William Davidson was born in 1786 and was the son of Mr Attorney General Davidson of Jamaica. His mother was a Black woman native to Jamaica. Against his mother's request, Davidson was sent to Edinburgh by his father to be educated. After leaving school, Davidson went to Liverpool and became an apprentice to an attorney. However, after nearly three years working as an apprentice he soon became tired of the confinement and followed his desire to go to sea.
Without giving notice to quit, Davidson went to sea on board a merchant vessel. However, he soon became unhappy when he was compelled by the captain to perform certain duties. After six months at sea, he finally returned to Liverpool and with the assistance of his former employer, he was apprenticed to a cabinet maker there.
Davidson bought a house in Birmingham and established a business as a cabinet maker around the early 1800s. His Birmingham business was not successful and he eventually moved to London.
In London Davidson became a radical political activist. He was one of the Cato Street Conspirators who attempted to launch a revolution in Britain by blowing up the Cabinet in 1820.
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