Morris Birkbeck - Albion, IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 22.638 W 088° 03.396
16S E 407709 N 4248206
Quick Description: Marker to English poet, entrepreneur, and attempt to bring British life to America and his strong stand against slavery
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 4/16/2014 4:59:20 AM
Waymark Code: WMKHC6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Lat34North
Views: 2

Long Description:

County of marker: Edwards County
Location of marker: S. 4th St. & Main St., courthouse lawn, Albion
Marker erected by: Department of Illinois Womens Relief Corps Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic
Date marker erected: October 27, 1929
Marker text:


Who in 1817, with George Flower
founded the English settlement
in Edwards County. This memorial
is erected "in respect and
gratitude for the decided part
he took against the introduction
of slavery."

Several sites quote his stand this one is strong: The Southern Illinoisan

"Morris Birkbeck was born in 1764 in England. His father, also named Morris Birkbeck, was a Quaker preacher who was well known in both England and America. The senior Morris was born in England in 1734. He married Hannah Bradford, and he died at 82 years of age in 1816."

"Young Morris was raised on a farm and grew to become a successful farmer. As a young man, Morris was educated in Latin and some Greek. He was also appointed as a clerk of the Friends of America Meeting (a Quaker organization), and it was this duty that made Morris a good, systematic writer. As a young adult, Morris hired a farm. After acquiring a little bit of money, he took on a long lease on a 1,500 acre farm called Wanborough. Wanborough lie near the town of Guilford, County Surrey, England.

"Morris was politically radical. In Edwards County he had hoped to find refuge from the aristocratic control of English politics. He was very strongly against slavery, and he worked hard to instill his abolitionist beliefs in the new settlement. The governor of Illinois, Edward Coles, was also an abolitionist. Therefore Governor Coles appointed Morris to the position of Secretary of State. However, the Senate of Illinois was pro-slavery, and they refused to confirm Morris’s appointment. This meant that Morris only served as Secretary of State for 3 months. The issue of slavery would not die. During the General Assembly of Illinois in 1822-1823, there was a resolution submitted to the people of Illinois for the calling of a convention to amend the Illinois state constitution so that slavery would be legalized in Illinois. Governor Edward Coles led the campaign of anti-convention forces. Morris Birkbeck and other anti-slavery advocates rallied to Coles. Morris wrote many anti-slavery writings in this two year period of campaigning. His most famous piece was “The Jonathan Freeman Letters” which “were intended to drive home to the small farmer the fact that the presence of slaves in the community would be a degradation of the dignity of labor and the man who worked with his hands.” Finally, the people of Illinois voted against the calling of a constitutional convention in 1824. Illinois remained a free state."
~ Community Informatics Projects

Civil Right Type: Class Equality

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