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Series One: The Wilberforce Papers from the Bodleian Library, Oxford

Part 1: Papers of William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and Robert Isaac Wilberforce (1802-1857)

Part 1 features William Wilberforce's diary, religious journals, autobiography and correspondence. Key topics include:

  • Politics and parliamentary debates.
  • Foreign affairs.
  • Slavery and the slave trade, including correspondence with Buxton, Clarkson, Macaulay, More and Sharp.
  • Elections and local politics.
  • Missions in Africa and India.
  • Correspondence with dissenters - Baptists, Methodists, Quakers and Unitarians - which displays Wilberforce’s open and friendly relations with these groups, his opposition to restrictions on them at home and his support for their missions abroad.

Noteworthy items include Banks writing about Haiti; the Colonial Secretary, Henry Bathurst, about Sierra Leone; Shute Barrington on missions in India and Africa; the Marquis of Hastings about Bengal; the Earl of Selkirk about trade with North America; Sydney Smith about the white slave trade; and the Duke of Wellington about the French Slave Trade.

The first part is completed with a small section comprising the correspondence and papers of Robert Isaac Wilberforce (1802-1857), archdeacon of East Riding, and second son of William Wilberforce, including letters from Thomas Chalmers,
Richard Froude, William Gladstone, John Henry Newman, Edward Pusey and members of the Wilberforce family. Of particular importance are the letters between Robert and Samuel concerning Robert’s involvement in the tractarian or high church movement and his decision to leave the Anglican Church.

Digital Guide
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