STURGE, JOSEPH (1793-1859), English philanthropist and politician, was the son of a farmer in Gloucestershire. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and refused, in his business as a corn factor, to deal in grain used in the manufacture of spirits. He went to Birmingham in 1822, where he became an alderman in 1835. He was an active member of the AntiSlavery Society, and made a tour in the West Indies, publishing on his return an account of slavery as he there saw it in The West Indies in 1837 (London, 1837). After the abolition of slavery, to which, as Lord Brougham acknowledged in the House of Lords, he had largely contributed, Sturge started and generously supported schemes for benefiting the liberated negroes. In 1841 he travelled in the United States with the poet Whittier to examine the slavery question there. On his return to England he gave his support to the Chartist movement, and in 1842 was candidate for Nottingham, but was defeated by John Walter, the proprietor of The Times. He then took up the cause of peace and arbitration, to support which he was influential in the founding of the Morning Star in 1855. The extreme narrowness of Sturge's views was shown in his opposition to the building of the Birmingham town-hall on account of his conscientious objection to the performance of sacred oratorio. He died at Birmingham on the 14th of May 1859. He married, first, in 1834, Eliza, daughter of James Cropper; and, secondly, in 1846, Hannah, daughter of Barnard Dickinson.
See Henry Richard, Memoirs of Joseph Slurge (London, 1864) ; John (Viscount) Morley, Life of Richard Cobden (London, 1881).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)