The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition

In the years preceding the American Revolution, the New Jersey tailor John Woolman (1720-1772) opposed many of the evils of his day. He was not particularly concerned about the British Parliament’s taxation policies. Instead he protested slavery, the unjust dispossession of American Indians and the abuse of animals, as well as exploitative economic relations generally. He spoke and wrote passionately, and he expressed his views dramatically. In the 1760s Woolman began wearing undyed clothes as a protest against wasteful fashion, and he announced that he would never consume sugar, molasses or rum because those products were made with slave labor. In the early 1770s he walked across England to bear witness against the mistreatment of coach horses.

 

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