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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Clarkson’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

William Clarkson Stanfield-Clarkson Frederick Stanfield
3 December 1793 – 18 May 1867

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William Clarkson Stanfield-Clarkson Frederick Stanfield

William Clarkson Stanfield-Clarkson Frederick Stanfield was born at Sunderland, the son of James Field Stanfield (1749–1824) an Irish-born author, actor and former seaman. Clarkson was named after Thomas Clarkson, the slave trade abolitionist, whom his father knew, and this was the only forename he used, although there is reason to believe Frederick was a second one.

Stanfield probably inherited artistic talent from his mother, who is said to have been an artist but died in 1801. He was briefly apprenticed to a coach decorator in 1806, but left owing to the drunkenness of his master’s wife and joined a South Shields collier to become a sailor. In 1808 he was pressed into the Royal Navy, serving in the guardship HMS Namur at Sheerness. Discharged on health grounds in 1814, he then made a voyage to China in 1815 on the East Indiaman Warley and returned with many sketches.

In August 1816 Stanfield was engaged as a decorator and scene-painter at the Royalty Theatre in Wellclose Square, London. Along with David Roberts he was afterwards employed at the Coburg theatre, Lambeth, and in 1823 he became a resident scene-painter at the Drury Lane theatre, where he rose rapidly to fame through the huge quantity of spectacular scenery which he produced for that house until 1834.

Stanfield abandoned scenery painting after Christmas 1834 — though he made exceptions for two personal friends. He designed scenery for the stage productions of William Charles Macready, and for the amateur theatricals of Charles Dickens.

Stanfield partnered with David Roberts in several large-scale diorama and panorama projects in the 1820s and 1830s. The newest development in these popular entertainments was the “moving diorama” or “moving panorama.” These consisted of huge paintings that unfolded upon rollers like giant scrolls; they were supplemented with sound and lighting effects to create a nineteenth-century anticipation of cinema. Stanfield and Roberts produced eight of these entertainments; in light of their later accomplishments as marine painters, their panoramas of two important naval engagements, the Bombardment of Algiers and The Battle of Navarino, are worth noting.

An 1830 tour through Germany and Italy furnished Stanfield with material for two more moving panoramas, The Military Pass of the Simplon (1830) and Venice and Its Adjacent Islands (1831). Stanfield executed the first in only eleven days; it earned him a fee of £300. The Venetian panorama of the next year was 300 feet long and 20 high; gas lit, it unrolled through 15 or 20 minutes. The show included stage props and even singing gondoliers. After the show closed, portions of the work were re-used in productions of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Otway’s Venice Preserved.

The moving panoramas of Stanfield and other artists became highlights of the traditional Christmas pantomimes.

Meanwhile, Stanfield developed his skills as an easel painter, especially of marine subjects; he first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1820 and continued, with only a few early interruptions, to his death. He was also a founder member of the Society of British Artists (from 1824) and its president for 1829, and exhibited there and at the British Institution, where in 1828 his picture Wreckers off Fort Rouge gained a premium of 50 guineas. He was elected Associate Member of the Royal Academy in 1832, and became a full Academician in February 1835. His elevation was in part a result of the interest of William IV who, having admired his St. Michael’s Mount at the Academy in 1831 (now in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia), commissioned two works from him of the Opening of New London Bridge (1832) and The Entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. Both remain in the Royal Collection.

Until his death he contributed a long series of powerful and highly popular works to the Academy, both of marine subjects and landscapes from his travels at home and in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Ireland. Notable works include:

  • The Battle of Trafalgar (1836), executed for the United Service Club
  • the Castle of Ischia (1841), now in Sunderland Museum and Art Gallery
  • Isola Bella (1841), among the results of a visit to Italy in 1839
  • French troops Fording the Magra (1847)
  • HMS The Victory Bearing the Body of Nelson Towed into Gibraltar after the Battle of Trafalgar (1853), painted for Sir Samuel Morton Peto at Somerleyton Hall, Suffolk (which is today open to the public)
  • The Abandoned (1856; untraced since 1930)

He also executed two notable series of Venetian subjects, one for the former dining room at Bowood House, Wiltshire, for the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, the other for the Duchess of Sutherland at Trentham Park, Staffordshire. Neither house survives but some of Stanfield’s work for Bowood can still be seen there (the present Bowood House and park, open to the public, is a conversion of the old stable block). He illustrated Heath’s Picturesque Annuals for the years 1832–34, and in 1838 published a collection of lithographic views on the Rhine, Moselle and Meuse; forty subjects from both sides of the English Channel were also steel-engraved under the title of Stanfield’s Coast Scenery (1836). Among literary works for which he provided illustrations were Captain Marryat’s The Pirate and the Three Cutters (1836), Poor Jack (1840) and the lives and works of Lord Byron, George Crabbe, and Samuel Johnson, mainly in editions by John Murray.

Stanfield’s art was powerfully influenced by his early practice as a scene-painter. But, though there is always a touch of the spectacular and the scenic in his works, and though their colour is apt to be rather dry and hard, they are large and effective in handling, powerful in their treatment of broad atmospheric effects and telling in composition, and they evince the most complete knowledge of the artistic materials with which their painter deals. John Ruskin considered his treatment of the sea and clouds of a very high order and called him the “leader of our English Realists.” Wishing him to be sometimes “less wonderful and more terrible,” Ruskin also pointed out the superior merits of his sketched work, especially in watercolour, to the often contrived picturesque qualities of many of his exhibited oils and the watercolours on which published engravings were based.

Stanfield was admired not only for his art but his personal simplicity and a modesty. He was born a Catholic and became increasingly devout in middle life, after the loss in 1838 of his eldest son by his second marriage (to Rebecca Adcock) and then, in the 1850s, both the children of his first marriage (to Mary Hutchinson, who had died in childbirth).

His eldest surviving son, George Clarkson Stanfield (1828–78) was also a painter of similar subjects, largely trained by his father. His grandson by his daughter Harriet, Joseph Richard Bagshawe was also a marine painter.

Stanfield died at Hampstead, London, and was buried in Kensal Green Catholic Cemetery.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Binney
1798–1874

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Thomas Binney

Thomas Binney was born of Presbyterian parents at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1798, and educated at an ordinary day school. He spent his first seven years in the employment of a G Angus, bookseller and printer of The Side, Newcastle, where he had as a fellow apprentice, Robert Emery. It was during this period that Emery wrote his song about “The Great Frost on the River Tyne” which caused the river to freeze over during January and February 1814. Binney is credited by Thomas Allan, in his Illustrated Edition of Tyneside Songs and Readings with finishing off the song. After his time with the bookseller, he entered the theological school at Wymondley, Hertfordshire, later incorporated in New College, Hampstead.

In 1829, after short pastorates at Bedford (New Meeting) and Newport, Isle of Wight, he accepted a call to the historic King’s Weigh House Chapel, London in succession to the elder John Clayton. Here he became very popular, and it was found necessary to build a much larger chapel on Fish Street Hill, to which the congregation removed. Its eminent members included Samuel Morley MP.

Thomas Binney laid the foundation stone of the new chapel himself, in 1834. An address delivered on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone, published with an appendix containing a strong attack on the influence of the Church of England, gave rise to a long and bitter controversy. Throughout his career Binney was a vigorous opponent of the state church principle, though he maintained friendly relations with many of the dignitaries of the Established Church. From 1865 to 1869, Llewelyn David Bevan assisted Binney at King’s Weigh House Chapel.

His liberality of view and breadth of ecclesiastical sympathy entitle him to rank, on questions of Nonconformity, among the most distinguished of the school of Richard Baxter. Indeed, he became known as ‘the Archbishop of Nonconformity’.

Thomas Binney was an active member of the British and Foreign Anti-slavery Society formed in 1839, which became Anti-Slavery International in 1990. A painting at the National Portrait Gallery in London, The Anti-slavery Convention, 1840, depicts many of the key participants of the first World Anti-Slavery Convention, with Thomas Clarkson introducing the event chaired by the Rev. Thomas Binney. In 1853, when the African-American abolitionist Samuel Ringgold Ward came to Britain to raise funds for the Anti-slavery Society of Canada, a time when there was a vast influx of escaped slaves from the United States seeking refuge in the British colony, he brought letters of introduction to Thomas Binney, planning to seek help initially from fellow Congregationalists in London such as Binney, James Sherman and Josiah Conder. Thomas Binney later became the biographer of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, a leading parliamentary abolitionist.

He continued to discharge the duties of the ministry until 1869, when he resigned. In 1845 he paid a visit to Canada and the United States, and in 1857–1859 to the Australian colonies. The University of Aberdeen conferred the LL.D. degree on him in 1852, and he was twice chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.

Binney pioneered changes to the forms of service in Nonconformist churches, and gave a special impulse to congregational psalmody by the publication of a book entitled The Service of Song in the House of the Lord. Of numerous other works the best-known is his Is it Possible to Make the Best of Both Worlds?, an expansion of a lecture delivered to young men in Exeter Hall, which attained a circulation of 30,000 copies within a year of its publication. He wrote much devotional verse, including the well-known hymn ‘Eternal Light! Eternal Light!’

Binney preached his last sermon in November 1873. After some months of suffering, he died on 24 February 1874. Dean Stanley assisted at his funeral service in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, London, where today his monument, a tall pink granite obelisk, can still be seen near to that of William Booth, close to Church Street.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Granville Sharp
10 November 1735 – 6 July 1813

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Granville Sharp

Granville Sharpwas the son of Thomas Sharp (1693–1759), Archdeacon of Northumberland, prolific theological writer and biographer of his father, John Sharp, Archbishop of York. Sharp was born in Durham in 1735. He had eight older brothers and five younger sisters. Five of his brothers survived their infancy and by the time Sharp had reached his midteens the family funds set aside for their education had been all but depleted, so Sharp was educated at Durham School but mainly at home.

He was apprenticed to a London linen-draper at the age of fifteen. Sharp loved to argue and debate, and his keen intellect found little outlet in the mundane work in which he was involved. However, one of his fellow-apprentices was Socinian (a Unitarian sect that denied the divinity of Christ), and in order better to argue, Sharp taught himself Greek. Another fellow apprentice was Jewish, and so Sharp learned Hebrew in order to be able to discuss theological matters with his colleague. Sharp also conducted genealogical research for one of his masters, Henry Willoughby, who had a claim to the barony of Willoughby de Parham, and it was through Sharp’s work that Willoughby was able to take his place in the House of Lords.

Sharp’s apprenticeship ended in 1757, and both his parents died a year later. That same year he accepted a position as Clerk in the Ordnance Office at the Tower of London. This civil service position allowed him plenty of free time to pursue his scholarly and intellectual pursuits.

Sharp had a keen musical interest. Four of his siblings – William, later to become surgeon to George III, James, Elizabeth and Judith – had also come to London, and they met every day. They all played musical instruments as a family orchestra, giving concerts at William’s house in Mincing Lane and later in the family sailing barge, Apollo, which was moored at the Bishop of London’s steps in Fulham, near William’s country home, Fulham House. The fortnightly water-borne concerts took place from 1775–1783, the year his brother James died. Sharp had an excellent bass voice, described by George III as “the best in Britain”, and he played the clarinet, oboe, flageolet, kettle drums, harp and a double-flute which he had made himself. He often signed his name in notes to friends as G#.

Sharp died at Fulham House on 6 July 1813, and a memorial of him was erected in Westminster Abbey. He lived in Fulham, London, and was buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Fulham. The vicar would not allow a funeral sermon to be preached in the church because Sharp had been involved with the British and Foreign Bible Society, which was Nonconformist.

Sharp is best known for his untiring efforts for the abolition of slavery, although he was involved in many other causes, fired by a dislike of any social or legal injustice.

Sharp’s brother William held a regular surgery for the local poor at his surgery at Mincing Lane, and one day in 1765 when Sharp was visiting, he met Jonathan Strong. Strong was a young black slave from Barbados who had been so badly beaten by his master, David Lisle, a lawyer, that he had been cast out into the street as useless. Sharp and his brother tended to his injuries and had him admitted to Barts Hospital, where his injuries were so bad they necessitated a four-month stay. The Sharps paid for his treatment and, when he was fit enough, found him employment with a Quaker apothecary friend of theirs. In 1767, Lisle saw Strong in the street and had him kidnapped and sold to a planter called James Kerr for £30. Strong was able to get word to Sharp, and in a court attended by the Lord Mayor and the Coroner of London, Lisle and Kerr were denied possession of Strong. They instituted a court action against Sharp claiming £200 damages for taking their property, and Lisle challenged Sharp to a duel—Sharp told Lisle that he could expect satisfaction from the law.

Sharp consulted lawyers and found that as the law stood it favoured the master’s rights to his slaves as property: that a slave remained in law the chattel of his master even on English soil. Sharp said “he could not believe the law of England was really so injurious to natural rights.” He spent the next two years in study of English law, especially where it applied to the liberty of the individual.

Lisle disappeared from the records early, but Kerr persisted with his suit through eight legal terms before it was dismissed, and Kerr was ordered to pay substantial damages for wasting the court’s time. Jonathan Strong was free, even if the law had not been changed, but he only lived for five years as a free man, dying at 25.

The Strong case made a name for Sharp as the “protector of the Negro” and he was approached by two more slaves, although in both cases (Hylas v Newton and R v Stapylton) the results were unsatisfactory, and it became plain that the judiciary – and Lord Mansfield, the Chief Justice of the King’s Bench (the leading judge of the day) in particular – was trying very hard not to decide the issue. By this time, Great Britain was by far the largest trafficker in slaves, transporting more Africans across the Atlantic than all other nations put together, and the slave trade and slave labour were important to the British economy.

In 1769 Sharp published A Representation of the Injustice and Dangerous Tendency of Tolerating Slavery …, the first tract in England attacking slavery.

On 13 January 1772, Sharp was visited and asked for help by James Somersett, a slave from Virginia in America, who had come to England with his master Charles Stewart in 1769 and had run away in October 1771. After evading slave hunters employed by Stewart for 56 days, Somersett had been caught and put in the slave ship Ann and Mary, to be taken to Jamaica and sold. Three Londoners had applied to Lord Mansfield for a writ of habeas corpus, which had been granted, with Somersett having to appear at a hearing on 24 January 1772. Members of the public responded to Somersett’s plight by sending money to pay for his lawyers (who in the event all gave their services pro bono publico), while Stewart’s costs were met by the West Indian planters and merchants.

Calling on his now-formidable knowledge of the law regarding individual liberty, Sharp briefed Somersett’s lawyers. Mansfield’s prevarications stretched Somersett’s Case over six hearings from January to May, and he finally delivered his judgment on 22 June 1772. It was a clear victory for Somersett, Sharp and the lawyers who acted for Somersett: Mansfield acknowledged that English law did not allow slavery, and only a new Act of Parliament (“positive law”) could bring it into legality. However, the verdict in the case is often misunderstood to mean the end of slavery in England. It was no such thing: it only dealt with the question of the forcible sending of someone overseas into bondage; a slave becomes free the moment he sets foot on English territory. It was one of the most significant achievements in the campaign to abolish slavery throughout the world, more for its effect than for its actual legal weight.

In 1781 the crew of the over-capacity slaver ship Zong massacred an estimated 132 slaves by tossing them overboard; an additional ten slaves threw themselves overboard in defiance or despair and over sixty people had perished through neglect, injuries, disease and overcrowding.

The Zong’s crew had mis-navigated her course and underestimated water supplies; according to the maritime law notion of general average, cargo purposely jettisoned at sea to save the remainder was eligible for insurance compensation. It was reasoned that as the slaves were cargo, the ship’s owners would be entitled to the £30 a head compensation for their loss if thrown overboard: were the slaves to die on land or at sea of so-called “natural” causes, no compensation would be forthcoming.

The ship’s owners, a syndicate merchants based in Liverpool, filed their insurance claim; the insurers disputed it. In this first case the court found for the owners. The insurers appealed.

Sharp was visited on 19 March 1783 by Olaudah Equiano, a famous freed slave and later to be the author of a successful autobiography, who told him of the horrific events aboard the Zong. Sharp immediately became involved in the court case, facing his old adversary over slave trade matters, the Solicitor General for England and Wales, Mr. John Lee. Lee notoriously declared that “the case was the same as if asses had been thrown overboard”, and that a master could drown slaves without “a surmise of impropriety”.

The judge ruled that the Zong’s owners could not claim insurance on the slaves: the lack of sufficient water demonstrated that the cargo had been badly managed. However, no officers or crew were charged or prosecuted for the deliberate killing of the slaves, and Sharp’s attempts to mount a prosecution for murder never got off the ground.

Sharp was not completely alone at the beginning of the struggle: the Quakers, especially in America, were committed abolitionists. Sharp had a long and fruitful correspondence with Anthony Benezet, a Quaker abolitionist in Pennsylvania. However, the Quakers were a marginal group in England, and were debarred from standing for Parliament, and they had no doubt as to who should be the chairman of the new society they were founding, The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. On 22 May 1787, at the inaugural meeting of the Committee – nine Quakers and three Anglicans (who strengthened the committee’s likelihood of influencing Parliament) – Sharp’s position was unanimously agreed. In the 20 years of the society’s existence, during which Sharp was ever-present at Committee meetings, such was Sharp’s modesty that he would never take the chair, always contriving to arrive just after the meeting had started to avoid any chance of having to take the meeting. While the committee felt it sensible to concentrate on the slave trade, Sharp felt strongly that the target should be slavery itself. On this he was out-voted, but he worked tirelessly for the Society nevertheless.

When Sharp heard that the Act of Abolition had at last been passed by both Houses of Parliament and given Royal Assent on 25 March 1807, he fell to his knees and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. He was now 71, and had outlived almost all of the allies and opponents of his early campaigns. He was regarded as the grand old man of the abolition struggle, and although a driving force in its early days, his place had later been taken by others such as Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect. Sharp however did not see the final abolition as he died on 6 July 1813

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Bishop Beilby Porteus
8 May 1731-13 May 1809

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Beilby Porteus

Beilby was born in York, last but one of nineteen children. Educated at York and Ripon, he was a classics scholar at Christ’s College, Cambridge. In 1759 he won the Seatonian Prize for his poem Death: A Poetical Essay.

He was ordained as a priest in 1757, and in 1762 was appointed as domestic chaplain to Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was during this position he became more aware of the conditions of the enslaved Africans in the American colonies and the British West Indies. He corresponded with clergy and missionaries, receiving reports on the appalling conditions facing the slaves from Reverend James Ramsay in the West Indies and from Granville Sharp.

In 1769 Porteus was appointed chaplain to King George III. He is listed as one of the lenten preachers at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall in 1771, 1773 and 1774. He was also Rector of Lambeth from 1767–77, and Master of St Cross, Winchester between 1776–77.

Porteus was concerned about trends within the Church of England towards the watering-down of the truth of Scripture. He stood for doctrinal purity and opposed the anti-subscription movement, which would have watered down cardinal Christian doctrines and beliefs. At the same time he was prepared to suggest a compromise of a revision to some of the Articles. Always a Church of England man, he was, however, happy to work with Methodists and dissenters.

Porteus was nominated as Bishop of Chester, taking up the appointment in 1777. He lost no time in getting to grips with the problems of a diocese which had a vastly growing population within the many new centres of the Industrial Revolution, most of which were in the north-west of England, but where there were the fewest parishes. The appalling poverty and deprivation amongst the immigrant workers in new manufacturing industries represented a huge challenge to the church, resulting in vast pressure upon the parish resources. He continued to take a deep interest in the plight of West Indian slaves, preaching and campaigning actively against the slave trade and taking part in many debates in the House of Lords (As a Bishop he had become a member), becoming known as a noted abolitionist. He took a particular interest in the affairs of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, especially regarding the Church of England’s attempts to administer its plantations on the Codrington estate in Barbados.

Renowned as a scholar and a popular preacher, it was in 1783 that the young bishop was to first come to national attention by preaching his most famous and influential sermon. At the 1783 Anniversary Sermon of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts he criticised the Church’s role in ignoring the plight of the slaves on its estates in Barbados and to recommend means by which the lot of slaves there could be improved. It was an impassioned and well-reasoned plea for The Civilisation, Improvement and Conversion of the Negroe Slaves in the British West-India Islands Recommended, and was preached at the church of St Mary-le-Bow before forty members of the society, including eleven bishops of the Church of England.

It largely fell upon deaf ears. Porteus next began work on his Plan for the Effectual Conversion of the Slaves of the Codrington Estate, which he presented to the SPG committee in 1784 and, when it was turned down, again in 1789. These were the first challenges to the establishment in an eventual 26-year campaign to eradicate slavery in the British West Indian colonies.

Porteus made a huge contribution and eventually turned to other means of achieving his aims, including writing, encouraging political initiatives, and supporting the sending of mission workers to Barbados and Jamaica. Deeply concerned about the lot of the slaves as a result of the reports he received, Porteus became a committed and passionate abolitionist, the most senior churchman of his day to take an active part in the campaign against slavery. He became involved with the group of abolitionists at Teston, led by Sir Charles Middleton, and soon became acquainted with William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, Henry Thornton, Zachary Macaulay and other committed activists.

As Wilberforce’s bill for the abolition of the slave trade was brought before the British parliament time and time again over eighteen years from 1789, Porteus campaigned vigorously and energetically supported the campaign from within the Church of England and the bench of bishops in the House of Lords.

In 1787, on the advice of Prime Minister William Pitt, Porteus became Bishop of London a position he held until his death in 1809. As is customary, he was also appointed to the Privy Council, and Dean of the Chapel Royal. In 1788, he supported Sir William Dolben’s Slave Trade Bill from the bench of bishops, and over the next quarter century he became the leading advocate within the Church of England for the abolition of slavery.

In view of his passionate involvement in the anti-slavery movement and his friendship with other leading abolitionists, it was especially appropriate that, as Bishop of London, he should now find himself with official responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the British colonies overseas. He was responsible for missions to the West Indies, as well as to India, and towards the end of his life personally funded the sending of scriptures in the language of many peoples as far apart as Greenland and India.

A man of strong moral principle, Porteus was also passionately concerned about what he saw as the moral decay in the nation during the eighteenth century, and campaigned against trends which he saw as contributory factors, such as pleasure gardens, theatres and the non-observance of the Lord’s Day. He enlisted the support of his friend Hannah More, former dramatist and bluestocking, to write tracts against the wickedness of the immorality and licentious behaviour which were common at these events. He vigorously opposed the spread of the principles of the French Revolution.

During much of the following 20 years – a time of huge national and international political upheaval, Porteus was in a position to influence opinion in the influential circles of the Court, the government, the City of London and the highest echelons of Georgian society. Porteus did this, partly by encouraging debate on subjects as diverse as the slave trade, Catholic emancipation, the pay and conditions of low-paid clergy, the perceived excesses of entertainment taking place on Sundays—and by becoming a vocal supporter of William Wilberforce, Hannah More and the Clapham Sect of evangelical social reformers. He was also appointed as one of the members of the Board for Encouragement of Agriculture and internal Improvement in 1793. He was active in the establishment of Sunday Schools in every parish, an early patron of the Church Missionary Society and one of the founder members of the British and Foreign Bible Society, of which he became vice-president.

He was a well-known and passionate advocate of personal Bible-reading and even gave his name to a system of daily devotions using the Porteusian Bible, published after his death, highlighting the most important and useful passages; and was responsible for the new innovation of the use of tracts by church organisations.

A gradual decline in his health began in 1806. Bishop Porteus died at Fulham Palace in 1809.

Beilby Porteus was one of the most significant, albeit underrated church figures of the eighteenth century. His sermons continued to be read by many, and his legacy as a foremost abolitionist was such that his name was almost as well known in the early nineteenth century as those of Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson – but a hundred years later he had become one of the ‘forgotten abolitionists’, and today his role has largely been ignored and his name has been consigned to the footnotes of history.

His primary claim to fame in the twenty-first century is for his poem on Death and, possibly unfairly, as the supposed prototype for the pompous Mr Collins in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

But it is ironic that Porteus’ most lasting contribution was one for which he is little-known, the Sunday Observance Act of 1781 (a response to what he saw as the moral decay of England), which legislated the ways in which the public were allowed to spend their recreation time at weekends for the following two hundred years, until the passage of the Sunday Trading Act of 1994.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Hannah More
February 2 1745 to September 7 1833

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More was a poet, a playwright, a bluestocking, and a member of the Abolitionist movement. Born the fourth of five daughters to Jacob More, a schoolmaster. Jacob first educated the girls, and the older girls were also able to teach Hannah. In 1758, Jacob established a girls’ boarding school in Bristol. Hannah became one of the teachers there.

At first Hannah wrote pastoral plays, in 1762 The Search after Happiness which by the mid 80s had sold over 10,000 copies. She based The Inflexible Captive on the opera Attilio Regulo.

In1767 she became engaged to one William turner, but six years later they still had not wed and the engagement was broken. At this juncture More may have had a breakdown. Turner now gave More a £200 annuity which was enough to set herself up in London. She met the famed actor and playwright, David Garrick at this time.

This expanded her circle to Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke. And now she became a noted Bluestocking. In 1777 her play, Percy was performed to great success. When Garrick died and her next play was ill received, she never wrote for the stage again. In 1781 she met Horace Walpole. With a friend, she tried to help the poet Ann Yearsley whose abusive husband had Yearsley twist things around. The insinuations that Yearsley spread caused More to withdraw from London’s intellectual circles.

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In the 80s More be vane to publish on Society and Religion. By 1790 she was friends with William Wilberforce and Zachary Macaulay. Over the next thirty years she wrote many tracts on society. She was against Slavery, and she was against the influence of the French Revolution. In 1800 she set up 12 schools that taught reading but not writing, to the local children. She contributed to the founding of Kenyon College. She gained enemies in the farmers, whose children she was helping, and the Church, who were not doing the job. She retained all her faculties until the last 2 years of her life. Philanthropists from all over made pilgrimage to meet with the bright and amiable old lady.

Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):

George III George IV Georgiana Cavendish
William IV Lady Hester Stanhope Lady Caroline Lamb
Princess Charlotte Queen Charlotte Charles James Fox
Queen Adelaide Dorothea Jordan Jane Austen
Maria Fitzherbert Lord Byron John Keats
Princess Caroline Percy Bysshe Shelley Cassandra Austen
Edmund Kean Thomas Clarkson Sir John Moore
John Burgoyne William Wilberforce Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Sarah Siddons Josiah Wedgwood Emma Hamilton


There will be many other notables coming, a full and changing list can be found here on the blog as I keep adding to it. The list so far is:

John Phillip Kemble
Ann Hatton
Stephen Kemble
Harriet Mellon
Mary Robinson
Wellington (the Military man)
Nelson
Howe
St. Vincent

Zachary Macaulay

Packenham
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Stapleton Cotton
Thomas Picton
Constable
Lawrence
Cruikshank
Gillray
Joshua Reynolds
Horace Walpole
Rowlandson
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Sir Marc Brunel
Marquis of Stafford George Leveson-Gower
George Stephenson
William Huskisson
Robert Stephenson
Fanny Kemble
Mary Shelley
Ann Radcliffe
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Charles Arbuthnot
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Matthew Gregory Lewis
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Scrope Davies
Henry Holland
Sir Walter Scott
Lord Elgin
Jeffery Wyatville
Hester Thrale
William Windham
Madame de Stael
James Boswell
Edward Eliot
George Combe
Sir Harry Smith
Juana Maria de Los Dolores de Leon (Lady Smith)
Duke of Argyll, George William Campbell (1766-1839)
Lord Barrymore, Richard Barry (1769-1794)
Lord Bedford, Francis Russell (1765-1802)
Mr. G. Dawson Damer (1788-1856)
Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (1748-1811)
Lord Foley, Thomas Foley (1780-1833)
Colonel George Hanger (c.1751-1824)
Lord Hertford, Francis Seymour-Ingram (1743-1822)
Lord Yarmouth, Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram (1777-1842)
Edward “Golden Ball” Hughes (1798-1863)
Earl of Jersey, George Bussey Villiers (1735-1805)
Sir John , John Lade (1759-1838)
Duke of Norfolk, Charles Howard (1746-1815)
Duke of York , Frederick Augustus Hanover (1763-1827)
Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1785 as Duc d’ Orleans (1747-1793)
Louis Philippe, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1793 as Duc d’ Orleans (1773-1850)
Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne (1752-1803)
Viscount Petersham, Charles Stanhope(1780-1851)
Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas (1724-1810)
Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners(1778-1857)
Lord Sefton, William Philip Molyneux (1772-1838)
Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (1759-1801)
Sir Lumley St. George Skeffington Baronet (1771 – 1850)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1766-1835)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1792-1853)
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Edward Pellew
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings
Mendoza
Edmund Burke

The Dandy Club
        Beau Brummell
        William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
        Henry Mildmay
        Henry Pierrepoint

Patronesses of Almacks
        Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
        Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
        Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
        Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
        Mrs. Drummond Burrell
        Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador
        Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Josiah Wedgwood
July 12 1730 to January 3 1795

Wedgwood was a potter and founder of the Wedgwood company. He is credited with industrializing the manufacturing of pottery. He also became a noted abolitionist in the circle of Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce. Josiah was the grandfather of another very famous man, Charles Darwin.

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Josiah was the twelfth and last child born to his parents. He was raised in a family of English Dissenters, not Church of England. He served as an apprentice potter to his brother, Thomas Wedgwood IV. Josiah had survived smallpox as a child, but he had a weakened knee, so he could not work the foot pedal of a potter’s wheel. He thus concentrated on the design of pottery, and how he could make those designs.

In his twenties he began to work with the most illustrious potter of his day, Thomas Whieldon, and became Whieldon’s parter in 1754. He began to experiment more with techniques now, even as the city of Manchester began to grow. He married a wealthy distant cousin, Sarah, and with the injection of family money, he leased the Ivy Works which now became the first true pottery factory.

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His experiments led him to unique glazes and by 1763 he was being commissioned by the highest ranks of British society, including Queen Charlotte. Works of his during this period are now shown in museums around the globe. As a leading industrialist, and a wealthy man, he was a backer of the Trent and Mersey Canal. His success and growth caused the company to move to Etruria and leave the Ivy Works behind. At the Etruria works he even built a village for his workers.

The effects of the smallpox on his leg caused the amputation of his right leg. In 1780 his longtime partner died and Wedgwood turned to Erasmus Darwin to help run the successful business. This led to the children of the two uniting, and marrying. It was the Wedgwood inheritance that allowed Charles Darwin to pay for his being a naturalist.

From 1786 to 1789, Wedgwood took on the project of duplicating the Portland Vase from the 1st century BD. He passed on the management of the company to his sons and died at home in 1795, most likely from jaw cancer. Over the course of his life he is credited with inventing modern marketing, including direct mail, money-back guarantees, travelling salesmen, self-service, free deliver, buy one get one free and illustrated catalogs.

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He was also a noted abolitionist and created the medallion “Am I Not a Man And a Brother?” for the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. It was the most famous image of a black person in 18th-century art. The design transferred clothing and became one of the first symbolic pieces to become adornments on clothing across all classes and of mass appeal. It went from clothing to hang on walls and even used on clay tobacco pipes.

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Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):

George III George IV Georgiana Cavendish
William IV Lady Hester Stanhope Lady Caroline Lamb
Princess Charlotte Queen Charlotte Charles James Fox
Queen Adelaide Dorothea Jordan Jane Austen
Maria Fitzherbert Lord Byron John Keats
Princess Caroline Percy Bysshe Shelley Cassandra Austen
Edmund Kean Thomas Clarkson Sir John Moore
John Burgoyne William Wilberforce Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Sarah Siddons


There will be many other notables coming, a full and changing list can be found here on the blog as I keep adding to it. The list so far is:

Hannah More
John Phillip Kemble
Ann Hatton
Stephen Kemble
Harriet Mellon
Mary Robinson
Wellington (the Military man)
Nelson
Howe
St. Vincent
Packenham
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Stapleton Cotton
Thomas Picton
Constable
Lawrence
Cruikshank
Gillray
Reynolds
Rowlandson
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Sir Marc Brunel
Marquis of Stafford George Leveson-Gower
George Stephenson
William Huskisson
Robert Stephenson
Fanny Kemble
Mary Shelley
Ann Radcliffe
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Charles Arbuthnot
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Matthew Gregory Lewis
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Scrope Davies
Henry Holland
Sir Walter Scott
Lord Elgin
Jeffery Wyatville
Hester Thrale
William Windham
Madame de Stael
James Boswell
Edward Eliot
George Combe
Sir Harry Smith
Juana Maria de Los Dolores de Leon (Lady Smith)
Duke of Argyll, George William Campbell (1766-1839)
Lord Barrymore, Richard Barry (1769-1794)
Lord Bedford, Francis Russell (1765-1802)
Mr. G. Dawson Damer (1788-1856)
Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (1748-1811)
Lord Foley, Thomas Foley (1780-1833)
Colonel George Hanger (c.1751-1824)
Lord Hertford, Francis Seymour-Ingram (1743-1822)
Lord Yarmouth, Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram (1777-1842)
Edward “Golden Ball” Hughes (1798-1863)
Earl of Jersey, George Bussey Villiers (1735-1805)
Sir John , John Lade (1759-1838)
Duke of Norfolk, Charles Howard (1746-1815)
Duke of York , Frederick Augustus Hanover (1763-1827)
Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1785 as Duc d’ Orleans (1747-1793)
Louis Philippe, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1793 as Duc d’ Orleans (1773-1850)
Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne (1752-1803)
Viscount Petersham, Charles Stanhope(1780-1851)
Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas (1724-1810)
Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners(1778-1857)
Lord Sefton, William Philip Molyneux (1772-1838)
Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (1759-1801)
Sir Lumley St. George Skeffington Baronet (1771 – 1850)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1766-1835)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1792-1853)
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Edward Pellew
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings
Mendoza
Edmund Burke

The Dandy Club
        Beau Brummell
        William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
        Henry Mildmay
        Henry Pierrepoint

Patronesses of Almacks
        Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
        Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
        Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
        Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
        Mrs. Drummond Burrell
        Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador
        Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador

Read Full Post »

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

William Wilberforce
August 24 1759 to July 29 1833

Perhaps the greatest force for the ending of slavery in Parliament in the British Empire. He entered politics at the age of twenty and worked there for over 45 years. His work with Thomas Clarkson, a partnership, saw to the end of the horrible institution.

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His father was a wealthy merchant. His grandfather had twice been the mayor of Hull. He was sickly as a child and for a time was sent to board with a prosperous uncle. They began to allow him to explore evangelical Christianity and his mother, very Church of England, brought him home. At 17 he went to St. John’s College Cambridge, but he was also independently wealthy at this time. Hard to imagine, but Wilberforce partied more than he studied. Here he made the friendship of William Pitt the Younger.

Pitt convinced him to stand for Kingston upon Hill and spending £8,000 he won. He resolved to be a no party man, though he was inconsistent, he did not ally with either party. But still he was a member of the Ton now, and he did go to many social parties. Prinny said he would go anywhere to hear Wilberforce sing. William was known to be described as the wittiest man in England. In 1784 Wilberforce stood and won Yorkshire.

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In 1784 Wilberforce went on his Grand Tour. While on it, he began to read the bible and give over his former partying ways. Puritan religious thoughts were not the norm, but the exact opposite of it. One expected your late Georgian member of the Ton to being a spendthrift gadabout. Wilberforce had been that and now had switched completely around. Now his reconstituted conscience ruled and he became that advocate for reform that was sorely needed.

From the 1500s, the British had been involved in the slave trade. It was very lucrative and many fortunes were founded on it. Many peoples livelihoods were based on it. In 1787 at a dinner on May 12th it was agreed that Wilberforce would lead the movement in Parliament to abolish Slavery and the Slave Trade. The first meeting of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade took place 10 days later. Wilberforce actually did not join the committee officially until 1791.

There was a lot of ground work in getting the Slave Trade made illegal. First were motions to condemn the trade. Then actual bills to be passed to outlaw it. The first bills failed to pass. The first bill in April of 1791 was introduced to Parliament with a four hour speech by Wilberforce. With the French Revolution and the terror also taking place at the same time, Wilberforce was thought to be a Jacobin agitator by some.

The war with France took precedence during this period as well. And though attempts were made to end the Slave Trade, the war with France made passage of such a law, impossible. Clarkson’s health failed for a time and he retired. The Committee stopped to meet, and even Wilberforce took his eye from his great task. In April 1797 he met Barbara Ann Spooner and they were married rather quickly in May. They had six children in ten years.

In 1804, Clarkson returned and the Society began to meet again. Pitt died in 1806 and now Wilberforce worked more with the Whigs (DWW-The Tories though were about to take over the government for a long time) Now A bill was proposed that the Slave Trade needed to be curtailed in the colonies so it could not aid the French. It became law on May 23rd 1806. The general election of 1806 made slavery an issue and more abolitionists were elected MPs. 15 years since the first bill had been put before Parliament. In early 1807 the bill to abolish the Slave Trade in the Empire finally passed and was made law. Slavery still existed but it was the most significant step to stop slavery yet taken.

As much as he was desperate to end Slavery, Wilberforce did not carry that out with other liberal ideals. He was against women organizing to vote. Not until 1813 did he believe in Catholic emancipation. In 1812, never having been truly healthy, he resigned his Yorkshire seat and took up for Bramber in Sussex, a pocket borough. Over the next few years he continued to urge for the end of slavery. He also tried to mediate between King George IV (once Wilberforce’s admirer when he sang) and Caroline of Brunswick who sought to be recognized as queen.

In the 1820s he declined a peerage because of his poor health. He also finally resigned his seat in Parliament. A venture into farming in 1830 cost him a great deal of money and he had little income and had to retrench. His health still failing, the government did introduce a bill for the Abolition of Slavery. It looked like it would pass, and yet Wilberforce died one month before it finally did pass.

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He is buried now in Westminster Abbey, near his friend Pitt. He wanted to be buried near his daughter and sister in Stoke Newington, but both sides of the Houses of Parliament urged he be given this national recognition.

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Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):

George III George IV Georgiana Cavendish
William IV Lady Hester Stanhope Lady Caroline Lamb
Princess Charlotte Queen Charlotte Charles James Fox
Queen Adelaide Dorothea Jordan Jane Austen
Maria Fitzherbert Lord Byron John Keats
Princess Caroline Percy Bysshe Shelley Cassandra Austen
Edmund Kean Thomas Clarkson Sir John Moore
John Burgoyne


There will be many other notables coming, a full and changing list can be found here on the blog as I keep adding to it. The list so far is:

Hannah More
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
John Phillip Kemble
Sarrah Siddons
Harriet Mellon
Mary Robinson
Wellington (the Military man)
Nelson
Howe
St. Vincent
Packenham
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Stapleton Cotton
Thomas Picton
Constable
Lawrence
Cruikshank
Gillray
Reynolds
Rowlandson
Josiah Wedgwood
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Sir Marc Brunel
Marquis of Stafford George Leveson-Gower
George Stephenson
William Huskisson
Robert Stephenson
Fanny Kemble
Mary Shelley
Ann Radcliffe
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Charles Arbuthnot
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Matthew Gregory Lewis
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Beau Brummell
William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
Henry Mildmay
Henry Pierrepoint
Scrope Davies
Henry Holland
Sir Walter Scott
Lord Elgin
Jeffery Wyatville
Madame de Stael
James Boswell
Edward Eliot
Sir Harry Smith
Juana Maria de Los Dolores de Leon (Lady Smith)
Duke of Argyll, George William Campbell (1766-1839)
Lord Barrymore, Richard Barry (1769-1794)
Lord Bedford, Francis Russell (1765-1802)
Mr. G. Dawson Damer (1788-1856)
Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (1748-1811)
Lord Foley, Thomas Foley (1780-1833)
Colonel George Hanger (c.1751-1824)
Lord Hertford, Francis Seymour-Ingram (1743-1822)
Lord Yarmouth, Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram (1777-1842)
Edward “Golden Ball” Hughes (1798-1863)
Earl of Jersey, George Bussey Villiers (1735-1805)
Sir John , John Lade (1759-1838)
Duke of Norfolk, Charles Howard (1746-1815)
Duke of York , Frederick Augustus Hanover (1763-1827)
Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1785 as Duc d’ Orleans (1747-1793)
Louis Philippe, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1793 as Duc d’ Orleans (1773-1850)
Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne (1752-1803)
Viscount Petersham, Charles Stanhope(1780-1851)
Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas (1724-1810)
Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners(1778-1857)
Lord Sefton, William Philip Molyneux (1772-1838)
Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (1759-1801)
Sir Lumley St. George Skeffington Baronet (1771 – 1850)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1766-1835)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1792-1853)
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Edward Pellew
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings
Mendoza
Edmund Burke

Patronesses of Almacks
        Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
        Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
        Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
        Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
        Mrs. Drummond Burrell
        Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador
        Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador

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