The Abolition Of The Slave Trade And The Reformation Of Manners

1997 Words May 1st, 2016 8 Pages
After his conversion experience, Wilberforce sought to stand behind a worthy cause rather than promote his selfish ambitions to further his career. On October 28, 1787, Wilberforce wrote a statement in his diary that would set the course for his life. He declared that “God almighty has placed before me two great Objects—the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.” During this time, the slave trade was a powerful entity within the British empire. The Society of Friends, or Quakers, worked to end the slave trade for a number of years, to no avail. In 1783, the first petition, presented by this group, was put in front of parliament, and by 1787, the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was founded with the help of certain individuals such as Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson. Because of the lack of support the Society of Friends was facing in parliament and the weakened state of the movement as a whole, the committee decided that the they needed someone to represent their cause in parliament. In early 1787, Thomas Clarkson, a man who would collaborate with Wilberforce for over fifty years, first called upon Wilberforce with his work Essay on Slavery. This greatly influenced Wilberforce, and he began to work closely with Clarkson to gather the needed evidence to plead their case to the public. On May 12, 1789, Wilberforce made his first anti-slavery speech. This speech marked the beginning of Wilberforce being known as one of the leaders of the…

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