AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED BY CLARKSON, 17 JANUARY 1811 FROM LONDON, TO WILLIAM FREND, DISCUSSING DR. WILLIAM DICKSON'S UPCOMING PUBLICATION ABOUT SLAVERY: "MY FRIEND, AND OLD FELLOW-LABOURER, DR. DICKSON IS GOING TO PUBLISH A WORK, NOT ONLY SHEWING HOW SLAVES MAY BE GRADUALLY BROUGHT FROM A STATE OF SLAVERY TO FREEDOM, BUT ALSO THAT THE PURCHASE OF NEW NEGROES IS ALWAYS ATTENDED WITH LOSS. THIS LATTER PROPOSITION, IF REDUCED TO AN AXIOM, WOULD HAVE ITS MIGHT, AND HE IS THEREFORE VERY DESIROUS, THAT YOU, AS AN ABLE MATHEMATICIAN, SHOULD GIVE HIM ABOUT 3 HOURS [IT WILL REQUIRE NO MORE] TO INVESTIGATE IN YOUR OWN CLOSET HIS NEW THEOREM. I HAVE NO DOUBT, FROM THE GREAT INTEREST YOU HAVE ALWAYS TAKEN IN THIS GREAT QUESTION, THAT YOU WILL MOST READILY COMPLY WITH DR. DICKSON'S REQUEST. WHEN I COME TO TOWN IN MAY, I WILL CALL UPON YOU. YOURS TRULY, T. CLARKSON "
London: January 17, 1811. One page, 7" x 9," written on recto in neat ink manuscript. With a four-line ink manuscript note on verso, signed by the activist Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan: "This letter was addressed to my father William Frend who had worked with Thomas Clarkson some years before for the Abolition of Negro Slavery." Chained paper with watermark "PP." Minor toning and edgewear. Very Good plus.
[offered with] Stipple engraving, portrait of Thomas Clarkson. [Fisher, Son & Co., London & Paris, 1836. Painted by S. Lane. Engraved by J. Cochran.] 5-1/4" x 7-3/4". Clarkson is seated in a chair, body angled to the left, facing forward. Wears formal attire with ruffled cravat, holding a feather pen in one hand. Printed on heavy stock with facsimile signature below portrait. Light toning and foxing. Very Good.
National Portrait Gallery, NPG D2085.
Thomas Clarkson [1760-1846] was the tireless Englishman who campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery. He was vice-president of the Anti-Slavery Society with William Wilberforce. William Frend [1757-1841] was an English clergyman. radical social reformer and scientific writer.
William Dickson's 1814 work, entitled 'Mitigation of Slavery, In Two Parts,' sought to demonstrate mathematically 'that bought Slaves, who keep not up their Numbers by the Births, do not nearly refund their Purchase-Money, and that the Planter's true Resource is to rear his Slaves.' Dickson hoped his research would discourage, for economic reasons, the purchase of slaves. Dickson had been Secretary to the Governor of Barbados, where his disgust at the brutality of slavery converted him to the abolitionist cause. Item #38223