Lafayette to Granville Sharp, Paris, February 22, 1786
While I am honoured with a flattering mark of your attention, I beg leave to present my grateful acknowledgements for this favour, and to express my regard for the virtuous and able advocate in the cause of liberty—the very valuable books now in my possession are a treasure of enjoyments for the mind ...
And I heartily wish with you,
while circumstances have made us in many respects superior to our black
brethren, that we may cease to place ourselves beneath them in the pursuit
of this disgraceful trade ...
In a New Year’s letter to John Adams in 1786, Lafayette asked Adams, then the American minister to Britain, to send him “everything that has been written in England” on the suppression of slavery. Adams arranged for British abolitionist Granville Sharp to send Lafayette the shipment of his writings on slavery that is acknowledged in the letter above. Sharp was almost single-handedly responsible for the first great victory of the anti-slavery movement in England—the 1772 decision that declared any slave setting foot on English soil to be free. Sharp was also instrumental in establishing the colony of Sierra Leone as a refuge for freed slaves in the late 1780s.
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