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William Wilberforce

(1759—1833) politician, philanthropist, and slavery abolitionist

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Evangelical philanthropist and anti‐slavery campaigner. Born in Hull, the son of a merchant, and educated at Cambridge, he was MP for Hull (1780), Yorkshire (1784–1812), and Bramber (1812–25). Following his conversion (1784–85) he became a leading evangelical, helping found the Proclamation Society to prosecute blasphemy and vice (1787), the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor (1796), the Church Missionary Society (1799), and the Bible Society (1804). In 1787 he joined the campaign against the slave trade, which he promoted in Parliament through his friendship with Prime Minister Pitt, and which succeeded in 1807. In 1823 he joined the Anti‐Slavery Society, though ill‐health forced his retirement from public life in 1825.

Subjects: Religion

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