Richard Allen (abolitionist)

Richard Allen (1803–1886) was a draper, a philanthropist and abolitionist in Dublin. Allen raised £20,000 to help the Irish famine by writing letters to America.[1]

Richard Allen
Known forAbolitionist
Spouse(s)Ann (born Webb)


Allen was born to Edward and Ellen Allen at Harold's Cross near Dublin. He was the second of fifteen children.[2]

Allen was an orthodox Quaker and his business was in textiles but his interests were in reform, temperance and the abolition of slavery. He married Ann Webb in 1828.

In 1837, Allen was one of three founding members, with James Haughton and Richard Davis Webb, of the Hibernian Antislavery Association. This was not the first antislavery association but it was acknowledged to be the most active.[3] Allen served as the secretary of this association.

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) 
The painting which shows Allen at the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention.[4] Move your cursor to identify Allen who is a small figure below the speakers raised hand or click icon to enlarge

Allen founded the Irish Temperance and Literary Gazette" and used this publication to forward his ideas and those of the Anti-Slavery Association.

Opposition to slavery in Ireland had a long pedigree. As was the case in Britain, its most prominent Irish supporters were Protestant, notably Methodists, Quakers and Unitarians, and meetings were generally held in Nonconformist churches.[5] One of the greatest contributions to the anti-slavery debate was made by the flamboyant and controversial Irish nationalist, Daniel O’Connell champion of Catholic Emancipation.

Richard Allen's parents home is proposed to be a protected building, because Allen was brought up there and also because it became a Plymouth Brethren Orphanage around 1860.[6]

In 1840 his portrait was included with other notables in a painting of the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London.

In 1846, Allen attended another World convention in London. This time the subject was temperance and Allen was one of the speakers. Allen noted that he had been visiting Dublin's Bridewell prison and considered that parts were becoming empty because of the increase intemperance.[7]

Famine was rife in Ireland and in 1847 Allen wrote letters to America to explain the people's plight. William Lloyd Garrison acknowledged the effect that Allen's letters to America had attracted. He estimated that £20,000 pounds had been raised.[1]


  1. ^ a b Society of Friends. Central Relief Committee in Ireland, Dublin (1847). Distress in Ireland: extracts from correspondence.
  2. ^ Wigham, Hannah Maria Peile (1886). A Christian philanthropist of Dublin : a memoir of Richard Allen (1886). Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  3. ^ Hinks, Peter P.; John R. McKivigan; R. Owen Williams (2007). Encyclopedia of antislavery and abolition p373. p. 796.
  4. ^ [ The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840, Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841, National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG599, Given by British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1880
  5. ^ History Today, The Liberator: Daniel O’Connell and Anti-Slavery
  6. ^ Protected structures application Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Dublin
  7. ^ The proceedings of the World's Temperance Convention p48-49. Richard Barrett Jun. 1846. Retrieved 1 January 2010.