Tobin, James Webbe (1767–1814)

Abolitionist son of a Nevis sugar planter, Tobin became friends with Coleridge and Wordsworth, whom he may have visited in 1797 in Somerset. In Bristol he befriended Humphry Davy and participated in the nitrous oxide experiments at Thomas Beddoes’s Pneumatic Institution. A prospective Pantisocrat, Tobin later contributed five poems to the second volume of Southey’s Annual Anthology and urged Southey to produce a third. A political radical and, in the mid-1790s, a follower of William Godwin, Tobin began to lose his eyesight when in America and Nevis in 1793–94. In 1804 Tobin was bereaved of his brother and companion John (1770–1804), and fell out with Coleridge, who resented his advice on money and health matters. In September 1807 he married Jane Mallet (d. 1837), and from 1809 till his death lived on Nevis, campaigning against cruelty to slaves.

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