Statesman and Saint: The Principled Politics of William Wilberforce
This moving biography of Wilberforce tells the story of his religious conversion in 1784 and his rise to leadership of the Clapham Sect - a group of evangelicals active in political, philanthropic, and religious causes. Under his leadership, the Saints, as they were called, championed parliamentary and prison reforms, missionary endeavors, Bible distribution, and a host of other charitable efforts and organizations. These causes included the Church Missionary Society (established in 1799) and the British and Foreign Bible Society (founded in 1804). Statesman and Saint also describes Wilberforce's unrelenting forty-year crusade against slavery, in spite of many defeats in Parliament. He laboured for eighteen years to secure the abolition of the slave trade, enduring personal criticism, deep-seated prejudice, and threats on his life for another twenty-six years before he saw the Emancipation Bill finally passed in July 1833. His influential book, A Practical View, laid the foundation for the moral elevation of the Victorian Era that followed his death only three days after the Emancipation Bill was passed in Parliament.