Wilberforce

Wilberforce

[wil-ber-fawrs, -fohrs]
Eames, Wilberforce, 1855-1937, American bibliographer, b. Newark, N.J. He joined the staff of the Lenox Library in New York City in 1885 and became its librarian in 1895. After 1911 he was bibliographer of the New York Public Library, of which the Lenox had become a part. Eames was honored for the scholarliness of his work on Americana.
Wilberforce, Samuel, 1805-73, English prelate; son of William Wilberforce. In 1845 he became bishop of Oxford. He did not support the Oxford movement; instead, he attempted to hold a middle course between the High Church and Low Church factions. As a signer of the remonstrance against the appointment of R. D. Hampden to the bishopric of Hereford and as a participant in other controversies, he was at times an unpopular figure, sometimes referred to by his detractors as "Soapy Sam." A man of oratorical powers and of marked administrative ability, Bishop Wilberforce greatly improved the organization of his diocese and was instrumental in restoring to the English church convocations some of their earlier ecclesiastical authority. In 1869 he was made bishop of Winchester. With his brother Robert he wrote a biography (1838) of his father; his work includes History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America (1844).

See biographies by A. R. Ashwell and R. G. Wilberforce (3 vol., 1879) and S. Meacham (1970).

Wilberforce, William, 1759-1833, British politician and humanitarian. He was elected to Parliament in 1780 and during the campaign formed a lifelong friendship with William Pitt, whose measures he generally supported in the House of Commons. In 1785, during a tour of the Continent, he became converted to evangelicism—a decision that affected his entire outlook and caused him to withdraw from fashionable society. He pressed unsuccessfully for more humane criminal laws and, joining with Thomas Clarkson and others in the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade, was for 20 years parliamentary leader of this movement. He also organized (1802) the Society for the Suppression of Vice and took part in other evangelical activities for social improvement. Abolition of the slave trade by the British Parliament was achieved in 1807. When it became apparent that the measure would not cause the natural demise of slavery, Wilberforce directed his efforts to the suppression of the institution throughout the British Empire. A bill to this effect was passed a month after his death. Wilberforce wrote A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians (1797), a work that enjoyed wide popularity both in Britain and on the Continent.

See his correspondence (1840); biographies by R. I. and S. Wilberforce (1835), R. Coupland (1923, repr. 1968), and O. M. Warner (1962); study by G. Lean (1988).

(born Aug. 24, 1759, Hull, Yorkshire, Eng.—died July 29, 1833, London) British politician. Entering the House of Commons in 1780, he supported parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation. Converted to evangelical Christianity (1785), he agitated against the slave trade and cofounded the Anti-Slavery Society. His sponsorship of antislavery legislation led to the passage of a bill abolishing the slave trade in the British West Indies (1807). From 1821 he agitated for emancipation of all slaves and was joined in Parliament by Thomas F. Buxton (1786–1845), who continued to sponsor legislation after Wilberforce retired in 1825. The Slavery Abolition Act was passed one month after Wilberforce's death in 1833.

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(born Aug. 24, 1759, Hull, Yorkshire, Eng.—died July 29, 1833, London) British politician. Entering the House of Commons in 1780, he supported parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation. Converted to evangelical Christianity (1785), he agitated against the slave trade and cofounded the Anti-Slavery Society. His sponsorship of antislavery legislation led to the passage of a bill abolishing the slave trade in the British West Indies (1807). From 1821 he agitated for emancipation of all slaves and was joined in Parliament by Thomas F. Buxton (1786–1845), who continued to sponsor legislation after Wilberforce retired in 1825. The Slavery Abolition Act was passed one month after Wilberforce's death in 1833.

Learn more about Wilberforce, William with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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