Thomas Clarkson

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Clarkson, Thomas (1760–1846). Anti-slavery campaigner. Born in Wisbech (Cambs.), son of a schoolmaster, Clarkson was educated at St Paul's School and St John's College, Cambridge, where he became concerned about slavery. In 1787 he helped found a committee for the suppression of the slave trade and lectured on behalf of the parliamentary campaign for abolition until his health collapsed in 1794. He resumed lecturing in 1805 until the ending of the trade in the British empire in 1807. In 1818 he took the case for international abolition to the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle. With William Wilberforce he was a vice-president of the anti-slavery society (founded 1823), and after the act was carried in 1833 for the gradual abolition of slavery in the British empire, he retained his concern for wider abolition and appeared on the platform at the 1840 international Anti-Slavery Convention in London.

Edward Royle

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Thomas Clarkson, 1760–1846, English abolitionist. He devoted most of his life to agitation against slavery, and the voluminous information that he gathered on the slave trade helped to influence Parliament. With William Wilberforce he shares the chief credit for the act of 1807 abolishing the British slave trade. His best-known books are a history of Parliament's abolition of the slave trade (1805) and a memoir of William Penn (1813).

See his correspondence with H. Christophe, ed. by E. L. Griggs and C. H. Prator (1952, repr. 1968).