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Resource Date: 1839

Number: 20

Record Office: Suffolk Record Office

Record Office Location Number: HD827/1/1/4/5/1


Letter from Thomas Clarkson of Playford Hall, near Ipswich 19 Sep 1839 .

Notes: Refers to the struggle with the sons of the late Mr Wilberforce and the state of slavery in the Southern States of America. 

Letter from Thomas Clarkson (refers to the struggle with Wilberforce's sons)

Playford Hall near Ips 19 Sep 1839 My Friend I received your letter of July 13th and to which being in my 80th year, and nearly blind and otherwise indisposed I fear I must make but a short reply - I thank you sincerely for the sympathy you express on account of the struggle (I presume you allude to it) which I have had with the sons of the late Mr Wilberforce. They know best the motive, which guided them in their cruel and unwarrantable attack upon me; but it is a pleasure to me to inform you that no sooner had my public answer to them come out gratulatory addresses to me from public bodies, vindicated my character. And yet, poor deluded young men, though they wished to injure my character, I freely forgive them! It does not become me, particularly at my time of life when I should be at peace with all men, to cherish animosities, but especially against the children of a deceased friend whose virtues, and whose indefatigable exertions in the sacred cause of liberty, still live, and will for ever live, in my Heart. - It grieves me, indeed it afflicts me, when I think that Things have taken such a strange turn in your part of the world. The people of the Southern states have disgraced themselves by laws, such as the most barbarous heathen nations of antiquity never thought of against their slaves, and they have been aided in their nefarious attempts by Ministers (I blush to say) of the Gospel who have lent themselves to the confederacy. O, what is man when he has deserted his religious principles! But this is not all, for I am told that there are thousands, and many Thousands even in the Northern States, where one would have expected a virtuous race of men, who defend Slavery. It is time indeed that you should protest, as I am pleased to hear you have done, against the horrible invasion of human rights, this attempt to destroy the intellect and responsibility of Man; this bar against all the Principles of the Gospel, lest you should be included in those awful and heavy judgements of God (which must fall sooner or later, upon the heads of your southern neighbours) who will not suffer such deliberate, such monstrous wickedness to go long unpunished, seeing that, as the Creator, he stands in equal relationship to all, whether they be black or white, or whether they be bond or free. This protest ought to be, if it can be, made as universally as possible, in those of the northern states of the Union, that they may stand clear of the guilt, when the day of visitation shall come - I remain with best wishes that you may be guided by God's Holy Spirit in the right path of duty towards our injured and oppressed fellow creatures of the same human Family as ourselves Your friend Thomas Clarkson than the People of England, apparently with one word, through the medium of the press and [Note that this letter is not in Thomas Clarkson's handwriting]
Source Files:
Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich
31 KB File
Manuscript letter
1.86 MB Image

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