History of Amazing Grace, part 2: William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce

Early Life of William Wilberforce

Born in 1759 in Hull in Yorkshire, upon his father’s death in 1768, he was sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Wimbledon. While there, he came into contact with the great evangelist George Whitefield. He was also influenced by the former slave-trading sea captain, pastor John Newton. However, his mother and grandfather wanted him away from Newton’s influence, which they thought was too evangelical and “Methodist,” much too enthusiastic for respectable Anglicans, and returned him to Hull.

William Pitt

Influences upon William Wilberforce

The abolitionist Thomas Clarkson influenced Wilberforce to become an activist in the issue of slavery, and together they proposed to Parliament a dozen resolutions against the slave trade. Wilberforce’s early optimism was met with one defeat after another. This did not dissuade him from the cause against slavery, or other issues for that matter.

Amazing Grace, the movie
John Newton and Wilberforce

Change of Course for William Wilberforce

At the age of 28, Wilberforce wrote in his diary:

Wilberforce in later years
Parliament

Parliamentary Bill of William Wilberforce

Wilberforce Memorial, Westminster Abbey

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. billpetro.com @billpetro

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