‘Our Clapham system’

Anne Stott

in Wilberforce

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199699391
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739132 | DOI:
‘Our Clapham system’

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Making extensive use of the correspondence of Marianne Sykes and the diary of William Wilberforce, this chapter details the origins of the Clapham Sect between 1790 and 1793. It shows how Wilberforce became ever more closely connected with the Midlands Evangelicals, Thomas Babington and Thomas Gisborne. The abolition bills of 1791 and 1792 are discussed. There is a short analysis of the relationship of Henry Thornton and Marianne Sykes. Wilberforce’s move to Clapham is described and there is a brief discussion of John Venn and Charles Grant. The founding of the Sierra Leone Company and the Clapham sect’s relationships with the Temne ruler, Naimbaba and his son are analysed. This public discussion is interwoven with a study of Wilberforce’s personal life, in particular his reaction to his sister’s marriage.

Keywords: William Wilberforce; Thomas Gisborne; Thomas Babington; Marianne Sykes; Henry Thornton; slave trade abolition bills; Clapham Sect; Charles Grant; John Venn; Sierra Leone Company

Chapter.  10262 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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