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James Silk Buckingham [Calcutta Journal]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21



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James Silk Buckingham
James Silk Buckingham by Clara S. Lane
Born 25 August 1786
Flushing, Cornwall
Died 30 June 1855 (aged 68)
London, England
Nationality British
Occupation author, journalist, traveller

James Silk Buckingham (25 August 1786 – 30 June 1855) was a Cornish-born British author, journalist and traveller, known for his contributions to Indian journalism. He was a pioneer among the Europeans who fought for a liberal press in India.

Early life

Buckingham was born at Flushing near Falmouth on 25 August 1786, the son of Thomasine Hambly of Bodmin and Christopher Buckingham (died 1793/94) of Barnstaple. His father, and his ancestors, were seafaring men.[1] James was the youngest of three boys and four girls and his youth was spent at sea. The property of his deceased parents consisted of houses, land, mines and shares, which was left to the three youngest children.[1] In 1797 he was captured by the French and held as a prisoner of war at Corunna.

Career

In 1821, his Travels in Palestine was published, followed by Travels Among the Arab Tribes in 1825.[2] After years of wandering he settled in India, where he established a periodical, the Calcutta Journal, in 1818. This venture at first proved highly successful, but in 1823 the paper's outspoken criticisms of the East India Company led to the expulsion of Buckingham from India and to the suppression of the paper by John Adam, the acting governor-general in 1823. His case was brought before a select committee of the House of Commons in 1834, and a pension of £500 a year was subsequently awarded to him by the East India Company as compensation.

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James Silk Buckingham, by Henry William Pickersgill

Buckingham continued his journalistic ventures on his return to England; he settled at Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park,[3] and started the Oriental Herald and Colonial Review (1824–9) and the Athenaeum (1828) which was not a success in his hands, Buckingham selling to John Sterling after a few weeks.

Between 1832 and 1836 Buckingham served as MP for Sheffield. He was a strong advocate of social reform, calling for the end of flogging in the armed services, abolition of the press-gang and the repeal of the Corn Laws.[4]

During his time as an MP, Buckingham served as Chair of the select committee charged with examining "the extent, causes, and consequences of the prevailing vice of intoxication among the laboring classes of the United Kingdom" devise a solution. Campaigner for the working class Frances Place concluded that the lack of “parish libraries and direct reading rooms, and popular lecture that were both entertaining and instructive” were drawing individuals to frequent “public houses for other social enjoyment.” [5] With this in mind, Buckingham introduced the Public Institutions bill in 1835. Buckingham’s bill allowed boroughs to charge a tax to set up libraries and museums. This bill never became law but would serve as inspiration for William Ewart and Joseph Brotherton, who introduced a bill that would "[empower] boroughs with a population of 10,000 or more to raise a ½d for the establishment of museums".[6] Ewart and Brotherton’s bill would become the basis for the Museum Act of 1845.

Following his retirement from parliament, in October 1837, Buckingham began a four-year tour of North America. In 1844 he was central to the foundation of the British and Foreign Institute in Hanover Square.[4]

BRITISH AND FOREIGN INSTITUTE, George-street, Hanover-square, was formed by James Silk Buckingham, under the patronage of Prince Albert, who was present at the opening in 1844. The leading object of the Institute was to afford a point of union for literary and scientific men from all quarters of the globe, without distinction of nation, politics, or creed; to give facilities of introduction to strangers visiting the metropolis from the country; and to add the attractions of literature, science, and art, the refinements and grace of female society. The Club-rooms had the accommodations of a family hotel. The Institute did not long exist.

Curiosities of London, 1867, by John Timbs


Buckingham was the former editor of The Asiatic Mirror.

He was a prolific writer. He had travelled in Europe, America and the East, and wrote many useful travel books, as well as many pamphlets on political and social subjects. "In 1851, the value of these and of his other literary works was recognized by the grant of a Civil List pension of £200 a year. At the time of his death in London, Buckingham was at work on his autobiography, two volumes of the intended four being completed and published (1855)".[7] This work is important as it mentions in detail the life of the black composer Joseph Antonio Emidy who settled in Truro.

Personal life

In February 1806, Buckingham married Elizabeth Jennings (1786–1865), the daughter of a Cornish farmer.

Buckingham died after a long illness at Stanhope Lodge, Upper Avenue Road, St John's Wood, London, on 30 June 1855.[4] Buckingham is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.[8]

His youngest son, Leicester Silk Buckingham, was a popular playwright.

Works

• Contribution For the Commemoration of the Fourth of July, 1838. Contribution For the Commemoration of the Fourth of July 1838. Written on a couch of sickness. By J S Buckingham, of England, Albany, N.Y., 3 July 1838.
• America, historical, statistic, and descriptive. Jackson, Fisher, Son, London, 1841.
The Slaves States of North America, VI. Fisher, Son, and Co. London, 1842.
The Slaves States of North America, VII. Fisher, Son, and Co. London, 1842.
• National Evils and Practical Remedies. With the Plan of a Model Town. Jackson, Fisher, Son, London, 1849.
• (1821): Travels in Palestine Through the Countries of Bashan and Gilead, East of the River Jordan, Including a Visit to the Cities of Geraza and Gamala in the Decapolis In two volumes (only volume I).
• (1825): Travels among the Arab Tribes Inhabiting the Countries East of Syria and Palestine. The full text, google-books.
• (1827): Travels in Mesopotamia Including a Journey from Aleppo to Bagdad By the Route of Beer, Orfah, Diarbekr, Mardin, and Mosul; With Researches on the Ruins of Nineveh, Babylon, and Other Ancient Cities.

References

1. "The Flushing Boy Who Became A Great Traveller". The Cornishman (212). 3 August 1882. p. 6.
2. Shepherd, Naomi, The Zealous Intruders: the Western Rediscovery of Palestine, London 1987, p. 59.
3. "Cornwall Terrace". Archived from the original on 12 October 2012.
4. "Buckingham, James Silk (1786–1855), author and traveller". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3855. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
5. Select Committee on inquiry into drunkenness, Report (1834)
6. Thomas, Kelly (1977). Books for the People: Illustrated History of the British Public Library. Britain: Harper Collins. p. 77. ISBN 0233967958.
7. Santanu Banerjee (2010). History of Journalism : A Legend of Glory. Suhrid Publication. ISBN 978-81-92151-99-1.
8. "Term details". British Museum. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Buckingham, James Silk". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
• G. F. R. Barker, ‘Buckingham, James Silk (1786–1855)’, rev. Felix Driver, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 11 Oct 2007

External links

• Cornwall portal
• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by James Silk Buckingham
• Portraits of James Silk Buckingham at the National Portrait Gallery, London

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James Silk Buckingham and his Contribution to Indian Journalism
by Harpreet Singh

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Table of Contents

James Silk Buckingham________________________________________________________ 1 Contribution to Indian Journalism ________________________________________________ 2 Buckingham vs. Hicky ________________________________________________________ 6 Buckingham vs. Raja Ram Mohan Roy ____________________________________________ 8 References _________________________________________________________________ 9

James Silk Buckingham

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James Silk Buckingham

The newspapers came to India as an alien product, as one the benefits of British colonialism. The initial strength and power for launching of newspapers was directly fostered in England. James Augustus Hicky has the distinction of starting the press in India. Later, James Silk Buckingham got the title for being called the Pioneer of true Indian Journalism. He infused a new light to Indian Journalism. He was the trailblazer among the Europeans who fought for liberal Press in India.

In 1821, his Travels in Palestine were published, followed by Travels Among the Arab Tribes in 1825. After years of wandering he settled in India, where he established a periodical, the Calcutta Journal, in 1818. This venture at first proved highly successful, but in 1823 the paper's outspoken criticisms of the East India Company led to the expulsion of Buckingham from India.

Buckingham continued his journalistic ventures on his return to England. He started the Oriental Herald and Colonial Review (1824) and Athenaeum there. He was a prolific writer. He travelled in Europe, America and the East, and wrote many useful travel books, as well as many pamphlets on political and social subjects.

At the time of his death in London, Buckingham was at work on his autobiography, two volumes of the intended four being completed and published.

Contribution to Indian Journalism

On September 22, 1818 the prospectus of a newspaper was published


Buckingham was born in 1784 near Cornwell in England. Son of Christopher Buckingham, his was a chequered career-- as a jailor, printer, book-seller, mariner and editor. In 1813 he offered his services to the Pasha of Egypt to explore the Isthmus of the Suez to trace as far as possible the course of the ancient canal. Thereafter he was given a commission by the Pasha to establish a trade between India and Egypt. But the venture did not succeed owing to unwillingness of the Bombay merchants. In June 1818 he commanding the Humayoon Shah when he was asked to sail to Madagascar coast for the purpose of giving convoy to some ships carrying slaves. Rather than embark on such an obnoxious quest, he surrendered his command. This gesture, widely applauded in Calcutta, did not escape the notice of the Company authorities and the other leaders of the society in Calcutta. It inspired the public to read the journal in which he had recorded some impressions of his travel in Palestine. His literary ability caught the imagination of John Palmer, head of the well-known mercantile house of that name, Palmer felt that the merchants of the city should have their own paper to air their problems. He requested Buckingham to accept the editorship of the newspaper. Buckingham gave his consent. On September 22, 1818 Buckingham published a prospectus of a newspaper to be entitled the Calcutta Journal or Political or Literary Gazette.

The Calcutta Journal appeared as bi-weekly with eight pages on Oct 2, 1818.


The prospectus announced: "The state of the Press has been a subject of surprise, of disappointment, and of regret to all strangers on their first arrival in India: and the impression of its imperfections gradually loses its force after a long residence in the country, yet some of its ablest apologists and most zealous supporters acknowledged its reform to be desideratum."

The motto of the newspaper was stated as, A forward retention of custom is as turbulent a thing as innovation and they that reverence too much old times are but a scorn to the new.


The Calcutta Journal appeared as bi-weekly with eight pages on Oct 2, 1818. The first issue came out with a quotation from Bacon in bold letters, which was declared to be the motto of the paper. It stated, "A forward retention of custom is as turbulent a thing as innovation and they that reverence too much old times are but a scorn to the new." The paper presented a wide selection of news and drew the attention of the people and the authorities to such prevailing grievances as the insufficient state of the police and the allegations that certain persons in European dress were making the streets of Calcutta unsafe at night. The correspondence columns were thrown open to any who had grievances to air.

As an editor, Buckingham considered it his Sacred right to admonish Governors of their duties, to warn them furiously of their faults and to tell disagreeable truths through his newspaper.


As an editor, Buckingham said, "he considered it his Sacred right to admonish Governors of their duties, to warn them furiously of their faults, and to tell disagreeable truths." He courageously faced all odds, followed the motto scrupulously, and performed his duties fearlessly. The paper was a success from its very first issue.

The paper, "well conducted," "independent" and "clever," became the talk of the town in no time. Buckingham was a Whig, and most of his reprints from the British papers were in condemnation of the Tories. He also gave a proof of his literary bent of mind by introducing Byron's Childe Harold and Don Juan and Scott's Ivanhoe to Calcutta readers1.

As a sailor he was interested in development of new means of communication. He drew attention in his columns to the North-west passage, Red sea route, steam navigation, and the possibility of a voyage by air from Bombay to London.

A champion of free trade, Buckingham campaigned for the abolition of East India Company's monopoly. In his view, the whole continent of Asia should be opened to the unrestricted competition of whoever was willing to risk his health and fortune.

On May 1, 1819 the Calcutta Journal was converted into the First Daily of Calcutta.


The government and the papers which he criticized in his prospectus now joined hands to crush him. Undaunted, Buckingham soon converted his bi-weekly into "the first daily of Calcutta" on May 1, 1819 under all the disadvantages of a combined opposition.1 [Modern History of Indian Press, p 42 (Sunit Ghosh)]

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The Asiatic Mirror, Commercial Advertiser, October 9, 1793

Quite expectedly, the existing newspapers in Calcutta received this newspaper with violent opposition. Rev Samuel James Bryce, who owned the Asiatic Mirror, openly cast doubts on the moral standard of the new editor. His allegations were based on the fact that Buckingham had demonstrated the steps of a quadrille on Sunday -- apparently a heinous offence against Bryce's ideas of Sabbath. But the counter statements given by Buckingham resulted in the death of the Asiatic Mirror.

The financial success of the journal enabled it to have its own building constructed, a new improved Columbian Press imported from England together with English, Greek, Hebrew and Arabic fonts. The value of the enterprise in 1822 was estimated at 40,000 pounds. According to Margarita Barns, Buckingham's yearly income was about eight thousand pounds, he may be called one of the leading pioneers of modern journalism in India.2 [The Indian Press, p 96 (Barns).]

Buckingham late emphasized on news of local conditions rather than talking about fashion, social elites or criticism of popular people. He was fearless in writing against certain Indian customs like Sati system, Parda and child marriages. He started giving prominence to news and views published in Bengali and Persian and started printing the summary into Calcutta Chronicle. He advocated the policy of freedom press & expression. He was of an opinion that free press is required to keep a check on the working of the government.

In 1819 he again targeted corrupt system of East India Company by making adverse comments on the appointment of Hugh Elliot as the Governor of Madras. An infuriated Elliot asked the Calcutta authorities to punish the editor. The Government at Fort William sent a warning to the editor with which enclosed a copy of Press Rules of 1818. But Buckingham carried on his tirade and spared none in his attacks. Not even the Chief Justice, the Governor of Madras or the Lord Bishop of Calcutta [could stop him].

Libel suits were filed against him. He was also threatened and physically assaulted. Despite heavy odds, Buckingham had so long held aloft his ideal of press freedom. But his fortune suffered a jolt after the Hastings regime came to an end. John Adams became the officiating Governor-General on January 13, 1823. He was also against Buckingham and his newspaper. He revoked Buckingham's license to stay in India. And, finally, he was deported back to England in 1823. In England, he filed a case against East India Company and was awarded 500 pounds as a compensation every year in 1834.


In 1823, Buckingham's license to stay in India was revoked and he was deported back to England.


Buckingham vs. Hicky

James Silk Buckingham versus James Augustus Hicky

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James Augustus Hicky

James Augustus Hicky was an Irishman who is considered as the birth giver of Indian press. He is the person who started a newspaper which was called as Hicky's Gazette, or Bengal Gazette; even it was aliased as Calcutta General Advertiser which came into being on January 29th 1780. It declared itself as weekly Political and commercial paper open to all parties but influenced by none. It is very important to observe the statement which implicates that the newspaper was not influenced by the Government or other party, but to the interest of people, which although proved to be a tool used by James Augustus Hicky's personal contention with the British rule or its representative -- East India Company.

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Hicky's Bengal Gazette: Or the Original Calcutta General Advertiser, March 3-19, 1781

The content was mainly for criticizing the East India Company. But to make it more catchy and readable, Hicky added other things [in the] four-page Gazette, like a Gossip column, a poet's corner, news related the European scandals, and most importantly the advertisement. The thing to be noted here is that the content was used to put more emphasis on criticizing the men in power like Warren Hastings, and even people related to the rulers like Lady Hastings. The content of "Hicky's Gazette" was used more for acting as a tool of criticism and not for the benefit of the general masses and public. A severe criticism can be done to Hicky's Gazette as it lacked the ethics of Journalism and was more slang -- using nicknames of people, and also wasn't a benefactor to the common public.

If we compare and set a contrast between Hicky's contribution to the contribution of James Silk Buckingham, there is no doubt that Hicky provided and initiated a platform for Indian press, but we cant deny and defy the fact that Buckingham's contribution is more legendry and praiseworthy. Buckingham was an Anglo-Indian who is titled as "the Father of true Indian Journalism." He in a true sense can be termed as pioneer of ethical Journalism of India. It is said that in the early years of 19th century, Calcutta saw the emergence of a first real and outstanding journalist. Jawaharlal Nehru has described him as "the earliest champion of the freedom press in India and one who is still remembered in this country."

Although, he came to India as an editor of the "Calcutta Chronicle," which was started by the Calcutta merchants to safeguard their vested interested, but Buckingham laid more emphasis and meant his content for uplifting the issues of common public, news of local conditions, and purified his content from making criticism, fashion, advertisement, gossip, and Anglo Social Scandals. He was more concerned about the social reforms, and that is the reason he was more liked by the public. He was also coordinate by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, as he became a pioneer of not only the freedom of speech and expression but a social reformer as well. The reason can be drawn as he was more accustomed to the rituals, cultures, beliefs and values of Indian masses in particular, and the world in general. He was a prolific writer and was more successful in influencing the hearts of suppressed people of British India.

In conclusion, it can be said that James Augustus Hicky is the pioneer of Indian press; but the title of Pioneer of True Indian Journalism, must be given to James Silk Buckingham.

Buckingham vs. Raja Ram Mohan

Roy James Silk Buckingham versus Raja Ram Mohan Roy

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Raja Ram Mohan Roy

In late 18th century two eminent personalities appeared in the field of journalism in Calcutta. They were James Silk Buckingham, an Englishman, and Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Both fought energetically against any bureaucratic encroachment on freedom of press and suffered for it, but left the impress of their vision and character on contemporary journalism. Both played a significant role for the freedom of the press. Both attracted the staunchest supporters from among their countrymen, and at the same time provoked bitterest antagonism. Ties of friendship and mutual admiration brought them closer, and they waged relentless fights for the right of the press simultaneously in England and in India.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was on Indian scene from 1772-1823. He was born in a Brahmin family. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was also credited for laying the foundation of Indian Journalism. He was perhaps the first Indian journalist. He is remembered for bringing social change in India. He brought a renaissance in Hindu society. The prime focus of Buckingham was to promote open trade across the Middle East, whereas Roy wanted to eradicate the social evils from Indian society. Buckingham started Calcutta Journal with a motive to promote trade, and was fully devoted to mercantile class. Roy started Sambad Kamumdi (moon of intelligence), and Mirut-ul-ukbar, to bring a social change in the Indian society. Later on, they both fought for the freedom of the Press. Buckingham also published some articles against Hindu costumes like Parda system, Sati System and Child Marriages.

References

Textual Books

1. Modern History of Journalism (Sunit Ghosh)
2. Handbook of Journalism & Mass Communication (Vir Bala Aggarwal & VS Gupta)
3. History of Press, Press Laws and Communications (B.N. Ahuja)

Electronic Books & Websites

1. History of Media and Media Legislation in India
2. Blogger
3. Media in India (N Ananth Padmanabha)

Photographs

1. Google images
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 26, 2021 1:41 am

James Augustus Hicky
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21

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James Augustus Hicky
Printer of Hicky's Bengal Gazette
In office: 29 January 1780 – 30 March 1782
Personal details
Born: 1740, Ireland
Died: October 1802
Nationality: Irish
Residence: Kolkata, India

James Augustus Hicky was an Irishman who launched the first printed newspaper in India, Hicky's Bengal Gazette.[1]

Early life

Hicky was born in Ireland around the year 1740. While young, he moved to London to apprentice with William Faden, a Scottish printer. However, Hicky never took his freedom from the printers' guild, and instead secured a clerkship with an English lawyer, Sarjeant Davy. At some point Hicky quit his career in law, and, after a brief attempt practicing as a surgeon in London, he boarded an East Indiaman as a surgeon's mate bound for Calcutta in 1772.

Upon landing in Calcutta, Hicky practiced as both a surgeon and a merchant, shipping and trading goods along India's coast. But, by 1776, his shipping business collapsed as his vessel returned to port with its cargo badly damaged. Unable to reassure his creditors, Hicky entered debtors' prison in October 1776.


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James Augustus Hicky's Bill to the East India Company for a printing job

While in jail, Hicky acquired a printing press and types and by 1777 began a printing business from jail. In 1778, Hicky hired Lawyer William Hickey (who, confusingly, was not related to Hicky) to get rid of his debts and free him from jail.

Hicky's Bengal Gazette

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Front page of Hicky's Bengal Gazette, 10 March 1781, from the University of Heidelberg's archives.

Main article: Hicky's Bengal Gazette

Hicky began publication of Hicky's Bengal Gazette on 29 January 1780. Hicky first maintained a neutral editing policy but after he learned that other men were about to bring a rival newspaper, The India Gazette, to market, he accused an East India Company employee, Simeon Droz of supporting the India Gazette's editors because he had refused to pay a bribe to Droz and Marian Hastings, Warren Hastings' wife. In retaliation for Hicky's accusation, Hastings' Supreme Council forbid Hicky from mailing his newspaper through the post office. Hicky claimed Hastings' order violated his right to free expression, and accused Hastings of corruption, tyranny, and even erectile dysfunction.[2] Hicky also accused other British leaders in Calcutta of corruption, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William, Elijah Impey, and the leader of the Protestant Mission, Johann Zacharias Kiernander. Hicky's editorial independence was short-lived as Hastings and Kiernander sued him for libel. After four dramatic trials in June 1781, the Supreme Court found Hicky guilty and sentenced him to jail. Hicky continued to print his newspaper from jail and continued to accuse Hastings and other of corruption. He was finally shuttered when Hastings instituted fresh lawsuits against him. Hicky's Bengal Gazette ceased publication on 30 March 1782 when its types were seized by an order of the Supreme Court.

John Zachariah Kiernander
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21

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John Zachariah Kiernander (1711–1799), also known as Johann Zacharias Kiernander, was a Swedish Lutheran missionary in India.[1]

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Beth-Tephillah Church founded 1770 by John Zachariah Kiernander, later the Old Mission Church, Calcutta

He was the first Protestant Missionary to establish a base in Bengal. He built the Old Mission Church in Calcutta and founded one of the first printing presses in Calcutta. In 1781, he accused James Augustus Hicky, the editor and publisher of Hicky's Bengal Gazette of libel. He won the trial. He is the author of The Trial and Conviction of James Augustus Hicky.

Notes

1. Edward Cave; John Nichols (1824). The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle. Edw. Cave. pp. 105–10.


Johann Zacharias Kiernander
by Paul Tyson
onewaytheonlykway.com
Accessed: 3/25/21

Johann Zacharias Kiernander was born in Sweden in the year 1710. Kiernander was the first missionary to establish a base in Bengal even before William Carey and Henry Martin arrived. He studied theology at Hale University and served as a teacher in Latin.

In 1739 he received the call of God to serve in India and reached Tharagambadi. Kiernander worked as a Tranquebar missionary in Cuddalore in Tamilnadu. But, after the French had taken over this city in 1758, Kiernander had to leave the city and move to Calcutta.

He reached Calcutta in 1759 and accomplished a great work for God in that place.

Ministry in India

His keen interest in expounding the Bible, his enthusiasm, and his straight forwardness attracted many people there. many were saved and baptized. Sunday services were held in a rented room and he preached to the English and local people in their own languages respectively. Hundreds of non-Christians were saved through him.

His marriage earned him a good fortune. He used this as an opportunity to help the Christian people who were living in poverty and built several schools. He built the Old Mission Church in Calcutta and the living quarters for missionaries.

He is also credited for founding one of the first printing presses in Calcutta. Meanwhile, he lost his wife to Cholera but yet continued to labor in God’s vineyard amidst many hurdles. He stayed true to his call and finished his race on this earth fulfilling God’s divine purpose.


Later life

Hicky was freed from jail about Christmas 1784, when Warren Hastings, about to embark to England to face impeachment, forgave his debts. Little is known about Hicky's later life, except that his health was ruined after three years in jail, and that he lived in poverty. Hicky died on a boat to China in October 1802.

Legacy

Although his newspaper was disliked by the then Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings, Hicky paved the way and influenced multiple Indians to start newspapers. Hicky's printing office was the training ground for many later printers who went on to found their own newspapers, leading to a vibrant newspaper scene in Bengal. [3] No images of Hicky survive to this day. However, his signature and handwriting can be found on old documents.

References

1. Andrew Otis, Hicky's Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India's First Newspaper, New Delhi: Westland Publications, 2018.
2. Jane Borges, The journalist who accused Warren Hastings of erectile dysfunction, Mid-Day India, 6 May 2018.
3. Abhijit Ganguly, Raging Against The Raj: The First Newspaper in Asia, Business Economics Magazine, 30 June 2014.

External links

• Newspaper copy from British Library
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:10 am

Elijah Impey
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21

[Robert Chambers (English judge)] was one of the judges in the notorious case of Maharaja Nandakumar...

-- Robert Chambers (English judge), by Wikipedia


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Sir Elijah Impey
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal
In office: 22 October 1774[1] – 3 December 1783 (Effectively). Resigned 1 November 1787[2]
Sole Justice of the Sadr Diwani Adalat
In office: 24 October 1780[3] – 5 November 1782[4]
Member of Parliament for New Romney
In office: 1790–1796

Sir Elijah Impey (13 June 1732 – 1 October 1809) was a British judge, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal,[5] Chief Justice of the Sadr Diwani Adalat and MP for New Romney.

Life

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Painting by Johan Zoffany of the family of Elijah and Mary Impey in Calcutta in 1783

He was born the youngest son of Elijah Impey and his wife Martha, daughter of James Fraser and was educated at Westminster School with Warren Hastings, who was his intimate friend throughout life. He proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1752, graduating in 1756 as the second Chancellor's classical medallist.[6]

Having been called to the bar in 1756, he was appointed the first chief justice of the new supreme court at Calcutta in March 1774[7] and knighted later that month.[8]

En route to India he learned Bengali and Urdu, and once there studied Persian.[9] with his wife Mary (née Reade), from 1777, he hired local artists to paint the various birds, animals and native plants, life-sized where possible, and in natural surrounds. The collection is often known as the Impey Album.[9]

In 1775 he presided at the trial of Maharaja Nandakumar,[5] who was accused of forging a bond in an attempt to deprive a widow of more than half her inheritance. As a result of the trial he went down in history, because in 1787 he was subjected to impeachment, along with Warren Hastings, for their conduct of the case. He was accused by Macaulay of conspiring with Hastings to commit a judicial murder[5] by having unjustly hanged Nandakumar; but the whole question of the trial of Nandakumar was examined in detail by Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, who stated that "no man ever had, or could have, a fairer trial than Nuncomar, and Impey in particular behaved with absolute fairness and as much indulgence as was compatible with his duty."[5] According to Macaulay, Impey later applied English law so aggressively as to "throw a great country into the most dreadful confusion", until in effect bribed by Hastings to desist.

Maharaja Nandakumar (also known as Nuncomar) (1705? – died 5 August 1775), was an Indian tax collector for various regions in what is modern-day West Bengal. Nanda Kumar was born at Bhadrapur, which is now in Birbhum. He was the first Indian to be executed by hanging. Nandakumar was appointed by the East India Company to be the dewan (tax collector) for Burdwan, Nadia and Hoogly in 1764, following the removal of Warren Hastings from the post.[1]

In 1773, when Hastings was reinstated as governor-general of Bengal, Nandakumar brought accusations against him of accepting bribes that were entertained by Sir Philip Francis and the other members of the Supreme Council of Bengal. However, Hastings overruled the council's charges. Thereafter, in 1775, he brought charges of document forgery against Nandakumar. The Maharaja was tried under Elijah Impey, India's first Chief Justice, and friend of Warren Hastings, was found guilty, and hanged in Kolkata on 5 August 1775.

Later Hastings, along with Sir Elijah Impey, the chief justice, was impeached by the British Parliament. They were accused by Burke (and later by Macaulay) of committing judicial murder.


-- Maharaja Nandakumar, by Wikipedia


In 1790 Impey was returned to Parliament as the member for New Romney constituency and spent the next seven years as an MP before retiring to Newick Park near Brighton. He died there in 1809 and was buried in the family vault at St Paul's, Hammersmith, London. With his wife he is commemorated in the church with a wall monument by Peter Rouw. He had married on 18 January 1768 Mary, daughter of Sir John Reade, 5th Baronet, of Shipton Court, Oxfordshire; they had five sons.

In 1795 his application for a fellowship of the Royal Society was rejected.

Legacy

A portrait of Impey, by Johan Zoffany hangs in Kolkata High Court.[9] Thomas Lawrence also painted him.[10]

His wife, Mary Impey, is commemorated in the name of the Impeyan pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus).

Further reading

• James Fitzjames Stephen, The Story of Nuncomar and the Impeachment of Sir Elijah Impey (1885).
• Memoirs of Sir Elijah Impey, Knt ... with anecdotes of Warren Hastings, Sir Philip Francis, Nathaniel Brassey Hallhed, Esq., and other contemporaries; (1846)

Sources

• The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (includes photo)

References

1. Curley p 194
2. Curley p 485
3. Curley p 313
4. Curley p 344
5. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Impey, Sir Elijah" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 14 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 342–343.
6. "Impey, Elijah (IMY752E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
7. "No. 11441". The London Gazette. 19 March 1774. p. 1.
8. "No. 11444". The London Gazette. 29 March 1774. p. 4.
9. Jump up to:a b c "The forgotten Indian artists of British India". BBC News. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
10. Levey 2005: 49–59

External links

• The story of Nuncomar and the impeachment of Sir Elijah Impey[permanent dead link] Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection. {Reprinted by} Cornell University Library Digital Collections
• Exhibition of "Lady Impey’s Indian Bird Paintings" at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (until 14 Apr 2013)
• "Memoirs of Sir Elijah Impey: Knt., First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature, at Fort William, Bengal; with Anecdotes of Warren Hastings, Sir Philip Francis, Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, Esq., and Other Contemporaries; Comp. from Authentic Documents, in Refutation of the Calumnies of the Right Hon. Thomas Babington Macaulay" (Google eBook), Simpkin, Marshall, and Company, 1846
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Maharaja Nandakumar
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21

[Robert Chambers (English judge)] was one of the judges in the notorious case of Maharaja Nandakumar...

-- Robert Chambers (English judge), by Wikipedia


Image

Maharaja Nandakumar (also known as Nuncomar) (1705? – died 5 August 1775), was an Indian tax collector for various regions in what is modern-day West Bengal. Nanda Kumar was born at Bhadrapur, which is now in Birbhum. He was the first Indian to be executed by hanging. Nandakumar was appointed by the East India Company to be the dewan (tax collector) for Burdwan, Nadia and Hoogly in 1764, following the removal of Warren Hastings from the post.[1]

In 1773, when Hastings was reinstated as governor-general of Bengal, Nandakumar brought accusations against him of accepting bribes that were entertained by Sir Philip Francis and the other members of the Supreme Council of Bengal. However, Hastings overruled the council's charges. Thereafter, in 1775, he brought charges of document forgery against Nandakumar. The Maharaja was tried under Elijah Impey, India's first Chief Justice, and friend of Warren Hastings, was found guilty, and hanged in Kolkata on 5 August 1775.

Later Hastings, along with Sir Elijah Impey, the chief justice, was impeached by the British Parliament. They were accused by Burke (and later by Macaulay) of committing judicial murder.

Early life

Nandkumar was born in a Brahmin family. He held posts under Nawab of Murshidabad. After the Battle of Plassey, he was recommended to Robert Clive for appointment as their agent to collect revenues of Burdwan, Nadia district and Hooghly.[2] The title "Maharaja" was conferred on Nandakumar by Shah Alam II in 1764.[1] He was appointed Collector of Burdwan, Nadia, and Hugli by the East India Company in 1764, in place of Warren Hastings. He learnt Vaishnavism from Radhamohana Thakura.[1][3]

Charges against Hastings

Maharaja Nandakumar accused Hastings of bribing him with more than one-third of a million rupees and claimed that he had proof against Hastings in the form of a letter.[4][3]

Hanging

Image

Warren Hastings was then with the East India Company and happened to be a school friend of Sir Elijah Impey. Some historians are of the opinion that Maharaja Nandakumar was falsely charged with forgery and Sir Elijah Impey, the first Chief Justice of Supreme Court in Calcutta, gave a false judgement to hang Nandakumar.[5][self-published source] Nandakumar's hanging has been termed a judicial murder by certain historians.[5] Macaulay also accused both men of conspiring to commit a judicial murder.[5] Maharaja Nandakumar was hanged at Calcutta, near present-day Vidyasagar Setu, on 5 August 1775.[6] During that period the punishment for forgery was hanging (as mandated by the Forgery Act 1728 passed by the British parliament), although some legal scholars have said that the law was only applicable in Britain and not British territories in India.[7][3]

Books

• Sir James Stephen, The Story of Nuncomar (2 vols., 1885)
• H Beveridge, The Trial of Nanda Kumar (Calcutta, 1886).

Legacy

• A school in his honor, Bhadrapur Maharaja Nanda Kumar High School, was established on his birthplace at Bhadrapur village on Birbhum District.
• A temple was established by him on Akalipur Village near Bhadrapur village. The temple was built for Hindu deity Ma Kaali.This is a very popular temple and thousands of visitors came by. It is situated near the banks of the Brahmani River.
• A college in his honor, Maharaja Nandakumar Vidyalaya, was established in purba medinipur in 2007, and the college is affiliated with Vidyasagar University.[8]
• A road in Baranagar, Kolkata is named Maharaja Nandakumar Road.[9]
• Nandakumar is also the name of a locality in the West Bengal district of East Midnapur.[10]
• Nandakumar was established in Tamluk–Digha branch line of Kharagpur railway division.

Image
Akalipur Kali Temple (Gujjya Kali)

Image
The turban of Nanda Kumar-Now it has been kept at Victoria Memorial-Museum

External links

• The story of Nuncomar and the impeachment of Sir Elijah Impey Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection. {Reprinted by} Cornell University Library Digital Collections
• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Nuncomar". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
• Charges against Sir Elijah Impey

References

1. "The Kunjaghata Raj family". Murshibad.net. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-02-06. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
3. Lion Feuchtwanger und Bertolt Brecht, Lion Feuchtwanger (1927). Kalkutta, 4. Mai: drei Akte Kolonialgeschichte. Dr.PLISCHKA Hans Peter. p. 12.
4. Barbara Harlow, Edited by Mia Carter (2003). From the East India Company to the Suez Canal. Durham, North Carolina [u.a.]: Duke Univ. Press. p. 132. ISBN 9780822331643.
5. Bhattacharya, Asim (2010). Portrait of a Vancouver Cabbie. USA: Xlibris Corporation. p. 141. ISBN 9781456836078.[self-published source]
6. Mandal, Sanjay (9 November 2005). "History that hangs fire – Nandakumar neglect". The Telegraph (Calcutta). Retrieved 10 June 2013.
7. The History of Court by Prof. Pithawala
8. "Affiliated Colleges". Vidyasagar University. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
9. Your local guide. "INDRANI DUTTA KALA NIKETAN IN MAHARAJA NANDAKUMAR ROAD". Bharat Desi. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
10. "Floods result in epidemic threat". The Statesman. 20 October 2013. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.

*********************************

Maharaja Nandakumar, also called Nuncomar (1705? - died 5 August 1775), was a collector of taxes, a dewan, for various areas in what is now West Bengal. Nanda Kumar was born at Bhadrapur, which is now in Birbhum. He was India's first victim of hanging under British rule. He was appointed by the East India Company to be the collector of taxes for Burdwan, Nadia and Hoogly in 1764, following the removal of Warren Hastings from the post.

In 1773, when Warren Hastings was re-instated as governor-general of Bengal, Nandakumar brought accusations of Warren Hastings accepting bribes
that were entertained by Sir Philip Francis and the other members of the Supreme Council of Bengal. However, Warren Hastings could overrule the Council's charges. Thereafter, in 1775 Warren Hastings brought charges of document forgery against the Maharaja. The Maharaja was tried under Elijah Impey, India's first Chief Justice, and friend of Warren Hastings, was found guilty, and hanged in Kolkata on 5 August 1775.

Later Hastings, along with Sir Elijah Impey, the chief justice, was impeached by the British Parliament. They were accused by Burke (and later by Macaulay) of committing judicial murder...


He held posts under Nawab of Murshidabad. After the Battle of Plassey, he was recommended to Robert Clive for appointment as their agent to collect revenues of Burdwan, Nadia and Hooghly. The title "Maharaja" was conferred on Nandakumar by Shah Alam II in 1764. He was appointed Collector of Burdwan, Nadia, and Hugli by the East India Company in 1764, in place of Warren Hastings. He learnt Vaishnavism from Radhamohana Thakura.

Maharaja Nandakumar accused Hastings of bribing him with more than one-third of a million rupees and claimed that he had proof against Hastings in the form of a letter...

Warren Hastings was then with the East India Company and happened to be a school friend of Sir Elijah Impey. Some historians are of the opinion that Maharaja Nandakumar was falsely charged with forgery and Sir Elijah Impey, the first Chief Justice of Supreme Court in Calcutta, gave judgement to hang Nandakumar. Nandakumar's hanging was called a judicial murder by certain historians. Macaulay also accused both men of conspiring to commit a judicial murder. Maharaja Nandakumar was hanged at Calcutta, near present-day Vidyasagar Setu, during Warren Hastings' rule on 5 August 1775. In those days the punishment for forgery was hanging by the Forgery Act, 1728 passed by the British Parliament in England (United Kingdom), but the law was construed for the people committing forgery in England due to the then prevailing conditions in England and there was no provision in the law that it is applicable in India too.

-- Maharaja Nandakumar, by Wikipedia, Accessed: 8/31/20
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Tarachand Chukraburtree [Tarachand Chakravarti] [Tarachand Chakraborty] [Trachand Chakrabarti]
by Middlebury.edu

Tarachand Chukraburtree/Chakravarti (1806-1857) was born into a poor Brahmin family and educated at Hindu College. He was one of the leaders of Young Bengali, and a lieutenant of Rammohun (Ram Mohan Roy), of whose Brahma Samaj he became the first secretary. Chakravarti was proficient in English, Sanskrit, Persian, and Hindustani. He joined the Calcutta Journal as its English translator in 1822, and started working with HH [Horace Hayman] Wilson to translate the Puranas into English a year later. He founded the Society for the Acquisition of General Knowledge in 1838 and became its first president. He was a founding member of the British Indian Society and a major contributor to the Bengal Spectator. He advocated for equal rights for all, and the abolition of polygamy and early marriage. He was the first Bengali to compile an English-Bangla dictionary in 1832.

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Tarachand Chakraborty
Translated from Bharat Kosh, by Bangiya Sahitya Parishad

Tarachand Chakraborty (c. 1806-57) was one of the leaders of ‘Young Bengal’. He was a brilliant student of the Hindu College and a scholar of English. In 1822 he was engaged to assist Raja Rammohun Ray for his work in the Calcutta Journal of translating from the Chandrika [Chandrika Bindu of Satyapriya Tirtha?] ...

Chandrika Bindu (Sanskrit:चन्द्रिका बिंदु), is a Sanskrit work on Dvaita philosophy written by Satyapriya Tirtha. It is a lucid adaptation of the well-known commentary on Vyasatirthas Tatparya Chandrika or Chandrika, which is a commentary on Tattva Prakasika by Jayatirtha, which in turn is a commentary on Madhva's Brahma Sutra Bhashya.

-- Chandrika Bindu, by Wikipedia


and the Koumudi [Samkhyatattva-Kaumudi of Vachaspati Misra?].

The lucid writing of Vachaspati Misra does not stand in need of much in the shape of an Introduction. But under the cover of this title, I propose to give a brief synopsis of the cardinal doctrines of the Sankhya Philosophy, in the hope that a reading of this resume would prepare the mind of the student for the reception of the abstruse truths, in which the ‘Tattvakaumudi abounds. Any corrections or suggestions for alteration &c., will be most gratefully received.

To begin with, the Sankhya lays down a fourfold division of categories based on their respective causal and productive efficiency. This division is into—(1) Productive—(2) Productive and—Produced—(3) Produced—(4) Neither Productive— nor—Produced. This classification includes all the twenty-five Principles—called Tattwas,—Prakriti or Nature being the productive, since the Sankhyas allow of no other purely productive agency. The Productive—and—Produced are the other Principles—Buddhi &c. These partake of the nature of both—thus Buddhi is productive in as much as out of it evolves Ahankdra and it is produced in as much as it itself evolves out of Prakriti. The purely non-productive Principles are the eleven sense-organs and the fivé elements. These are purely non-productive because none of these can give birth to a substance essentially different from them. The Purusha (Spirit) is neither productive nor produced. In fact it is without attributes. All accessories are the effects of the three Gunas, and the Spirit is by its very nature free from these and as such without any accessories.

Having thus classified the various principles, we now turn to the consideration of the various principles separately.

First of all then we must examine the nature of the all-powerful creative agent of the Sankhyas or, more properly, the creative force of the Universe. Then first of all—how is this force constituted? It is naturally made up of the three Gunas—Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas; and when the Pradhaua is in its natural state, lying dormant, these three attributes are in an equilibrium. When occasion presents itself ¢. e. when the Adrishta of the soul acts upon the Pradhana, the equilibrium. is disturbed, and it is this disturbance that gives rise to the various kinds of creations. The diversity of created objects is thus rendered quite explicable. As already mentioned, all accessories are due to the predominance of one or other of the three Gunas—the predominance of Sattwa giving rise to the kind of creation in. which that attribute predominates, and so forth. Without proceeding any farther, we must stop to consider the nature and properties and the Modus operandi of these Gunas.

The three attributes—Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas have respectively the character of Happiness, Unhappiness and Delusion; and have their operations characterised respectively by enlightenment, activity and restraint ; and are so constituted that the one always operates in suppression of the other, and at the same time depending upon this latter. To explain this contrariety of properties-—The universe would be in an unceasing round of activity, if the only operating force were the Rajas; in order to provide against this, Nature provides herself with a restraining agency in the shape of the Tamoguna which by its nature is dull and passive. The natures of the different objects of the universe are thus ascertained in accordance with the excess of one or the other of these attributes. Again, if there were no enlightening agency in the shape of Sattwa, Nature would be nothing better than a mass of blind force acting in a haphazard manner. Thus we have established the necessity of the three Attributes.

Here an objector comes forward and says—How can the attributes, endowed as they are with mutually counteracting properties, cooperate and bring about such a grand and stupendous stracture as our Universe? The reply is that it is a very common fact that. two or more substances though mutually contradictory, do cooperate towards a single end—e. g. the wick and the oil—both taken separately are as much against the action of one another as towards fire, but when they are together they help to brighten the fire. In the same manner, though the Gunas are mutually counteractive, yet when combined, they act towards a single end, supplying each other’s deficiencies.

The necessity of postulating three different forces is further supported by another reason. We see that in nature there are three distinct properties—of pleasure, pain and dulness. All other properties are reducible to these three heads. Again we find that these are properties so much opposed to one another that all could never be the effect of a single agency. Thus then we must postulate three different forces or constituent elements of Nature, to which severally we could trace the three distinct properties. To these three constituents of Nature we give the names—Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. We find in the universe the above three properties, and as all the properties of the effect must be a direct resultant of a like property in its cause, so we at once arrive at the conclusion that the cause of the Universe—the Pradhana—must be endowed with the three Attributes.

So much for the action of the Gunas. We must now turn our attention towards the all-important Prakriti—the Key- stone of the Sankhya Philosophy.

What, then, is this Prakriti? Does it stand for the Theistic God? Or for the Banddha "Sensations"? Or does it correspond to the Vedantic "Maya"? To all this we reply—It is all these, and It is neither of these. It resembles the Vedantic Maya in as much as it is the one root of the Universe, which is asserted of Maya also though, as of an illusory world. But the fact of its being the root of the Universe is akin to that of the Sankhya-Prakriti. It is not the God. Since it is said to be without intelligence, a mere dead Matter equipped with certain potentialities due to the Gunas. In short, Prakriti is the one rootless Root of the Universe (objective as well as subjective)—-endowed with the three Gunas and evolving through these, every kind of existence—save of course, the Purusha—Spirit.

-- Samkhyatattva-Kaumudi of Vachaspati Misra (Sanskrit Text with English Translation), by Mahamahopadhyaya and Dr. Ganganath Jha


Tarachand also actively helped [Horace Hayman] Wilson for the English translations of Sanskrit literary works. He was the Headmaster of David Hare’s Pataldanga School (Hare School) for some time. He compiled an English-Bengali dictionary for the Calcutta Book Society in 1827.

The Calcutta School-Book Society was an organisation based in Kolkata during the British Raj. It was established in 1817, with the aim of publishing text books and supplying them to schools and madrasas in India.

-- Calcutta School-Book Society, by Wikipedia


Tarachand published in several volumes an annotated English translation of Manu Samhita along with Biswanath Tarkabhusan, father of Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay. In 1828, Tarachand was appointed the first secretary of the Brahma Samaj.

Image
Tarachand Chakraborty

For some time Tarachand was a Munsef in Jahanabad (Hoogly district), but following a conspiracy, he had to resign. Around 1837 he started a business venture with Pyarichand Mitra. In 1838, Tarachand became the permanent president of Sadharan Jnanoparjika Sabha. Since he was a leader of the New Bengal, the English newspapers humorously referred to that outfit as ‘Chakraborty faction’. In April, 1842, Tarachand joined the Bengal Spectator as one of its main writers. Under his leadership, the new group established the British India Society with the patronage of George Thomson. When the Bengal Speactator wound up, he began editing the Quill. For some time, Tarachand also served as a minister under the Maharaja of Burdwan.

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Society for the Acquisition of General Knowledge
from Young Bengal
by Wikipedia

The Society for the Acquisition of General Knowledge was established on 20 February 1838. It had 200 members in 1843.[10] Trachand Chakrabarti was its president, Ramgopal Ghosh its vice president and Peary Chand Mitra its president. The society elected David Hare as honorary visitor. Some of the prominent papers it published were: Nature of Historical Studies and Civil and Social Reform by Krishna Mohan Banerjee, Interests of the Female Sex and the State of Hindustan by Peary Chand Mitra, Sketch of Bankuja by Hara Chandra Ghosh, Notice of Tipperah, A New Spelling Book, Notices of Chittagong by Gobinda Chandra Basak.[11]

These associations of the Young Bengal group were forerunners of later organisations such as the Landholders’ Society, British India Society, and British Indian Association with all of which the Young Bengal group had links.[12]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:16 am

Calcutta School-Book Society [Calcutta Book Society]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21

The Calcutta School-Book Society was an organisation based in Kolkata during the British Raj. It was established in 1817, with the aim of publishing text books and supplying them to schools and madrasas in India.

Background

In 1814, four years before the establishment of the Calcutta School Society and three years before the formation of the Calcutta School-Book Society, the London Missionary Society, under the supervision of Robert May, set up 36 elementary schools in Chinsurah, West Bengal, India (now Chunchura).[1]

Fort William College was created in 1800 by Lord Wellesley, the Governor-General at the time. A growing eagerness and enthusiasm towards education led to the translation and printing of the Bible in Sanskrit, Bengali, Assamese and Oriya. Scholars like Mrityunjay Vidyalankar and Ramram Basu did the work with foreign language experts and alongside, the Ramayana, Mahabharata and other Indian epics were skilfully translated into different languages. The Calcutta School-Book Society followed a similar path and helped Bengali prose writers achieve national and international acclaim. As a result of rise of widespread higher education, journalism became a major component of British society, with magazines like the Magazine for Indian Youth and newspapers like the Samachar Darpan (The News Mirror) becoming a widespread phenomenon. Mass education, however, came much later in 1885 with the Hunter Education Commission, which ended James Long's and other missionary organisations' zealous ideas of dissipating education among the masses, in an expression of the continuing battle for superiority of the British over the natives.

To strengthen their political colonisation of India, the British strategised emotional and intellectual colonisation and, in the Charter of 1833, announced English as the official language of British India. This ideology had at its fulcrum, Thomas Babington Macaulay’s assertion of the British ideology that Western learning was superior to Oriental languages and indigenous Sanskrit and other vernacular knowledge. The setting up of several colleges in Calcutta, India, namely the Hindu College in 1816 and the Sanskrit College in 1824, portrays this shift of emphasis from the study of Oriental languages in Fort William College to the establishment of the English language, ensuring that all Indian students studying in these new colleges and schools, which were developed under the Calcutta School Society (1818), had to learn English whether they liked it or not.

In the shadow of this shift in cultural paradigm, the Calcutta School-Book Society also known as the Calcutta Book Society, was instituted on 4 July 1817, in Calcutta (now known as Kolkata), the then capital of the British Empire. The society was set up under the patronage of Lord Marquess of Hastings who was Governor-General at that point of time. The School-Book Society was set up with the coming of Western methods in education to India and henceforth, the rising demand for textbooks and dictionaries. The society also encouraged the establishment of new elementary schools. The Calcutta School Society, an educational institution independent from the School-Book Society was set up on 1 September 1818. The government established it with a sole aim 'to endorse education beyond the curriculum' and to introduce similar teaching techniques at different schools and to develop, build or reconstruct old and new schools. The Calcutta School-Book Society on the other hand aimed at publishing textbooks for these new schools and other institutions of higher learning.

People

The Calcutta School-Book Society in the years after being set up in 1817, constituted of a managing committee of sixteen Europeans members and eight Indians. Some eminent people included amongst others were Mrityunjay Vidyalankar, Tarini Charan Mitra, Radhakanta Deb, Ram Comul Sen [Ramkamal Sen] and Moulvi Aminullah. Mrityunjay and Tarini Charan, who was also one of the secretaries along with Mr. F. Irving, were teachers at the Fort William College and Radhakanta Deb was a philanthropist from Calcutta. These few people shaped what would be the beginning of the "Bengal Renaissance".

Mrityunjay Vidyalankar (c. 1762 – 1819) was a pundit and scholar, born in Midnapore district and studied initially in Natore district,[2] now in Bangladesh and also in Calcutta. He was fluent in both Sanskrit and Bengali and after being recommended by Sir William Carey, one of the foremost Protestant missionaries to have come to India in the early 19th century, joined the Department of Bengali at Fort William College as the head pundit. He was appointed professor of Sanskrit in 1805, four years after he joined the college. In 1813 he resigned from his job and signed himself under Justice Sir Francis Mackonton as a judge pundit. He was a committee member that was constituted to formulate the rules for the Hindu College in 1816 before becoming the member of the governing body of the Calcutta School-Book Society in 1817.

Tarini Charan Mitra (c. 1772 – 1837) was a famous Bengali prose writer and the head munshi at the Department of Hindoostanee Language at Fort William College.


Munshi (Urdu: مُنشی‎; Hindi: मुंशी; Bengali: মুন্সী) is a Persian word, originally used for a contractor, writer, or secretary, and later used in the Mughal Empire and British India for native language teachers, teachers of various subjects, especially administrative principles, religious texts, science, and philosophy and were also secretaries and translators employed by Europeans.

Munshi (Persian: منشی‎) is a Persian word used as a respected title for persons who achieved mastery over languages, especially in British India. It became a surname to those people whose ancestors had received this title and some of whom also served as ministers and administrators in the kingdoms of various Royals and are regarded as nobility. In modern Persian, this word is also used to address administrators, head of departments.

Administrators, head of departments, accountants, and secretaries hired by the government in British India were known as Munshies. The family name Munshi was adopted by families whose ancestors were honoured with this title and were responsible for administering various offices etc. and these families (selective) were and are regarded as nobility. Abdul Karim, known as "The Munshi", was a valued and respected Indian attendant or aide-de-camp of Queen Victoria.

-- Munshi, by Wikipedia


Tarinicharan taught in Fort William College from 1801 to 1830. He was fluent in several languages like Persian, English, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and Bengali. He was the secretary and a managing committee member of the Calcutta School Book Society. Tarinicharan Mitra worked against the anti-Sati movement for a conservative organisation called Dharma Sabha (1830). He wrote favourably about the Sati Pratha. Radhakanta Deb and Ram Comul Sen [Ramkamal Sen] collaborated with him to produce a translation of Aesop’s fables, titled Nitikatha, into Bengali.

Dharma Sabha was formed in 1829 in Calcutta by Radhakanta Deb. The organization was established mainly to counter the ongoing social reform movements led by protagonists such as Raja Ram Mohun Roy and Henry Derozio. More specifically, the impetus of forming the organization came from a new law enacted by the colonial British rule which banned the practice of sati in the country; the focus of the new association was to repel the law which was seen as an intrusion by the British into the religious affairs of the indigenous people by some sections of the Hindu community. Dharma Sabha filed an appeal in the Privy Council against the ban on Sati by Lord William Bentinck as it went against the assurance given by George III of non-interference in Hindu religious affairs; however, their appeal was rejected and the ban on Sati was upheld in 1832.

The Dharma Sabha campaigned against the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, 1856 and submitted a petition against the proposal with nearly four times more signatures than the one submitted for it by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. However Lord Dalhousie personally finalized the bill despite the opposition and it being considered a flagrant breach of Hindu customs as prevalent then, and it was passed by Lord Canning.

The organization soon morphed into a 'society in defense of Hindu way of life or culture' which then turns as a think tank for RSS. [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]

-- Dharma Sabha, by Wikipedia


Ram Comul Sen [Ramkamal Sen] (1783–1844) was born in Hooghly district and was the son of a Persian scholar. Famous as a scholar, writer and lexicographer, Ram Comul Sen [Ramkamal Sen] worked in Dr William Hunter’s Hindustanee Printing Press as a compositor in 1804 before becoming its manager in 1811. He was also an accountant at both the Asiatic Society and the Sanskrit College. Ram Comul [Ramkamal Sen] became the secretary of the Asiatic Society and also held the post of superintendent of the Sanskrit College in 1835. Amongst his other illustrious posts, he was the principal of the Hindu College in 1821 and a dewan at the Royal Calcutta Mint in 1828. He was one of the founders of the Calcutta Medical College, the only Bengali on the committee and he was the president and founding father of the Zamindar Sabha [Landholders' Association] in 1838. With the permission of Dr William Carey, Ram Comul set up the Agricultural and Horticultural Centre and was influential in setting up the Calcutta Museum with the help of Dr Wallich, a Danish botanist. Apart from these, Ram Comul Sen was instrumental in the systematic eradication of social traditions like drowning dying people in the Ganges and impaling others during Chadak. He made significant contributions to the Bengali language with his compilation of a dictionary from English to Bengali working for over one and a half decades on its two volumes. His grandson, Keshav Chandra Sen, was one of the leaders of the Brahmo Samaj.

Radhakanta Deb (1784–1867) was the grandson of Maharaja Nabakrishna Deb, who was a trusted munshi to the East India Company and had received the decoration of the Knight Commander of the Star of India and his title of 'Raj Bahadur', based on merit for his service under Sir Warren Hastings and Robert Clive. Radhakanta was an accomplished scholar, and like his father Gopimohan Deb, was one of the foremost leaders of the Calcutta Hindu society. Radhakanta was fluent in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit and also developed a good knowledge of English. He published an eight-volume dictionary of the Sanskrit language called Shabdakalpadruma, between 1822 and 1856, which met the needs of educational institutions, the court of law and students learning Sanskrit. He was also the recipient of several international awards including honours from the Royal Asiatic Society, London. Radhakanta Deb also had a keen interest in promoting elementary education and was involved as director of the Calcutta Hindu College, 1817. He was involved in establishing the Calcutta School-Book Society in 1817 and Calcutta School Society in 1818. He worked towards improving and reforming primary schools. In 1851, he was appointed the President of the British Indian Association. Radhakanta Deb was also founded the Dharma Sabha (Association in Defence of Hindu Culture), a social conservatism body that opposed Lord Bentinck’s abolishing of Sati by a government law in 1829. Radhakanta’s attitudes toward culture and intellectual development are reflected best in his publications for the Calcutta School-Book Society.[3]

Moulvi Aminullah was a madrasa instructor at the Calcutta Madrasa which was renamed Aliyah Madrasa (or Aliah University), founded by Sir Warren Hastings in 1780.

Achievements

The Calcutta School-Book Society was open to all people and the payment of a minor subscription fee was all that was needed to be a member. It had around 225 subscribers, a majority being European and a minority of them being Hindu. This lack of enthusiasm in the subscribers to the Society meant the publishing and writing of textbooks for the growing college and school market was funded by the government. By 1821, the Calcutta School-Book Society had published as many as 1,26,464 books and pamphlets in several languages which included Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Sanskrit and English. In 1862, the society was merged with the Vernacular Literature Society where the Muslim members were assigned books and pamphlets to be written in Persian, Urdu or Arabic and Hindus were assigned Bengali and Sanskrit works. The boundaries of the Calcutta School-Book Society were however limited to the confines of the city itself.

See also

• Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg
• Early Phase of Printing in Calcutta
• List of Urdu language book publishing companies

References

1. Google Maps, Chinsurah, West Bengal, India.
2. Google Maps, Natore, Rajshahi Division, Bangladesh.
3. "Radhakant Deb: Biography from Answers.com". answers.com. Retrieved 5 February 2014.

External links

• Ahmed, Wakil (2012). "Calcutta School-Book Society". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
• The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register of British Books [1]
• Baptist Mission Press [2]
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Charles Grant (British East India Company)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21

Image
Charles Grant

Charles Grant (Teàrlach Grannd in Scottish Gaelic) (16 April[1] 1746 – 31 October 1823), was a British politician influential in Indian and domestic affairs who, motivated by his evangelical Christianity, championed the causes of social reform and Christian mission, particularly in India. He served as Chairman of the British East India Company, and as a member of parliament (MP), and was an energetic member of the Clapham Sect.[2] The "Clapham Sect" were a group of social activists who spoke out about the moral imperative to end slavery.[3] Henry Thornton founder of the Clapham sect regarded Grant as his closest friend, after Wilberforce, and Grant planned and paid for a house called 'Glenelg' on Henry's estate in Battersea. It was a twin to, and lay near to the house built on the same estate for Wilberforce after his marriage, the location of which is marked by a plaque at No.111 Broomwood Road,[4][5] west of that section of Battersea Rise now called Clapham Common West Side. Grant later moved to live in Russell Square.[2][6][7]

Life

Grant was born at the farmhouse of Aldourie, Inverness-shire, Scotland on the same day his father, Alexander Grant (known as 'The Swordsman'), was fighting for the Jacobites, against the British Crown, at the Culloden. His father was severely wounded but survived, joined a Highland regiment which the government raised for service in America and died at Havana in 1762, of fever he contracted during the siege of Havana. Charles Grant's mother was Margaret MacBean, daughter of Donald Macbean Esq., Tacksman (tenant) of Aldourie in the parish of Dores, descended from the Macbeans of Kinchyle.[8][9][10] However, Charles Grant himself was one of the growing number of Scots who prospered in the service of the British Empire. In 1767, Grant travelled to India to take up a military position. Over subsequent years, he rose in the ranks of the British East India Company. Initially, he became superintendent over its trade in Bengal. Then, in 1787, having first acquired a personal fortune through silk manufacturing in Malda, Lord Cornwallis the Governor-General appointed Grant as a member of the East India Company's board of trade. Grant lived a profligate lifestyle as he climbed through the ranks, but after losing two children to smallpox he underwent a religious conversion. Viewing his life, including his efforts in India, from his new evangelical Christian perspective, moulded his career for the rest of his life.[11]

Grant returned to Britain in 1790 and was elected to Parliament in 1802 for Inverness-shire. He served as an MP until failing health forced him to retire in 1818. However, his relationship with the East India Company did not end. In 1804, he joined the Company's Court of Directors, and in 1805, he became its chairman. He died on 31 October 1823, at his home, No.40 Russell Square, London, at the age of 77.[12][13]

His eldest son, Charles, was born in India and later followed his father into politics, eventually becoming a British peer as Baron Glenelg. His other son, Robert, followed his father into the Indian service and became Governor of Bombay, as well as being a Christian hymn writer.

Indian affairs

In 1792, Grant wrote the tract "Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain."[14] In it, he contended that India could be advanced socially and morally by compelling the Company to permit Christian missionaries into India, a view diametrically opposed to the long-held position of the East India Company that Christian missionary work in India conflicted with its commercial interests and should be prohibited. In 1797, Grant presented his essay to the Company’s directors, and then later in 1813, along with the reformer William Wilberforce, successfully to the House of Commons. The Commons ordered its re-printing during the important debates on the renewal of the company's charter.

He was largely responsible for the foundation of East India Company College, which was later erected at Haileybury.

As Chairman of the Company, Grant used his position to sponsor many chaplains to India, among them Claudius Buchanan and Henry Martyn.


Christian humanitarianism

Grant was part of an evangelical Anglican movement of close friends whose notable members included the abolitionist Wilberforce, Zachary Macaulay, John Venn, Henry Thornton, and John Shore, who lived in close proximity around Clapham Common southwest of London. For some years from 1796, Grant himself lived in a large villa called Glenelg in proximity to Wilberforce and Thornton. This 'Clapham sect' welded evangelical theology with the cause of social reform. Both in India and in Britain's Parliament, Grant campaigned for the furtherance of causes of education, social reform, and Christian mission. In 1791, he helped established the Sierra Leone Company, which gave refuge to freed slaves. Also in 1791, as an influential supporter of the abolition of slavery in all its forms, he was elected to the London Abolition Committee.[15] He served as a vice-president of the British and Foreign Bible Society from its establishment in 1804, and also supported the Church Missionary Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. As a director of one of the largest businesses of the day, Grant was a remarkably effective social reformer.

Notes

1. Gregorian Calendar 4 April
2. "Grant, Charles (1746-1823)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
3. Tomkins, Stephen, The Clapham Sect: How Wilberforce’s circle changed Britain(Oxford: Lion, 2010)
4. Blue Plaques Guide - 111 Broomwood Road
5. Wikimedia Commons: William Wilberforce - 111 Broomwood Road BatterseaLondon SW11 6JT
6. Survey of London: Battersea (Volumes 50 - chapter 17: 'Between the Commons 1'). Editor: Andrew Saint. Historian: Colin Thom. Published by Yale University Press for English Heritage (2013).
7. Roger Logan, 'Between the Commons: South Battersea’s Formative Years'. Wandsworth Historical Society, Wandsworth Paper 15, 2007
8. The Life of Charles Grant, Sometime Member of Parliament for Inverness-shire and Director of the East India Company. By Henry Morris, Madras Civil Service (retired). London: John Murray, Albermarle Street, W. 1904. (pages 1-3)
9. Francis James Grant: 'The Grants of Corrimony', 1895
10. 'A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire' by John Burke and J. Bernard Burke. 10th Edition (1848) Page 432 'Glenelg'
11. Hindmarsh, Bruce A Long Reach: The Clapham Sect's impact in India—and the world. in 'Christianity Today' Issue 53 1997 [1]
12. 'The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
13. 'The Annual Biography and Obituary for the Year 1825, Volume IX' (London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, rees, Orme, Brown and Green, Paternoster Row, 1825). Page 25.
14. Extracts may be found on the William Carey University Feb Website (accessed 18 February 2007)
15. Jennings, Judi (1997). The Business of Abolishing the British Slave Trade, 1783–1807. Routledge. pp. 67, 82. ISBN 0714646970.

References

• "Charles Grant Biography". William Carey University website. Retrieved 16 February 2007.
• Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Grant, Charles" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 353.
• Embree, Ainslie (1962). Charles Grant and British Rule in India. George Allen & Unwin.

See also

• Charles Grant - A ship that sailed for the East India Company between 1810 and 1833

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Charles Grant
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 2

William Wilberforce [1759-1833]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21



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William Wilberforce
by Karl Anton Hickel, c. 1794
Member of Parliament
In office: 31 October 1780 – February 1825
Preceded by: David Hartley
Succeeded by: Arthur Gough-Calthorpe
Constituency: Kingston upon Hull (1780–1784); Yorkshire (1784–1812); Bramber (1812–1825)
Personal details
Born: 24 August 1759, Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: 29 July 1833 (aged 73), Belgravia, London, England
Resting place: Westminster Abbey
Political party: Independent
Spouse(s): Barbara Spooner ​(m. 1797)​
Children: Six, including Robert, Samuel, and Henry
Alma mater: St John's College, Cambridge

William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833)[1] was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming an independent Member of Parliament (MP) for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785, he 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 Sharp, Hannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

Wilberforce was convinced of the importance of religion, morality and education. He championed causes and campaigns such as the Society for the Suppression of Vice, British missionary work in India, the creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone, the foundation of the Church Mission Society, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
His underlying conservatism led him to support politically and socially controversial legislation, and resulted in criticism that he was ignoring injustices at home while campaigning for the enslaved abroad.

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 the Younger.

Early life and education

Wilberforce was born in a house on the High Street of Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, on 24 August 1759, the only son of Robert Wilberforce (1728–1768), a wealthy merchant, and his wife, Elizabeth Bird (1730–1798). His grandfather, William (1690–1774),[2][3] had made the family fortune in the maritime trade with Baltic countries[4] and in sugar refining.[5] He was a partner in a business that built the Old Sugar House on Lime Street in Hull, which imported raw sugar from slave-based plantations in the West Indies.[6][7] He was twice elected mayor of Hull.[8]

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A statue of William Wilberforce outside Wilberforce House, his birthplace in Hull.

Wilberforce was a small, sickly and delicate child with poor eyesight.[9] In 1767, he began attending Hull Grammar School,[10] which at the time was headed by a young, dynamic headmaster, Joseph Milner, who was to become a lifelong friend.[11] Wilberforce profited from the supportive atmosphere at the school, until his father's death in 1768 caused changes in his living arrangements. With his mother struggling to cope, the nine-year-old Wilberforce was sent to a prosperous uncle and aunt with houses in both St James' Place, London, and Wimbledon, at that time a village 7 miles (11 km) south-west of London. He attended an "indifferent" boarding school in Putney for two years. He spent his holidays in Wimbledon, where he grew extremely fond of his relatives.[12] He became interested in evangelical Christianity due to his relatives' influence, especially that of his aunt Hannah, sister of the wealthy Christian merchant John Thornton, a philanthropist and a supporter of the leading Methodist preacher George Whitefield.[1] Wilberforce's staunchly Church of England mother and grandfather, alarmed at these nonconformist influences and at his leanings towards evangelicalism, brought the 12-year-old boy back to Hull in 1771. Wilberforce was heartbroken at being separated from his aunt and uncle.[13] His family opposed a return to Hull Grammar School because the headmaster had become a Methodist, and Wilberforce therefore continued his education at nearby Pocklington School from 1771 to 1776.[14][15] Influenced by Methodist scruples, he initially resisted Hull's lively social life, but, as his religious fervour diminished, he embraced theatre-going, attended balls, and played cards.[16]

In October 1776, at the age of 17, Wilberforce went up to St John's College, Cambridge.[17] The deaths of his grandfather in 1774 and his uncle three years later had left him independently wealthy[18] and as a result he had little inclination or need to apply himself to serious study. Instead he immersed himself in the social round of student life[18][17] and pursued a hedonistic lifestyle, enjoying cards, gambling and late-night drinking sessions – although he found the excesses of some of his fellow students distasteful.[19][20] Witty, generous and an excellent conversationalist, Wilberforce was a popular figure. He made many friends including the more studious future Prime Minister William Pitt.[20][21] Despite his lifestyle and lack of interest in studying, he managed to pass his examinations[22] and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1781 and a Master of Arts degree in 1788.[23]


Early parliamentary career

Wilberforce began to consider a political career while still at university during the winter of 1779–1780, while he and Pitt frequently watched House of Commons debates from the gallery. Pitt, already set on a political career, encouraged Wilberforce to join him in obtaining a parliamentary seat.[22][24] In September 1780, at the age of twenty-one and while still a student, Wilberforce was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Kingston upon Hull,[1] spending over £8,000, as was the custom of the time, to ensure he received the necessary votes.[25][26] Free from financial pressures, Wilberforce sat as an independent, resolving to be a "no party man".[1][27] Criticised at times for inconsistency, he supported both Tory and Whig governments according to his conscience, working closely with the party in power, and voting on specific measures according to their merits.[28][29]

Wilberforce attended Parliament regularly, but he also maintained a lively social life, becoming an habitué of gentlemen's gambling clubs such as Goostree's and Boodle's in Pall Mall, London. The writer and socialite Madame de Staël described him as the "wittiest man in England"[30] and, according to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, the Prince of Wales said that he would go anywhere to hear Wilberforce sing.[31][32]


Wilberforce used his speaking voice to great effect in political speeches; the diarist and author James Boswell witnessed Wilberforce's eloquence in the House of Commons and noted, "I saw what seemed a mere shrimp mount upon the table; but as I listened, he grew, and grew, until the shrimp became a whale."[33] During the frequent government changes of 1781–1784, Wilberforce supported his friend Pitt in parliamentary debates.[34]

In autumn 1783, Pitt, Wilberforce and Edward Eliot (later to become Pitt's brother-in-law), travelled to France for a six-week holiday together.[1][35] After a difficult start in Rheims, where their presence aroused police suspicion that they were English spies, they visited Paris, meeting Benjamin Franklin, General Lafayette, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, and joined the French court at Fontainebleau.[35][36]

Pitt became Prime Minister in December 1783, with Wilberforce a key supporter of his minority government.[37] Despite their close friendship, there is no record that Pitt offered Wilberforce a ministerial position in that or future governments. This may have been due to Wilberforce's wish to remain an independent MP. Alternatively, Wilberforce's frequent tardiness and disorganisation, as well as his chronic eye problems that at times made reading impossible, may have convinced Pitt that his trusted friend was not ministerial material. Wilberforce never sought office and was never offered one.[38] When Parliament was dissolved in the spring of 1784, Wilberforce decided to stand as a candidate for the county of Yorkshire in the 1784 general election.[1] On 6 April, he was returned as MP for Yorkshire at the age of twenty-four.[39]

Conversion

In October 1784, Wilberforce embarked upon a tour of Europe which would ultimately change his life and determine his future career. He travelled with his mother and sister in the company of Isaac Milner, the brilliant younger brother of his former headmaster, who had been Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, in the year when Wilberforce first went up. They visited the French Riviera and enjoyed the usual pastimes of dinners, cards, and gambling.[40] In February 1785, Wilberforce returned to London temporarily, to support Pitt's proposals for parliamentary reforms. He rejoined the party in Genoa, Italy, from where they continued their tour to Switzerland. Milner accompanied Wilberforce to England, and on the journey they read The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul by Philip Doddridge, a leading early 18th-century English nonconformist.[41]

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William Wilberforce by John Rising, 1790, pictured at the age of 29

After his earlier interest in evangelical religion when he was young, Wilberforce's journey to faith seems to have begun afresh at this time. He started to rise early to read the Bible and pray and kept a private journal.[42] He underwent an evangelical conversion, regretting his past life and resolving to commit his future life and work to the service of God.[1] His conversion changed some of his habits, but not his nature: he remained outwardly cheerful, interested and respectful, tactfully urging others towards his new faith.[43] Inwardly, he underwent an agonising struggle and became relentlessly self-critical, harshly judging his spirituality, use of time, vanity, self-control and relationships with others.[44]

At the time, religious enthusiasm was generally regarded as a social transgression and was stigmatised in polite society. Evangelicals in the upper classes, such as Sir Richard Hill, the Methodist MP for Shropshire, and Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, were exposed to contempt and ridicule,[45] and Wilberforce's conversion led him to question whether he should remain in public life. He sought guidance from John Newton, a leading evangelical Anglican clergyman of the day and Rector of St Mary Woolnoth in the City of London.[46][47] Both Newton and Pitt counselled him to remain in politics, and he resolved to do so "with increased diligence and conscientiousness".[1] Thereafter, his political views were informed by his faith and by his desire to promote Christianity and Christian ethics in private and public life.[48][49] His views were often deeply conservative, opposed to radical changes in a God-given political and social order, and focused on issues such as the observance of the Sabbath and the eradication of immorality through education and reform.[50] As a result, he was often distrusted by progressive voices because of his conservatism, and regarded with suspicion by many Tories who saw evangelicals as radicals, bent on the overthrow of church and state.[29]

In 1786, Wilberforce leased a house in Old Palace Yard, Westminster, in order to be near Parliament. He began using his parliamentary position to advocate reform by introducing a Registration Bill, proposing limited changes to parliamentary election procedures.[1][51] He brought forward a bill to extend the measure permitting the dissection after execution of criminals such as rapists, arsonists and thieves. The bill also advocated the reduction of sentences for women convicted of treason, a crime that at the time included a husband's murder. The House of Commons passed both bills, but they were defeated in the House of Lords.[52][53]

Abolition of the slave trade

Initial decision


The British initially became involved in the slave trade during the 16th century. By 1783, the triangular route that took British-made goods to Africa to buy slaves, transported the enslaved to the West Indies, and then brought slave-grown products such as sugar, tobacco, and cotton to Britain, represented about 80 percent of Great Britain's foreign income.[54][55] British ships dominated the slave trade, supplying French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and British colonies, and in peak years carried forty thousand enslaved men, women and children across the Atlantic in the horrific conditions of the middle passage.[56] Of the estimated 11 million Africans transported into slavery, about 1.4 million died during the voyage.[57]

The British campaign to abolish the slave trade is generally considered to have begun in the 1780s with the establishment of the Quakers' anti-slavery committees, and their presentation to Parliament of the first slave trade petition in 1783.[58][59] The same year, Wilberforce, while dining with his old Cambridge friend Gerard Edwards,[60] met Rev. James Ramsay, a ship's surgeon who had become a clergyman on the island of St Christopher (later St Kitts) in the Leeward Islands, and a medical supervisor of the plantations there. What Ramsay had witnessed of the conditions endured by the slaves, both at sea and on the plantations, horrified him. Returning to England after fifteen years, he accepted the living of Teston, Kent in 1781, and there met Sir Charles Middleton, Lady Middleton, Thomas Clarkson, Hannah More and others, a group that later became known as the Testonites.[61] Interested in promoting Christianity and moral improvement in Britain and overseas, they were appalled by Ramsay's reports of the depraved lifestyles of slave owners, the cruel treatment meted out to the enslaved, and the lack of Christian instruction provided to the slaves.[62] With their encouragement and help, Ramsay spent three years writing An essay on the treatment and conversion of African slaves in the British sugar colonies, which was highly critical of slavery in the West Indies. The book, published in 1784, was to have an important impact in raising public awareness and interest, and it excited the ire of West Indian planters who in the coming years attacked both Ramsay and his ideas in a series of pro-slavery tracts.[63]


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Diagram of a slave ship, the Brookes, illustrating the inhumane conditions aboard such vessels

Wilberforce apparently did not follow up on his meeting with Ramsay.[60] However, three years later, and inspired by his new faith, Wilberforce was growing interested in humanitarian reform. In November 1786, he received a letter from Sir Charles Middleton that re-opened his interest in the slave trade.[64][65] At the urging of Lady Middleton, Sir Charles suggested that Wilberforce bring forward the abolition of the slave trade in Parliament. Wilberforce responded that he "felt the great importance of the subject, and thought himself unequal to the task allotted to him, but yet would not positively decline it".[66] He began to read widely on the subject, and met with the Testonites at Middleton's home at Barham Court in Teston in the early winter of 1786–1787.[67]

In early 1787, Thomas Clarkson, a fellow graduate of St John's, Cambridge, who had become convinced of the need to end the slave trade after writing a prize-winning essay on the subject while at Cambridge,[61] called upon Wilberforce at Old Palace Yard with a published copy of the work.[68][69] This was the first time the two men had met; their collaboration would last nearly fifty years.[70][71] Clarkson began to visit Wilberforce on a weekly basis, bringing first-hand evidence[72] he had obtained about the slave trade.[70] The Quakers, already working for abolition, also recognised the need for influence within Parliament, and urged Clarkson to secure a commitment from Wilberforce to bring forward the case for abolition in the House of Commons.[73][74]


It was arranged that Bennet Langton, a Lincolnshire landowner and mutual acquaintance of Wilberforce and Clarkson, would organize a dinner party in order to ask Wilberforce formally to lead the parliamentary campaign.[75] The dinner took place on 13 March 1787; other guests included Charles Middleton, Sir Joshua Reynolds, William Windham MP, James Boswell and Isaac Hawkins Browne MP. By the end of the evening, Wilberforce had agreed in general terms that he would bring forward the abolition of the slave trade in Parliament, "provided that no person more proper could be found".[76]

The same spring, on 12 May 1787, the still hesitant Wilberforce held a conversation with William Pitt and the future Prime Minister William Grenville as they sat under a large oak tree on Pitt's estate in Kent.[1] Under what came to be known as the "Wilberforce Oak" at Holwood House, Pitt challenged his friend: "Wilberforce, why don't you give notice of a motion on the subject of the Slave Trade? You have already taken great pains to collect evidence, and are therefore fully entitled to the credit which doing so will ensure you. Do not lose time, or the ground will be occupied by another."[77] Wilberforce's response is not recorded, but he later declared in old age that he could "distinctly remember the very knoll on which I was sitting near Pitt and Grenville" where he made his decision.[78]

Wilberforce's involvement in the abolition movement was motivated by a desire to put his Christian principles into action and to serve God in public life.[79][80] He and other evangelicals were horrified by what they perceived was a depraved and un-Christian trade, and the greed and avarice of the owners and traders.[80][81] Wilberforce sensed a call from God, writing in a journal entry in 1787 that "God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners [moral values]".[82][83] The conspicuous involvement of evangelicals in the highly popular anti-slavery movement served to improve the status of a group otherwise associated with the less popular campaigns against vice and immorality.[84]

Early parliamentary action

On 22 May 1787, the first meeting of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade took place, bringing like-minded British Quakers and Anglicans together in the same organisation for the first time.[85] The committee chose to campaign against the slave trade rather than slavery itself, with many members believing that slavery would eventually disappear as a natural consequence of the abolition of the trade.[86] Wilberforce, though involved informally, did not join the committee officially until 1791.[87][88]

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"Am I Not A Man And A Brother?" Medallion created as part of anti-slavery campaign by Josiah Wedgwood, 1787

The society was highly successful in raising public awareness and support, and local chapters sprang up throughout Great Britain.[58][89] Clarkson travelled the country researching and collecting first-hand testimony and statistics, while the committee promoted the campaign, pioneering techniques such as lobbying, writing pamphlets, holding public meetings, gaining press attention, organising boycotts and even using a campaign logo: an image of a kneeling slave above the motto "Am I not a Man and a Brother?", designed by the renowned pottery-maker Josiah Wedgwood.[58][90][91] The committee also sought to influence slave-trading nations such as France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Holland and the United States, corresponding with anti-slavery activists in other countries and organising the translation of English-language books and pamphlets.[92] These included books by former slaves Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano, who had published influential works on slavery and the slave trade in 1787 and 1789 respectively. They and other free blacks, collectively known as "Sons of Africa", spoke at debating societies and wrote spirited letters to newspapers, periodicals and prominent figures, as well as public letters of support to campaign allies.[93][94][95] Hundreds of parliamentary petitions opposing the slave trade were received in 1788 and following years, with hundreds of thousands of signatories in total.[58][91] The campaign proved to be the world's first grassroots human rights campaign, in which men and women from different social classes and backgrounds volunteered to try to end the injustices suffered by others.[96]

Wilberforce had planned to introduce a motion giving notice that he would bring forward a bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade during the 1789 parliamentary session. However, in January 1788, he was taken ill with a probable stress-related condition, now thought to be ulcerative colitis.[97][98] It was several months before he was able to resume work, and he spent time convalescing at Bath and Cambridge. His regular bouts of gastrointestinal illnesses precipitated the use of moderate quantities of opium, which proved effective in alleviating his condition,[99] and which he continued to use for the rest of his life.[100]

In Wilberforce's absence, Pitt, who had long been supportive of abolition, introduced the preparatory motion himself, and ordered a Privy Council investigation into the slave trade, followed by a House of Commons review.[101][102]

With the publication of the Privy Council report in April 1789 and following months of planning, Wilberforce commenced his parliamentary campaign.[99][103] On 12 May 1789, he made his first major speech on the subject of abolition in the House of Commons, in which he reasoned that the trade was morally reprehensible and an issue of natural justice. Drawing on Thomas Clarkson's mass of evidence, he described in detail the appalling conditions in which slaves travelled from Africa in the middle passage, and argued that abolishing the trade would also bring an improvement to the conditions of existing slaves in the West Indies. He moved 12 resolutions condemning the slave trade, but made no reference to the abolition of slavery itself, instead dwelling on the potential for reproduction in the existing slave population should the trade be abolished.
[104][105] With the tide running against them, the opponents of abolition delayed the vote by proposing that the House of Commons hear its own evidence, and Wilberforce, in a move that has subsequently been criticised for prolonging the slave trade, reluctantly agreed.[106][107] The hearings were not completed by the end of the parliamentary session, and were deferred until the following year. In the meantime, Wilberforce and Clarkson tried unsuccessfully to take advantage of the egalitarian atmosphere of the French Revolution to press for France's abolition of the trade,[108] which was, in any event, to be abolished in 1794 as a result of the bloody slave revolt in St. Domingue (later to be known as Haiti), although later briefly restored by Napoleon in 1802.[109] In January 1790, Wilberforce succeeded in speeding up the hearings by gaining approval for a smaller parliamentary select committee to consider the vast quantity of evidence which had been accumulated.[110] Wilberforce's house in Old Palace Yard became a centre for the abolitionists' campaign and a focus for many strategy meetings.[1] Petitioners for other causes also besieged him there, and his ante-room was thronged from an early hour, like "Noah's Ark, full of beasts clean and unclean", according to Hannah More.[32][111][112]

Let us not despair; it is a blessed cause, and success, ere long, will crown our exertions. Already we have gained one victory; we have obtained, for these poor creatures, the recognition of their human nature, which, for a while was most shamefully denied. This is the first fruits of our efforts; let us persevere and our triumph will be complete. Never, never will we desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under which we at present labour, and extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonour to this country.

William Wilberforce — speech before the House of Commons, 18 April 1791[113]


Interrupted by a general election in June 1790, the committee finally finished hearing witnesses, and in April 1791 with a closely reasoned four-hour speech, Wilberforce introduced the first parliamentary bill to abolish the slave trade.[114][115] However, after two evenings of debate, the bill was easily defeated by 163 votes to 88, the political climate having swung in a conservative direction in the wake of the French Revolution and in reaction to an increase in radicalism and to slave revolts in the French West Indies.[116][117] Such was the public hysteria of the time that even Wilberforce himself was suspected by some of being a Jacobin agitator.[118]

This was the beginning of a protracted parliamentary campaign, during which Wilberforce's commitment never wavered, despite frustration and hostility. He was supported in his work by fellow members of the so-called Clapham Sect, among whom was his best friend and cousin Henry Thornton.[119][120] Holding evangelical Christian convictions, and consequently dubbed "the Saints", the group mainly lived in large houses surrounding the common in Clapham, then a village to the south-west of London. Wilberforce accepted an invitation to share a house with Henry Thornton in 1792, moving into his own home after Thornton's marriage in 1796.[121] The "Saints" were an informal community, characterised by considerable intimacy as well as a commitment to practical Christianity and an opposition to slavery. They developed a relaxed family atmosphere, wandering freely in and out of each other's homes and gardens, and discussing the many religious, social and political topics that engaged them.[122]

Pro-slavery advocates claimed that enslaved Africans were lesser human beings who benefited from their bondage.[123] Wilberforce, the Clapham Sect and others were anxious to demonstrate that Africans, and particularly freed slaves, had human and economic abilities beyond the slave trade, and that they were capable of sustaining a well-ordered society, trade and cultivation. Inspired in part by the utopian vision of Granville Sharp, they became involved in the establishment in 1792 of a free colony in Sierra Leone with black settlers from Britain, Nova Scotia and Jamaica, as well as native Africans and some whites.[123][124] They formed the Sierra Leone Company, with Wilberforce subscribing liberally to the project in money and time.[125] The dream was of an ideal society in which races would mix on equal terms; the reality was fraught with tension, crop failures, disease, death, war and defections to the slave trade. Initially a commercial venture, the British government assumed responsibility for the colony in 1808.[123] The colony, although troubled at times, was to become a symbol of anti-slavery in which residents, communities and African tribal chiefs, worked together to prevent enslavement at the source, supported by a British naval blockade to stem the region's slave trade.[126][127]

On 2 April 1792, Wilberforce again brought a bill calling for abolition. The memorable debate that followed drew contributions from the greatest orators in the house, William Pitt the Younger and Charles James Fox, as well as from Wilberforce himself.[128] Henry Dundas, as Home Secretary, proposed a compromise solution of so-called "gradual abolition" over a number of years. This was passed by 230 to 85 votes in the Commons but was rejected by the Lords. Some argue the compromise was little more than a clever ploy, with the intention of ensuring that total abolition would be delayed indefinitely.[129]

War with France

On 26 February 1793, another vote to abolish the slave trade was narrowly defeated by eight votes. The outbreak of war with France the same month effectively prevented any further serious consideration of the issue, as politicians concentrated on the national crisis and the threat of invasion.[130] The same year, and again in 1794, Wilberforce unsuccessfully brought before Parliament a bill to outlaw British ships from supplying slaves to foreign colonies.[123][131] He voiced his concern about the war and urged Pitt and his government to make greater efforts to end hostilities.[132] Growing more alarmed, on 31 December 1794, Wilberforce moved that the government seek a peaceful resolution with France, a stance that created a temporary breach in his long friendship with Pitt.[133]

Abolition continued to be associated in the public consciousness with the French Revolution and with British radical groups, resulting in a decline in public support.[134] In 1795, the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade ceased to meet, and Clarkson retired in ill-health to the Lake District.[135][136] In 1795 leave to bring in a bill for abolition of the slave trade was refused in the commons by 78 to 61; and in 1796, though he succeeded in carrying the same measure to a third reading, it was then rejected on 15 March 1796 by 74 to 70. Henry Dundas, who secured the 1792 commons "gradual" abolition of slave trade bill; to end on 1 January 1796, voted AYE, in support. Enough of his supporters, to have carried it were, as Wilberforce complains, attending a new comic opera. However, despite the decreased interest in abolition, Wilberforce continued to introduce abolition bills throughout the 1790s.[137][138]

The early years of the 19th century once again saw an increased public interest in abolition. In 1804, Clarkson resumed his work and the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade began meeting again, strengthened with prominent new members such as Zachary Macaulay, Henry Brougham and James Stephen.[135][139] In June 1804, Wilberforce's bill to abolish the slave trade successfully passed all its stages through the House of Commons. However, it was too late in the parliamentary session for it to complete its passage through the House of Lords. On its reintroduction during the 1805 session, it was defeated, with even the usually sympathetic Pitt failing to support it.[140] On this occasion and throughout the campaign, abolition was held back by Wilberforce's trusting, even credulous nature, and his deferential attitude towards those in power. He found it difficult to believe that men of rank would not do what he perceived to be the right thing, and was reluctant to confront them when they did not.[138]

Final phase of the campaign

Following Pitt's death in January 1806, Wilberforce began to collaborate more with the Whigs, especially the abolitionists. He gave general support to the Grenville–Fox administration, which brought more abolitionists into the cabinet; Wilberforce and Charles Fox led the campaign in the House of Commons, while Lord Grenville advocated the cause in the House of Lords.[123][141]

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The House of Commons in Wilberforce's day by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson (1808–1811)

A radical change of tactics, which involved the introduction of a bill to ban British subjects from aiding or participating in the slave trade to the French colonies, was suggested by maritime lawyer James Stephen.[142] It was a shrewd move, since the majority of British ships were now flying American flags and supplying slaves to foreign colonies with whom Britain was at war.[143] A bill was introduced and approved by the cabinet, and Wilberforce and other abolitionists maintained a self-imposed silence, so as not to draw any attention to the effect of the bill.[144][145] The approach proved successful, and the new Foreign Slave Trade Bill was quickly passed, and received royal assent on 23 May 1806.[146] Wilberforce and Clarkson had collected a large volume of evidence against the slave trade over the previous two decades, and Wilberforce spent the latter part of 1806 writing A Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, which was a comprehensive restatement of the abolitionists' case. The death of Fox in September 1806 was a blow, but was followed quickly by a general election in the autumn of 1806.[147] Slavery became an election issue, bringing more abolitionist MPs into the House of Commons, including former military men who had personally experienced the horrors of slavery and slave revolts.[148] Wilberforce was re-elected as an MP for Yorkshire,[149] after which he returned to finishing and publishing his Letter, in reality a 400-page book which formed the basis for the final phase of the campaign.[150]

Lord Grenville, the Prime Minister, was determined to introduce an Abolition Bill in the House of Lords, rather than in the House of Commons, taking it through its greatest challenge first.[149] When a final vote was taken, the bill was passed in the House of Lords by a large margin.[151] Sensing a breakthrough that had been long anticipated, Charles Grey moved for a second reading in the Commons on 23 February 1807. As tributes were made to Wilberforce, whose face streamed with tears, the bill was carried by 283 votes to 16.[146][152] Excited supporters suggested taking advantage of the large majority to seek the abolition of slavery itself, but Wilberforce made it clear that total emancipation was not the immediate goal: "They had for the present no object immediately before them, but that of putting stop directly to the carrying of men in British ships to be sold as slaves."[153] The Slave Trade Act received royal assent on 25 March 1807.[154]

Personal life

In his youth, William Wilberforce showed little interest in women, but when he was in his late thirties his friend Thomas Babington recommended twenty-year-old Barbara Ann Spooner (1777–1847) as a potential bride.[155] Wilberforce met her two days later on 15 April 1797, and was immediately smitten;[1] following an eight-day whirlwind romance, he proposed.[156] Despite the urgings of friends to slow down, the couple married at the Church of St Swithin in Bath, Somerset, on 30 May 1797.[1] They were devoted to each other, and Barbara was very attentive and supportive to Wilberforce in his increasing ill health, though she showed little interest in his political activities.[1] They had six children in fewer than ten years: William (born 1798), Barbara (born 1799), Elizabeth (born 1801), Robert (born 1802), Samuel (born 1805) and Henry (born 1807).[1] Wilberforce was an indulgent and adoring father who revelled in his time at home and at play with his children.[157]

Other concerns

Political and social reform


Wilberforce was highly conservative on many political and social issues. He advocated change in society through Christianity and improvement in morals, education and religion, fearing and opposing radical causes and revolution.[50] The radical writer William Cobbett was among those who attacked what they saw as Wilberforce's hypocrisy in campaigning for better working conditions for slaves while British workers lived in terrible conditions at home.[158] "Never have you done one single act, in favour of the labourers of this country", he wrote.[159] Critics noted Wilberforce's support of the suspension of habeas corpus in 1795 and his votes for Pitt's "Gagging Bills", which banned meetings of more than 50 people, allowing speakers to be arrested and imposing harsh penalties on those who attacked the constitution.[160][161] Wilberforce was opposed to giving workers' rights to organise into unions, in 1799 speaking in favour of the Combination Act, which suppressed trade union activity throughout Britain, and calling unions "a general disease in our society".[160][162] He also opposed an enquiry into the 1819 Peterloo Massacre in which eleven protesters were killed at a political rally demanding reform.[163] Concerned about "bad men who wished to produce anarchy and confusion", he approved of the government's Six Acts, which further limited public meetings and seditious writings.[164][165] Wilberforce's actions led the essayist William Hazlitt to condemn him as one "who preaches vital Christianity to untutored savages, and tolerates its worst abuses in civilised states."[166]

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Unfinished portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1828

Wilberforce's views of women and religion were also conservative. He disapproved of women anti-slavery activists such as Elizabeth Heyrick, who organised women's abolitionist groups in the 1820s, protesting: "[F]or ladies to meet, to publish, to go from house to house stirring up petitions—these appear to me proceedings unsuited to the female character as delineated in Scripture."[167][168] Wilberforce initially strongly opposed bills for Catholic emancipation, which would have allowed Catholics to become MPs, hold public office and serve in the army,[169] although by 1813, he had changed his views and spoke in favour of a similar bill.[170]

More progressively, Wilberforce advocated legislation to improve the working conditions for chimney-sweeps and textile workers, engaged in prison reform, and supported campaigns to restrict capital punishment and the severe punishments meted out under the Game laws.[171] He recognised the importance of education in alleviating poverty, and when Hannah More and her sister established Sunday schools for the poor in Somerset and the Mendips, he provided financial and moral support as they faced opposition from landowners and Anglican clergy.[172][173] From the late 1780s onward, Wilberforce campaigned for limited parliamentary reform, such as the abolition of rotten boroughs and the redistribution of Commons seats to growing towns and cities, though by 1832, he feared that such measures went too far.[160][174] With others, Wilberforce founded the world's first animal welfare organisation, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (later the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).[175] In 1824, Wilberforce was one of over 30 eminent gentlemen who put their names at the inaugural public meeting to the fledgling National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck,[176] later named the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. He was also opposed to duelling, which he described as the "disgrace of a Christian society" and was appalled when his friend Pitt engaged in a duel with George Tierney in 1798, particularly as it occurred on a Sunday, the Christian day of rest.[177][178]

Wilberforce was generous with his time and money, believing that those with wealth had a duty to give a significant portion of their income to the needy. Yearly, he gave away thousands of pounds, much of it to clergymen to distribute in their parishes. He paid off the debts of others, supported education and missions, and in a year of food shortages, gave to charity more than his own yearly income. He was exceptionally hospitable, and could not bear to sack any of his servants. As a result, his home was full of old and incompetent servants kept on in charity. Although he was often months behind in his correspondence, Wilberforce responded to numerous requests for advice or for help in obtaining professorships, military promotions and livings for clergymen, or for the reprieve of death sentences.[179][180]
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Evangelical Christianity

A supporter of the evangelical wing of the Church of England, Wilberforce believed that the revitalisation of the church and individual Christian observance would lead to a harmonious, moral society.[160] He sought to elevate the status of religion in public and private life, making piety fashionable in both the upper- and middle-classes of society.[181] To this end, in April 1797, Wilberforce published A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of This Country Contrasted With Real Christianity, on which he had been working since 1793. This was an exposition of New Testament doctrine and teachings and a call for a revival of Christianity, as a response to the moral decline of the nation, illustrating his own personal testimony and the views which inspired him. The book proved to be influential and a best-seller by the standards of the day; 7,500 copies were sold within six months, and it was translated into several languages.[182][183]

Wilberforce fostered and supported missionary activity in Britain and abroad. He was a founding member of the Church Missionary Society (since renamed the Church Mission Society) and was involved, with other members of the Clapham Sect, in numerous other evangelical and charitable organisations.[184][185] Horrified by the lack of Christian evangelism in India, Wilberforce used the 1793 renewal of the British East India Company's charter to propose the addition of clauses requiring the company to provide teachers and chaplains and to commit to the "religious improvement" of Indians. The plan was unsuccessful due to lobbying by the directors of the company, who feared that their commercial interests would be damaged.[186][187] Wilberforce tried again in 1813, when the charter next came up for renewal. Using petitions, meetings, lobbying and letter writing, he successfully campaigned for changes to the charter.[160][188] Speaking in favour of the Charter Act 1813, he criticised the East India Company and their rule in India for its hypocrisy and racial prejudice, while also condemning aspects of Hinduism including the caste system, infanticide, polygamy and suttee. "Our religion is sublime, pure beneficent", he said, "theirs is mean, licentious and cruel".[188][189]


Moral reform

Greatly concerned by what he perceived to be the degeneracy of British society, Wilberforce was also active in matters of moral reform, lobbying against "the torrent of profaneness that every day makes more rapid advances", and considered this issue and the abolition of the slave trade as equally important goals.[190] At the suggestion of Wilberforce and Bishop Porteus, King George III was requested by the Archbishop of Canterbury to issue in 1787 the Proclamation for the Discouragement of Vice, as a remedy for the rising tide of immorality.[191][192] The proclamation commanded the prosecution of those guilty of "excessive drinking, blasphemy, profane swearing and cursing, lewdness, profanation of the Lord's Day, and other dissolute, immoral, or disorderly practices".[193] Greeted largely with public indifference, Wilberforce sought to increase its impact by mobilising public figures to the cause,[194] and by founding the Society for the Suppression of Vice.[194][195] This and other societies in which Wilberforce was a prime mover, such as the Proclamation Society, mustered support for the prosecution of those who had been charged with violating relevant laws, including brothel keepers, distributors of pornographic material, and those who did not respect the Sabbath.[160] Years later, the writer and clergyman Sydney Smith criticised Wilberforce for being more interested in the sins of the poor than those of the rich, and suggested that a better name would have been the Society for "suppressing the vices of persons whose income does not exceed £500 per annum".[65][196] The societies were not highly successful in terms of membership and support, although their activities did lead to the imprisonment of Thomas Williams, the London printer of Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason.[84][137] Wilberforce's attempts to legislate against adultery and Sunday newspapers were also in vain; his involvement and leadership in other, less punitive, approaches were more successful in the long-term, however. By the end of his life, British morals, manners, and sense of social responsibility had increased, paving the way for future changes in societal conventions and attitudes during the Victorian era.[1][160][197]

Emancipation of enslaved Africans

The hopes of the abolitionists notwithstanding, slavery did not wither with the end of the slave trade in the British Empire, nor did the living conditions of the enslaved improve. The trade continued, with few countries following suit by abolishing the trade, and with some British ships disregarding the legislation. Wilberforce worked with the members of the African Institution to ensure the enforcement of abolition and to promote abolitionist negotiations with other countries.[160][198][199] In particular, the US had abolished the slave trade in 1808, and Wilberforce lobbied the American government to enforce its own prohibition more strongly.[200]

The same year, Wilberforce moved his family from Clapham to a sizable mansion with a large garden in Kensington Gore, closer to the Houses of Parliament. Never strong, and by 1812 in worsening health, Wilberforce resigned his Yorkshire seat, and became MP for the rotten borough of Bramber in Sussex, a seat with little or no constituency obligations, thus allowing him more time for his family and the causes that interested him.[201] From 1816 Wilberforce introduced a series of bills which would require the compulsory registration of slaves, together with details of their country of origin, permitting the illegal importation of foreign slaves to be detected. Later in the same year he began publicly to denounce slavery itself, though he did not demand immediate emancipation, as "They had always thought the slaves incapable of liberty at present, but hoped that by degrees a change might take place as the natural result of the abolition."[202]

In 1820, after a period of poor health, and with his eyesight failing, Wilberforce took the decision to further limit his public activities,[203] although he became embroiled in unsuccessful mediation attempts between King George IV, and his estranged wife Caroline of Brunswick, who had sought her rights as queen.[1] Nevertheless, Wilberforce still hoped "to lay a foundation for some future measures for the emancipation of the poor slaves", which he believed should come about gradually in stages.[204] Aware that the cause would need younger men to continue the work, in 1821 he asked fellow MP Thomas Fowell Buxton to take over leadership of the campaign in the Commons.[203] As the 1820s wore on, Wilberforce increasingly became a figurehead for the abolitionist movement, although he continued to appear at anti-slavery meetings, welcoming visitors, and maintaining a busy correspondence on the subject.[205][206][207]

The year 1823 saw the founding of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery (later the Anti-Slavery Society),[208] and the publication of Wilberforce's 56-page Appeal to the Religion, Justice and Humanity of the Inhabitants of the British Empire in Behalf of the Negro Slaves in the West Indies.[209] In his treatise, Wilberforce urged that total emancipation was morally and ethically required, and that slavery was a national crime that must be ended by parliamentary legislation to gradually abolish slavery.[210] Members of Parliament did not quickly agree, and government opposition in March 1823 stymied Wilberforce's call for abolition.[211] On 15 May 1823, Buxton moved another resolution in Parliament for gradual emancipation.[212] Subsequent debates followed on 16 March and 11 June 1824 in which Wilberforce made his last speeches in the Commons, and which again saw the emancipationists outmanoeuvred by the government.[213][214]

Last years

Wilberforce's health was continuing to fail, and he suffered further illnesses in 1824 and 1825. With his family concerned that his life was endangered, he declined a peerage[215] and resigned his seat in Parliament, leaving the campaign in the hands of others.[175][216] Thomas Clarkson continued to travel, visiting anti-slavery groups throughout Britain, motivating activists and acting as an ambassador for the anti-slavery cause to other countries,[68] while Buxton pursued the cause of reform in Parliament.[217] Public meetings and petitions demanding emancipation continued, with an increasing number supporting immediate abolition rather than the gradual approach favoured by Wilberforce, Clarkson and their colleagues.[218][219]

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Wilberforce was buried in Westminster Abbey next to Pitt. This memorial statue, by Samuel Joseph (1791–1850), was erected in 1840 in the north choir aisle.

In 1826, Wilberforce moved from his large house in Kensington Gore to Highwood Hill, a more modest property in the countryside of Mill Hill, north of London,[175] where he was soon joined by his son William and family. William had attempted a series of educational and career paths, and a venture into farming in 1830 led to huge losses, which his father repaid in full, despite offers from others to assist. This left Wilberforce with little income, and he was obliged to let his home and spend the rest of his life visiting family members and friends.[220] He continued his support for the anti-slavery cause, including attending and chairing meetings of the Anti-Slavery Society.[221]

Wilberforce approved of the 1830 election victory of the more progressive Whigs, though he was concerned about the implications of their Reform Bill which proposed the redistribution of parliamentary seats towards newer towns and cities and an extension of the franchise. In the event, the Reform Act 1832 was to bring more abolitionist MPs into Parliament as a result of intense and increasing public agitation against slavery. In addition, the 1832 slave revolt in Jamaica convinced government ministers that abolition was essential to avoid further rebellion.[222] In 1833, Wilberforce's health declined further and he suffered a severe attack of influenza from which he never fully recovered.[1] He made a final anti-slavery speech in April 1833 at a public meeting in Maidstone, Kent.[223] The following month, the Whig government introduced the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery, formally saluting Wilberforce in the process.[224] On 26 July 1833, Wilberforce heard of government concessions that guaranteed the passing of the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery.[225] The following day he grew much weaker, and he died early on the morning of 29 July at his cousin's house in Cadogan Place, London.[226][227]

One month later, the House of Lords passed the Slavery Abolition Act, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire from August 1834.[228] They voted plantation owners £20 million in compensation, giving full emancipation to children younger than six, and instituting a system of apprenticeship requiring other enslaved peoples to work for their former masters for four to six years in the British West Indies, South Africa, Mauritius, British Honduras and Canada. Nearly 800,000 African slaves were freed, the vast majority in the Caribbean.[229][230]


Funeral

Wilberforce had requested that he was to be buried with his sister and daughter at Stoke Newington, just north of London. However, the leading members of both Houses of Parliament urged that he be honoured with a burial in Westminster Abbey. The family agreed and, on 3 August 1833, Wilberforce was buried in the north transept, close to his friend William Pitt the Younger.[231] The funeral was attended by many Members of Parliament, as well as by members of the public. The pallbearers included the Duke of Gloucester, the Lord Chancellor Henry Brougham and the Speaker of the House of Commons Charles Manners-Sutton.[232][233][234]

While tributes were paid and Wilberforce was laid to rest, both Houses of Parliament suspended their business as a mark of respect.[235]

Legacy

Image
The Wilberforce Monument in the grounds of Hull College, Hull, erected in 1834.

Five years after his death, sons Robert and Samuel Wilberforce published a five-volume biography about their father, and subsequently a collection of his letters in 1840. The biography was controversial in that the authors emphasised Wilberforce's role in the abolition movement and played down the important work of Thomas Clarkson. Incensed, Clarkson came out of retirement to write a book refuting their version of events, and the sons eventually made a half-hearted private apology to him and removed the offending passages in a revision of their biography.[236][237][238] However, for more than a century, Wilberforce's role in the campaign dominated the history books. Later historians have noted the warm and highly productive relationship between Clarkson and Wilberforce, and have termed it one of history's great partnerships: without both the parliamentary leadership supplied by Wilberforce and the research and public mobilisation organised by Clarkson, abolition could not have been achieved.[68][239][240]

As his sons had desired and planned, Wilberforce has long been viewed as a Christian hero, a statesman-saint held up as a role model for putting his faith into action.[1][241][242] More broadly, he has also been described as a humanitarian reformer who contributed significantly to reshaping the political and social attitudes of the time by promoting concepts of social responsibility and action.[160] In the 1940s, the role of Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect in abolition was downplayed by historian Eric Williams, who argued that abolition was motivated not by humanitarianism but by economics, as the West Indian sugar industry was in decline.[58][243] Williams' approach strongly influenced historians for much of the latter part of the 20th century. However, more recent historians have noted that the sugar industry was still making large profits at the time of the abolition of the slave trade, and this has led to a renewed interest in Wilberforce and the Evangelicals, as well as a recognition of the anti-slavery movement as a prototype for subsequent humanitarian campaigns.[58][244]

In 1942, Wilberforce was portrayed by John Mills in the biographical film about the life of William Pitt the Younger, The Young Mr. Pitt.

Memorials

Wilberforce's life and work have been widely commemorated. In Westminster Abbey, a seated statue of Wilberforce by Samuel Joseph was erected in 1840, bearing an epitaph praising his Christian character and his long labour to abolish the slave trade and slavery itself.[245]

In Wilberforce's home town of Hull, a public subscription in 1834 funded the Wilberforce Monument, a 31-metre (102 ft) Greek Doric column topped by a statue of Wilberforce, which now stands in the grounds of Hull College near Queen's Gardens.[246] Wilberforce's birthplace was acquired by the city corporation in 1903 and, following renovation, Wilberforce House in Hull was opened as Britain's first slavery museum.[247] Wilberforce Memorial School for the Blind in York was established in 1833 in his honour,[248] and in 2006 the University of Hull established the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation in Oriel Chambers, a building adjoining Wilberforce's birthplace.[249] Various churches within the Anglican Communion commemorate Wilberforce in their liturgical calendars,[250] and Wilberforce University in Ohio, United States, founded in 1856, is named after him. The university was the first owned by African-American people, and is a historically black college.[251][252] In Ontario, Canada, Wilberforce Colony was founded by black reformers, and inhabited by free slaves from the United States.[253] In 2019, St. Clements University, which is registered in the Turks and Caicos Islands (British West Indies), founded the William Wilberforce International Human Rights Law Centre.[254]

Amazing Grace, a film about Wilberforce and the struggle against the slave trade, directed by Michael Apted and starring Ioan Gruffudd and Benedict Cumberbatch was released in 2007 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Parliament's anti-slave trade legislation.[255][256]

Bibliography

• Wilberforce, William (1797), A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity, London: T. Caddell
• Wilberforce, William (1807), A Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Addressed to the Freeholders of Yorkshire, London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, J. Hatchard
• Wilberforce, William (1823), An Appeal to the Religion, Justice, and Humanity of the Inhabitants of the British Empire in behalf of the Negro slaves in the West Indies, London: J. Hatchard and Son

See also

• List of abolitionist forerunners
• List of civil rights leaders
• The Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation
• The Wilberforce Society

Notes

1. Wolffe, John; Harrison, B. (May 2006) [online edition; first published September 2004]. "Wilberforce, William (1759–1833)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography(online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29386. ISBN 978-0-19-861411-1. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
2. Pollock 1977, p. 6
3. Stott 2012, p. 16
4. Lead, cotton, tools and cutlery were among the more frequent exports from Hull to the Baltic countries, with timber, iron ore, yarns, hemp, wine and manufactured goods being imported to Britain on the return journey.Hague 2007, p. 3
5. Jackson 1972, p. 196
6. Young, Angus (12 January 2020). "The forgotten tragedy now hidden by a car park in Hull city centre". Hull Daily Mail / Hull Live.
7. Mawer, Bryan (2011). From Sweat to Sweetness. London: AGFHS Publications. ISBN 978-09547632-7-5.
8. Pollock 1977, p. 3
9. Tomkins 2007, p. 9
10. Pollock 1977, p. 4
11. Hague 2007, p. 5
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215. According to George W. E. Russell, on the grounds that it would exclude his sons from intimacy with private gentlemen, clergymen and mercantile families, (1899), Collections & Recollections, revised edition, Elder Smith & Co, London, p. 77.
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217. Blouet, Olwyn Mary; Harrison, B. (October 2007) [online edition; first published September 2004]. "Buxton, Sir Thomas Fowell, first baronet (1786–1845)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography(online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4247. ISBN 978-0-19-861411-1. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
218. Hague 2007, pp. 486–487
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220. Hague 2007, p. 494
221. Tomkins 2007, p. 213
222. Hague 2007, p. 498
223. Tomkins 2007, p. 217
224. Hague 2007, pp. 498–499
225. Hague 2007, p. 502
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228. The legislation specifically excluded the territories of the Honourable East India Company which were not then under direct Crown control.
229. Kerr-Ritchie, Jeffrey R. (2007), Rites of August First: Emancipation Day in the Black Atlantic World, LSU Press, pp. 16–17, ISBN 978-0-8071-3232-6
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234. "Funeral of the Late Mr. Wilberforce", The Times (15235), pp. 3, col. C, 5 August 1833
235. Hague, William. Wilberforce Address, Conservative Christian Fellowship(November 1998)
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241. "William Wilberforce", The New York Times, 13 December 1880, retrieved 24 March 2008
242. Oldfield 2007, pp. 48–49
243. Williams, Eric (1944), Capitalism and Slavery, University of North Carolina Press, p. 211, ISBN 978-0-8078-4488-5
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250. Bradshaw, Paul (2002), The New SCM Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, SCM-Canterbury Press Ltd, p. 420, ISBN 0-334-02883-3
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252. Beauregard, Erving E. (2003), Wilberforce University in "Cradles of Conscience: Ohio's Independent Colleges and Universities" Eds. John William. Oliver Jr., James A. Hodges, and James H. O'Donnell, Kent State University Press, pp. 489–490, ISBN 978-0-87338-763-7
253. Richard S. Newman (2008), Freedom's prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black founding fathers, NYU Press, p. 271, ISBN 978-0-8147-5826-7
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255. Langton, James; Hastings, Chris (25 February 2007), "Slave film turns Wilberforce into a US hero", Daily Telegraph, retrieved 16 April 2008
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References

• Ackerson, Wayne (2005), The African Institution (1807–1827) and the Antislavery Movement in Great Britain, Lewiston, New York: E. Mellen Press, ISBN 978-0-7734-6129-1, OCLC 58546501
• Bayne, Peter (1890), Men Worthy to Lead; Being Lives of John Howard, William Wilberforce, Thomas Chalmers, Thomas Arnold, Samuel Budgett, John Foster, London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd, Reprinted by Bibliolife, ISBN 1-152-41551-4
• Belmonte, Kevin (2002), Hero for Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce, Colorado Springs, Colorado: Navpress Publishing Group, ISBN 978-1-57683-354-4, OCLC 49952624
• Brown, Christopher Leslie (2006), Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0-8078-5698-7, OCLC 62290468
• Carey, Brycchan (2005), British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment, and Slavery, 1760–1807, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-1-4039-4626-3, OCLC 58721077
• Coupland, Reginald. Wilberforce: A Narrative (1923) online
• D'Anjou, Leo (1996), Social Movements and Cultural Change: The First Abolition Campaign Revisited, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, ISBN 978-0-202-30522-6, OCLC 34151187
• Furneaux, Robin (2006) [1974], William Wilberforce, London: Hamish Hamilton, ISBN 978-1-57383-343-1, OCLC 1023912
• Hague, William (2007), William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner, London: HarperPress, ISBN 978-0-00-722885-0, OCLC 80331607 online free to borrow
• Hennell, Michael (1950), William Wilberforce, 1759–1833: the Liberator of the Slave, London: Church Book Room, OCLC 8824569
• Hochschild, Adam (2005), Bury the Chains, The British Struggle to Abolish Slavery, London: Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-330-48581-4, OCLC 60458010
• Jackson, Gordon (1972), Hull in the Eighteenth Century: A Study in Economic and Social History, Oxford: University Press
• Metaxas, Eric (2007), Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, ISBN 978-0-06-117300-4, OCLC 81967213
• Oldfield, John (2007), Chords of Freedom: Commemoration, Ritual and British Transatlantic Slavery, Manchester: Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-0-7190-6664-1, OCLC 132318401
• Pollock, John (1977), Wilberforce, New York: St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0-09-460780-4, OCLC 3738175
• Pura, Murray Andrew (2002), Vital Christianity: The Life and Spirituality of William Wilberforce, Toronto: Clements, ISBN 1-894667-10-7, OCLC 48242442
• Reed, Lawrence W. (2008). "Wilberforce, William (1759–1833)". In Hamowy, Ronald(ed.). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE; Cato Institute. pp. 544–545. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n330. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024.
• Rodriguez, Junius (2007), Encyclopedia of Emancipation and Abolition in the Transatlantic World, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, ISBN 978-0-7656-1257-1, OCLC 75389907
• Stott, Anne (2003), Hannah More: The First Victorian, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-924532-1, OCLC 186342431
• Stott, Anne (2012), Wilberforce: Family and Friends, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-969939-1
• Tomkins, Stephen (2007), William Wilberforce – A Biography, Oxford: Lion, ISBN 978-0-09-460780-4, OCLC 72149062
• Vaughan, David J. (2002), Statesman and Saint: The Principled Politics of William Wilberforce, Nashville, Tennessee: Cumberland House, ISBN 978-1-58182-224-3, OCLC 50464553
• Walvin, James (2007), A Short History of Slavery, London: Penguin, ISBN 978-0-14-102798-2, OCLC 75713230
• Wilberforce, R. I; Wilberforce, S. (1838), The Life of William Wilberforce, London: John Murray, OCLC 4023508 online free
• Wolffe, John. "Wilberforce, William (1759–1833)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography(2009) https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/29386

External links

• Definitions from Wiktionary
• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• News from Wikinews
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Texts from Wikisource
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Wilberforce, William .
• 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the British and U.S. Slave Trade
• BBC historic figures: William Wilberforce
• BBC Humber articles on Wilberforce and abolition
• Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation
• "WILBERFORCE, William (1759-1833), of Hull, Yorks. and Wimbledon, Surr". The History of Parliament.
• Works by William Wilberforce at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about William Wilberforce at Internet Archive
• Works by William Wilberforce at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• William Wilberforce – The Great Debate on YouTube
• Wilberforce, BBC Radio 4 In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg (22 February 2007)
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Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley
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Accessed: 3/26/21

Image
The Most Honourable The Marquess Wellesley
KG PC PC (Ire)
Portrait from the studio of Thomas Lawrence
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office: 8 December 1821 – 27 February 1828
Monarch: George IV
Prime Minister: The Earl of Liverpool; George Canning; The Viscount Goderich
Preceded by: The Earl Talbot
Succeeded by: The Marquess of Anglesey
In office: 12 September 1833 – November 1834
Monarch: William IV
Prime Minister: The Earl Grey
Preceded by: The Marquess of Anglesey
Succeeded by: The Earl of Haddington
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office: 6 December 1809 – 4 March 1812
Monarch: George III
Prime Minister: Hon. Spencer Perceval
Preceded by: The Earl Bathurst
Succeeded by: Viscount Castlereagh
Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William
In office: 18 May 1796 – 30 July 1805
Monarch: George III
Prime Minister: William Pitt the Younger; Henry Addington
Preceded by: Sir Alured Clarke (provisional)
Succeeded by: The Marquess Cornwallis
Personal details
Born: 20 June 1760, Dangan Castle, County Meath
Died: 26 September 1842 (aged 82), Knightsbridge, London
Resting place: Eton College Chapel
Nationality: Irish
Political party: Tory
Spouse(s): Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland (m. 1794; died 1816)​; Marianne (Caton) Patterson ​(m. 1825)​
Father: Garret Wesley
Alma mater: Christ Church, Oxford

Richard Colley Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, KG, KP, PC, PC (Ire) (20 June 1760 – 26 September 1842) was an Anglo-Irish politician and colonial administrator. He was styled as Viscount Wellesley until 1781, when he succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Mornington. In 1799, he was granted the Irish peerage title of Marquess Wellesley. He first made his name as Governor-General of India between 1798 and 1805, and he later served as Foreign Secretary in the British Cabinet and as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He was the fifth Governor-General of India (1798-1805). In 1799, while portraying his enemy as a cruel tyrant needing to be put down, he invaded Mysore and defeated Tipu, the Sultan of Mysore, in a major battle.

He was the eldest son of The 1st Earl of Mornington, an Irish peer, and Anne, the eldest daughter of The 1st Viscount Dungannon. His younger brother, Arthur, was Field Marshal The 1st Duke of Wellington.

Education and early career

Wellesley was born in 1760 in Dangan Castle in County Meath, Ireland, where his family was part of the Ascendancy, the old Anglo-Irish aristocracy. He was educated at the Royal School, Armagh, Harrow School and Eton College, where he distinguished himself as a classical scholar, and at Christ Church, Oxford. He is one of the few men known to have attended both Harrow and Eton.

In 1780, he entered the Irish House of Commons as the member for Trim until the following year when, at his father's death, he became 2nd Earl of Mornington, taking his seat in the Irish House of Lords. He was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1782, a post he held for the following year.[1] Due to the extravagance of his father and grandfather, he found himself so indebted that he was ultimately forced to sell all the Irish estates. However, in 1781, he was appointed to the coveted position of Custos Rotulorum of Meath.[2]

In 1784, he joined also the British House of Commons as member for the rotten borough of Bere Alston in Devon. Soon afterwards he was appointed a Lord of the Treasury by William Pitt the Younger.

In 1793, he became a member of the Board of Control over Indian affairs; and, although he was best known for his speeches in defence of Pitt's foreign policy, he was gaining the acquaintance with Oriental affairs which made his rule over India so effective from the moment when, in 1797, he accepted the office of Governor-General of India.

Work in India

Image
Wellesley in officer's uniform with star and sash of the Order of St Patrick. Portrait by Robert Home

Image
Arms of Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, KG, PC, with inescutcheon of pretence for Roland

Mornington seems to have caught Pitt's large political spirit in the period 1798 to 1805. That both had consciously formed the design of expanding their influence in the Indian subcontinent to compensate for the loss of the American colonies is not proved; but the rivalry with France, which in Europe placed Britain at the head of coalition after coalition against the French, made Mornington aware of the necessity of ensuring French power did not reign supreme in India.[3] On the voyage outwards, he formed the design of curbing French influence in the Deccan. Soon after his arrival, in April 1798, he learned that an alliance was being negotiated between Tipu Sultan and France. Mornington resolved to anticipate the action of the Sultan, and ordered preparations for war. The first step was to order the disbandment of the French troops entertained by the Nizam of Hyderabad.[4]

The capture of Mysore followed in February 1799, and the campaign was brought to a swift conclusion by the capture of Seringapatam on 4 May 1799 and the death of Tipu Sultan, who was killed in action. In 1803, the restoration of the Peshwa proved the prelude to the Mahratha war against Sindhia and the raja of Berar, in which his brother Arthur took a leading role. The result of these wars and of the treaties which followed them was that French influence in India was reduced to Pondicherry, and that Britain acquired increased influence in the heartlands of central India. He proved to be a skilled administrator, and picked two of his talented brothers for his staff: Arthur was his military adviser, and Henry was his personal secretary. He founded Fort William College, a training centre intended for those who would be involved in governing India. In connection with this college, he established the governor-general's office, to which civilians who had shown talent at the college were transferred, in order that they might learn something of the highest statesmanship in the immediate service of their chief.
He endeavoured to remove some of the restrictions on the trade between Europe and Asia.[5] He took the time to publish an appreciation of British composer Harriet Wainwright's opera Comala in the Calcutta Post on 27 April 1804.

Both the commercial policy of Wellesley and his educational projects brought him into hostility with the court of directors, and he more than once tendered his resignation, which, however, public necessities led him to postpone till the autumn of 1805. He reached England just in time to see Pitt before his death. He had been created a Peer of Great Britain in 1797 as Baron Wellesley, and in 1799 became Marquess Wellesley in the Peerage of Ireland.[note 1][6] He formed an enormous collection of over 2,500 painted miniatures in the Company style of Indian natural history. A motion by James Paull (MP) to impeach Wellesley due to his expulsion of British traders from Oudh was defeated in the House of Commons by 182 votes to 31 in 1808.[7] Mornington also disapproved of liaisons between Company officials and soldiers and locals, seeing them as improper.[8]

Napoleonic Wars

On the fall of the coalition ministry in 1807 Wellesley was invited by George III to join the Duke of Portland's cabinet, but he declined, pending the discussion in parliament of certain charges brought against him in respect of his Indian administration. Resolutions condemning him for the abuse of power were moved in both the Lords and Commons, but defeated by large majorities.

In 1809, Wellesley was appointed ambassador to Spain. He landed at Cádiz just after the Battle of Talavera, and tried unsuccessfully to bring the Spanish government into effective co-operation with his brother, who, through the failure of his allies, had been forced to retreat into Portugal. A few months later, after the duel between George Canning and Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, and the resignation of both, Wellesley accepted the post of Foreign Secretary in Spencer Perceval's cabinet. Unlike his brother Arthur, he was an eloquent speaker, but was subject to inexplicable "black-outs" when he was apparently unaware of his surroundings.

He held this office until February 1812, when he retired, partly from dissatisfaction at the inadequate support given to Wellington by the ministry, but also because he had become convinced that the question of Catholic emancipation could no longer be kept in the background. From early life Wellesley had, like his brother Arthur, been an advocate of Catholic emancipation, and with the claim of the Irish Catholics to justice he henceforward identified himself. On Perceval's assassination he, along with Canning, refused to join Lord Liverpool's administration, and he remained out of office till 1821, criticising with severity the proceedings of the Congress of Vienna and the European settlement of 1814, which, while it reduced France to its ancient limits, left to the other great powers the territory that they had acquired by the Partitions of Poland and the destruction of the Republic of Venice. He was one of the peers who signed the protest against the enactment of the Corn Laws in 1815. His reputation never fully recovered from a fiasco in 1812 when he was expected to make a crucial speech denouncing the new Government, but suffered one of his notorious "black-outs" and sat motionless in his place.

Family life

Image
Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland, as painted by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun in 1791.

Wellesley lived together for many years with Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland, an actress at the Palais Royal. She had three sons and two daughters by Wellesley before he married her on 29 November 1794. He moved her to London, where Hyacinthe was generally miserable, as she never learned English and she was scorned by high society: Lady Caroline Lamb was warned by her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Milbanke, a noted judge of what was socially acceptable, that no respectable woman could afford to be seen in Hyacinthe's company.

Their children were:

• Richard Wellesley (1787–1831), a member of parliament
• Anne Wellesley (1788–1875), who married firstly Sir William Abdy, 7th Baronet, and secondly Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Charles Bentinck
• Hyacinthe Mary Wellesley (1789–1849), who married Edward Littleton, 1st Baron Hatherton
• Gerald Wellesley (1792–1833), who served as the East India Company's resident at Indore.[9]
• The Rev. Henry Wellesley (1794–1866), Principal of New Inn Hall, Oxford.[10]

Through his eldest daughter Lady Charles Bentinck, Wellesley is a great-great-great grandfather to Queen Elizabeth II.

Wellesley also had at least two other illegitimate sons by his teenage mistress, Elizabeth Johnston, including Edward (later his father's secretary), born in Middlesex (1796-1877). Wellesley's children were seen by Richard's other relatives, including his brother Arthur, as greedy, unattractive and cunning, and as exercising an unhealthy influence over their father; in the family circle they were nicknamed "The Parasites".[11]

Following his first wife's death in 1816, he married, on 29 October 1825, the widowed Marianne (Caton) Patterson (died 1853), whose mother Mary was the daughter of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last surviving signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence; her former sister-in-law was Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte. Wellington, who was very fond of Marianne (rumour had it that they were lovers) and was then on rather bad terms with his brother, pleaded with her not to marry him, warning her in particular that "The Parasites", (Richard's children by Hyacinthe) would see her as an enemy.[12] The Duke's concern seems to have been misplaced; they had no children, but the marriage was a relatively happy one - "much of the calm and sunshine of his old age can be attributed to Marianne".[13]

Ireland and later life

Image
Lord Wellesley in Garter Robes, with the badge of the Grand Master of the Order of St Patrick around his neck and carrying the white staff of office as Lord Steward, presumably dressed for the coronation of King William IV on 8 September 1831. Westminster Abbey in background. Portrait by Sir Martin Archer Shee and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1833

In 1821, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Catholic emancipation had now become an open question in the cabinet, and Wellesley's acceptance of the viceroyalty was believed in Ireland to herald the immediate settlement of the Catholic claims but they would remain unfulfilled. Some efforts were made to placate Catholic opinion, notably the dismissal of the long-serving Attorney-General for Ireland, William Saurin, whose anti-Catholic views had made him bitterly unpopular. Lord Liverpool died without having grappled with the problem. His successor Canning died only a few months after taking up office as Prime Minister, to be succeeded briefly by Lord Goderich.

On the assumption of office by Wellington, his brother resigned the lord-lieutenancy. He is said to have been deeply hurt by his brother's failure to find a Cabinet position for him (Arthur made the usual excuse that one cannot give a Cabinet seat to everyone who wants one).[14] He had, however, the satisfaction of seeing the Catholic claims settled in the next year by the very statesmen who had declared against them. In 1833, he resumed the office of Lord Lieutenant under Earl Grey, but the ministry soon fell, and, with one short exception, Wellesley did not take any further part in official life.

Death

On his death, he had no successor in the marquessate, but the earldom of Mornington and minor honours devolved on his brother William, Lord Maryborough, on the failure of whose issue in 1863 they fell to the 2nd Duke of Wellington.

He and Arthur, after a long estrangement, had been once more on friendly terms for some years: Arthur wept at the funeral, and said that he knew of no honour greater than being Lord Wellesley's brother.[15]

Wellesley was buried in Eton College Chapel, at his old school.[16]

Legacy

Image
The Marquess Wellesley by John Philip Davis ("Pope" Davis).

The Township of Wellesley, in Ontario, Canada, was named in Richard Wellesley's honour, despite the many references (e.g.: Waterloo, Wellington County) to his brother, Arthur Wellesley in the surrounding area, as was Wellesley Island, located in the St. Lawrence river at Alexandria Bay. Wellesley Island also serves as the last point exiting the United States before crossing to Hill Island, in Canada.

Province Wellesley, in the state of Penang, Malaysia, was named after Richard Wellesley. It was originally part of the state of Kedah. It was ceded to the British East India Company by the Sultan of Kedah in 1798, and has been part of the settlement and state of Penang ever since. It was renamed Seberang Perai ("across the Perai" in the Malay language) not long after independence within Malaya.[17]

The Wellesley Islands off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, were named by Matthew Flinders in honour of Richard Wellesley, as was the largest island in the group, Mornington Island. Flinders is believed to have done this during his imprisonment by the French on Mauritius Island as Wellesley had tried to secure his release.[18][19][20]

Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne, was named after him.

As of the summer of 2007, a portrait of Marquess Wellesley hangs in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.

Notes

1. Having hoped to receive the Order of the Garter, Wellesley was much disappointed by an Irish peerage, which he contemptuously referred to as a "double-gilt potato."

References

1. Waite, Arthur Edward (2007). A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. vol. I. Cosimo, Inc. p. 400. ISBN 978-1-60206-641-0.
2. "WELLESLEY, Richard Colley, 2nd Earl of Mornington [I] (1760-1842), of Dangan Castle, co. Meath". History of Parliament. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
3. See, e.g., William McCullagh Torrens, The Marquess Wellesley: Architect of Empire(London: Chatto and Windus, 1880); P.E. Roberts, India Under Wellesley (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1929); M.S. Renick, Lord Wellesley and the Indian States (Agra: Arvind Vivek Prakashan, 1987).
4. "Hyderabad Treaty (Appendix F)," The Despatches, Minutes & Correspondence of the Marquess Wellesley During His Administration in India, ed. Robert Montgomery Martin, 5 vols (London: 1836–37), 1:672–675; Roberts, India Under Wellesley, chap. 4, “The Subsidiary Alliance System.”
5. C.H. Phillips, The East India Company, 1784–1834, 2nd. ed., (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1961), 107–108; "Notice of the Board of Trade, 5 October 1798 (Appendix M)," Wellesley Despatches, 2:736–738.
6. Mornington to Pitt, April 1800, The Wellesley Papers: The Life and Correspondence of Richard Colley Wellesley, 2 vols (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1914), 121.
7. "10 MARCH 1806. BRITISH "INVADERS SEEKING TO ESTABLISH A DOMINION AND TO ACQUIRE AN EMPIRE" IN INDIA". Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
8. Dalrymple, William (2004). White Mughals: love and betrayal in eighteenth-century India. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-200412-8.
9. Margaret Makepeace. "British Library Untold Lives blog - Gerald Wellesley's secret family". Retrieved 25 April 2017.
10. Bayly, C. A. "Wellesley [formerly Wesley], Richard". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29008.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
11. Joanne Major, Sarah Murden (30 November 2016). A Right Royal Scandal: Two Marriages That Changed History. ISBN 9781473863422. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
12. (Elizabeth Longford 1972, pp. 113–4)
13. Butler, Iris (1973). The Eldest Brother - the Marquess Wellesley 1760-1842. London: Hodder and Stoughton. p. 561.
14. (Elizabeth Longford 1972, p. 153)
15. (Elizabeth Longford 1972, p. 394)
16. http://www.geni.com
17. "P 01. A brief history of Prai". butterworthguide.com.my. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
18. "{{{2}}} (entry {{{1}}})". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
19. "Mornington Island – island in the Shire of Mornington (entry 22847)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
20. "Three Letters from Matthew Flinders - No 13 March 1974". State Library of Victoria. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 8 November2020.
• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Wellesley, Richard Colley Wesley, Marquess". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Bibliography

• Webb, Alfred (1878). A Compendium of Irish Biography. Dublin: M. H. Gill & son. Unknown parameter |subpage= ignored (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
http://holisticthought.com/india-under- ... wellesley/
• Elizabeth Longford (November 1972). Wellington: Pillar of state. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-00250-5.
• Butler, Iris. The Eldest Brother. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1973.
• Ingram, Edward, ed. Two Views of British India: The Private Correspondence of Mr. Dundas and Lord Wellesley, 1798–1801. Bath: Adams and Dart, 1970.
• Harrington, Jack (2010), Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India, New York: Palgrave Macmillan., ISBN 978-0-230-10885-1
• Martin, Robert Montgomery, ed. The Despatches, Minutes & Correspondence of the Marquess Wellesley During His Administration in India. 5 vols. London: 1836–37.
• Pearce, Robert Rouiere. Memoirs and Correspondence of the Most Noble Richard Marquess Wellesley. 3 vols. London: 1846.
• Renick, M. S. Lord Wellesley and the Indian States. Agra: Arvind Vivek Prakashan, 1987.
• Roberts, P. E. India Under Wellesley. London: George Bell & Sons, 1929.
• The Wellesley Papers: The Life and Correspondence of Richard Colley Wellesley. 2 vols. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1914.
• Torrens, William McCullagh. The Marquess Wellesley: Architect of Empire. London: Chatto and Windus, 1880.
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