George Thompson anti-slavery letters  1836-1842
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 64 letters, 59 of which British anti-slavery activist George Thompson wrote to his friend and fellow activist Elizabeth Pease about his reform work between 1836 and 1841. Thompson wrote the remaining 5 letters during a voyage to India in November and December 1842; 1 was to Pease and 4 were to his wife, Anne.

Several of Thompson's letters to Pease bear a letterhead depicting a master whipping a chained slave. He wrote of his family life and personal affairs in Edinburgh and described his work with reform movements, including the Aborigines' Protection Society, British India Society, and anti-slavery organizations such as the Edinburgh Emancipation Society and the Glasgow Emancipation Society. He mentioned connections between British anti-slavery advocates and those in the United States, and regularly forwarded newspapers, occasionally in bulk, from North America. Thompson attended abolitionist meetings throughout Scotland, and referred to other activists and reformers, including William Smeal and Daniel O'Connell, as well as to the work of women's societies. The letters relate to some of the administrative aspects of Scottish and British reform movements in the mid-1800s.

Thompson wrote 5 letters during a voyage to India in November and December 1842, as he attempted to gain information to assist in his work with the British India Society. He shared his impressions of southern Spain and the Middle East, described his daily routine onboard the Oriental and other ships, and mentioned souvenirs and relics the passengers had taken from Jerusalem (November 16, 1842). In his last letter, written off the Indian coast on December 24, 1842, he reported his efforts to catch a thief onboard the Oriental , and included a drawing of a net the culprit had used to store the stolen items.

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