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Thomas Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson , after painting by Chalon


Painting: Thomas Clarkson, after a painting by A E Chalon, R A Thomas Clarkson was the driving force behind the campaign to end slavery, which began from a concern with the harsh conditions suffered by ordinary seamen on slaving voyages. He wrote and spoke about the need for abolition, and in researching his subject he came to Bristol in 1787. With the help of local Quakers and the landlord of the Seven Stars Inn, Clarkson interviewed many sailors and heard their stories of the horrors of slaving voyages. In 1823 he addressed the first meeting of the Bristol Auxiliary Anti-Slavery Society. At his feet is Clarkson’s Box, a collection of the products of Africa. He tried to show that African foodstuffs, dye plants and maunfactures, such as fine textiles, could replace the trade in slaves, to the benefit of both African and European traders.

With thanks to P A Houston for the use of this item.

Creator: Chalon

Date: late 18th century

Copyright: Lent to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

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