Thomas Fowell Buxton
Things you may not know about Thomas Fowell Buxton
Thomas Fowell Buxton in brief
Thomas Fowell Buxton was a compassionate and selfless man who dedicated much of his life to championing the cause of enslaved people and other Africans whose rights were being trampled on. He also found the time to help the poor, campaign to improve conditions in prisons and reduce the number of crimes that carried the death sentence.
A committed Christian, he entered parliament in 1818 and worked hard to bring about the complete abolition of slavery within the British Empire, sometimes withstanding enormous pressure and abuse. He once said: "My character is of very little consequence. Indeed, have I not long ago learnt that I must sacrifice that, as well as almost all else, to this Cause?"
He also helped introduce laws which protected the rights of Africans and others who came into contact with white settlers. His final scheme was an attempt to start a trade with Africa in goods other than slaves. The failure of this attempt discredited him, and led to his early death. However, it was a noble experiment, motivated by a deep concern for the welfare of Africans.
Unlike most other Europeans at the time, Thomas wished to bring about a situation in which Europeans and Africans dealt with each other on an equal footing, whether in politics, commerce or religion. He had the power to understand and sympathise with those who were suffering both at home and abroad, and make their causes his own. The compassion this aroused in him caused him to fight for their rights and justice. As his friend J.J. Cunningham (1847) said: "His sympathy was often awakened by men he had never seen and he gave the best years of his life to their welfare".
Address to the House of Commons on Slavery
Abolition of Slavery
Thomas Fowell Buxton Obituary
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