Playing part in abolition cause

David Glover was the speaker at the March meeting of the Mytholmroyd Historical Society, and gave a talk entitled Halifax and the Slave Trade: the Saints.

Sunday, 22nd March 2015, 4:00 pm

He described how William Wilberforce, who was initially one of the two Members of Parliament for the whole of Yorkshire, was the main architect of the abolition of slavery.

The battle to abolish this in Parliament lasted over 30 years.

In 1807, a Bill was passed that outlawed the slave trade, but did not outlaw slavery itself.

Initially Wilberforce was against a bill to prohibit slavery, but gradually changed his mind.

It then took until 1833 before Parliament passed the Bill which finally abolished slavery in all the British Territories.

Although Wilberforce was the main adversary in Parliament of slavery, the Anti-Slavery Society and many other people helped Wilberforce in his opposition, with quite a number of prominent Halifax people amongst them.

Wilberforce came to Halifax on a number of occasions, and drew huge crowds to hear him speak.

Amongst his supporters were the Edwards family of Pye Nest, and three vicars of Halifax, Reverends Coulthurst, Knight and Musgrave.

Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Act through Parliament was assured, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, next to his old friend William Pitt the younger, who as Prime Minister had been very supportive.