Sturge, Joseph

Sturge, Joseph, an eminent member of the Society of Friends in England, was born at Elberton, in the County of Gloucester, Aug. 2, 1793. Early in life he entered upon mercantile pursuits, in which he achieved great success. As corn factors, the firm of J. & C. Sturge secured a distinction not surpassed by any other firm in Great Britain. He was a prime mover in many reform and philanthropic movements, and was associated with some of the most distinguished philanthropists of his day. In the House of Commons he represented Birmingham, Nottingham, and Leeds. and was always found on the side of truth and righteousness. He was an earnest advocate for the entire abrogation of capital punishment. He labored for an improvement in the discipline of prisons. He was a warm friend of the temperance cause, going so far as to refuse to sell his barley for malting purposes. He was also the promoter of the Sabbath school movement in the Society of Friends. But the two great objects which, for thirty years of his life, secured the unflagging interest of Joseph Sturge were the abolition of slavery and the promotion of permanent and universal peace. The result of the long- continued labors of the friends of freedom in England was the proclamation of unconditional liberty to every slave in all her colonial possessions, the same to take effect Aug. 1, 1838. His advocacy of peace on Christian principles gave him a reputation throughout the civilized world. His efforts in the direction of a submission of national difficulties to arbitration rather than to the sword are well known. He promoted and arranged, in conjunction with like spirits with himself, the peace congresses which were held annually from 1848 to 1852 at Brussels, Paris, Frankfort, London, and Edinburgh. The influence of these public gatherings of the friends of peace was widely extended and of the most beneficial character. In labors like these Joseph Sturge devoted the busy years of a life reaching on to nearly threescore years and ten. He died in Birmingham, England, May 14, 1859. See Memoir, by Tract Association of Friends (Philadelphia). (J.C.S.)

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