This collection comprises the journals and notebooks of Robert Aglionby Slaney, politician and social reformer. Three journals covering 1815-1817 and 1825-1826, describe Slaney's daily activities, with occasional comments on current affairs in Shropshire, and his attendance at meetings to assist the poor and unemployed. These also contain more extensive entries describing his travels abroad. Two further journals are exclusively travel journals, which record details of Slaney's travels in Holland, and of his visit to Ireland in 1838 with W. E. Wynne, who later married his daughter Mary, and a trip to the English Lakes in 1850. The ten notebooks contain Slaney's thoughts on some of the political issues he was involved with, specifically the state of the poor laws in the late 1820s, and the condition of the working classes in England. Several volumes include his suggestions for the improvement of the lives of poorer people. One volume contains drafts of a paper on "limited liability of partners" read by Slaney before the Society of Arts in 1854. Other notebooks contain work by Slaney on volumes of philosophy he had read, as well as notes on Malthus and Adam Smith. There is also evidence of an interest in theology, and a volume of blank verse composed by Slaney.
Journals and notebooks of Robert Aglionby Slaney
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- ReferenceGB 150 RAS
- Dates of Creationc1815-c1854
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description15 volumes
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Robert Aglionby Slaney (1792-1862) was born at Hatton Grange, near Shifnal, in Shropshire, and was the eldest son of Robert Slaney. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge (1810), and was later a barrister at Lincoln's Inn (1817), and practised the law until 1826, when he became MP for Shrewsbury. He served as a member of parliament between 1826-1836, 1837-1841, and 1847-1862, affiliated to the Whig party. He devoted his attention to social, economic and rural reform, and spoke on the abuses of the poor law, the condition of unemployed labourers, and on problems of the education and health of the poor in urban areas. He was chairman of committees on education (1838) and the health of town poor (1840). He was also commissioner on health of towns (1843-1846) and high sheriff of Shropshire (1854).
Slaney was interested in the improvement of the condition of the working classes. He was a member of the General Committee of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, founded in 1826, which aimed to disseminate useful information to all sections of the community, especially those without the benefits of a formal education. He married his cousin Elizabeth, only child of W. Hawkins Maccleston, MD, in 1812, and they had 3 children, Elizabeth Frances, Mary, and Frances Catherine. He died from the effects of an accident at the International Exhibition.
References: Concise Dictionary of National Biography ; AIM25 web site http://www.aim25.ac.uk/; University College London's Catalogue of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge; Slaney Family Manuscripts, (SL vol VII, pages 77 and 126)
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The purchase of this collection is reported in the University of Birmingham Librarian's report 1955/56. Its provenance is unknown.
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