William Wilberforce ALS
William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) was a British politician, a philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform. In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807. In later years, Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his failing health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire; Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Act through Parliament was assured. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to his friend William Pitt. ALS. 4 pages. 4 ½” x 7 ¼”. March 31, 1811. Written while a member of Parliament, Wilberforce apologizes for his busy schedule and late response to the correspondent, and mentions his work with the Penitentiary Committee and Dublin Brewer's Committee. The lower portion pages three and four have been trimmed only slightly affection the text and with the usual fold creases, else a bright, legible letter in very good condition.
“I beg your pardon for having neglected so long to answer your note, but let me assure you that my not having done so has in no degree arisen from incivility at from any intentional inattention, but I have been so much engaged & so little able to foresee my times in the Penitentiary ( ) committee and indeed it has happened only unfortunately that I have never been able To attend the Brewers of Dublin Commtee. Tho’ much intwerested on that subject. I am going into Buck. Tomorrow fo ( ) holidays, but shall be happy to sse him when I return. ( ) will almost always find me at the hotel or in ( ) from 3 to 4. I sent would …I have been anxious to vindicate myself from ( ) of neglecting & have therefore humbled you…
P.S. Tho’ I date from my hotel, I am really writing in a Committee roo at the House of Commons”
Wilberforce letters are infrequently encountered.
Catalog: # AM-3276