Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Clarkson, Thomas, the son of the clerical headmaster of the grammar school at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, was born there in 1760. He was educated for the Church at St. Paul's School, London, and St. John's College, Caenbridge. However, in writing a Latin prize essay (1784) on the lawfulness or otherwise of slavery, he became so engrossed in the subject that he resolved to devote his life to the work of liberation. He associated himself with Granville Sharpe and other members of the Society of Friends who had already taken up the question, and in 1787 formed a committee for the abolition of the slave trade. He spent some time in visiting various ports, and collecting information as to the traffic in flesh and blood, and enlisted Mr. Wilberforce, the member for Yorkshire, in the cause. The latter, with Pitt's sanction, brought the matter before Parliament (1789), but only after many delays and defeats was the Abolition Bill carried in 1807. Clarkson then assisted to form the African Institution to promote civilisation in Africa, and he entered upon another long struggle, which was terminated in 1833 by the Act to abolish British colonial slavery. In 1838 he received the freedom of the City of London, and in 1840 attended the anti-slavery convention at Exeter Hall. His last years were spent at his estate, Playford Hall, Suffolk, where he died in 1846.