William Wilberforce is the man credited with ending the slave trade in the United Kingdom. He was from a wealthy family, and at a young age he was elected to the parliament in his home county. At first, he did not become involved in any major cause, but in 1785, he trusted Jesus as his Savior. As a Christian, William knew that God wanted more from his life. He began to work hard to bring about change in Britain.
Even though William’s family never had slaves, William grew aware that slavery was a terrible thing. He came to realize how badly slaves were treated, and he believed that God wanted him to do something about it. He worked hard trying to convince the parliament to abolish slavery. But he became discouraged after meeting setback after setback. He would present his Abolition Bill, but some of the witnesses against slavery were bribed or scared and changed their stories to support slavery. William gave a very powerful speech that was praised in the newspapers, but still there were not enough votes to abolish slavery.
But William kept working and dedicated his whole life to try to end slavery. Finally, after 48 years, the practice of slavery was to be outlawed in the British Empire. “Thank God,” said Wilberforce, “that I have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give twenty millions sterling for the abolition of slavery.” Three days later, on July 29, 1833, he died. He is buried in Westminster Abbey in England.