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The Complete Antislavery Writings of Anthony Benezet, 1754-1783

An Annotated Critical Edition

edited by David L. Crosby

Publication Year: 2014

Pennsylvanian Quaker Anthony Benezet was one of the most important and prolific abolitionists of the eighteenth century. The first to combine religious and philosophical arguments with extensive documentation of the slave trade based on eyewitness reports from Africa and the colonies, Benezet's antislavery writings served as foundational texts for activists on both sides of the Atlantic. In England, those who incorporated his work into their own writings included Granville Sharp, John Wesley, Thomas Clarkson, and William Dillwyn, while Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, David Cooper, James Forten, Absalom Jones, and Richard Allen drew inspiration from his essays in America. Despite Benezet's pervasive influence during his lifetime, David L. Crosby's annotated edition represents the first time Benezet's antislavery works are available in one book.

In addition to assembling Benezet's canon, Crosby chronicles the development of Benezet's antislavery philosophy and places the aboli-tionist's writing in historical context. Each work is preceded by an editor's note that describes the circumstances surrounding its original publication and the significance of the selection.

Benezet's writings included in this edition:

An Epistle of Caution and Advice Concerning the Buying and Keeping of Slaves (1754)Observations on the Enslaving, Importing, and Purchasing of Negroes (1759--1760)A Short Account of that Part of Africa Inhabited by the Negroes (1762)A Caution and Warning to Great Britain and Her Colonies (1766--1767)Some Historical Account of Guinea (1771)Benezet's Notes to John Wesley's Thoughts upon Slavery (1774)Observations on Slavery (1778)Short Observations on Slavery (1783)

A valuable tool for scholars and students of African American history, slavery studies, and the Revolutionary era, The Complete Antislavery Writings of Anthony Benezet, 1754--1783 demonstrates the prevailing impact of the foremost pioneer in American abolitionism.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-xi

A project that took so long to complete is bound to owe many debts to helpers along the way. My greatest debt is to the National Endowment for the Humanities, which provided support for me to attend three...

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General Introduction

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pp. 1-5

Anthony Benezet is the pivotal figure in the eighteenth-century campaign to abolish slavery and the slave trade.1 He connected the American colonies with England and the rest of Europe, the religious militants with...

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1. An Epistle of Caution and Advice concerning the Buying and keeping of Slaves (1754)

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pp. 6-11

In 1752 Anthony Benezet became a member of the Overseers of the Press for the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends. This eight-member group reviewed all publications by church members for their faithfulness...

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2. Observations on the Enslaving, Importing and Purchasing of Negroes (1759–1760)

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pp. 12-24

The years following 1754 in Pennsylvania saw the outbreak of the French and Indian War, a time of great grief and trouble in the colonies, especially for the Quakers and their gospel of peace. Many Friends served...

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3. A Short Account of That Part of Africa Inhabited by the Negroes (1762)

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pp. 25-83

The new approach to antislavery argumentation that Benezet pioneered in Observations galvanized him over the next two years through the most productive period of his writing. Having discovered Bosman, Barbot,...

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4. A Caution and Warning to Great Britain and Her Colonies (1766–1767)

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pp. 84-111

A Short Account could be called a user’s manual for antislavery activists, supplying them with facts and arguments to buttress their campaigns. Benezet’s next...

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5. Some Historical Account of Guinea (1771)

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pp. 112-196

Benezet’s previous publication, A Caution and Warning, became Benezet’s most widely disseminated work in his lifetime, with at least four thousand copies printed in America and another fifteen hundred printed...

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6. Benezet’s Notes to John Wesley’s Thoughts upon Slavery (1774)

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pp. 197-219

The years immediately following publication of Some Historical Account of Guinea were filled with activity for Benezet as antislavery campaigning picked up on both sides of the Atlantic. Benezet began a campaign urging...

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7. Observations on Slavery (1778)

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pp. 220-225

In the period immediately following Benezet’s publication of Wesley’s Thoughts upon Slavery, the friction between the British colonies in North America and England began to flare into armed conflict. The skirmishes...

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8. Short Observations on Slavery (1783)

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pp. 226-234

The end of the Revolutionary War presented another challenge to Benezet and his antislavery colleagues. During the war the slave trade to America had been more or less suspended, but it was likely to resume...

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Textual Appendix

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pp. 235-247

The holograph manuscripts for all of Benezet’s published works have disappeared. In the absence of manuscripts, all of the works printed in this volume are transcribed from the last printed edition that Benezet...

Biographical Appendix

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pp. 248-260

Geographical Appendix

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pp. 261-266

Bibliography

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pp. 267-278

Index

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pp. 279-285


E-ISBN-13: 9780807154762
E-ISBN-10: 0807154768
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807154755

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Antislavery, Abolition, and the Atlantic World