The Writings of Ladies' Abolitionist Societies in Britain, 1825-1833


  • Anna Wood Wichita State University


slavery, abolition, women's anti-slavery societies, Ladies Society for the Relief of Negro Slaves (Female Society for Birmingham), Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society


"In taking a view of the means which may be employed with advantage to effect the mitigation and ultimate extinction of NEGRO SLAVERY, it would be unpardonable to overlook THE LADIES OF THE UNITED KINGDOM, of all classes, and especially of the upper ranks, who have now an opportunity of exerting themselves beneficially in behalf of the most deeply injured of the human race."1

On April 8, 1825, in the home of Lucy Townsend, the wife of an Anglican clergyman, forty four women gathered to establish the first women's anti-slavery society in Britain. Its initial name was the Ladies Society for the Relief of Negro Slaves, but later adopted the name Female Society for Birmingham. This society was committed to the "Amelioration of the Condition of the Unhappy Children of Africa, and especially of Female Negro Slaves."2 This formation preceded that of the first abolition society in the United States, the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, by seven years.3