the friend online
23 March 2007

William Allen - preview

Briony Hudson, Keeper of the Museum Collections at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, tells Allens story

On 25 February 1807, William Allen wrote in his diary 'the young men from my house came home from the House of Commons this morning, at five o'clock, and brought the glorious news that the Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade passed the second reading
  • ' This was particularly 'glorious news' for Allen who had been at the forefront of the anti-slavery movement for more than twenty years, and was to be involved in the cause for the rest of his life

  • Allen, the first President of the Pharmaceutical Society, philanthropist, leading scientist, and well-connected diplomat on behalf of his many causes, was one of many Quaker opponents to the slave trade
  • In 1783, he signed the first petition against the slave trade organised by the Quaker Meeting for Sufferings
  • He became involved with the Sierra Leone Company, which established the colony as a homeland for freed slaves from 1787
  • On 18 April 1791 he sat in the front row of the House of Commons while William Wilberforce (1759-1833) spoke for four hours to promote the anti-slavery cause
  • Wilberforce and Allen became great friends even though their religious beliefs were in opposition
  • Wilberforce wrote: 'I wish your religious principles and my own were more entirely accordant
  • '

    Briony Hudson

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