This is a space where admirers of the work of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton can exchange views, and post news items. This will include Buxton memorabilia, hence the name of this blog “Buxtonabilia”
Who was Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton and why are we so interested in him?
Buxton was a philanthropist and Parliamentarian and was MP for Weymouth, Dorset between 1818 and 1837. During his time in Parliament he achieved many changes for the common good. but his most memorable achievement was the Act of Parliament of 1833 to abolish slavery in the British Empire.
William Wilberforce’s Act of 1807, abolished the Slave Trade, but people were still enslaved on the plantations. Their children were not their own, and they or their children could be sold on. It was necessary to finish the task.
Thomas Fowell Buxton took over the leadership of the anti-slavery movement in parliament from William Wilberforce in 1821
.In 1833 after a long campaign in which he was subjected to virulence, lampooning and attempts at character assassination, he succeeded in having Parliament pass an Act for the liberation of slaves. All slaves became free from midnight on 1st August 1834. On that day, 800,000 slaves ceased to be property, bought and sold at market like cattle, subject to arbitrary and often very cruel punishments, and with no standing in law. They became citizens, able to own property, maintain their marriages and families and their children became their own.
In spite of many people’s fears, the liberation passed off peacefully. There was no revenge, and neither did the erstwhile owners misbehave. Buxton and his colleagues had achieved the liberation by parliamentary process – something that could only be achieved in the USA by a great civil war.
Buxton inherited Belfield House, Wyke Regis, Weymouth from his grandmother in 1814. Belfield House, fully completed in 1786 is in the palladian style, and is in private hands today.
Buxton lost his Parliamentary seat in the 1837 election and retired from politics. In 1840 he was made “Baronet Buxton of Belfield in the County of Dorset and of Runton in the County of Norfolk“.
However, the years of hard work had taken its toll. He died at Norfolk in 1845 at the comparatively early age of 59.