Charles Stuart (abolitionist)

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Captain Charles Stuart
CaptCharlesStuartBetweenScalesandJeremieAtThe Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840.jpg
Capt. Stuart between Thomas Scales (left) and Sir John Jeremie (right) shown in a detail from The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840, by Benjamin Robert Haydon
Born 1783
Died 1865
Education Belfast
Known for Abolitionist

Captain Charles Stuart (1783 – 26 May 1865) was an Anglo-Canadian abolitionist in the early-to-mid-19th century. After leaving the army, he was a writer, but was notable for his opposition to slavery.


Charles Stuart was born in 1783 in Bermuda, as shown by Canadian census records (countering assertions that he was born in Jamaica).[1] His father was presumably a British army officer posted to the Bermuda Garrison (possibly Lieutenant Hugh Stewart[2] of the detachment of invalid regular soldiers belonging to the Royal Garrison Battalion, which was disbanded in 1784, following the Treaty of Paris, probably resulting in Stuart's emigration from the colony). He was educated in Belfast and then pursued a military career as his first vocation.[3]

Isaac Crewdson (Beaconite) writer Samuel Jackman Prescod - Barbadian Journalist William Morgan from Birmingham William Forster - Quaker leader George Stacey - Quaker leader William Forster - Anti-Slavery ambassador John Burnet -Abolitionist Speaker William Knibb -Missionary to Jamaica Joseph Ketley from Guyana George Thompson - UK & US abolitionist J. Harfield Tredgold - British South African (secretary) Josiah Forster - Quaker leader Samuel Gurney - the Banker's Banker Sir John Eardley-Wilmot Dr Stephen Lushington - MP and Judge Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton James Gillespie Birney - American John Beaumont George Bradburn - Massachusetts politician George William Alexander - Banker and Treasurer Benjamin Godwin - Baptist activist Vice Admiral Moorson William Taylor William Taylor John Morrison GK Prince Josiah Conder Joseph Soul James Dean (abolitionist) John Keep - Ohio fund raiser Joseph Eaton Joseph Sturge - Organiser from Birmingham James Whitehorne Joseph Marriage George Bennett Richard Allen Stafford Allen William Leatham, banker William Beaumont Sir Edward Baines - Journalist Samuel Lucas Francis August Cox Abraham Beaumont Samuel Fox, Nottingham grocer Louis Celeste Lecesne Jonathan Backhouse Samuel Bowly William Dawes - Ohio fund raiser Robert Kaye Greville - Botanist Joseph Pease, railway pioneer W.T.Blair M.M. Isambert (sic) Mary Clarkson -Thomas Clarkson's daughter in law William Tatum Saxe Bannister - Pamphleteer Richard Davis Webb - Irish Nathaniel Colver - American not known John Cropper - Most generous Liverpudlian Thomas Scales William James William Wilson Thomas Swan Edward Steane from Camberwell William Brock Edward Baldwin Jonathon Miller Capt. Charles Stuart from Jamaica Sir John Jeremie - Judge Charles Stovel - Baptist Richard Peek, ex-Sheriff of London John Sturge Elon Galusha Cyrus Pitt Grosvenor Rev. Isaac Bass Henry Sterry Peter Clare -; sec. of Literary & Phil. Soc. Manchester J.H. Johnson Thomas Price Joseph Reynolds Samuel Wheeler William Boultbee Daniel O'Connell - "The Liberator" William Fairbank John Woodmark William Smeal from Glasgow James Carlile - Irish Minister and educationalist Rev. Dr. Thomas Binney Edward Barrett - Freed slave John Howard Hinton - Baptist minister John Angell James - clergyman Joseph Cooper Dr. Richard Robert Madden - Irish Thomas Bulley Isaac Hodgson Edward Smith Sir John Bowring - diplomat and linguist John Ellis C. Edwards Lester - American writer Tapper Cadbury - Businessman not known Thomas Pinches David Turnbull - Cuban link Edward Adey Richard Barrett John Steer Henry Tuckett James Mott - American on honeymoon Robert Forster (brother of William and Josiah) Richard Rathbone John Birt Wendell Phillips - American M. L'Instant from Haiti Henry Stanton - American Prof William Adam Mrs Elizabeth Tredgold - British South African T.M. McDonnell Mrs John Beaumont Anne Knight - Feminist Elizabeth Pease - Suffragist Jacob Post - Religious writer Anne Isabella, Lady Byron - mathematician and estranged wife Amelia Opie - Novelist and poet Mrs Rawson - Sheffield campaigner Thomas Clarkson's grandson Thomas Clarkson Thomas Morgan Thomas Clarkson - main speaker George Head Head - Banker from Carlisle William Allen John Scoble Henry Beckford - emancipated slave and abolitionist Use your cursor to explore (or Click "i" to enlarge)
Stuart is close to the centre in this painting which is of the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention.[4] Move your cursor to identify him or click icon to enlarge

Stuart left the military in 1815 and, in 1817, emigrated to Upper Canada with a tidy pension.[5] He settled in Amherstburg Upper Canada and began his pursuit of a cause both in Canada and England. By 1821, he was involved with the black refugees who were beginning to arrive in the area from south of the border. He began a small black colony near Amherstburg where he actively assisted the new arrivals to start new lives as farmers.

In 1822, Stuart took a position as the principal of Utica Academy in New York State. There he met a young Theodore Dwight Weld who became one of the leaders of the American abolitionist movement during its formative years. By 1829, he returned to England for a time. There, Charles wrote some of the most influential anti-slavery pamphlets of the period.[3]

In 1840 he attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in June. One hundred and thirty of the more notable delegates were included in a large commemorative painting by Benjamin Haydon. This picture is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

He retired to a farm near Thornbury, Ontario in 1850 at Lora Bay on Georgian Bay.[6] Any product made from the use of slave labour was forbidden in his home.