Thomas Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson
Thomas Clarkson by Carl Frederik von Breda.jpg
Thomas Clarkson by Carl Frederik von Breda, painting in the National Portrait Gallery
Born(1760-03-28)28 March 1760
Died26 September 1846(1846-09-26) (aged 86)
Playford, Suffolk, England
NationalityEnglish
Alma materSt John's College, Cambridge
Known forAbolitionism

Thomas Clarkson (28 March 1760 – 26 September 1846) was an English abolitionist, and a leading campaigner against the slave trade in the British Empire. He helped found The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade (also known as the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade) and helped achieve passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which ended British trade in slaves.

In his later years Clarkson campaigned for the abolition of slavery worldwide; it was then concentrated in the Americas. In 1840, he was the key speaker at the Anti-Slavery Society's (today known as Anti-Slavery International) first conference in London, England which campaigned to end slavery in other countries.

Early life and education

Clarkson was the son of Rev. John Clarkson (1710–1766), an Anglican priest. Thomas attended Wisbech Grammar School where his father was headmaster; then he went on to St Paul's School in London in 1775. He did his undergraduate work at St John's College, Cambridge, beginning in 1779.[1] An excellent student, he appears to have enjoyed his time at university, although he was also a serious, devout man. He received his BA degree in 1783 and was set to continue at Cambridge to follow in his father's footsteps and enter the Anglican Church. He was ordained a deacon but never proceeded to priest's orders.

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