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British Abolitionists


Am I Not a Man and a Brother

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 34 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 on here, so for that reason I welcome your contributions!

Click on the headings below to expand the alphabetical list of British abolitionists. There are currently 34 biographies available.


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)

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