Monday, June 11, 2007

Wilberforce update


I'm now about half way through Wilberforce and it is growing on me. It's quite difficult to read because there is a lot of detail about politics in the late 18th century, at the time of William Pitt the younger. It's a long time since I did this period of British history at school and then I'm sure it wasn't in so much detail. There are also big chunks quoting from original sources, which is fine for authenticity, but the 18th century style and terminology differs from the 21st century's. So, concentration is needed for this and also dealing with the number of people connected with Wilberforce. He was most certainly an active person, involved in many areas both in the political and social scene.


I hadn't realised until reading his book that Wilberforce and Pitt were such friends, nor that Wilberforce was elected to Parliament for Hull in 1780 at the age of 21. Much of the first part of the book is about his campaign against the slave trade and its long and drawn out progress through Parliament and the struggle against the traders, merchants, planters and landed aristocracy whose fortunes derived from sugar and slaves.


To help with my reading I've also dipped into a couple of books on my bookshelves - Modern England: from the 18th century to the present by R K Webb and Who's Who in British History for background information. The book becomes more readable when giving information of the social scene and personal details about Wilberforce himself. More about that when I've finished the book and have an overall view of his life.

What I like to get from a biography is a vivid impression of what the person was like, what made him or her tick and after a slow start I'm being to feel as though I'm getting to know Wilberforce as an individual.

1 comment:

MyUtopia said...

That sounds really interesting.