseph Sturge (1793-1859)

Henry Thornton (1760-1815)

Jane Harry Thresher (c. 1756-1784)

Carl Bernhard Wadström (1746-1799)

John Wesley (1703-1791)

William Wilberforce (1759-1833)

Ann Yearsley (1752-1806)


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