Anti-Slavery Papers

Scope and Content

60 separate items, dated 1774-1891, of which 5 are dated before 1800 while 15 relate to the anti-slavery campaign prior to the 1833 act prohibiting slavery in British colonies, or to the act itself. Other items relate to the slave trade in Africa.

The manuscript items comprise an album, entitled "Anti-Slavery Movement, 1833" containing correspondence and papers chiefly addressed to the Rev John Beetham, Secretary of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, 1831-1855; a similar file of mission secretaries' letters and papers, dated 1836-1861; and a memo book belonging to W Fergusson, dated 1840, which includes a manuscript copy of a narrative by James Will of "the land of Akue" [possibly Gambia] in Africa mainly recalling his homeland and life prior to enslavement and his subsequent conversion to Christianity.

Printed items include a copy of John Wesley's "Thoughts upon Slavery" published in 1774; "An address to the people of Great Britain on the utility of refraining from the use of West India sugar and rum" published in 1791; a printed letter from the London Female Anti-Slavery Society, dated 1833; "Hymns adapted to the celebration of the 'Negro's' Jubilee", dated 1834; "A Narrative of the Travels etc., of John Ismael Augustus James", an African of the Mandingo tribe who was captured, sold into slavery, and subsequently 'liberated by a benevolent English Gentleman' published in 1836; and undated items issued by the African Aid Society.

Administrative / Biographical History

A collection of printed material (including Parliamentary Papers) as well as a few manuscripts, dated 1774-1891 and entitled Anti-Slavery Papers formed and kept as a collection in the offices of the Methodist Missionary Society. The Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, later the Methodist Missionary Society, had had a presence in the West Indies [Caribbean and Americas] since the late 18th century and became closely involved in the campaign to end slavery in those islands as in all British colonies. The Secretary of the WMMS in the years leading up to the Emancipation Bill of 1833, and afterwards, was the Rev John Beecham (1787-1856). The WMMS also participated in campaigns to stamp out the African slave-trade.

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Archivist's Note

Catalogued

Related Material

"The African slave trade and its suppression : a classified and annotated bibliography of books, pamphlets and periodical articles" Hogg, P. C. (Peter Carlquist), 1938-, London, Frank Cass, 1973