Amazing Grace

He was undecided.

He didn’t know what to do.

Politics or Religion?  Of course, it was a time when it really mattered and could have a huge future impact.  They both could be honorable occupations, for honorable and honest people.

With a little nudging from his friend, he didn’t have a chance.  For that friend knew him well.  The strategic friend knew which choice was to be made.  The friend knew what would make him chose — politics.  The friend knew he would be a Champion for the cause.

Amazing Grace…


You know the song.  You don’t even have to be a Christian to know it.

William Pitt, the Younger knew that Wilber Wilberforce would lead the charge, which took his whole being and whole life to accomplish: the abolition of slavery, for the British Empire.

Pitt just needed to nudge Wilberforce in the right direction.  He reasoned that if Wilberforce was confronted with the circumstances…

he would join the cause,

he would lead the cause,

he would CHAMPION the cause.

And Wilber Wilberforce, a Champion Idealist, did.  For all the rest of his life.

William Pitt, the Younger, the youngest Prime Minister of Great Britain at 24, a FieldMarshal Rational, — strategically nudged Wilberforce by introducing some early abolitionists, including the preacher Thomas Clarkson to Wilberforce, who explained the Slave Trade to Wilberforce.

And, you see —  Wilberforce  knew the man — John Newton — who wrote the song: Amazing Grace.

John Newton had been a slave trader for many years, who renounced the practice as being wrong and sinful.  Newton had already become a Christian preacher, when he wrote the song.

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”  ― William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. … In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, which resulted in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform. In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville SharpHannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition. [Wikipedia, revised]

Young Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, who had recently undergone a crisis of conscience and religious conversion as he was contemplating leaving politics. Having sought his guidance, John Newton encouraged Wilberforce to stay in Parliament, as Pitt had advised, and “serve God where he was”

The most outgoing of the Idealists, Champions often can’t wait to tell others of their extraordinary experiences. Champions can be tireless in talking with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out. And usually this is not simple storytelling; Champions often speak (or write) in the hope of revealing some truth about human experience, or of motivating others with their powerful convictions. Their strong drive to speak out on issues and events, along with their boundless enthusiasm and natural talent with language, makes them the most vivacious and inspiring of all the types. [Please Understand Me II]

Amazing Grace

Wilberforce soon became one of the leading English abolitionistsHe headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

He effectively got the British out of the slave trade. That lead to eventually, slavery being abolished entirely in Britain.

“So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the Trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for Abolition. Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.” — William Wilberforce

Wilberforce had worked with William Pitt, the Younger much of the time, although Pitt could not be seen as radical as Wilberforce for he was Prime Minister of England.  On Pitt’s advice, Wilberforce had taken up the slave-trade question; Wilberforce was ill on 9 May 1788 so Pitt brought forward the resolution for him. Pitt was strategic in his goals; he thought and acted long-term.

Fieldmarshals are bound to lead others, and from an early age they can be observed taking command of groups. But the reason is that they have a strong natural urge to give structure and direction wherever they are – to harness people in the field and to direct them to achieve distant goals. They cannot not build organizations, and cannot not push to implement their goals. When in charge of an organization, whether in the military, business, education, or government, Fieldmarshals more than any other type desire (and generally have the ability) to visualize where the organization is going, and they seem able to communicate that vision to others. Their organizational and coordinating skills tends to be highly developed, which means that they are likely to be good at systematizing, ordering priorities, generalizing, summarizing, marshaling evidence, and at demonstrating their ideas. [Please Understand Me II]

Yes, William Pitt, the Younger, whose father had also been Prime Minister of England, had from an early age determined that he wanted to lead Great Britain.  He was a natural.  Circumstance and chance.

 An intelligent child, Pitt quickly became proficient in Latin and Greek. In 1773, aged fourteen, he attended Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied political philosophy, classics, mathematics, trigonometry, chemistry, and history. … While at Cambridge, he befriended the young William Wilberforce, who became a lifelong friend and political ally in Parliament.  Pitt tended to socialise only with fellow students and others already known to him, rarely venturing outside the university grounds. Yet he was described as charming and friendly. According to Wilberforce, Pitt had an exceptional wit along with an endearingly gentle sense of humour: “no man … ever induldged more freely or happilly in that playful facetiousness which gratifies all without wounding any.”

He is best known for leading Britain in the great wars against France and Napoleon. Pitt was an outstanding administrator who worked for efficiency and reform, bringing in a new generation of outstanding administrators. He raised taxes to pay for the great war against France, and cracked down on radicalism. To meet the threat of Irish support for France, he engineered the Acts of Union 1800 and tried (but failed) to get Catholic Emancipation as part of the Union. Pitt created the “new Toryism,” which revived the Tory Party and enabled it to stay in power for the next quarter-century. Historian Charles Petrie concludes that he was one of the greatest prime ministers “if on no other ground than that he enabled the country to pass from the old order to the new without any violent upheaval….He understood the new Britain.” [Wikipedia, revised]

However, Pitt died in 1806, a year before Wilberforce’s triumph.

The Rational and the Idealist were a powerful pair, their goal was viewed in the long-term, for they both knew it was a struggle to change people’s mind, it was a very profitable business for some in Parliament.  They combined their forces and had to use their brains and wit to overcome the opposition.  Passion and persistence.

Neither lived to see the final act, but they knew they would eventually win, for both right and logic were on they side.

In later years, Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his failing health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire; Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Act through Parliament was assured. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to his friend William Pitt.  [Wikipedia, revised]

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.— William Pitt, the Younger.

It is not mere palliatives that can cure this enormous evil: total abolition is the only possible cure for it — William Wilberforce

3 thoughts on “Amazing Grace”

  1. An amazing achievement after slavery was the presumption for thousands of years. And is coming back in some places by the by.
    It required a lot of coincidences such as commercial and technical advances which made slavery obsolete in a developed society. And an overwhelming naval superiority that allowed abolition to be enforced(abolition would have been meaningless without Nelson). Even so it was a great achievement.

    It’s an interesting irony but the Royal Navy was, if not founded, certainly brought to prominence, by Drake-who was a slaver.

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