ANTI-SLAVERY
SOCIETY

FIGHTING SLAVERY TODAY


WILLIAM WILBERFORCE
1759-1833

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






 

 

William Wilberforce
("The Liberator")


WILLIAM
WILBERFORCE
1759-1833

Painting of William Wilberforce.

William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was a deeply religious man whose political views were very conservative, but who devoted most of his parliamentary career to the abolition of the slave trade and slavery.  He also campaigned for legislation to prohibit the worst forms of child labor, cruelty to animals and the removal of political disabilities on Roman Catholics.

 

He fought to abolish the slave trade which, after many years of defeats, he finally achieved in 1807.  However, this did not abolish slavery.

 

He would frequently introduce a private member’s Bill abolishing slavery.  Year after year his Bills were defeated until, finally, late on Friday July 26, 1833, as he lay on his deathbed, his friend, Thomas Babington Macaulay, the famous historian and member of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Dominions, brought him word that the Slavery Abolition Bill 1833 abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire had been read a third time (which means that it had been passed) by the House of Commons.  Passage of the Bill through the House of Lords was assured.  Wilberforce exclaimed:


"Thank God that I have lived to witness the day in which England is willing to give 20 million for the abolishment of slavery
."

He died three days later.  It was agreed that he should be in Westminster Abbey in London.

 

The Slavery Abolition Bill 1833 passed through the House of Lords, it received the Royal Assent (which means it became law) on 29 August 1833 and came into force on 1 August 1834.  On that date slavery was abolished throughout the vast British Empire.  The Act automatically applied as new possessions (principally in Africa) subsequently became part of the British Empire.

 

 

 

     

 

 

Links to other pages dealing with British abolitionists:

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (1786-1846)

Thomas Clarkson  (1760-1845)

Granville Sharp (1735-1813)

Joseph Sturge (1793-1859)

British campaign against slavery


Links to other pages dealing with the abolition of slavery in the British Empire:

Slave Trade Act 1807

Slave Trade Act 1824

Slave Trade Act 1843

Slavery Abolition Act 1833


Links to pages dealing with the abolition of slavery in the USA:

Vermont

Virgin Islands

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Abraham Lincoln

American Civil War

13th Amendment to the Bill of Rights


Links to pages dealing with the abolition of slavery in other countries:

Denmark

Peter Van Scholten


Links to other pages dealing with slavery:

Does slavery still exist?

SLAVERY SLAVE
TRADE
HUMAN
SACRIFICE

BONDED
LABOR

HIERODULIC
SERVITUDE

TRAFFICKING

CHILD
LABOR

  2003 by the Anti-Slavery Society. The text on any page may be reproduced provided that the source is acknowledged.  This does not apply to photos.