Friday, November 24, 2017
THE COURAGE TO PERSERVERE
William Wilberforce was a British parliamentarian, a Christian, and an abolitionist. The turning
point in his life came at the age of 28, after having served in Parliament for seven years. He wrote in his diary: “Almighty God has set before me two great objectives- the abolition of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.”
When Wilberforce began his crusade against slavery, the prospects could not have been worse.
The slave trade was a boon to England’s economy. Hundreds of parliamentarians were in the pockets of the slavers, and the public was indifferent to suffering slaves in the distant Caribbean.
However, Wilberforce introduced bills against the slave trade every year. For 20 consecutive years Parliament voted down all but the mildest reforms. Yet Wilberforce refused to allow political setbacks or chronic ill health to discourage him. He persevered, and in 1807, Parliament finally abolished the slave trade. In 1833, as Wilberforce lay dying, slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire, 46 years after the battle was joined.