George Stacey (abolitionist)

George Stacey (1787–1857) was a leading English Quaker and abolitionist. He was active in trying to prevent a schism with in the Quakers.

George Stacey
George Stacey William Forster and William Morgan.jpg
from left:Stacey, William Forster and William Morgan in a detail from an 1840 painting.[1]
Known forAbolitionist
Spouse(s)Deborah Lloyd


Stacey was born in Kendal.[2]

Stacey married a fellow Quaker and cousin, Deborah Lloyd, of the Lloyds banking family. Stacey was then living in Tottenham. He was a business partner in a Chemists business called Corbyn, Beaumont, Stacey and Messer.[2] The Stacey's involvement in this partnership dated from 1772 when Thomas Corbyn took in another George Stacey; who were both Quakers.[3] That George Stacey died in 1816.[4]

In 1823 the Anti-Slavery Society was formed with Stacey as a leading member.[5] The society had many Quaker members and Stacey was also joining his fellow Quakers in business ventures like the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825.[6]

Between 1830 and 1850 he was chosen twelve times as the clerk to the influential yearly meeting of the Quakers in London.[2] This may in part be due to Stacey's method of speaking. Stephen Grellet, the French Quaker reported that Stacey said that he would express his views as clearly as he could once, but would not repeat them as this was unlikely to convince others who did not agree.[7] The Quakers as a whole were committed to ending slavery and Stacey was a leading figure in this endeavour. His business dealt with America and the West Indies[4] and this involvement must have been more than theoretical.

Isaac Crewdson (Beaconite) writerSamuel Jackman Prescod - Barbadian JournalistWilliam Morgan from BirminghamWilliam Forster - Quaker leaderGeorge Stacey - Quaker leaderWilliam Forster - Anti-Slavery ambassadorJohn Burnet -Abolitionist SpeakerWilliam Knibb -Missionary to JamaicaJoseph Ketley from GuyanaGeorge Thompson - UK & US abolitionistJ. Harfield Tredgold - British South African (secretary)Josiah Forster - Quaker leaderSamuel Gurney - the Banker's BankerSir John Eardley-WilmotDr Stephen Lushington - MP and JudgeSir Thomas Fowell BuxtonJames Gillespie Birney - AmericanJohn BeaumontGeorge Bradburn - Massachusetts politicianGeorge William Alexander - Banker and TreasurerBenjamin Godwin - Baptist activistVice Admiral MoorsonWilliam TaylorWilliam TaylorJohn MorrisonGK PrinceJosiah ConderJoseph SoulJames Dean (abolitionist)John Keep - Ohio fund raiserJoseph EatonJoseph Sturge - Organiser from BirminghamJames WhitehorneJoseph MarriageGeorge BennettRichard AllenStafford AllenWilliam Leatham, bankerWilliam BeaumontSir Edward Baines - JournalistSamuel LucasFrancis August CoxAbraham BeaumontSamuel Fox, Nottingham grocerLouis Celeste LecesneJonathan BackhouseSamuel BowlyWilliam Dawes - Ohio fund raiserRobert Kaye Greville - BotanistJoseph Pease, railway pioneerW.T.BlairM.M. Isambert (sic)Mary Clarkson -Thomas Clarkson's daughter in lawWilliam TatumSaxe Bannister - PamphleteerRichard Davis Webb - IrishNathaniel Colver - Americannot knownJohn Cropper - Most generous LiverpudlianThomas ScalesWilliam JamesWilliam WilsonThomas SwanEdward Steane from CamberwellWilliam BrockEdward BaldwinJonathon MillerCapt. Charles Stuart from JamaicaSir John Jeremie - JudgeCharles Stovel - BaptistRichard Peek, ex-Sheriff of LondonJohn SturgeElon GalushaCyrus Pitt GrosvenorRev. Isaac BassHenry SterryPeter Clare -; sec. of Literary & Phil. Soc. ManchesterJ.H. JohnsonThomas PriceJoseph ReynoldsSamuel WheelerWilliam BoultbeeDaniel O'Connell - "The Liberator"William FairbankJohn WoodmarkWilliam Smeal from GlasgowJames Carlile - Irish Minister and educationalistRev. Dr. Thomas BinneyEdward Barrett - Freed slaveJohn Howard Hinton - Baptist ministerJohn Angell James - clergymanJoseph CooperDr. Richard Robert Madden - IrishThomas BulleyIsaac HodgsonEdward SmithSir John Bowring - diplomat and linguistJohn EllisC. Edwards Lester - American writerTapper Cadbury - Businessmannot knownThomas PinchesDavid Turnbull - Cuban linkEdward AdeyRichard BarrettJohn SteerHenry TuckettJames Mott - American on honeymoonRobert Forster (brother of William and Josiah)Richard RathboneJohn BirtWendell Phillips - AmericanM. L'Instant from HaitiHenry Stanton - AmericanProf William AdamMrs Elizabeth Tredgold - British South AfricanT.M. McDonnellMrs John BeaumontAnne Knight - FeministElizabeth Pease - SuffragistJacob Post - Religious writerAnne Isabella, Lady Byron - mathematician and estranged wifeAmelia Opie - Novelist and poetMrs Rawson - Sheffield campaignerThomas Clarkson's grandson Thomas ClarksonThomas MorganThomas Clarkson - main speakerGeorge Head Head - Banker from CarlisleWilliam AllenJohn ScobleHenry Beckford - emancipated slave and abolitionistUse your cursor to explore (or Click "i" to enlarge) 
Stacey is in the left foreground of this painting of the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention. There are dozens of women shown in the very far background. Move your cursor to identify him or click the icon to enlarge

During the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention there was a disagreement with the American convention who had taken literally the instruction to send delegates. The British organising committee were surprised to find there were female delegates asking to sit in the main hall. It was Stacey who was called on to address the issue on behalf of the organising committee. Stacey noted that the women were valued in the work that they did, but that the committee felt that women were not normally included unless their contribution was essential.[8] The women from America, and England, were asked to sit away from the main area. The commemorative painting of the event shows Stacey in the important foreground of the painting and women with the exception of the main speakers daughter, Mary Clarkson, the women are huddled to the right and to the back of the assembled crowd.

Stacey was trying to deal with a difficult issue and Rachel Stacey did take a leading role as secretary of the London Ladies' Negro Friend Society,[8] but it was said that the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention laid the foundations for later fights for the rights of women.[9]

In 1841, Forster's wife Dorothy died.[2]

In 1842-3 a schism developed in the Society of Friends in Salem in Iowa over the ways that the society should support slavery, which was still an important part of the American economy. A rival meeting house had been created, and a separate burial ground which was separated from the older Quaker burial ground by a mere two feet of space. Four delegates were sent from Britain: Stacey, Josiah Forster, his brother William and John Allen. The group did not manage to heal the divide immediately but it was resolved by 1848.[10]


  1. ^ National Portrait Gallery
  2. ^ a b c d The Quaker Lloyds in the Industrial Revolution, Humphrey Lloyd, 1975, ISBN 0-415-38161-4, accessed April 2009
  3. ^ Association of Business History, accessed April 2009
  4. ^ a b The Pharmaceutical Industry, Lesley Richmond et al, ISBN 0-7546-3352-7, 2002, accessed April 2009
  5. ^ Untitles, Haringey Council, London, accessed April 2009
  6. ^ Religion, business, and wealth in modern Britain, David J. Jeremy, 1998, ISBN 0-415-16898-8, accessed April 2009
  7. ^ Memoirs and Life of Stephen Grellet, Stephen Grellet, Benjamin Seebohm, 1863, accessed April 2009
  8. ^ a b Women Against Slavery, Claire Midgely
  9. ^ A Time for Silence: William Lloyd Garrison and the “Woman Question” at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention. L.S. Hogan, Springer Link, accessed April 2009
  10. ^ The Anti-Slavery Friends in Salem, Iowa, Lewis D. Savage, accessed 16 July 2008