Buxton, Thomas Fowell, Sir, 1786-1845

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Thomas Fowell Buxton was born on April 1, 1786 in Essex, England. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with high honors. Buxton's interest in prison reform led him to publish a book entitled Inquiry into Prison Discipline, based on his inspection of London's Newgate Prison. In 1822 Buxton succeeded William Wilberforce as leader of the campaign in the House of Commons for the abolition of slavery in the British colonies. He joined Wilberforce and others in founding the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1823. Buxton's ideas, expressed in The African Slave Trade and Its Remedy (1839), inspired the British government to send an expedition to the Niger River Delta in 1841. The expedition failed and was soon recalled. Buxton died on February 19, 1845 in Norfolk, England.

From the description of The papers of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1804-1847 (inclusive), [microform]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122543502

Epithet: of Datchett Street Spitalfields

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000862.0x00028c

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, First Baronet, British politician, and philanthropist, was prominent in the anti-slavery movement.

From the description of Letter to Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1826. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 550666958

Epithet: yeoman

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000978.0x000034

Philanthropist.

From the description of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton papers, 1826-1833. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79452415

Governor of South Australia 1895-99.

From the description of Papers. (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 225845321

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (1786-1845), philanthropist, received his higher education from 1803 at Trinity College, Dublin, where he received the university gold medal. In 1807, he married Hannah Gurney, by whom he had three sons and two daughters, though his eldest son and two other children died in 1820.

In 1808 he joined the firm of Truman, Hanbury, & Co., brewers, of Spitalfields, London, where he interested himself in various local charitable undertakings, especially those connected with education, the Bible Society, and the sufferings of the weavers. He also organised a system of relief for the population of the area in 1816. At this time, he published An Inquiry, whether Crime and Misery are produced or prevented, by our present system of prison discipline (London, J. & A. Arch, 1818), a book which led to the formation of the Society for the Reformation of Prison Discipline (whose committee he later joined) and also, indirectly, to an investigation into the management of the gaols in Madras, India.

From 1818 to 1837 he represented Weymouth as M.P.; at the same time he devoted himself to the preparation of a work on prison discipline, the foundation of a savings bank and salt fish market in Spitalfields, an inquiry into the management of the London Hospital, and the formation of a new Bible Association. Taking a close interest in the operation of the criminal laws, he supported Mackintosh's motion in 1820 for abolishing the death penalty for forgery.

In 1824, Wilberforce, leader of the anti-slavery party in the House of Commons, asked Buxton to become his successor. Buxton, who had been a member of the African Institution and an active supporter of the movement for some years, accepted, and pursued the cause vigorously until the abolition of British slavery in 1834. He also campaigned against the apprenticeship system in the West Indies after emancipation. After losing his seat in 1837, he sought the abolition of the slave trade in Africa itself, and published The African Slave Trade (London, John Murray, 1839). He recommended various measures, including the formation of treaties with native chiefs, the purchase of Fernando Po as a local headquarters and market of commerce, the formation of a company to introduce agriculture and commerce into Africa, and an expedition up the River Niger to set forward preliminary arrangements. The Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade and the Civilisation of Africa was established, but the Niger expedition ended disastrously, with the deaths of forty-one members of the party from the African fever.

Eventually, the expedition produced positive results for the British, including the opening up of Central Africa and the formation of an important trade in cotton and other articles. However, its failure affected Buxton badly, and his health deteriorated. For the few years until the end of his life, he devoted himself to his estates near Cromer, Norfolk, where he established plantations and model farms. Awarded a baronetcy in 1840, he is commemorated by a statue by Thrupp in the north transept of Westminster Abbey.

From the guide to the Correspondence of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Bart., [ca. 1807]-1845, (The Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Correspondence of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Bart., [ca. 1807]-1845 The Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House
referencedIn Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, Letters and Papers, 1805-1903, 1805-1903 The Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House
referencedIn R. H. Mottram letter, 1943 L. Tom Perry Special Collections20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
referencedIn Papers of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Bart., 1804-1847 The Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House
creatorOf Buxton, Thomas Fowell, Sir, 1786-1845. Letter to Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1826. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Smith, William, 1756-1835. Papers, 1785-1860. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf LEASE by John Edwards of the Old Artillery Ground, [Spitalfields] co. Midd., carpenter, to Thomas Buxton of Datchet Street [Datchett al. Dorset Street afterwards Duval Street] in the parish of Christchurch [Spitalfields], co. Midd., of property in Da... British Library
creatorOf Buxton, Thomas Fowell, Sir, 1786-1845. Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton papers, 1826-1833. Library of Congress
creatorOf Buxton, Thomas Fowell, 1786-1845. Papers. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Mottram, R. H. (Ralph Hale), 1883-1971. Letter, 1943. Harold B. Lee Library
creatorOf Buxton, Thomas Fowell, Sir. Letter : 1840 October 16, Brewery, Spitalfields, England, to Sir Robert Harry Inglis. Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Clarkson, Thomas, 1760-1846. Papers, 1814-1846. Moorland-Spingarn Resource Center
creatorOf Buxton, Thomas Fowell, Sir, 1786-1845. The papers of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1804-1847 (inclusive), [microform]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton and Priscilla Buxton Letters, 1824-1834 The Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House
referencedIn Lease British Library
creatorOf Correspondence of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Bart., [ca. 1807]-1845 The Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House
creatorOf Aberdeen, George Hamilton Gordon, Earl of, 1784-1860,. British abolition movement papers, 1821-1887. University of Virginia. Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Church Broughton, Derbyshire
Great Britain
Great Britain
Stepney, Middlesex
Derby, Derbyshire
Australia--South Australia
West Indies
Subject
Letters 19th century
Blacks--History
Governors--Archives
Slave trade--History--19th century
Blacks
Abolitionists--History--19th century
Occupation
Abolitionists
Philanthropists
Function

Person

Birth 1786-04-07

Death 1845-02-19

Britons

English

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