William Wilberforce

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William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was born in Kingston upon Hull, England. He was a politician who became a Christian philanthropist, abolitionist, and the leader of the campaign against the Slave Trade. A devout Anglican, Wilberforce used Christian morals to argue against the trade (although Slavery had been effectively banned within England itself since the Somerset Case of 1772.)

There is a historically black college in Ohio named Wilberforce University after him.

The 2007 movie Amazing Grace depicts his life.

The following is an excerpt from [1]By Peter Rahme

An early work of John Newton, a personal testimony entitled Authentic Narrative, continued to challenge more hearts for God and change many lives for good. According to John Wesley, who read this book more than once, it had something very extraordinary therein.

John’s newly published Cardiphonia (1781), and the necessarily controversial Thoughts on the African Slave Trade, also inspired and challenged many.

The latter helped equip and highly empowered his dear friend and beloved disciple, William Wilberforce M.P., a pro-active Christian leader and a productive, concerned parliamentarian, who after 20 years of faithful campaigning to abolish slavery, finally succeeded in 1807 in passing an act of parliament in all British colonies.

The friendship between these two history-makers went back a long way. Richard Cecil wrote:

His mother (Wilberforce) placed him in the care of his aunt Hannah Wilberforce in Wimbledon after his father died. As she was the (half) sister of John Thornton, young Wilberforce saw quite a bit of John Newton both in London and in Olney and came to regard him as a father figure. (John Newton by Richard Cell P.174)

Their sincere friendship and strong relationship, characterized by prayer, respect, affection and trust, continued to grow and flourish as their following correspondence clearly shows:

1. Newton to Wilberforce –

My heart is with you….May the wisdom that influenced Joseph and Moses, and Daniel rest upon you. Not only to guide and animate you in the line of Political Duty – but especially to keep in the habit of dependence upon God, and communion with Him…. I can honestly say, that were it practicable, I should not be unwilling to travel on foot, for the sake of spending two or three days with you.

2. Wilberforce to Newton –

I believe I can truly declare, that not a single day has passed in which you have not been in my thoughts,…..O dear Sir, let not your hands cease to be lifted up, lest Amalek prevail (Exodus 17:11-16) – entreat for me that I may be enabled by divine grace to resist and subdue all the numerous enemies of my salvation. My path is peculiarly steep and difficult and dangerous, but the prize is a crown of glory and celestial panoply is offered me and the God of Hosts for my ally. (John Newton by Richard Cell P.176-177)

He was the father of Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford who took part in the famous debate on the theory of evolution with T.H. Huxley in 1860. In addition, he also was a friend of Edmund Burke.

See also


  1. http://www.amazinggrace.org.au The Man & The Story Behind Amazing Grace