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Abolition and emancipation manuscripts (18th-19th C.)

Manuscripts of writers active in the anti-slavery movement, microfilmed from collections in the Huntington Library, USA. Included are American and British writers, including Thomas Clarkson, Zachary Macaulay, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Martineau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and William Wilberforce.

Amongst the document types included are correspondence, diaries, reports, literary works, etc. The collection ranges from the early works of Clarkson in the 1780s up to the 1890s correspondence of later writers.

Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846) was author of a prize winning essay against slavery in 1786 which marked the prelude to 50 years service in the cause of abolition throughout the world. Together with William Wilberforce and Granville Sharp he founded the British Anti-Slavery Society in 1787 and saw the passing of British Anti-Slavery laws in 1807 and the abolition of slavery in British Colonies in 1833. The material in the collection includes original manuscript essays by Clarkson as well as his manuscript, To the Planters, Slave holders of the Southern Parts of the United States of America, which includes a letter from John Wesley to William Wilberforce. There are also 86 letters and 3 other documents. Correspondents include the Comte de Mirabeau, Lord Castlereagh, the Emperor of Russia, J. G. Whittier, John Cartwright, James Ramsay and John Jay.

Zachary Macaulay (1768-1838) was a Scottish philanthropist who devoted most of his life to the anti-slavery movement. From 1793 to 1799 Macaulay was governor of the new African colony of Sierra Leone, founded by William Wilberforce and other abolitionists as a settlement for liberated slaves. From 1802 until 1816 Macaulay edited The Christian Observer, an anti-slavery publication and oracle of the Clapham Sect in London. Macualay’s voluminous correspondence, 1796-1822, includes letters to and from Henry Brougham, Thomas Fowell Buxton, Thomas Clarkson, Edward and Margaret Cropper, Louis Dumont, Lord Lansdowne, Thomas Mills, Hannah More, John Newton, Granville Sharp, James Stephen, Henry Thornton and William Wilberforce. Of particular importance is his diary for 1793-1794 and also his journals for 1793-1799, when he was in Sierra Leone.  Also featured are the journal of Margaret Cropper (Macaulay), 1834, and the journal of Selina Macaulay (eldest daughter of Zachary), 1826-33. These journals provide fascinating insights into life in Africa.

William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), founder of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, is represented by twelve letters which span the period 1843-78. Correspondents include Susan B. Anthony, Annie Fields, Elizabeth Pease and Thomas Clarkson.

Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) was a political economist, author and a leading campaigner for the abolition of slavery and the rectification of other social injustices. This collection includes her original manuscript essays entitled: Health in the Hospital; The Young Repealer; Lady Noel Byron, a Defence; and Letter to a student of history; together with 19 of her letters.

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851-2), which sold around 1,500,000 copies in Great Britain and the Colonies. Included in the collection are: Sojourner Truth, the Libyan Sybil; Lady Byron vindicated (preface); Behold the tabernacle of God; God’s purposes will ripen fast; A Reply to the Address of the Women of England; Little Pussy Willow; Queer Little People; House & Home Papers; The Chimney Corner; Knocking; and Agnes of Sorrento; as well as 162 letters.

For William Wilberforce (1759-1833) there are 91 letters and his Notes for Questions regarding Slavery - Questions to be asked before Parliament of 1788. Many letters are to Matthew Montagu, a number to E H Locker and one or two to individuals such as Robert Southey and Sir William Scott.

Taken together, these six collections form an invaluable source for research on the anti-slavery movement in Britain and America. The material is important for African Studies and for those interested in the study of leading abolitionists, the colony at Sierra Leone, the African Institution and for a vast array of detailed correspondence.

Date range: 1780s-1890s.

Significance: Significant in Wales and the United Kingdom

Size: Several thousand documents on nine reels of microfilm.

Language:  English

Keywords:   Slavery, abolition, America, Britain, literature, William Wilberforce (1759-1833), Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), Harriet Martineau (1802-1876), William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), Zachary Macaulay (1768-1838), Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846).

Notes: The Library also holds several copies of 19th century Welsh translations of Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, plus some rare slave narratives, and a number of Welsh ballads on the topic of slavery.