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Clarkson, Thomas, 1760-1846

Letter from Thomas Clarkson to Thomas Middleditch.

Playford Hall, Suffolk, 1842?
Physical Description:
1 sheet ; 19 x 23 cm, folded to 19 x 12 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2021 10c
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Related Content:
View catalog record for a signet ring bearing the Slave Medallion design
Archives & Manuscripts
Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846) was a prominent British abolitionist and one of the founders of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Thomas Middleditch (1783-1859) served as a Baptist minister in Ipswich from 1813 to 1846, and thereafter in Calne, Wiltshire (see: The Baptist magazine, 1859, p. 432-434).
The Yale Center for British Art also has a signet ring, ca. 1787, bearing the Slave medallion design, in slightly variant form. This item is cataloged separately (see link provided herewith).
Bindman, D. "Am I not a man and a brother?: British art and slavery in the eighteenth century." In Res 26 (Autumn 1994), p. 68-82
Honour, H. Image of the black in Western art, p. 62-64
Written in pen and black ink.
Autograph letter, signed, from Thomas Clarkson to Thomas Middleditch, concerning the possibility of meeting with James Phillippo. The letter is incompletely dated ("Wednesday morning, Playford Hall"), but it was probably written in 1842, when Phillippo, one of the leading Baptist missionaries in Jamaica, made a trip to England to recuperate.
Full transcription: "Dear Sir, My daughter saw in London last week Mr. Philippo from Jamaica. He told her that he was going to Norwich. I wish to know if he is likely to be at Ipswich. If so, I could wish to see him, when he comes. Do you know where his address will be next week. Could you send me a note by putting it into the post office this evening. Yours truly, Thomas Clarkson. Wednesday morning, Playford Hall." Addressed to: "The Revd. Middleditch, Hospital Street, Ipswich."
The letter bears Clarkson's seal, embossed in black wax, with a design by William Hackwood made for Josiah Wedgwood, depicting a kneeling African man in shackles and motto "Am I not a man and a brother." The design is sometimes referred to as the Slave Medallion. It was used as the official seal of the London Committee of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. For more information on the design, see Bindman and Honour.
Subject Terms:
Antislavery movements -- Great Britain.
Baptists -- Great Britain.
Clarkson, Thomas, 1760-1846 -- Correspondence.
Middleditch, Thomas, 1783-1859 -- Correspondence.
Missionaries -- Jamaica.
Phillippo, James M. (James Mursell), 1798-1879.
Hackwood, William, 1757-1839.
IIIF Manifest:

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