Opposing the slave trade at Almack's

Gladstone, William Ewart, British Prime Minister and politician (1809-1898). Autograph letter signed.

London, 22. XI. 1882.

8vo (120 x 180 mm). 2 pp. on bifolium, on mourning stationery of 10 Downing Street, Whitehall.


To the Earl of Shaftesbury, assuring him that his government is hard at work at the suppression of "slavery and the Slave Trade". Evidently, Shaftesbury had written Gladstone regarding the outcome of a meeting held at the gentleman's club he refers to as Willis's Rooms (better known as Almack's). Gladstone responds: "I have had the honour to receive the resolutions passed at the meeting recently held in Willis's Rooms, which your Lordship has been good enough to forward to me. I can assure your Lordship that the subject of these Resolutions is engaging the earnest attention of Her Majesty's Government, who will avail themselves of every opportunity for securing the suppression of slavery and the Slave Trade [...]".

Almack's, primarily an elite social club, was a favourite meeting place of several leading upper-class abolitionists of the 19th century, and was no stranger to political dealings which might affect British foreign policy regarding the slave trade. The Liberal Prime Minister Gladstone is remembered as a fierce advocate for domestic reform. His foreign policy had less focus on the slave trade than that of previous Prime Ministers, but he had supported emancipation in the 1830s and was formally against the slave trade. His recipient, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (1801-85), is also primarily known for his commitment to domestic reform.


Gentle creasing; in excellent condition.

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