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John Scoble (January 16, 1799 – December 1877) was a British abolitionist and political figure in Canada West.

John Scoble
William Knibb John Scoble.jpg
To the left is William Knibb and to the right John Scoble - 1840[1]
BornJanuary 16, 1799
DiedDecember 1877
Ontario, Canada


Scoble was born in Kingsbridge, England in 1799 and was educated in Devon and London. He was part of the anti-slavery movement in England and was involved in the protests against the apprenticeship system which replaced slavery in the West Indies. He helped form the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and served as secretary from 1842 to 1852. He also helped revitalize the anti-slavery movement in France, corresponding with people such as François-André Isambert who took an active role in trying to free the French slaves.[2] He was not on good terms, however, with the American anti-slavery advocate William Lloyd Garrison and his followers.

He came to Upper Canada in 1852 to try to assist the British-American Institute of Science and Industry, a vocational school for black people, which was being managed by Josiah Henson, a former fugitive slave. Disputes with trustees of the institute and with Henson interfered with his attempts to reorganize the institute's finances.

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) 
Scoble is on the right of centre at the front in this painting which is of the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention.[1] Move your cursor to identify him or click icon to enlarge.

In 1860, he helped prevent the deportation of John Anderson, a fugitive slave accused of murder in Missouri. In 1861, Scoble resigned from the board of trustees of the institute. In the end, the property was sold, with the proceeds going towards an integrated school in Chatham. Scoble was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in West Elgin in 1863 after the election of George Macbeth was declared invalid; he was reelected in the general election that followed later that year. He supported a decentralized federation in Canada and representation by population. Although reform-oriented, he supported Sir John A. Macdonald's leadership.

Scoble retired from politics in 1867 after failing to attain reelection, and all but disappeared from public life. He died in Ontario at the age of 79 in December 1877.[3]


His published works are:[4]

  • British Guiana, London, 1838
  • Texas: its claims to be recognized as an independent power, by Great Britain, London, 1839
  • Hill coolies; a brief exposition of the deplorable condition of the hill coolies in British Guiana and Mauritius, London, 1840[5]
  • Liberté immédiate et absolue, ou esclavage, Paris, 1844 (with G. W. Alexander)
  • Introduction to Lewis Tappan's Reply to charges brought against the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (London, 1852)


  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ Jennings, Lawrence C. (2000-06-05). French Anti-Slavery: The Movement for the Abolition of Slavery in France, 1802-1848. Cambridge University Press. p. 184. ISBN 9780521772495. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  3. ^ Phillip W. Magness, "The Mystery of John Scoble's Disappearance," Retrieved 2013-08-30
  4. ^ Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, accessed September 2009
  5. ^ Hill coolies: a brief exposure of the deplorable condition of the hill coolies,

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