menu icon mobile devices search icon mobile devicesSearch the site

William Wilberforce (1759-1833)

William Wilberforce was born in Hull, the son of a wealthy merchant. He was educated at Cambridge and was elected to parliament in 1780. During his fifty years in public life, Wilberforce was active in many of the most burning social issues of his day. He led the fight against slavery, founded an association for the reformation of manners and was a leading figure in the so-called 'Clapham Sect' of Evangelicals.

Wilberforce was a great admirer of the Wesleys and was the recipient of John Wesley's famous last letter concerning slavery in the United States. After Charles Wesley's death in 1788, Wilberforce and several of his friends joined in providing his widow with an annual pension as a token of their regard for the Wesley family.

Source: Dictionary of National Biography

Return to The Methodist Archives Biographical Index

Can we help?