Memorial to William Wilberforce (Westminster Abbey, London)

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To the memory of
WILLIAM WILBERFORCE
(born in Hull August 24th 1759
died in London July 29th 1833)
For nearly half a century a member of the House of Commons,
and, for six Parliaments during that period,
one of the two representatives for Yorkshire.

In an age and country fertile in great and good men,
he was among the foremost of those who fixed the character of their times;
because to high and various talents,
to warm benevolence, and to universal candour,
he added the abiding eloquence of a Christian life.

Eminent as he was in every department of public labour,
and a leader in every work of charity,
whether to relieve the temporal or the spiritual wants of his fellow-men,
his name will ever be specially identified
with those exertions
which, by the blessing of GOD, removed from England
the guilt of the African slave trade,
and prepared the way for the abolition of slavery
in every colony of the empire:

In the prosecution of these objects
he relied, not in vain, on GOD;
but in the process he was called to endure
great obloquy and great opposition:
he outlived, however, all enmity;
and in the evening of his days,
withdrew from public life and public observation
to the bosom of his family.
Yet he died not unnoticed or forgotten by his country:
The peers and commons of England,
with the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker at their head,
in solemn procession from their respective houses,
carried him to his fitting place
among the mighty dead around,
here to repose:

Till, through the merits of JESUS CHRIST,
his only redeemer and saviour,
(whom, in his life and in his writings he had desired to glorify,)
he shall rise in the resurrection of the just.

 

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