William Wilberforce (1759-1833) is described in The Dictionary of National Biography as ‘The authorised interpreter of the national conscience’
He was the leader in Parliament of the moves to abolish slavery. Hence the key figure in the passing of the Act in 1807 to abolish the slave trade in the British colonies/
Wilberforce was born in Hull, into a prosperous family so that he had sufficient wealth to finance his parliamentary campaigns, to give very generously to charitable causes, and to have no need to find employment beyond that of a Member of Parliament.
He was elected MP for Hull at the age of 21 in 1780.
At the 1784 election he was invited to stand for election as one of the two MPs for the County of Yorkshire. He remained a Member of Parliament for Yorkshire for 28 years, relinquishing his county seat only in 1812 when, finding it difficult to continue his responsibilities to so large a county, he chose instead to represent Bramber.
It was only in 1825 that ill-health led to his retirement from Parliament.
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