From William Hague comes a major biography of abolitionist William Wilberforce, the man who fought for twenty years to abolish the Atlantic slave trade.
Wilberforce, born to a prosperous family, chose a life of public service and adherence to Evangelical values over the comfortable merchant existence that was laid out for him. Of a conservative bent, Wilberforce was actively hostile to radicals and revolutionaries, but championed one of the great liberal causes of all time—the abolition of slavery—and was an invaluable contributor to its ultimate success. When Parliament finally outlawed the slave trade in 1807, Wilberforce did not rest on his laurels but took part in the campaign for the abolition of slavery itself. He never held or desired a cabinet post, but became an expert in any subject he addressed as a member of Parliament. And although his convictions were informed by deep religious fervor, he never hesitated to change his mind upon reflection. Hague captures all of these nuances and complexities in this clear-eyed, humane, and moving biography.
William Wilberforce was the ideal political reformer. He brought together an amazing combination of strengths: personal wealth, a friendly personality, good connections, moral seriousness, rhetorical skill, a sincere faith, a practical mind, and a bulldog’s tenacity.
William Hague does an excellent job highlighting all of these qualities. Hague may be the perfect author to write such a book. He is an experienced politician, having held many positions in the British government since 1989, including leader of the Conservative Party.
Although Hague clearly appreciates Wilberforce’s great political skill, a large portion of his book focuses on Wilberforce’s moral and spiritual struggles, which propelled him forward into a life of effective service. Almost single-handedly, he brought moral concerns into the mainstream of British politics. Best known is his successful campaign to end the British slave trade. Less well known were his many rational reforms of the criminal laws, eliminating many forms of cruel and disproportionate punishment.
Hague shows that Wilberforce used great wisdom in integrating his Christian beliefs with his political efforts. He was not ashamed of his faith, but he used a light touch in his personal relations, including his lifelong friendship with William Pitt the Younger. Wilberforce maintained that strong friendship, even though Pitt did not share his Evangelical faith, by focusing on their common interests and common love of politics.
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The hymn Amazing Grace is one of the best known songs today and has been for a long time. This instantly recognized hymn is performed over ten million times in a single year. It has been recorded by many different artists and has appeared in over one thousand albums.
The song was written and composed by John Newton who was an Englishman born in the year 1725. He was brought up in a Christian home by his mother who was a staunch Anglican. She died when he was seven years old and he was brought up by his often absent father and his step mother. When he turned eleven years old, John Newton began to work on a ship as an apprentice but later went to work for a merchant. He was insubordinate, disobedient, headstrong, rebellious, unrestrained and impatient and this cost him his job at the merchant’s place and he was forced to join the Royal Navy in the year 1744 as an attempt to make him change.
“Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn written by a English clergyman known as John Newton (1725–1807). The hymn was published in 1779. The primary message that forgiveness and redemption are achievable whatever the sins people commit and that the soul should be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is definitely one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world. Continue reading
“Amazing Grace”, with all the words written and published by John Newton and united with “New Britain”, the melody most presently linked to it, appeared for the first time in Walker’s shape note tunebook Southern Harmony during 1847.Previously it was, according to author Steve Turner, a “marriage made in heaven…The music behind ‘amazing’ had a sense of awe to it. Continue reading
In 1797, William Wilberforce, the great crusader for British abolition of slavery, is obtaining a travel as a result of his health even though he’s sicker at heart for his frustrated cause. However, meeting the charming Barbara Spooner, Wilberforce finds a soulmate to let me know the story of his struggle. Continue reading
Music Inspired By the Motion Picture Amazing Grace (2006) is a soundtrack for the movie Amazing Grace starring Ioan Gruffudd. The album features new versions of old hymns recorded by some of Christian music’s more prominent artists as well as one of the most popular country artists around today. Continue reading
John Henry Newton (July 24, 1725 – December 21, 1807) was a British sailor and Anglican clergyman. Starting his career on the sea at a young age, he became involved with the slave trade for a few years. After experiencing a religious conversion, he became a minister, hymn-writer, and later a prominent supporter of the abolition of slavery. He was the author of many hymns, including “Amazing Grace” and “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken.” Continue reading