Source 18 - Alexander Falconbridge

Alexander Falconbridge was a ship's surgeon from Bristol and a friend of John Newton. He made four crossings to the Americas in a slave ship before quitting the trade on principle. He was discovered by Thomas Clarkson who realised he would make an excellent witness. He was then interviewed by a member of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Richard Philips, who used the information to produce a detailed, gritty and memorable account of conditions on board a slave ship. His book was published in 1788 and was widely read. He also gave evidence to a Parliamentary hearing.

  • Why did Falconbridge make such a credible witness?
  • Given his position, what kind of detail might he have been able to provide that other campaigners could not?

Taken from: An account of the slave trade
Author / Creator: Alexander Falconbridge
Publisher: James Phillips
Copyright: By permission of the British Library
Shelfmark: RB.23.a.1198