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Raymond English Anti-Slavery Collection

Date range: 1824–86.

An important source for the history of the abolition of slavery.

The archive contains letters, letter-books,  diaries,  lectures and printed works of and concerning the anti-slavery campaigners George Thompson (1804–78) , his daughter Amelia Chesson, and his son-in-law Frederick Chesson (1833–88). 

Thompson was an indefatigable campaigner against slavery, travelling extensively in Britain and the United States, and in 1835 narrowly escaped with his life in Boston; John Bright described him as ‘the liberator of the slaves in the English colonies’.

Frederick Chesson was a liberal journalist on the Morning Star newspaper and a prominent advocate of anti-slavery, the rights of indigenous peoples and women’s rights.

He married Amelia Thompson in 1855. Much of the correspondence relates to George Thompson’s work in India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and America.

There are diaries of George Thompson, Frederick Chesson and Amelia Chesson. The latter recorded her father’s anti-slavery activities in notebooks.

In addition, there are original minutes of the London Emancipation Committee and a letter-book of the Aborigines Protection Society, of which Frederick Chesson was secretary.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library