William Wilberforce

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William Wilberforce (1759-08-241833-07-29) was a British politician, philanthropist and leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade.


  • Can you tell a plain man the road to heaven? Certainly, turn at once to the right, then go straight forward.
  • Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.
  • And, sir, when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is there in this life that should make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?
  • Is it not the great end of religion, and, in particular, the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate and kind, and forgiving one to another; to make us good husbands, good fathers, good friends; and to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties?
  • Let everyone regulate his conduct... by the golden rule of doing to others as in similar circumstances we would have them do to us, and the path of duty will be clear before him.
  • If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.
  • So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the Trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for Abolition. Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.
  • Men of authority and influence may promote good morals. Let them in their several stations encourage virtue... let them favor and take part in any plans which may be formed for the advancement of morality.
  • They know indeed that they are mortal, but they do not feel it.
  • God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.
  • If any country were indeed filled with men, each thus diligently discharging the duties of his own station without breaking in upon the rights of others, but on the contrary endeavoring, so far as he might be able, to forward their views and promote their happiness, all would be active and harmonious in the goodly frame of human society.
  • Their more lowly paths have been allotted to them by the hand of God... it is their part faithfully to discharge its duties, and contentedly to bear its inconveniences.
  • The objects of the present life fill the human eye with a false magnification because of their immediacy.
  • I continually find it necessary to guard against that natural love of wealth and grandeur which prompts us always, when we come to apply our general doctrine to our own case, to claim an exception.

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