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Stephen, James: letter (1825)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0096 AL345
Held at: Senate House Library, University of London
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Full title: Stephen, James: letter (1825)
Date(s): 1825
Level of description: fonds
Extent: 2 leaves
Name of creator(s): Stephen | James | 1758-1832 | lawyer and slavery abolitionist


Administrative/Biographical history:

James Stephen was born in Poole, Dorset, and received a patchy education at various schools before studying law in Aberdeen and London. During 1783-1794 he worked as a lawyer in St Kitts in the West Indies, and on his permanent return to London he practised in the prize appeal court of the Privy Council. From 1811 until his death he was Master in Chancery, and he served as MP for Tralee, County Kerry, from 1808 to 1812 and for East Grinstead, Sussex, from 1812 to 1815. Stephen was deeply religious in the evangelical Christian tradition and (having witnessed its injustices first hand in the Caribbean) a staunch opponent of slavery and a vehement campaigner against it.


Scope and content/abstract:

Letter from James Stephen, Master in Chancery's Office, London to James Cropper Esq of Liverpool, 7 Nov 1825. 'I have just recd. a letter from our friend [?Zachary] Macaulay informing me of an intended publication of the Liverpool anti-slavery society of which he supposes a copy has been also sent to me. I have not received it, but from what he says of its contents, am afraid of losing a post in saying to you that I earnestly request its publication may be at least suspended, till we can submit to the consideration of your Society the remarks we have to make on it ...' [no such tract was published by the Liverpool Society of the Abolition of Slavery around this time, perhaps due to Stephen's letter]. Discussing current aspects of the problem of emancipation and concludes that direct legislation by parliament is 'the only means by which anything good for the slaves can or will ever be effected. My hopes I lament to say of any early adoption of such means are very faint indeed, but it is nevertheless our duty to call for them ...'. Autograph, with signature.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

See hard copy catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Please contact the University Archivist for details. 24 hours notice is required for research visits.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Finding aids:

Typescript catalogue available in the Library's Palaeography Room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

See archivist

Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased from I K Fletcher, 1965.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
July 2008

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