1807 WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. Autograph Letter from Bishop Mant Congratulating on Anti-Slavery Bill!
1807 WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. Autograph Letter from Bishop Mant Congratulating on Anti-Slavery Bill!

1807 WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. Autograph Letter from Bishop Mant Congratulating on Anti-Slavery Bill!

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A wonderful piece of historical correspondence between Bishop Richard Mant [1776-1848; later Bishop of Ireland] and William Wilberforce. It was in this very year that the important Slave Trade Act of 1807 was passed under the leadership of William Wilberforce. 

This letter congratulates the Act passed dramatized in the film, Amazing Grace. 

"September 29, 1807

Dear Sir,

I take shame to myself for having so long delayed to avail myself of the opportunity afforded me by your late very friendly and acceptable letter of congratulating you on being made the instrument of Providence to open a prospect of happiness to multitudes of our fellow creatures, and to relieve this country from an intolerable weight of wickedness, which lay heavy not only on numberless individuals, but on the nation at large: if that be a just sentiment, which Thucydides has ascribed to the Corinthians at the breaking out of the Peloponnesian War, [Greek Text Follows]. That in an enlightened, if not a religious age and country, it should be again in contemplation to legalize impurity, injustice, and inhumanity, at least with any hope of ultimate success, is what I was not prepared to expect: that the design, if it exist, will be frustrated, I trust in Providence: in the mean time every friend of that measure, the accomplishment of which must under Providence be attributed to you, Sir, ought surely to cooperate with you in its further support. It is therefore that I am more concerned at not having immediately noticed that part of your letter which relates to Mr. Bowyer, from whom I have not heard; but with whose design I should on many accounts be happy to promote by every means in my power & I am sure that if the insertion into his collection of my poem be esteemed at all worthwhile, I shall be very much gratified by his inserting it. I have just written to him on the subject; but not being assured of his address, I take the liberty of inclosing his letter, with a request that you will do me the favour to forward it. 

It is not often that my engagements with my pupils and my parish enable me to leave home; & it is more rare that I visit London. If that shall be my lot, as it probably may be, about Christmas, to visit a sister who has been for some time in a very precarious state, I shall hope to profit by your kindness and pay my respects to you in person. In the mean time, I remain, Dear Sir, with sentiments of unfeigned respect and veneration,

Your obliged & faithful,
Rd Mant."

Docketed on the rear in Wilberforce's hand.