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Goldwin Smith: an influential opponent of slavery

July 5th, 2010

Goldwin Smith

The Grange was built in 1817 as the home of D’Arcy Boulton Jr., his wife Sarah Anne, and their eight children. Over the next 94 years, The Grange was both a vibrant family estate and a hub of Toronto’s social and political activities.

When in 1875 Goldwin Smith took up residence in The Grange as Harriette Boulton’s new husband (Harriette being the first wife of Henry Boulton, D’Arcy’s eldest son), he was already a towering presence in England and the United States, loathed or admired for his political views and for his opposition to slavery. An eloquent speaker and forceful writer, it is said that he personally persuaded the British public that the North, rather than the South, deserved their support in America’s Civil War.

In his widely read book, “Does the Bible Sanction American Slavery?” (1863), Smith debunked a pernicious theory, and railed against the slave-owners who he thought had poisoned the political and social system of the Confederacy in a country he otherwise admired.

More information on The Grange can be found here.

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