Buxton, Thomas Fowell

views updated Jun 11 2018

Buxton, Thomas Fowell (1786–1845). Anti-slavery campaigner and quaker philanthropist, Buxton married Hannah Gurney (sister of Elizabeth Fry). In 1808 he joined the quaker brewers Truman, Hanbury & Co. (his mother was a Hanbury), which brought him into contact with the London poor of Spitalfields. Elected MP for Weymouth (1818–37) he advocated prison reform and ending the death penalty for forgery. He was a founder of the anti-slavery Society in 1823, taking over from Wilberforce as its parliamentary spokesman the following year. He carried resolutions in the Commons against slavery in 1824 and 1831, leading to the successful bill for gradual abolition in 1833. In 1836 he moved an inquiry into the apprenticeship system which was being introduced in place of slavery. Following his electoral defeat in 1837, he devoted himself to the ill-fated Niger expedition designed to end slavery in Africa. He was made a baronet in 1840.

Edward Royle