In the course of attending to my work, as now in the press, James Phillips introduced me also to Granville Sharp, with whom I had afterwards many interesting interviews from time to time, and whom I discovered to be a distant relation by my father’s side.
He introduced me also by letter to a correspondence with Mr. Ramsay, who in a short time afterwards came to London to see me.
He introduced me also to his cousin, Richard Phillip of Lincoln’s Inn, who was at that time on the point of joining the religious society of the Quakers. In him I found much sympathy, and a willingness to cooperate with me. When dull and disconsolate, he encouraged me. When in spirits, he stimulated me further. Him I am now to mention as a new, but soon afterwards as an active and indefatigable coadjutor in the cause. But I shall say more concerning him in a future chapter. I shall only now add, that my work was at length printed; that it was entitled, An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the human Species, particularly the African, translated from a Latin Dissertation, which was honoured with the First Prize in the University of Cambridge, for the Year 1785; with Additions;—and that it was ushered into the world in the month of June 1786, or in about a year after it had been read in the Senate-house in its first form.
Continuation of the fourth class of forerunners and coadjutors up to 1787—Bennet Langton—Dr. Baker—Lord and Lady Scarsdale—Author visits Ramsay at Teston—Lady Middleton and Sir Charles (now Lord Barham)—Author declares himself at the house of the latter ready now to devote himself to the cause—reconsiders this declaration or pledge—his reasoning and struggle upon it—persists in it—returns to London—and pursues the work as now a business of his life.
I had purposed, as I said before, when I determined to publish my Essay, to wait to see how the world would receive it, or what disposition there would be in the public to favour my measures for the abolition of the Slave-trade. But the conversation, which I had held on the thirteenth of March with William Dillwyn, continued to make such an impression upon me, that I thought now there could be no occasion for waiting for such a purpose. It seemed now only necessary to go forward. Others I found had already begun the work. I had been thrown suddenly among these, as into a new world of friends. I believed also that a way was opening under Providence for support. And I now thought that nothing remained for me but to procure as many coadjutors as I could.