Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BENEZET, Anthony, philanthropist, born in St. Quentin, France, 31 January 1713; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 3 May 1784. He was descended from wealthy and noble French parents, who fled from France to Holland in 1685. after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, and thence to England in 1715. In London his relatives became Quakers, and in 1731 they settled in Philadelphia. He apprenticed himself to a cooper, but in 1742 became instructor in the Friends' English school, and continued to teach until near the end of his life. He devoted much attention to the abolition of the slave-trade, and advocated the emancipation and education of the colored population, opening for that purpose an evening school. During the revolutionary war and the occupation of Philadelphia by the British army, he was active in alleviating the sufferings of the prisoners. He published tracts, which were gratuitously distributed throughout the country, the most important being "A Caution to Great Britain and her Colonies, in a Short Representation of the Calamitous State of the Enslaved Negroes in the British Dominion" (Philadelphia., 1767) ; "Some Historical Account of Guinea, with an Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of the Slave-Trade" (1772); "Observations on the Indian Natives of this Continent" (1784); "A Short Account of the Society of Friends" (1780); and "Dissertation on the Christian Religion" (1782). See "Memoir of Anthony Benezet," by Roberts Vaux (New York, 1817).
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