WILBERFORCE, William (1759-1833); POLE, Thomas (1753-1829)

WILBERFORCE, William (1759-1833); POLE, Thomas (1753-1829)

WILBERFORCE, William (1759-1833); POLE, Thomas (1753-1829), A group of three interesting autograph letters from abolitionist William Wilberforce, each addressed to the Quaker physician and educationalist Thomas Pole.  Letters dated Dec. 22 1814; Oct. 17 1815; Oct. 17 1815. 

The two earlier letters are in the hand of William Wilberforce, the third in that of his secretary; all three are signed by Wilberforce, and each has the original mailing envelope inscribed with his name and that of Dr Pole.

The letters mainly concern Pole’s influential book on adult education, ‘A history of the origin and progress of adult schools: with an account of some of the beneficial effects already produced on the moral character of the labouring poor’ (1814), which was arguably the first study on adult education and helped launch a national adult school movement in the United Kingdom.

It appears Wilberforce had previously received a request from Pole for an introductory letter of commendation for his book. In reply Wilberforce is highly complimentary and urges Pole to publish in America.  For example, at the end of the earliest letter Wilberforce writes, “Has yr book been sent to America (O for peace with our transatlantic brethren!!!) If not I should like to send it to a very worthy friend there.”