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Captain Charles Stuart (1783 – 26 May 1865) was an Anglo-Canadian abolitionist in the early-to-mid-19th century. After leaving the army, he was a writer, primarily on slavery.

Captain Charles Stuart
CaptCharlesStuartBetweenScalesandJeremieAtThe Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840.jpg
Capt. Stuart between Thomas Scales (left) and Sir John Jeremie (right) shown in a detail from The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840, by Benjamin Robert Haydon
Known forAbolitionist


Charles Stuart was born in 1783 in Bermuda, as shown by Canadian census records (countering assertions that he was born in Jamaica).[1] His father was presumably a British army officer posted to the Bermuda Garrison, possibly Lieutenant Hugh Stewart[2] of the detachment of invalid regular soldiers belonging to the Royal Garrison Battalion, which was disbanded in 1784, following the Treaty of Paris, probably resulting in Stuart's emigration from the colony; the surviving parish registries for the period, compiled by AC Hollis-Hallett as Early Bermuda Records, 1619-1826, list no birth of a Stuart, Stewart, or Steward in or about 1783 other than an unnamed child of Lieutenant Steward, baptised in St. George's on 8 December, 1781.[3]

Stuart was educated in Belfast and then pursued a military career as his first vocation.[4]

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) 
Stuart is close to the centre in this painting which is of the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention.[5] Move your cursor to identify him or click icon to enlarge

He left the military in 1815 and, in 1817, emigrated to Upper Canada (Ontario) with a tidy pension.[6] He settled in Amherstburg, Upper Canada, and began his pursuit of a cause both in Canada and England. By 1821, he was involved with the black refugees (fugitive slaves) who were beginning to arrive in the area from south of the border. He began a small black colony near Amherstburg, where he actively assisted the new arrivals to start new lives as farmers.

In 1822, Stuart took a position as the principal of Utica Academy in New York State. There he met the young Theodore Dwight Weld, who became one of the leaders of the American abolitionist movement during its formative years. By 1829, he returned to England for a time. There, Charles wrote some of the most influential anti-slavery pamphlets of the period.[4]

In 1840 he attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in June. One hundred and thirty of the more notable delegates were included in a large commemorative painting by Benjamin Haydon. This picture is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

He retired to a farm near Thornbury, Ontario, in 1850 at Lora Bay on Georgian Bay.[7] Any product made from the use of slave labour was forbidden in his home.


  • The American colonization scheme further unravelled, undated, but reviewed at length in The Liberator of April 19, 1834.[8]
  • A memoir of Granville Sharp : to which is added Sharp's "Law of passive obedience," and an extract from his "Law of retribution" (New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1836; reprinted by The Negro Universities Press, a division of Greenwood Press, 1970, ISBN 0837146151)
  • A short history and description of the Ojibbeway Indians now on a visit to England : with correct likenesses, engraved from daguerreotype plates, taken by M. Claudet (London, 1844)


  1. ^ Oxford University Press, Oxford Index. REFERENCE ENTRY: Stuart, Charles (born 1781), Abolitionists in American National Biography Online, ISBN 9780198606697. Published online February 2000
  2. ^ Provincial Archives of New Brunswick: A. D. 1775 - 1783, Roll of Officers of the British American or Loyalist Corps. Compiled from the original Muster Rolls and arranged alphabetically by W. O. Raymond, LL. D.
  3. ^ 'Richardson Register: Baptisms', Page 159, Early Bermuda Records, 1619-1826, compiled by AC Hollis-Hallett. Juniperhill Press, Bermuda. 1991 Printed by the University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-921992-04-1
  4. ^ a b Captain Charles Stuart, Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, accessed December 2010
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Captain Charles Stuart, abolitionist Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, accessed December 2010
  7. ^ Armitage, A: Captain Charles Stuart, abolitionist The Sun Times, May 29, 2009.
  8. ^ "The American Colonization Scheme Further Unravelled, by Charles Stuart". The Liberator. April 19, 1834. p. 1.