"Sir, I went to Ireland and was there eight and a half months and sold 1900 copies of my narrative. I came here on the 10th and I now mean to leave London in about 8 or 10 days and to take me a wife (one Miss Cullen) of Soham in Cambridgeshire. When I have given her about 8 or 10 days comfort, I mean directly to go to Scotland - and sell my 5th. Editions. I trust that my going has been of much use to the cause of Abolition of the accursed Slave Trade. A gentleman of the Committee, the Revd. Dr. Baker, has said that I am more use to the cause than half the people in the country - I wish to God, I could be so."
John Atkins was a surgeon in the British navy who participated in an expedition to suppress piracy on the West African coast in 1721 and later published this account of the voyage. Atkins criticizes the slave trade, but also offers practical advice on successfully conducting it. The second author is Anthony Benezet, a Philadelphia Quaker and prominent abolitionist. Benezet’s Some Historical Account of Guinea became a crucial source within the antislavery movement. As the scholar George Boulukos notes, Benezet devotes much of this text to describing African civilization. He had not traveled to Africa himself, but quotes heavily from eighteenth-century travel narratives (including even William Snelgrave’s, excerpted in the previous section). The final document is Olaudah Equiano’s own description of the land of Eboe (now southern Nigeria) where he situates his childhood.
The revenue from book sales enabled Equiano to live independently of philanthropic backers and he could devote more time to campaigning against slavery. He also served as a leader for the poor black community of London. These were often freed slaves and descendants, but struggled to survive economically. Equiano also campaigned for the extension of the vote to working men. He was an active member of the Corresponding Society. He also supported the London Missionary society – a Christian organisation committed to spreading education and Christianity overseas.