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Full text of "Private papers of William Wilberforce;"

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PRIVATE PAPERS OF 

WILLIAM WILBERFORCE 



Uiii/oriii, ill sivit' ami price, xvith this I'oliiiiic. 

THE COURTSHIPS OF QUEEN ELIZABETH. 

I'.y Martin A. S. Himk, Willi I'mtniil-. 41I1 chI. 

THE YEAR AFTER THE ARMADA, and Other 
Historical Studies, liy iMaktin A. S. JIimk. 

Jiid (.■<!. IllnMi:iU-(l. 

LIFE IN THE TUILERIES UNDER THE 
SECOND i:A\PIRE, by an Inmate of the 
Palace. Ily Anna L. I>kknii.i.. lllu-ii.iUil. 

LIFE AND LETTERS OF MR. ENDYMION 
PORTER: Sometime (ientleman of the Bed- 
chamber to Kins Charles the First. Hy 

DdK'DTHi.A Tdu xMiKNi). With 1 '. uliaits. ISItoitly. 

TALKS ABOUT AUTOGRAPHS. By George 

HiKKHKCK Hii.L, D.C.L., LL.D. With Frontispiece 
portrait, and many Facsimiles. 

LETTERS OF DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, 

1854-70. Ivditctl bv G. I'.iKMiKCK Hill, D.C.L., 
LL I) [//; [-iipiViitior 



London : T. FISHER rXWIX. 




WIL LIAM WILBLRFOP^F i^' ^' 

FOR THE COUNTY OF VC ■ 



Private Papers 

of 

William Wilberforce 



/ 1 



Collected and Edited^ with a 
Preface^ by A. M. Wilberforce 



With Portraits 



r 



London 

T. FISHER UNJVIN 

1897 






[All ni^hb nscnc-tl.'] 



PREFACE 



William Wilberforce is remembered on account 
of his long and successful efforts for the Abolition 
of the Slave Trade. In a House of Commons 
that counted Pitt, Fox, Burke, and Sheridan 
amonost its members, he held a front rank 

o 

both as a speaker and debater. Of one ot his 
speeches in 1789 Burke said, "it equalled any- 
thino- he had heard in modern times, and was not, 
perhaps, to be surpassed in the remains of Grecian 
eloquence." And Pitt said, " Of all the men I 
ever knew Wilberforce has the greatest natural 
eloquence." But an even greater power than his 
oratory was perhaps the influence that he acquired 
over all ranks of society. Friendship is often the 
means by which influence is gained, and Wilber- 
force's friendship with Pitt, beginning long before 
his anti-Slave Trade davs and continued till the 



261001 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

LETTERS FROM PITT .... I 

SKETCH OF PITT BV W. WILBERFORCE . . 43 

LETTERS FROM FRIENDS . . . • ^3 

HOME LETTERS . . , . • 163 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 

1. WILLIAM WILHERFORCE, M.P. FOR THE COUNTY 

OF YORK .... Frofitispiece. 

{From a fictiire by J. Rising. ) 

2. WILBERFORCE OAK. . . Facing page 17 

(At the foot of an old tree at Hollwood, after a conversa- 
tion with Pitt, Wilberforce resolved to give notice in 
the House of Commons of his intention to bring for- 
ward the Abolition of the Slave Trade.) 

3. THE RIGHT HONOURABLE \YILLIAM PITT 

Facing page 79 

{Fro??i a plate fakoi from an origitial d^-azvijig by the late 
Mr. Sayers.) 

4. BIRTHPLACE OF WILLIAM WILBERFORCE AT 

HULL . . . . Facing page 163 

5. SAMUEL WILBERFORCE, AGED 29 „ 245 

[From a drawing by George Richmond.) 



LETTERS FROM PITT 



I 



LETTERS FROM PITT. 

The first of Pitt's letters to Wilberforce is " per- 
haps the only one extant that is racy of those rollick- 
ing times when the ' fruits of Pitt's earlier rising ' 
appeared in the careful sowing of the garden beds 
with the fragments of Ryder's opera hat." ^ 

" Grafton Street, 

"J^/jSi, 1782. 
" Dear Wilberforce, — I shall not have the least 
difficulty in applying immediately to Lord Shelburne 
in behalf of your friend Mr. Thompson, and the 
favour is not such as to require a great exertion of 
interest, if there has been no prior engagement. I 
will let you know the result as soon as I can. Pray 
have no delicacy in mentioning to me whatever 
occurs of any kind in which I can be of any use to 
you. Whenever there is anything to prevent my 
doing as I should wish in consequence, I will tell 
you, so we shall be upon fair terms. I trust you 

' Lord Rosebery's preface to " Pitt and Wilberforce Letters,' 
privately printed. 

3 



4 I'RivATi-: r.\n:Rs of wii.i^^rforce 

fiiul all possible advaiuat^c from sea-bathing and 
sea-air. ... 1 am as well as il is possible in the 
midst of all this si// and sea coal, and. lor a 
Chancellor of the F2.\cheqiier who has exchanged 
his liappici- lioiti\ j)ass \w\ lime \ery tolerably. 
Mven Cjoostree's is not absolutely extinct, but 
has a chance of li\ ing thro' the dog days. 1 shall 
be happy to hear from you. whether in the shaj)e 
(tf an official despatch or a familiar epistle. 1 
am \erv glad to see you write without the assist- 
ance of a secretary. Perhaps, however, you will 
not be able to read without the assistance of a 
decypherer. At least in compassion to your eye- 
sight it is as well for me to lr\ il no hiriher. 
" .So adieu. \ rs. e\er sincerely, 

•• \V. Put." 

" HklC.HTHEl.MSTONE, 

" nV(///<s</(;v. Aui^. 6, 17S;. 
" Di-AK W'li r.KKFOKCF., — .1 uih'rso/i s /^icfioiiarv I 
ha\e received, and am much obliged to you lor il. 
I w ill return it sale, 1 hope not dirtied, and j)ossibl\ 
not I'cad. 1 am sorr\' that \'ou gi\'e so bad an 
account ot \our cncs, cspciialK as this \ c-rs' lellcr 
looks as il il would ])ul ilu-m lo a srxerc- trial, and 
might even defy the decypherer .Si. |ohn almost 
without the hel|) ol an aiiigma. 1 h.iM- onl\' to 
tell you liiat 1 have no //f7L'S. which I considi-r as 
making il pri'll\ certain ihal there will be none 



LETTERS FROM PITT 5 

now before the meeting' of Parliament. I'he party 
to Rheiins hold of course, at least as far as depends 
upon nie ; which is at least one good effect certain. 
I wrote yesterday to Eliot,' apprising him. that I 
should be ready to nieet him at Bankes's - betore the 
last day of August ; that I C(jnceived we must pro- 
ceed from thence to London, and that we ought to 
start within the three or four first days of Septem- 
ber. I hope you will bear all these things in mind, 
and recollect that you have to do with punctual 
men, who would not risk their characters by being 
an hour too late for any appointment. The lounge 
here is excellent, principally owing to our keeping 
very much to ourselves — that is Pulchritudo, Steele, 
Pretyman, and myself. The Woodlys have been 
here in high foining, and have talked me to death. 
I would not bind myself to be a listener for life tor 
a orood deal. Your friend the Commodore treated 
us with his company at one or two assemblies, but 
was called back to defend some prizes, which there 
are those who contest with him, and which I tancy 
bethinks the giratcst instance of malignity he eve?^ 
knew. Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Walpole are left 
to dispute the prize here. The first is clearly 
the handsomer woman, but the husband of the 
latter looks the quieter man, and the better part of 

' Hon. Edward James Eliot, brother-in-law of Pitt. 
^ Mr. Henry Bankes, Wilberforce's life-long friend. 



6 l'KI\ .All". I'.XI'KRS C)I-^ WILHKRFORCE 

love as well as valor is discretion. I conclude as 
you did. by desiring you to write immediately. I 
i,n) from hence to Somersetshire this day sennis^ht, 
and stay till Hankes's. Hircct to Burton l^nsent. 
Somerset, and if you ici//, by London. 

" Ever sincerely yrs.. 

"W. Put." 
Pitt's next letter refers to the General PLlection 
of 17S4, and William W'ilberforce's candidature for 
Yorkshire, which county he represented in Parlia- 
ment for twenty-eii^ht years. 

" l)u\vNiN(; Strekt, 

" Tiicsilny, April 6. 17S4. 

" I)i:.\K W'li.HKRiORCK, — I have received your two 
expresses, and one this morning" from Mr. W'xvill. 
I could not net to town till late last niyht, but sent 
forward the letters you desired, and have done all I 
can on the several subjects you mention. 

" 1 ha\'e aj)j)lied to our h^ends in town to pa\- in 
the subscriptions, and 1 hope it will be done specdiK'. 
I in(|uired at ( ambridi^c with regard to the diHerent 
colleges. 1 rinil\- ami Si. b'hn's haxc, I believe, as 
mioht be e.\i)ecled. the most interest, and will both 
e.xert it for you. Christ's has some. an».l 1 left that 
in a L^'ood train. 1 ha\'e sj)oken to Lord remj)le. 
\Nhi(h is the MiiK chainul thai has \ et (Hxui'red to 
me about ( )\tor(l, who ihinks he can be- of use 
there. W esU'\ I ha\c' no doubi ma\ be securi'd. 



LETTERS FROM PITT 7 

and I will lose no time in seeing" him if necessary, 
which I shall not think at all awkzvard at such a 
time. Steps are taking to procure a meeting- of 
freeholders in your and Duncombe's interest, which 
I hope will answer. I have sent to Robinson and 
Hamilton. Lady Downe has been applied to, but can 
be brought to nothing more than perfect neutrality. 
Nesbitt's interest is secured, and he is thoroughly 
zealous. I do not well know how to get at his 
Grace of York, but will try every way I can. Lord 
Percy, I am afraid, cannot be brought to subscribe, 
tho' I do not quite despair of it. His objection 
seems now from some delicacy towards Weddell, 
with whom he has been much connected. He has, 
however, written to exert all his interest in your 
cause — particularly to Major Pallerne and Mr. 
Rayne, whom Mr. W'yvill mentions in his last letter. 
Lord Grantham, as I wrote you word before, must 
go with Weddell. I expect to hear something more 
of Lord Hawke, but I know he is now in the best 
disposition. I shall keep my messenger an hour or 
two to send the account of to-day's poll in West- 
minster, yesterday and to-day having been con- 
sidered as the great push. Pray send me as quick 
an account as possible, and continue it trom time to 
time, if a poll goes on. I hope you will be ready 
with a candidate at Hull on the supposition of your 
being seated for Yorkshire, which I am sanguine 



8 I'RIVAT]-: p.\i'i:ks OI- wilherforce 

enuuL>h lianlK in tloubt. We are iiK^re successful 
everywhere, with only a very few exceptions, than 
can be iniaLiined. I hope you bear all the tatii^ue 
tolerabl). 1 wish it was (j\-er. God bless you. 

" Most trLi]\- yours, 

•• W. Pitt. 
" Compts. to Smith, and many thanks for his 
letter. I hope he is still with nou. The numbers 
at Westminster to-day are - 

Mood. \\'ra\. hOx. 

3936 3622 3413 

.Saw ljridL;e has beat Atkinson onl\ b\ seven, and 
there is to be a scrutiny. The other members are 
Watson, Eewes. and Xewnli.un. .Sir R. Cla\ ton 
declines tor .Surrex. l>\'n!4" will probabK be beat." 

" Downing Stkket, 

" 5////(/r;\', Daciiihir 19, 17S4. 
" My i>i:.\i; \\'ii.i;i:r force, — I have been so dili- 
gentl\' tiDiuiig my thoughts on all sides since we 
parted, that tho' the\' ha\e been turned to \ ou as 
often as to an\' other (juarter, 1 ha\e nexer found 
th(,- moment to ])ut them into wriliiiL; till now. I 
ha\c not time to thank nou sulticicnlK' lor the 
|)iituresque and ])ortical cpistk' I received trom 
you dated, as I remembci-. Irom \oui' boat, Irom 
the insitle and the imperial ol \(»ur poslchaise, aiui 
two or three places more, and coiuainim; unonj; 
a \ai'Iet\' oi accurate tlescrij)lioiis one in parlicul.ir. 



LETTERS FROM PITT 9 

viewed from all th(j.se different situations, of the 
sun setting" in the middle of the day. I hope the 
whole of your tour has continued to be embellished 
by these happ\' incidents, and has ke[)t you through- 
out in as niad and rhapsodical a mood as at that 
moment. I have some remorse in the immediate 
occasion of my writing- to you just now ; which, 
however, all things considered, I am bound to 
overcome. Be it known to you, then, that as 
much as I wish you to bask on, under an Italian 
sun, I am perhaps likely to be the instrument of 
snatching you from your present paradise, and 
hurrying you back to ' the rank vapours of this 
sin-worn mould.' A variety of circumstances concur 
to make it necessary to give notice immediately 
on the meeting of Parliament of the day on which 
I shall move the question of the Reform. We 
meet on the 25//^ of faiiuary, and I think about 
three weeks after, which will allow lull time for a 
call of the House, will be as late as I can easily 
defer it. I would not for a thousand reasons have 
you absent, tho' I hate that you should come before 
your time, and if any particular circumstances 
made a week or ten da\^s a matter of real import- 
ance to you, I think I could postpone it as long 
as that. 

" Only let me hear from you positively before the 
meeting of Parliament. The chief thing neces.sary 



10 PRIVATE PAPERS OF W ILBERFORCE 

is that I should then be able to name sonic cla\ . and 
the precise day is of less consequence. \ im will 
hardly believe me if 1 tell xou that I entertain the 
strongest hope of coming- very near, if not absolutely 
succeedinii-. I have seen the Oracle of \'orkshire, 
\\\\ill. and made him compleatly happy with the 
prospect. 

"All things are going, on the whole, exceeding 
well. Vou will have learnt that the 0/(f Jhiy at 
last overcame his doubts, and lias ventured single 
into the Cabinet, which is a great j)oint happily 
settled. God bless you. 

" Ever most faithfully yours. 

••W. Pitt." 
"17S4. 

" Mv nr.AK W'li.iJKKFORCK, — I am sorry to find 
from your letter from Nottingham that the Knight 
ot \'orkshire is in so much dudgeon. Tho', to sav 
the truth, the instances of neglect you mention are 
enough to pro\-oke common patience. \\ hat is 
worse, I know no remecK toi' il. M\ lellcr, which 
missed \'ou, contained no oihei' mtoi'ination ih.ui that 
the place of Marshall ot the Admirali\ had been 
long since filled u|). .Some ot the worKl is here at 
present, and will be mu]li])l\ing e\cr\' ila\ till the 
meeting ot I'.uliamciU. 1 e.\|)ecl hJiol in a \erv 
lew da\s. 1 kii()W iKilhuiL^ ot U.uiki-s \cv\ l.iicK. 
i'r.iN come to Wimbledon as soon as possible; I 



LETTERS EROM PITT ii 

want to talk with you about your navy bills, 
which, tho' all your ideas now must go to landed 
property, you should not entirely forget, and about 
ten thousand other things. By the by. Lord Scar- 
borough is risen from the dead, as you probably 
know. I have just received an account from Whit- 
bread that St. Andrew loses his election by three ; 
and would probably lose by more if he chooses a 
scrutiny or a petition. Adieu. 

" Ever yrs., 

"W. Pitt. 
" For the sake of this letter I am leaving a 
thousand others unanswered, and a thousand pro- 
jects unread. You will probably think it was hardly 
worth while." 

The brotherly intimacy between Pitt and Wilber- 
force is clearly shown in the next letter. Wilber- 
force had written to Pitt to tell him of the change 
in his religious opinions, and, in consequence, of 
his probable retirement from political life. He no 
doubt thought that Pitt would fail to sympathise 
with his altered views, but the man who was "so 
absorbed in politics that he had never given him- 
self time for due reflection on religion " ■ wished to 
understand the religious difficulties of his friend, 
and with the greatest tenderness begs him to open 

I " Life of Wilberforce," vol. i. p. 95. 



12 PRIVATK PATERS Ol' WILBRRFORCE 

his mind ii> "one who docs not know liow to 
separate your h.i|)])iness from his own." 

" Downing Street, 

" DciCinbcr 2, 1785. 

" l\h' i)i;.\k W'li.HKi^FoktK, — P)ol) Smith' men- 
tioned to me on Wednesday the letters he had 
received from noli, which prepared me for that I 
received from you \esterday. I am indeed too 
deeply interested in whatever concerns \ ou not to 
be very sensibly affected b\- what has the appear- 
ance ot a new a^ra in \our lite, antl so imj)ortant in 
its conseciueiices lor Noursell and \our h-iemls. As 
to any public condiut which )"our o[)inions ma\' 
ever lead \'ou to, 1 will not disguise to y(»u that 
lew thiiii^s could j^o nearer m\" heart than to tiiul 
myself differing" from you essentially on an\" threat 
principle. 

" I trust and beliexc that it is a circumstance 
which can hardly occur. Ikit if it e\er should, and 
e\"en it I should ex|)erience as much jKiin in such an 
event, as 1 ha\r found hitherto encouragement and 
pleasure in the re\ erse. believe \\\v it is imj)ossible 
that it should shake the sentiments ol affection anil 
Iriciulship which I \)vav tow.u'ds \ ou, .uul which 1 
must be tor^cilul and insensible indeed it I cN'er 
could |)arl with. Ihcx' arc sentiments enLirawd 
ill m\ lieail, and will ne\er be ellaced or weakened. 
' Alldwards liibl Lord Can"in;:lon. 



LKTTKRS FROM PITT 13 

If I knew how to state all I feel, and could hope 
that you are open to consider it, I should say a 
great deal more on the subject of the resolution you 
seem to have formed. You will not suspect me of 
thinkino" liyhtK" ot any moral or reliirious motives 
which guide you. As little will you believe that I 
think your understanding or judgment easily misled. 
But forgive me if I cannot help expressing my fear 
that you are nevertheless deluding yourself into 
principles which have but too much tendency to 
counteract your own object, and to render )'our 
virtues and your talents useless both to yourself 
and mankind. I am not, however, without hopes 
that my anxiety paints this too strongly. For 
you confess that the character of religion is not a 
gloomy one, and that it is not that of an enthusiast. 
But why then this preparation of solitude, which 
can hardly avoid tincturing the mind either with 
melancholy or superstition } If a Christian may 
act in the several relations of life, must he seclude 
himself from them all to become so } Surely the 
principles as well as the practice of Christianity 
are simple, and lead not to meditation (Hily but to 
action. I will not, however, enlarge upon these 
subjects now. What I would ask of you, as a mark 
both of your friendship and of the candour which 
belongs to your mind, is to open yourself fully and 
without reserve to one, who, believe me, does not 



14 I'RiwA'ri-: r.\i'i:Ks ov \\"ii.hi:ri-()K( e 

know how lo separate \'oiir liappincss Iroin his own. 
\()ii do not explain either the degree or the dura- 
tion of the retirement which you have prescribed 
to \ourself; you do not tell me how the future 
course of xour life is to be directed, when you think 
the same pri\acy no longer necessary ; nor. in short, 
what idea \"ou have formed of the duties which you 
are from this time to practise. 1 am sure you will 
not wonder il 1 am in(|Liisiti\e on such a subject. 
The onl\' wa\' in which nou can satisl\' me is by 
conversation. There ought to be no awkwardness 
or embarrassment to either of us. tho' there ma\" 
be some anxiety; and it \'ou will oj)en to me lairK" 
the whole state of your mind on these subjects, tho" 
I shall \'enture to state to you tairK the points 
where I tear we may difter, and to tlesire you to 
re-examine your own ideas where I think \-ou are 
mistaken, I will not imijorimu- now with Iruitless 
discussion on an)' opinion which \i)u ha\e deliber- 
ately formed. You will, I am sure, do justice to 
the motives and teelings which iiuluce me to urge 
this so strongl)' to you. 1 think nou will not retuse 
it; if you do not, name an\- hour at whith 1 can 
call upon \i)U lo nio|-i-ow. I am going into Kent, 
and can lake W imbledon in m\ wa\. Reflect, I 
beg of \ ou, that no printiplcs arc ihc worse tor 
being discussed, and bclic\c mr thai at all cxcnts 
the full know lc(l''i' ol the nature and extent ot Nour 



LETTERS EROM ITTT 15 

opinions and intentions will be to me a lastini^ 
satisfaction. 

" Believe me, affectionately and Linalterably yours, 

"W. Pitt." 

Pitt came the next morning according to his 
proposal in this remarkable letter : when Wilber- 
force ' "conversed with Pitt near two hours, and 
opened myself completely to him. . . . He tried 
to reason me out of my convictions, but soon 
found himself unable to combat their correctness 
if Christianity were true." To quote Lord Rose- 
bery's Preface- to these letters: "Surely a 
memorable episode, this heart-searching of the 
young saint and the young minister. They went 
their different ways, each following their high ideal 
in the way that seemed best to him. And so it 
went on to the end, Wilberforce ever hoping to 
renew the sacred conversation." 

" Downing Street, 

"September, 23, 1786. 
" Mv DEAR Wilberforce, — At length all the 
obstacles of business, of idleness, and of procrasti- 
nation are so far overcome that I find myself with 
my pen in my hand to answer your three letters. 
I have seriously had it upon my conscience for 

' "Life of Wilberforce," vol. i. p. 95. 
2 Privately printed. 



i6 I'RiwATi-: r.\n-:i<s oi-^ w iij^i- rforce 

sonu- liine : hiii \ ct I Ix-licve it is another intkience 
to which this j)resent wriliiiL; is to be iminechalely 
ascribed. 1 laving \esier(la\ |)artecl with the orna- 
ment on in\' check, and two or tlirc(; liandkerchiefs 
lor the j)resent occiipx ini^ the j)lace of it, my appear- 
ance is better suited to correspondence than con- 
versation ; and in .uMilion to this I happen to have 
an interval Ireer trom l)iisiness than at any time 
since Parhameiu rose. Our b rench 1 reaty is 
probably by this time actually sii^ned, or will at 
most not recjuire more than one more messenger 
to settle everything" ; but the winds ha\e been so 
unlaN'ourable thai 1 ha\-e been, for some days longer 
than 1 expected, in suspense as to ihe issue ol it. 
I Wo or lliree more irealies are on the an\il, and 
1 diink we shall meet \\\{h the appearance ot not 
haxini^- sj)ent an idle or (as I ll.iiier myself) a haiitless 
summer. The muliitutle oi things depending has 
made the Penitentiarv 1 louse long in deciding upon. 
Wui I still think a beginning will be made in it before 
the season for building is oxer; and it its progress 
is as (jLiick as that ol m\ i-oom .ii Ib'llwocul, bolts 
and bars will be useless before another season. 1 
am \ci'y glad \ ou like our new lloanl ot 1 rade, 
which 1 ha\-e long fell to be one ot ihe most 
necessarw and will be now one ol the most etficient 
departments of C"io\ crmnenl. The colony lor liolany 
IJay will be much indebled lo you lor \(>ur assist- 




Wll HKKlOkt K OAK. 



LETTERS FROM PITT 17 

ance in providing a chaplain. The enclosed will, 
however, show you that its interests have not been 
neglected, as well as that )'ou have a nearer con- 
nection with them than perhaps you were yourself 
aware of. Seriously speaking, if you can find such 
a clergy nian as you niention we shall be very glad 
of it ; but it must be soon. My sister was brought 
to bed of a daughter on Wednesday, and was at 
first surprising well ; but she has since had some 
fever, which was to such a degree yesterday as to 
make us very uneasy. She is now, however, 
almost entirely free from it, and going on as well 
as possible. I am in hopes of getting into Somerset- 
shire the middle of next week for about ten days. 
Soon after I hope I niay see you at H oil wood. 
Bob Smith was in town lately, much better on the 
whole, but not quite so well as I hoped to see 
him. Adieu. 

" Ever yours, 

"W. Pitt." 

" Downing Street, 

" TiitSihiy, April 8, 1788. 
" My dear Wilberforce, — I have just received 
your letter of yesterday, and as I can easil)' imagine 
how much the subject of it interests you, I will not 
lose a moment in answering it. As to the Slave 
Trade, I wish on every account it should come for- 
ward in your hands rather than any other. But 

3 



is rRi\-.\Ti-: i'AI'i:rs oi- wili^krforce 

thai in the j)rcsent year is iinj)racticable ; and I only 
hope \<)u will resolve to ilisniiss it as much as pos- 
sible from your iniiul. It is both the ri^htest and 
wisest tiling nou can do. If it will contribute to 
settinj^ \()U at ease, that / should personally brin^" 
it forward (supposinj^' circumstances will admit ot 
its beinL; brought forward this session) your wish 
will decide. At all e\ents. if it is in such a state 
that it can be brought on. 1 will take care that it 
shall be moved in a respectable way. and 1 w ill take 
m\ part in it as actixely as it I was myself the 
mover. And if 1 was to consult entirely m\" own 
inclination or opinion, 1 am not sure whether this 
may not be best for the business itselt ; but on this, 
as 1 have said alread\-, Nour wish shall tlecide me. 
With regard to the j)(»ssibilit\- of its l)eino- brought 
on and fmished this session. 1 can hardly yet judge. 
The incjuiry has been constantly going on, antl we 
have made a great progress. Hut it takes una\ » )idably 
more time than 1 e.xpected. In one wortl. howe\er. 
be assured that 1 will continue to gi\e the business 
constant attention, and do e\cr\lhing to forward it. 
Whenever it is in such a slate thai \»)U could \our- 
self ha\e brought it on widi a^K.uUage to the cause. 
I will do it or undertake for its being done, in what- 
e\'er wa\' seems most j)roj)ei'. 1 mean, iherelore. to 
accei)t it as a trust trom \ ou to tlu- whole extent 
you can wish, and lo make m\sell responsible lor il. 



LETTERS FROM PITT 19 

unless it is necessarily delayed till you are able to 
resume it yourself. 

" Any applications from your Society shall most 
certainly be attended to. Justice Addington's 
grievance in particular, which I was before ac- 
quainted with by a memorial, will be immediately 
removed. I do not like to write you a longer letter 
than is absolutely necessary. I trust I need not 
lengthen it to tell how impatiently 1 look to the 
satisfaction of seeing you again, as stout and strong 
as I hope you will return to us. Let me have from 
time to time a line from any hand you can most 
conveniently employ, to tell me how you go on, 
and what are your motions during the summer. I 
wish I may be able to arrange mine, when 
holidays come, so as to tall in with you somewhere 
or other. As soon as I can judge about Parliament 
meeting before Christmas or not, you shall hear. 
If it sits pretty late now, it probably will not meet 
till after. Adieu for the present. Every good wish 
attend you. 

" Ever affectionately yours, 

"W. Pitt." 

I have had very good accounts ot you trom two 
or three quarters. 

'' Pembroke Hall, 

^' Salunfiiy, June 28, 1788. 

" My dear Wilberforce, — I have no small 



20 IMUVATl-: I'Al'F.RS OF WHJU^RFORCE 

pleasure in wriiiiiL; to xou (juietly from hence, after 
hearing- the ocjod account you sent me of yourself 
conlirnied 1)\' those who saw you then, and es- 
pecially by our friend (iKnn. 1 am lucky enough 
to ha\e a wet cxeninL;, which, besides the good 
I hope it will do to the country at laroe. has the 
peculiar ad\antage of j)reventin^ me from paying' 
my personal resj)ects to an\ one of my constituents, 
and so gives me the leisure to answer scn'cr/iv/ the 
several sections of your letter. The business res- 
pecting the Slave Trade meets just now with some 
rub in the I louse of Lords, even in the temporary 
regulation respecting the conve\ance. which 1 
wonder how an\- human being can resist, and which 
1 therefore believe we shall carry ; tho' it creates 
some trouble, and will still protract the session a 
week or ten days. We hear \er\- little \"et from 
the West Indies, but a few weeks must bring" more, 
and I ha\e no doubt the summer ma\' l)e employed 
in treating with foreign Powers to ad\aiuage. 1 
shall set ab(jut it with the utmost acii\ii\ and with 
good hopes of success, tho' founded as \ el rather 
on general grounds than an\ jjosiiixe inlormalion. 
1 lu,-re seems not a shadow ol doubt as to the 
conduct ol the House of Commons next \ear, antl 
1 ihink with good managt'nu'iu the ditticullies in 
the olher I b)Use m,i\ be goi o\ er. N oui' ])l.in ol a 
mission to Hengal 1 mention onl\ to show the 



LETTERS EROM ITTT 21 

piinctUcility of answering your letter, as you reserve 
the discussion till we meet. As for Dr. Glass, I 
was obliged to answer Thornton, who applied to me 
for some such person (I think for this same Dr. Glass), 
that the state of my engagements leaves me not at 
liberty at present, and if you have any occasion to 
say anything about it to them, be so good to speak 
of it in the same style. Of the Penitentiary Houses 
what can I say more? But in due time they shall 
not be forgotten. 

" My plan of visiting you and your lakes is, I 
assure you, not at all laid aside. I cannot speak 
quite certainly as to the time, but if there happens 
nothing which I do not now foresee, it will be either 
the beo'innino- or middle of Auo-ust ; I rather think 
the former, but I shall be able to judge better in 
about a fortnight, and then you shall hear from me. 
Nothing is decided about the meeting of Parlia- 
ment, but it is clear the trial w^ill not o'o on till 
February. I rather believe, however, that we 
ought to meet and employ a month before Christ- 
mas ; as what with Slave Trade, Quebec Petition, 
Poor Laws, Tobacco, &c., we shall have more on 
our hands than can be got through in any decent 
time while we are exposed to the interruption from 
Westminster Hall. I think I have now dispatched 
all the points to which I was called upon to reply, 
and come now to open my own budget ; which 



22 I'RIVATi: I'AIM'RS OI' WI I.ni:RFORCE 



must 1)(' done, however, in a 7v/iispc?\ and must not 
as yet be repeated excn to the most solitary echoes 
of Windermere. \ Du will wonder what mystery I 
have to impart. At the first part you will not be 
much surprised, which is that Lord Howe and his 
friend Brett are to (|uit the Admiralty as soon as 
the session closes. The cause (tho' its effects have 
slept so long) is what passed last summer respecting 
the promotion of Sir Charles Middleton. You will 
not come to the sur])rising j)art when I add that 
Lord Howe's successor must be a landm.ui, as 
there is no seaman who is altogether tit for the first 
place at that boartl. lUit what will \"ou say when I 
tell \ou that the landman in <|uestion is no other 
than m\" brotlier? He undertakes it \'ery readily, 
and will 1 am sure set about the business in earnest, 
to which 1 believe you think him as equal as I do. 
Lord Hood is to be at the board; not without 
some risk of losing \\\-stminster, but b\- keeping 
our secret till the moment, 1 hope cxcn that ma\" l^e 
saved; but it is comj)arali\ cb ol lillle conse(|uence. 
I feel the arrangement is liable to some in\ itlious 
objections, but 1 am satished the\- an- more ih.ui 
counterbalanced b\' the solid advantage ol establish- 
ing a compleat concert with so essential a di'part- 
ment, and removing all appearance of a sej)arate 
interest. I shall be impalieiu, howexer, to hear 
what \<)U think < i| in\ stheme. I here is nothin*>" 






LETTERS FROM PITT 23 

else that occurs worth adding to this long scrawl, 
and I am obliged to seal it up, as in spite of the 
rain which keeps me at home, I am in expectation 
of an agreeable collection of dons whom Turner 
has convened to smoke and sleep round his table 
this evening, God bless you. 

" Believe me, ever affectionately yours, 

" W. Pitt.' 

" Downing Street, 

" Monday, September i, 1788. 

" My dear Wilberforce, — I have certainly 

given a considerable latitude to my promise of 

writinor in a fortnifjht, in defence of which I have 

nothing to sav, but that in addition to the common 

causes of delaying a letter I could not easily resolve 

to tell you that my northern scheme has for some 

time grown desperate. Powers farther north and 

the unsetded state of all the Continent (tho' not at 

all likely to involve us in anything disagreeable) 

require in our present system too much watching to 

allow for a long absence. I have not yet got even 

to Burton, which you will allow must be my tirst 

object. But I assure you I am not the more in 

love with Continental politics for having interfered 

with a prospect I had set my heart so much upon, 

as spending some quiet days on the bank ot your 

lake. Pray let me know in your turn what your 

motions are likely to be, and when you think ot 



24 PRIVATI-: I'Al'KRS OF WILBKRFORCE 

bcini;- in this pjiri of the world. Parlianicnl will 
not meet till after Christmas. As to the .Slave 
Trade, we are dioestinfi^ our l\ei)ort as far as 
j)resent materials l^o. and you shall then have it ; 
but we are still in expectation of the answer h-om 
the Islands. 1 had a lono- conversation with the 
French Ambassador on the subject some time ago, 
just before his going to France. He promised to 
represent it properly, and seemed to think there 
would be a favourable disposition. Their confusion 
has been such since that scarce an\ thing was likely 
to be attended to; but I am in hoi:>es Necker's 
coming in will |)rove very fa\-ourable to this object. 
The moment I hear ainihing respecting it 1 will 
write again ; and at all events in less than ))iy last 
fo7'tnighl. 1 must end now in haste to save the ]i<Kst 
and nu dinner. 

" Fver affectionately yours, 

••W. Pitt." 

" Downing Street, 

" Moiitliiw April JO, 1780. 
" Mv i>i;ar W'li.in.Ri'ORci;, We ha\-e found it 
necessary to make some corrections on looking o\er 
the proof sheets ol the iveporl, which will ilela\- the 
presenting it till W'ednesdax . I sh.ill ha\'e no 
difficult)' in sa\ ing then that the business must of 
course be postponed on llie grounds \t)u mention, 
antl 1 uill nio\e to fix it lor this d.i\ loilni'-lu il \oii 



LETTERS FROM ITTT 25 

see no objection. I imao-ine the House must meet 
on Friday on account of Hastings's business, but 
that will probably be a reason for their adjourning 
as soon as they come back from W^estminster Hall, 
and your business may, I dare say. wait till 
Monday. In that case I would certainly meet you 
at H oil wood on Friday, as I wish extremely to talk 
over with you the w'hole business, and show' you 
our project, with which, like most projectors, we are 
much delighted. From what you mention of the 
parts you have been studying. I do not imagine 
there is anything behind more material than what 
you have seen, but I see no part of our case that is 
not made out upon the strongest grounds. Steele 
has shown me your letter to him. There certainly 
cannot be the least reason for your coming up 
merely to attend St. Paul's. 

" Ever affectionately yours. 

" \\\ Pitt." 

" Downing Street, 

" U^'diicscfav, Febniaiy 2, 1796. 
" Mv DEAR WiLBERFOKCE, — I have seen Sir \\\ 
Faw'cett, &c.. and settled with them that they shall 
take iniiucdiately the necessary measures for ha\'ing 
a sufficient number of officers to receive men at 
additional places of rendezvous. They propose 
for the West Riding (in addition to Pontefract). 
Bradford and Barnsley, as appearing to take in all 



26 PRivATi-: r.\n:RS of wilberforce 

thf iiiDst iiiaU'rial districts, and will send the orders 
accordini^ly ; hut an\- fartht-r arran^cinent may be 
made alterwards which ma\- a])|)ear to be waiitiii^'. 
This and the explanatory act will. I trust, (|uiet 
the difticiiliN. Mv coUl is much better, and I have 
hardK any tloubt of beini^' in comlition lor service 
on I'ridav, to which daw \ou j^robably know, the 
business is put oH. " \ Ours e\er. 

'• W. P." 

" DOWNMNC, .StRKKT, 

" Aiij^iial 4, 1796. 
" Mv Di.AR \\'ili;i;rforci:, — 1 am anxious not to 
let the post go without telling you that I cann(^t 
have a moment's hesitatit)n in assuring you that in 
case of the Deanery of \'ork becoming vacant, 1 
shall witli the utmost pleasure recommend Mr. 
Clarke to succeed to it. On the im])ortaiu points 
in your other letter, 1 h.ive not time just now to 
write at large ; but 1 think the idea you suggest 
very desirable to be carried into execution, and 1 
will turn in my mind the means of putting it into 
ti'ain. 1 certainK am nni iiulined e\en n<>\\ to 
think gloomiK ' "t public allairs ; but 1 must at the 
same time nww that 1 leel the crisis lo be a most 
serious one, and to re([uii'e the utmost exertion and 
management. 

" F\'er \ours sincereK', 

•W. Tiir."' 



LETTERS FROM PITT 27 

" DowNixc. Street, 

" ScplcDibcr 7, 1796. 

" Mv \)\:.\K W'lLr.KRKORCK, — I think it nearly 
certain that l^irlianient will meet on the 27th, and 
I wish niuch it may suit you to come this way some 
time before. 

" Our application is gone for a passport for a 
person to go directly to Paris. The message of 
the Directory confessing in such strong terms their 
distress (and the Archduke's recent victory on the 
22nd, the account of which is in last night's Gazette, 
may be relied on), give some chance that our over- 
tures may be successful. In the meantime it will 
be indispensable to take very strong measures 
indeed, both of finance and military defence ; and 
if the spirit of the country is equal to the exigency, 
I am confident all will yet end well. An immediate 
Spanish war is, I think, nearly certain. The only 
motive to it is the fear of France preponderating 
over their fear of us ; and the pretexts as futile as 
could be wished. The alarm respecting the effect 
on our trade is greatly overrated, as the whole 
proportion of our exports thither compared with 
the rest of the world is inconsiderable. Vou will see 
that an Order of Council is published giving liberty 
for the export of manufactures and the payment of 
bills, which will, I hope, be satisfactory in your part 
of the world. I delayed writing to Mr. Cookson 



28 PRIVATl': r.Ari'.RS OI- W II.r.l-.KI-ORCK 

til] I could icll him llu- measure was taken ; aiul 
when il was taken. Ixmul; in the lmrr\ ( il a journey 
to \\C\ mouth and hack. I deferred it a^ain. so that 
it was ahxad)' announced in the GazcHc. and it 
became too late to write. I'c-rhaps y(tu can make 
m\' excuses. 

" Ever yours, 

••W. P." 

" Dowxixo Street, 

" Scplciiibcr 20, 1797. 

" Mv DKAR \\'iij;i;RFOKri:, — I know what your 
feelings will he on receixin^' the melancholy account 
which I have to send you, and which reached me 
from Cornwall this morning;, that a renewal of 
I'Lliot's com|)laint has ended fatally and tle|)ri\eel 
us of him. 

" After the attacks he has had, it is impossible to 
say that the blow could ever be wholK unexpected, 
but I had derix'cd Li'reat hopes from the accounts ior 
some time, and was not at this moment at all pre- 
pared tor what has ha|)])ened. \ ou will not wonder 
that I caimot write to \(Ui on any other subject, i)ut 
1 will as soon as I can. 

" Ever sincerel) \»)urs. 

•W. I'lTT." 
" l-'ll(lil\\ 4 I'.M. 

"M\' IHAR \\'ii.i!i:i'.i()Rci:, I am onl\ anxious to 
a\<)id cmbai'r.issmenl to xour (|uesiion as well as to 



LETTERS FROM PITT 29 

the general course of business ; and will call on you 
in a few minutes on my way to the House. 

" Ever aff yours, 

"W. P." 

" Downing Street, 

" Thursday, Aui^iisl 14, 1800. 

" My dear W^ilberforce, — I have no thoughts 
of going to W^almer till the very end of the month, 
and it is doubtful whether I can accomplish it then. 
In the interval the Castle is quite disengaged, and 
it will give me great pleasure if it can afford you 
any accommodation. If you should not find any 
situation before the ist of September perfectly to 
your mind, I beg you to believe that your prolong- 
ing your stay will be no inconvenience and a great 
pleasure to me, supposing I am able to come. The 
improvements made since you were there, with the 
help of a cottage with some tolerable bedrooms, 
are quite sufficient for your family, and for myself 
and the only two or three persons who would be 
likely to come with me, such as perhaps Carrington, 
the Master of the Rolls, and Long. Be so good, 
therefore, to consult entirely your own convenience. 

" Ever yours, 

"W. P. 

" Let me know what day next week you fix for 
being there, and everything shall be ready for you. 
You may as well send your servant to my manager 



30 TRIVATI-. l'.\ri-.kS ()V \VI IJil^KFORCK 

Inillock, who will arninn'e everything' about cellar 
and oihrr hoiist'hokl coiucrns. " 

"Park Pi.ack, 

" Oilobcr 1, 1801. 

" Ah' DKAR WiLDKRiORCK, — I Cannot refrain from 
contrratulatin^' xoii most sincereh' on the happy 
event of the Signature of Preliminaries, which vou 
will, 1 ljclie\'e, hear from Addin^ton. The terms 
arc such as 1 am persuaded you will be well 
satisfied with, and tho' they are not in every 
})oint ( j)articiilarly (^ne material one) exactly all that 
1 should ha\'e wished, 1 have no hesitiition in 
saying" that I think them on the whole hiL;hl\' 
honourable to the counlrx and \ery advantageous. 
The event is most fortunate l)olh for C"jo\ernment 
antl the public, and for the sake of both, i^ives me 
inlinite satisfaction. I ani but just in time lor the 
post. 

" Ever sincerely yours, 

"W. Pitt." 
"DowNixc; Stkkki, Siilniiidy. 

" Ah 1)1:ak \\'ii.i;i.ki()K( 1:, 1 shall be very L;lad 
if you can call here an\ time alter nine this exenini;', 
as I wish to show )()u a j)aper from the other side 
of the water, of a \er\ inlereslinL; nature, dio' not 
such as was niost to be wished or at all to be 
expected. " \ ours, 

"W. v.' 



LETTERS EROM ITTT 31 

"AX'almkr Castle, 

" .l/(/v 31, I Ho 2. 
" Mv DEAR WiLBKRFORCE, — I founcl your letter 
on my arrival here yesterday, having escaped to 
H oil wood on Eridax' only as a preparation for 
pursuing- my journey hither with less interruption 
than I should have been exposed to, starting- from 
town. An absence of ten davs or a fortni^rht has 
been so much recommended, and indeed I beo^an 
myself to feel so much in want of it, that I am 
afraid I must not think of returninor for vour motion. 
Indeed, tho' I should most eagerly support it (sup- 
posing you can provide, as I trust you can, means 
of making the execution in the detail practicable 
and effectual), I see no chance in the present state 
of the session of your carrying it, unless Addington 
can be brought really to see the propriety of it, and 
to concur in it at once w^ithout debate. This last 
I should hope might be managed, and whatever 
impression parts of his speech may have made on 
your mind, I am sure I need not suggest to you 
that the best chance of doing this will be to endea- 
vour coolly to lay before him the case as it really 
is, unmixed as far as possible with any topics of 
soreness, which evidently were not absent from his 
mind on Canning's motion. I certainly, on the whole, 
judge much more favourably of his general inten- 
tions on the whole subject (or, I should rather say, 



32 TRIVATK PAPERS OF WILBERFORCE 

of his probable conduct) than you do. But I admit 
that one part of his sj)ecch was as unsatisfactory 
as possible. This I reall\' believe proceeded in a 
great measure from the evident embarrassment and 
distress under which he was speaking, and which I 
am persuaded j)rc\cnted him from doing any justice 
to his own ideas. I may deceive anci flatter my- 
self, but tho' I know we shall be far from obtaining 
all that you and 1 wish. 1 reall\- think there is much 
chance of great real and substantial ground being 
gained towards the ultimate and not remote object 
of total abolition next session. This is lar from a 
reason f(jr not endeavouring, if possible, to prevent 
the aggravation of the e\il in the meantime, and 1 
heartily wish you may be successful in the attempt. 

" Ever affy. yrs., 

•• \V. P." 

"W.ALMER Castle, 

" Si'plciiibtr 22, i8o2. 
" Mv Di.AK \\'iLni:Ri"ORCK, — 1 am much obliged 
to you for your kind letter of in(|uiry. My com- 
plaint has entirely left me. 1 am recovering my 
strength every day, ami 1 have no doubt ol being 
in a very short li nu- as well as 1 was bel(M*e the 
attack. l"'an|uhar. however, seems strongl\- (.lis- 
posetl to recommend Hath bi-t<irc ihr winter, and 
if \'ou make xour usual \isii thither, 1 hope it is 
not impossible we may meet. Perhaps you will 



LETTERS FROM ITTT 33 

let me know whether you propose L^oin^" before 
Parliament meets, and at what time. I hardly 
imaoine that the session before Christmas can 
produce much business that will require attend- 
ance. I ought long since to have written to you 
on the subject of our friend Morritt. It would 
give me great pleasure to see him come back to 
Parliament, tho' I hardly think the occasion was 
one on which I 

[Rest of letter torn off. J 

" Bath, 

'' October 31, 1802. 
" Mv DEAR WiLBERFOKCK, — As you are among 
the persons to whom the author of the enclosed 
high-flown compliments refers for his character for 
a very important purpose, I shall be much obliged 
to you if you will tell me what you know of him. 
A man's qualifications to give a dinner certainly 
depend more on the excellence of his cook and his 
wine, than on himself, but I have still some curiosity 
to know what sort of company he and his guests 
are likely to prove ; and should therefore be glad to 
know a little more about them than I collect from 
his list of the dramatis personce, which for instruction 
might as well have been taken from any old play-bill. 
In the meantime I have been obliged out of common 
civility, provisoircment to accept his invitation. I 
was very sorry that I had too little time to spare in 

4 



34 PRIVATK r.XriCRS OF WILBKRFORCE 

passiiiL;' thro' town to tr\' to sec you. I should have 
much wished to ha\c talked o\'cr with you the events 
which ha\(' l)een j)assinL;' and the consequences to 
which the\' seem to lead. \'ou know how much 
under all the circumstances I wished for peace, and 
m\" wishes remain the same, if Bonaparte can be 
made to feel that he is not to trample in succession 
on ever\ nation in luirope. lUit ol this I tear there 
is little chance, and without it 1 set; no j)rospect 
but war. 

" I have not yet been here long enough to judge 
much of the effect of these waters, but as far as I 
can in a few days. 1 think I am likely to lind them 
of material use to me. I mean to be in town by the 
i8th of next mt)nth. l^dey's work, which you men- 
tioned in your last letter, I had already read on the 
recommendation of m\- triend Sir W. barciuhar, 
who ha<l met with it 1)\- acciilent, and was struck 
with its containing the most compentlious and 
correct view of anatomy which he had e\er seen. 
I do not mean that he thought this its onl\- merit. 
It certainly has a great deal, but 1 think he carries 
some of his details and refinements turther than is 
at all necessarx' tor his purj)ose, and perhaps than 
will cjuite stand the test ot examination. 

" I'^xer atty. yrs.. 

-w. vr 



IJCTTKRS FROM PITT 35 

"Walmrr Castle, 

" Aiioiisl 8, 1803 (?). 
" Mv DKAR W'lLiiKRKORCK, — Not haviiig returned 
from a visit to some of my corps on the Isle of 
Thanet till Friday evening, I could not answer 
your letter by that day's post, and I was interrupted 
when I was going to write to you yesterday. It 
was scarce possible for me, consistent with very 
material business in this district, to have reached 
town to-day ; and besides, I confess, I do not think 
any great good could have been done by anything 
I could say in the House on any of the points you 
mention. I feel most of them, however, and some 
others of the same sort, as of most essential im- 
portance ; and I have thoughts of coming to town 
for a couple of days (which is as much as I can 
spare from my duties here) towards the end of the 
week, to try whether I cannot find some channel by 
which a remedy may be suggested on some of the 
points which are now most defective. I think I 
shall probably reach town on Saturday morning, 
and I should wish much if you could contrive to 
meet me in Palace Yard or anywhere else, to have 
an hour's conversation with you. I will write to 
you again as soon as I can precisely fix any day. 
We are going on here most rapidly, and in propor- 
tion to our population, most extensively, in every 
species of local defence, both naval and military, 



30 i'RiWA'n-: r.\r]-:Ks oi-' \\"ilhi-:ri-t)rce 

and 1 trusl shall holh add \ct) imich Id ihc scciiriu- 
of essential points on this coast, and set not a bad 
example to other maritime districts.. 
" Ever ail) . \ ours, 

••w. vr 

" \\'.\lmi;k Castlk, 

*' yuiitiiirx 5, 1804. 
" Mv DEAR W'lLiiKKFORCK, — Your letter reached 
me very safe this morniiiL;", and I thank yon \-erv 
much for its contents. 1 hope it will not he loiio- 
before I have an opportunity of talkini^" o\er with 
you fully the subject to which it relates. bVom 
what 1 ha\-e heard since 1 saw xou, it will be 
necessary tor me pretty soon to make up my mind 
on the line to pursue under the new state of things 
which is a|:)proachin!4". in the meantime. I shall 
not commit nnseli to an)thinL;' without looking" to 
a// ihii c()nse(|uences as cautiousK' as vou can wish ; 
and before I lorm an\ tinal decision, 1 shall much 
wish to consult Noursclt and a lew others whose 
opinions I most \alue. if no new cirtumstance 
arises to rexive the expectation ol the cncmx-, I 
mean to be in town the bc^inmiiL; ol next week, 
and will immediately let xou know. Perhaps I 
ma\' l)e able to i^'o on to l^alh loi' a loi-tiiiL;lu. 

" i'",\(T alh . \()urs, 

•w. vr 

Iwo e\amj)les are here- i;i\cn ol W ilbei iorce's 



wilberforcp: to william pitt ij 

letters to Pitt. The first is written in the character 
of a country member and pcjlitical friend. The second 
is one in reference to his work on Practical Reli^non. ' 
They are both, as is generally the case with his 
letters to Pitt, undated, but the post-mark of the 
second bears " 1797." 

Mr. Wilberforcc to RioJit Hon. William Pitt. 

" Mv i)i: AR Pitt, — My head and heart have been 
lono- full of some thoughts which I wished to 
state to you when a litde less under extreme pres- 
sure than when Parliament is sitting. But my eyes 
have been very poorly. I am now extremely hurried, 
but I will mention two or three things as briefly as 
possible that I may not waste your time. First, 
perhaps even yet you may not have happened to 
see an Order in Council allowing, notwithstanding 
the War, an intercourse to subsist between our 
West Indian Colonies and those of Spain, in which 
negro slaves are the chief articles we are to supply. 
I know these commercial matters are not within your 
department, and that therefore your assent is asked, 
if at all, when your mind is full of other subjects. 
But let me only remind you, for it would be foolish 
to write what will suggest itself to your own mind, 
that the House of Commons did actually pass the 

■ •• A Practical \'ie\v of the Prevailing Religious System of 
Professed Christians," iVc, London, 1797. 



38 rRIVATl-: PAPERS OF WILHERFORCE 

Bill for abolishing the foreij^n slave trade ; and that 
if contracts are made ai;ain for supplying Spain for 
a term of years, ii nia\' ilirow obstacles in the way 
of a foreign slave-trade al)o]ition. It would give 
me more ])leasure than I can express to find any 
further measures, or even thouirhts, on this to me 
painful subject, for many reasons, by hearing the 
order was revoked. Second, I promised by com- 
|)ulsi()n (1 mean because 1 dislike to bore you) to 
state to you (jn the part of the Deputy Receiver 
General for the North and East Ridings of York- 
shire and Hull that it would tend materially both to 
facilitate and cheapen the collection (jf the new 
assessed taxes to let them be collected at the same 
time as the old ones. This will make the rounds 
four times per annum instead of ten, and he says 
the expense of collecting, if incurred six times per 
annum, will amount to full one-halt ot all the present 
salaries of the Receivers General in the Kingdom. 
As he is a most respectable man, 1 ought to say 
that he gives it as his ojiininn that the Receivers 
General are not overpaid, all things considered. 
Hut for my own opinion let me add that his jirinci- 
pal really has none of the labours o| the office, and 
the deput)' e\en finds his securities tor him. Third, 
surely there ought at the Hank to be a distinction 
between what is paid for assessetl taxes and wh.u as 
free donation, when the subscrii)lion includes both : 



\\ilhI':rforci<: to williaai imtt 39 

yoLir own and those of many others are under that 
head. r\)urtli, I su[)pose you are now thinking- of 
your taxes. Do, I beseech you, let one o( them be a 
tax on all public diversions of every kind, including 
card-playing. I can't tell you how much their not 
being taxed has been mentioned with censure, and 
I promised to send you the enclosed letter from a 
very respectable man. I am sorry I did, but now 
have no option. But my first great object in writing 
to you is most earnestly to press on your attention 
a manuscript, which I have been desired to lay 
before you. relative to Naval Discipline. You must 
allow the writer to express himself with some per- 
haps unpleasant idea of self-importance. But he 
clearly foresaw the late Mutiny, and most strongly 
urged the adoption of preventive measures, which, 
had they been taken, I verily believe the greatest 
misfortune this country ever suffered would not 
have happened. That nothing was done is in my 
mind — But I need not run on upon this to me 
most painful topic, because it often suggests doubts 
whether I have not been myself to blame, who 
perused the scheme two \ears ago. Let me 
earnestly entreat you, my dear Pitt, to peruse it 
most seriously and impartially, and then let Dundas 
read it. If you judge it proper, then either send it 
Lord Spencer or to the writer, who is a good deal 
nettled at his former communications to Lord 



40 PRIVATI-: r.\I'I<:RS 01<^ WIIJil^^FORCK 

Spencer not beiiiL;' allcnded to. I will send the 
maiuiscripl 1)\" to-morrow's mail. 

" \'oiirs ever sincerely, 

"\V. \V. 

" I'^very one is callini^" out for you to summon the 
nation to arm itself in the common defence. \'ou 
hear how nobly m\' \'orkshire men are acting'. I 
must have more discussion on that head, for they 
still wish you to impose an equal rate on all 
property." 

" Bath, Easier Sunday. 

" Mv DEAR Pitt, — I am not unreasonable enough 
to ask you to read my book : but as it is more 
likely that when you are extremely busy than at 
any other time you ma\' take it up lor ten minutes, 
let me recommend it to nou in that case to open on 
the last section ol the fourth chapter, wherein you 
will see wherein the religion which I espouse differs 
practically from the common orth(Hlox s\stem. 
Also the sixth chapter has almost a riL;ht to a 
perusal, being' the l)asis of all jjolitics, and par- 
ticularly addressed to such as you. At the same 
time I know noli will scold mc toi- iiUi'oducmg noui' 
name. Ma\' (jod bless \<)U. This is the treijuent 
prayer ol )()ur affectionate and tailhlul 

•AV. W." 
I Postmarked i 797. | 

Here ends the hithcrlt) uii|)ul)Iishcd lorrespon^ 



LORD CHATHAM TO WaLBKRFORCK 41 

dence between Pitt and Wilbcrforce. On the occa- 
sion of Pitt's death, his brother. Lord Chatham, 
writes with regard to his funeral : 

Lord Chat ham to J/r. Wilberforce. 
" Dover Street, 

" February 15, 1806. 

" I have many thanks to offer you for your very 
kind letter which I received this morning". Know- 
ing, as I do, how truly the sentiments of friendship 
and affection you express, were returned on the 
part of my poor brother towards you, I can only 
assure you that it will afford me a most sensible 
gratification that you should have, as an old. intimate 
friend, some particular situation allotted to you in 
the last sad tribute to be paid to his memory. 
Believe me, with sincere regard, my dear sir, 
" Yours very faithfully, 

" Chatham." 

Pitt was one of the few men whose lives have 
affected the destiny of nations. The actions ol 
such men are so far-reaching, and the possibilities 
of the might-have-been so great, that history hardly 
ever passes a final verdict upon them. Wilberforce 
had unexampled opportunities of gauging the cha- 
racter and motives of Pitt, and certainly had no 
strong partisan bias to warp his judgment. His 
matured estimate of Pitt cannot fail therefore to be 
of peculiar interest. It was written in 1821. six- 



42 PRiVATi-: r.\n:Rs oi- \\ii.i?i-:rforce 

tccn \cars after Pill's dcalh. aiul is ])rinlccl cxaclly 
as Willx-rforce left il. Il will im doiihl rrcall to 
the niiiul of ihc rcatlcr Scott's well-known lines: 

'* With I'alinurc's iimhumtcd mood, 
I'irm at his dangerous post he stood ; 
Each call for needful rest repelled 
With dying hand the rudder held 
'rill, in his fall, with fateful sway 
The steerage of the realm gave way ! " ' 



' " Marmion," Introduction to Canto i. 



SKETCH OF PITT BY W. 
WILBERFORCE 



SKETCH OF PITT BY W. 
WILBERFORCE. 

CoNsiDKRiNC the effect of party spirit in producing" 
a distrust of all that is said in favour of a public 
man by those who have supported him, and the 
equal measure of incredulity as to all that is stated 
of him by his opponents, it may not be without its 
use for the character of Mr. Pitt to be delineated 
by one who, though personally attached to him, 
was by no means one of his partisans ; who even 
opposed him on some most important occasions, 
but who, always preserving- an intimacy with him, 
had an opportunity of seeing him in all circum- 
stances and situations, and of judging as much as 
any one could of his principles, dispositions, habits, 
and manners. 

It seems indeed no more than the payment of a 
debt justly due to that great man that the friend 
who occasionally differed from him should prevent 
any mistake as to the grounds of those differences ; 
and that as he can do it consistentl)' with truth, he 

45 



46 rRIVATl- TAPERS OF WILHERFORCK 

should aver, as in consistency with truth he can 
aver, that in every instance (with perhaps one 
excei)ti()n onW) in which his conscience prompted 
him to (hssent from Mr. Pitt's nicasiiirs, he never- 
theless respected Mr. Pitt's />/7//r///;\s- ,• the differ- 
ences arose commonl\ h'om a different view of 
facts, or a different estimate of contingencies and 
probabilities. Where there was a difference of 
j)o]itical j)rinciples, it scarce))' ever was stich as 
arose from moral considerations ; still less such as 
was produced by any distrust of Mr. Pitt's main 
intention beino- to promote the well-being- and 
prosperity of his country. 

Mr. Pitt from his early childhood had but an 
indifferent constitution ; the s^'outy habit of body 
which harassed him throughout his life, was mani- 
fested by an actual fit of that disorder when he 
was still a boy. As earh' as fourteen years of aj^e 
he was jilaced at Pemliroke Hall. Cam])ridoe ; he 
had even then e.xcited sanguine expectations of 
future eminence. His father had manifested a 
peculiar res^ard for him ; he had never. I believe, 
been under any other than the paternal roof where 
his studies had been sui)erintended b\- a prixate 
tutor ; and besides a considerable i)roticiency in 
the Greek anil Latin lan^uaL^es. he had written a 
j)lay in I"",nL;lish. which was sj)oken of in iiii^h terms 
by those who had perused il. 1 am sorry lo hear 



SKETCH OI- I' ITT 47 

that this early fruit of genius is not anywhere to 
be found. 

\\ hilc he was at the Universit\' his stuchcs, I 
understand, were carried on with steady dih^'ence 
both in classics and mathematics, and though as 
a nobleman he could not establish his superiority 
over the other young men of his time by his place 
upon the tripos, I ha\e Ijcen assured that his 
proficiency in every branch of study was such as 
would have placed him abo\'e almost all com- 
petitors. He continued at the University till he 
was near one-and-twenty, and it was during the 
latter part of that period that I becanie acquainted 
with him. I knew him, however, very little till 
the winter of 1779-80, when he occupied chambers 
in Lincoln's Inn, and I myself was a good deal in 
London. During that winter we became more 
acquainted with each other ; we used often to meet 
in the Gallery of the House of Commons, and 
occasionally at Lady St. John's and at other 
places, and it was impossible not to be sensible of 
his extraordinary powers. 

On the calling of a new Parliament in the begin- 
ning of September, 1780, I was elected one of the 
Members for Hull. Mr. Pitt, if I mistake not, 
was an unsuccessful candidate for the University 
of Cambridge; but about Christmas 1780-81, 
throuo'h the intervention ot some common friends 



4S rki\'.\ri-: i'Ari-:Rs oi-" \\iij^1':r!<"()rck 

(more than one ha\'c claimed the honour ol the 
hrst sii^L^estion, Ciovernor Johnston, the Duke of 
Rutland, tK:c.), he receivetl and accepted an offer 
ol a seat in Parliament made to him in the most 
handsome terms ])y Sir fames Lowther. h rom the 
time of his lakiiiLi" his seat he became a constant 
attendant, and a club was lormed ol a considerable 
nundjer ol \(iung men who had about the same 
lime left the rniverslty and most of them entered 
into ])ublic lile. llu; chief members were Mr. 
Pitt, Lord luiston, now Duke of Grafton, Lord 
Chatham, tlie ]Mar([uis of (iraham, now Duke of 
NLintrose, the Hon. Mr. IVatt, now ALu'cjuis of 
Camden, the Hon. St. Andrew St. |ohn, Henrv 
Bankes, Est}., the Hon. ALiurice Robinson, now 
Lord R()keb\-, Lord Duncannon, now Lord Pes- 
borough, Lord Herl)ert, ])()stea PLarl of Pembroke, 
Lord Althorp, now Lord .Sj)encer, Ivobert vSmith, 
Esq., now Lord Carrin^ton, Mr. l^ridgenian, Ah". 
Steele, several others, and nnselt. 1 o these were 
soon afterwards added Lortl Apsley, Mr. (iren\ille, 
now Lord (irenxiHe, Pepper Artlen. alterwards 
Lord Alvanlc)', Charles Lon^-, alterwards Lonl 
Earnborough, Sir W illiam AL)lesw()rih, «S:c. <^c. 
Of the whole number Mr. Pitt was {)erhaj)s the 
most constant allcndanl, and as we lre(|uenll\ 
dined, and slill more tre([U(iuIy supped loL^i'dier. 
and as our Pai'liamt'iUarx alleiulancH- ''a\'e us so 



SKETCH OF PITT 49 

many occasions for mutual conference and discus- 
sion, our acquaintance grew into great intimacy. 
Mr. Bankes and I (Lord Westmoreland only 
excepted, with whom, on account of his politics, 
Mr. Pitt had little connection) were the only 
members of the society who had houses of their 
own, Mr. Bankes in London, and I at Wimbolton ' 
in Surrey. Mr. Bankes often received his friends 
to dinner at his own house, and they frequently 
visited me in the country, but more in the following 
Parliamentary session or two. In the spring of 
one of these years Mr. Pitt, who was remarkably 
fond of sleeping in the country, and would often 
go out of town for that purpose as late as eleven 
or twelve o'clock at night, slept at Wimbolton for 
two or three months together. It was, I believe, 
rather at a later period that he often used to sleep 
also at Mr. Robert Smith's house at Hamstead.- 

Mr. Pitt was not loni>' in the House of Commons 
before he took a part in the debates : I was present 
the first time he spoke, and I well recollect the 
effect produced on the whole House ; his friends 
had expected much from him, but he surpassed all 
their expectations, and Mr. Hatsell, the chief clerk 
and a few of the older members who recollected 
his father, declared that Mr. Pitt gave indications 
of being his superior. I remember to this day the 
' AVimbltdoii. ^ Hampstead. 

s 



50 rklXATl': r.ArilRS Ol- WIUn^RFORCE 

L^Tcal |)ain I siiffcrc-d Iroiii liiulinL;' nnscli coiiipcllccl 
1>\ nn jiu1l;iiu'iU lo vote against him on the second 
occasion ot his ct)iiiinn lorward, when the (jiiestion 
was whether some Commissioners ol pubhc 
accounts should, or should not, lie members of 
rarliameni : indeed 1 never can lor^et the mixed 
emotions I experiencetl wlun m\ feehngs had all 
the warmth and ireshness ol early youth, between 
m\- admiration of his powers, my sympath)- with 
his rising reputation, and hopes of his anticipated 
gre.Uness, while I ne\ertheless deemed it my duty 
in this instance to den\ him m\" sujij:)ort. 

Mr. Pitt was a decided and warm opponent of 
Lord North's administration ; so indeed were most 
of our society, though I occasionally su{)portcd him. 
Prom the first, however, I concurred with Mr. Pitt 
in opposing the American War, and we rejoiced 
together in ])utting an nwd to it in about March. 
17S2, when Loi\l North's ministr\ terminateil ; ant! 
alter a painhil, and I think considerable, interwd, 
during which it was said the King had e\en talked 
of going o\er to flanoxer, and was supposed at last 
to \ ield to the ct)unsels ol the luirl ol Mansfield, 
a new administration was lornied consisting ol the 
Rockingham and .Shelburiie jKirties, the Manjuis ol 
Rockingham being hirst Lord ol the Treasur) , aiul 
Lord Shelburne aiul Mr. l'"ox the two Secretaries 
of State. But though tiie parlies had combined 



SKETCH OF PITT 51 

together ag-ainst their coniinoii enemy, no sooner 
had he been removed than mutual jealousies 
immediately begcUi to show themselves between 
the Rockmghani and Shelburne parties. I well 
remember attending by invitation at Mr. Thcniias 
Townshejid's, since Lord .Sydney, with Mr. Pitt 
and most of the young" members who had voted 
with the Opposition, when Mr. Fox wMth apparent 
reluctance stated that Lord Rockingham had not 
then been admitted into the King's presence, but 
had onlv received communications through Lord 
Shelburne ; and little circumstances soon afterwards 
arose which plainly indicated the mutual distrust of 
the two parties. Lord Rockingham's constitution 
was much shaken, and after a short illness his 
death took place before the end of the session of 
Parliament, about the middle of June, 1782.' Mr. 
Pitt had taken occasion to declare in the House of 
Commons that he would accept no subordinate 
situation, otherwise there is no doubt he would have 
been offered a seat at the Treasury Board, or 
indeed any office out of the Cabinet ; but on Lord 
Rockingham's death, notwithstanding Mr. Fox's 
endeavour to prevent a rupture by declaring that 
no disunion existed r the disaoreement between the 

o 

' Here Mr. Wilberforce adds a pencilled note : " Devonshire 
House Ball. King."' 

- Mr. A\'ilberforce has written over this in pencil : " Qy. — Not 
a stroke of Providence could sever. ' 



52 I'Rix'A ri-: r.\ri:Rs oi-" wilbkrforce 

parties, of which so inan\- sNinptoins had before 
manitcsit'cl ihemseKes. became complete and 
notorious. Lord .Shdhurne beino- invited by the 
Kino- to supply Lord Rockingham's place. Mr. Fox 
with most of the Rockin^liani ])arly retired from 
office, and Mr. Pin accepted the offer made him by 
Lord Shelburne of becoming" Chancellor ol the 
Exchequer : he had completed his twenty-third year 
the 2Sth of Ma\- precedini^-. 

There was more than one day of debate even 
durino- that session, in which Mr. Pitt indicated that 
gravit\- and dii^nit)' which became the hii4"h station 
which he had assunied at so early an age. He 
continued in office till the ensuing winter, when, 
after peace had been made both with America and 
her continental allies France and Spain, Ltjrd 
Shclburne's administration was removed through 
tlie unprincipled coalition between Lord North and 
Mr. Fox and their respective parties. It was sup- 
posed to have been brought about in a great degree 
through the influence of Lord North's eldest son. 
who had mainlainetl a friendl)- accjuaintance with 
Mr. Fox, a man the fascination of whose manners 
and temper was such as to render it impossible for 
any one to maintain a |)ersonal intercourse with him 
without conceiving hjr him sincere <uul e\'cn atlec- 
tionate attachment. 1 seconded the motion for the 
address on the peace, and 1 well remember a little 



SKP:TCH of PITT 53 

before the business be^an writing- a note in my 
place with a pencil to Hankes, who was. I saw, at a 
little distance, inc|uirin<4- of him whether a union 
between North and Fox was really formed, and 
whether I niight publicly notice it ; " Yes," he 
replied, "the more strongly the better." Mr. Pitt 
on that night was very unwell ; he was obliged to 
retire from the House into Solomon's Porch by a 
violent sickness at the very moment when Mr. Fox 
was speaking. He himself afterwards replied in a 
speech of some hours' length, but he certainly on 
that night fell short of our expectations ; a second 
discussion, however, took place a few days after, 
and his speech on that occasion was one of the 
finest that was ever made in Parliament, both in 
point of argument and power of oratory. I never 
shall forget the impression produced by that part of 
it in which he spoke of his own retirement, closing 
with that passage out of Horace, " Laudo manen- 
tem," &c., though I niust add that I retain no 
recollection whatever of the circumstance mentioned 
by Sir N. W'raxall; indeed I cannot but be strongly 
persuaded that he must have been misinformed. 
\\ ell also do I remember our all going to Mr. Pitt's 
from the House ot Commons after our defeat about 
eight in the morning, where a dinner had been 
waiting for us from eleven or twelve the preceding 
night, and where we all laughed heartily at some 



54 I'RIX'ATl-: I'.\I'I':KS OI-" \\II.Hl-:Rl-()RrK 

chararlcrisiif trails (•\hil)iictl hy Lord Sianhopc' 
llu'U L(U\1 Malioii. All adiniiiisiraiion was then 
fonncd of which ihc 1 )uk(' of Tordand was at. the 
head, and Lord North and Mv. lOx joint Secre- 
taries of State. It was in th(,' auliimn ol tliis year, 
1783. ckirinL;' the recess of l^arhanient. that I 
accomjxmied Mr. Pitt and Mv. Lhot, who alter- 
wards became his l)rother-indaw. to h" ranee : our 
j)lan was to spend a few weeks in a proN'incial 
town, tliere to ac(|uire something" of the kmniiaLie, 
and afterwards to niak(; a short sta\" at Paris. 
Accordini^ly we went to Rlieims, where we con- 
tinuetl tor al)out six weeks. It was not until we 
were on the point ol ^oiuL^' abroad (when Mv. kdiot 
came out of Cornw^all Mr. IMii from seeing- his 
motlier in .Somersetshire, ami 1 met them both at 
Sittingbourne) that we recollected that we were 
unprox'ided with letters of recommendation, which 
each of the part\- had j)erhaps trusted to the other 
for obtaining'. AccordmL;l\- we re(iuesled Mr. 
•Smith to obtain them lor us ol Mr. Fhellusson, 
afterwards Loi'd Rcndlesham, who, we knew, had 
Correspondencies all o\'er b ranee. Thellusson 
rei)lie(l that he would L^ladK do his best for us, but 
that he rather conceixcd Irom circumsianc(,-s thai his 
correspondent al Kheims was noi a j)i'rson ol an\' 

' .Mr. W ilhciloiic Ikis (.irascil huw " lor dcsiriiii; Mr. I'iii in.'torc 
lie went (lilt to pass his register bills." 



SKETCH OF PITT 55 

commercial distinction. \Vc, however, abided by 
our decision in fax'our of Rheims. The day after 
we arrived there, having sent our letter of recom- 
mendation the preceding- evening- to the person to 
whom it was addressed, we were waited upon b\- a 
ver)' well-behaved man with a velvet coat, a bag, 
and sword, who conversed with us for a short time. 
The next day we repaid his visit, and were a good 
deal surprised to find that he was a very little 
grocer, his very small shop being separated by a 
partition from his very small room. But he was an 
unaffected, well-behaved man, and he offered to 
render us every service in his power, but stated 
distinctly that he was not acquainted with the 
higher people of the place and neighbourhood. 
For a few days we lived very comfortably together, 
but no French was learned except from the grammar, 
we not having a single French acquaintance. xAt 
length we desired our friend the cpicier to mention 
us to the Lieutenant of Police, who, I think we had 
made out, had been employed to collect evidence in 
the great Douglas cause, and was therefore likely 
to know something of our country and its inhabi- 
tants. This expedient answered its intended pur- 
pose, though somewhat slowly and by degrees. 
The Lieutenant of Police, Du Chatel, an intelligent 
and apparently a respectable family man, came to 
visit us, and he having stated to the /Vrchbishop of 



56 TKIVATK I'AI'l-.RS OF W I LHI-.RFORCE 

Rhciiiis. the prt'sciu Cardinal tic IV-ri^ord, whose 
palace was about a mile from the cit\', that three 
Kii^lish Mcmhcrs ol I'arliaiiient were then resithiiLi' 
in it, one of whom was Mr. l^itt, who had recently 
been Chancellor of the Ii\che(]ucr, his (jrace sent 
his Grand X'icairc. the Abbe dc la ( lardc, to ascer- 
tain the truth or falsehood oi' this statement. The 
Abbe executed his commi.ssion with i^'reat address, 
and rej^ortiiiL; in our laxour, we soon received an 
inx'itation to the Archbishojj's table, followed by the 
expression of a wish that duriiiL; the remainder oi 
our sta\- at Ivhcims we would lake uj) our residence 
in his palace. I his w c- declined, but we occasion- 
alK' dined with him, and from the time of our 
having" been noticed b\ the Lieutenant we received 
continual in\itations, chielK' to supper, from the 
o-entr\- in and about the place. The\' were chiefly 
])ersons whose land j^roduced the wine of the 
countrx", which, without scruple. the\' soKl on their 
own account. And 1 remember the widow of the 
former Marshal Detree intimating a wish that Mr. 
Pitt would become her customer. 

Thence we went to Paris, haxini; an oj)i)oi-iunit\" 
dui-iiiL; that time ol s|)endinL;' tour or ti\e tlavs 
at POntainebleau, where- the whole ( Ouri was 
assembled. There we were e\er\" evening; at the 
])ai'lies ol (iiic ()i- oilier ( t| the I'l'eiU'll M UUSlei'S. in 
whose apartments we also dmed the Oueen bein^' 



SKETCH OF PITT 57 

always among the company present in the evening', 
and mixing in conversation with the greatest 
affability ; there were also Madame la Princesse de 
Lamballe, M. Segur, M. de Castres, &c. Mr. 
George Ellis, who spoke French admirably, was in 
high favour for the elegance of his manners and the 
ease and brilliancy of his wit ; and Mr. Pitt, though 
his imperfect knowledge of French prevented his 
doing justice to his sentiments, was yet able to 
give some impression of his superior powers — his 
language, so far as it did extend, being remarkable, 
I was assured, for its propriety and purity. There 
M. le Marquis de la Fayette appeared with a some- 
what affected simplicity of manner, and I remember 
the fine ladies on one occasion draQ-o-ino- him to the 
card-table, while he shrugged up his shoulders and 
apparently resisted their importunities that he would 
join their party : very few, however, played at cards, 
the Queen, I think, never. During our stay at 
Paris we dined one day with M. le Marquis de la 
Fayette with a very small party, one of whom was 
Dr. Franklin ; and it is due to M. le Marquis de la 
Fayette to declare that the opinion which we all 
formed of his principles and sentiments, so far as 
such a slight acquaintance could enable us to form 
a judgment, was certainly favourable, and his family 
appeared to be conducted more in the style of an 
English house than any other French family which 



58 rkix'A'i !•: r.\i'h:RS oi- wilberforce 

we visitcnl. W'c coinmonly supped in different 
parties, and 1 rccollecl one ni^ht when we I'^n^lish 
manifested our too common indisj)osiiion to conform 
ourselves to foreign customs, or rather to put our- 
selves out of our own way, by all going together to 
one table, to the number ot twelve or fourteen of 
us. and admitting onl\" one brenchman, the ^bu'(juis 
de Noailles, M. de la bayette's brother-in-law, who 
spoke our own language like an Englishman, and 
appeared more than an\ of the other French to be 
one ot ourselves. \\ e. however, who were all 
young men, were more excusable than our Ambas- 
sador at the Court of b' ranee, who, I remember, 
joined our party. 

It was at Paris, in October, that Mr. Pitt hrst 
became accjuainled with Mr. Rose, who was intro- 
duced to him b\' Lord PliLirlow, whose Jellow- 
traveller he was on the Continent ; and it was then, 
or immediately afterwards, that it was suggested to 
the late Lord Camtlen b\ Mr. W'alpole, a particular 
friend of M. Xecker's. that if Mr. Pitt should lie 
disposed to oiler liis h.uid to Mademoiselle N., 
afterwards Madame dc- Stael, such was the resj)ect 
entertained lor him l)\" M. and Madame Xecker, 
thai he had no doubt the proposal wouM be 
accepted. 

Wc returned from Prance about WnxMiiber. 
Circumstances then soon commenced \vhich issued 



SKETCH OF I' ITT 59 

in the turning' out of the Fox adminlstrcition. the 
Kino- resenting" g'riex'Oiisly, as was said, the treat- 
ment he ex})erienced from them, especially in what 
regarded the settlement of the IVince of Wales. 
I need only allude to the loni^' course of political 
contention which took place in the winter of 
17CS3 84. when at length Mr. Pitt became First 
Lord of the Treasury ; and after a violent struggle, 
the King dissolved the Parliament about March, 
and in the new House of Commons a decisive 
majority attested the truth of Mr. Pitt's assertion 
that he possessed the confidence of his country. 
In many counties and cities the friends of Mr. 
Fox were turned out, thence denominated Fox's 
Martyrs.' I myself became member for Yorkshire 
in the place of Mr. Foljambe, Sir George Savile's 
nephew, who had succeeded that excellent public 
man in the representation of the county not many 
weeks before. I may be allowed to take this 
occasion of mentioning a circumstance honourable 
to myself, since it is much more honourable to him, 
that some )'ears after he came to York on purpose 
to support me in my contest f(jr the county. It is 
remarkable that Lord Stanhope first foresaw the 
necessity there would be for Mr. Pitt's continuing 
in office notwithstanding his being out-voted in the 

' Mr. \\'ilberforce has written here in pencil on the margin, 
" Pox's Martyrs. Qy. number." 



Go rRix'ATi-: i'.\ri<:Rs oi-^ wilhicrforce 

House ot Commons, maiiUainiiiL;' that the ()j)j)osi- 

tioii \V(HilJ not \enturc to refuse the supplies, and 

that at the j)roj)er moment lie should dissoh'e the 

l^arliament.' 

And now haxiuL;" traced Mr. Pitt's course from 

childhood to the ])eriod when he commenced his 

administration oi sixteen or seventeen years during)- 

times the most stormy and dano'erous almost ever 

experienced 1)\- this country, it may be no im|)r()per 

occasion lor describini;' his character, and specifying" 

the leadino- talents, dispositions, and (jualihcations l)y 

which he was distinguished. Hut before I proceed 

to this delineation it ma\- be right to mention that 

seldom has any man had a better opportunity of 

knowing another than I have possessed of being" 

thoroughU' acquainted with Mr. Pitt. P^or weeks 

and months together 1 have spent hours with him 

e\'ery morning while he was transacting" his common 

business with his secretaries. Hundreds of times. 

probably, 1 ha\-e called him out of bed, and ha\e, 

in short, seen him in e\-ery situation antl in his 

most unreserved moments. As he knew I should 

not ask an\thing ol him, autl as he rej)osed so much 

c<jnfidence in me as to be j)ersuatled that 1 should 

' Mr. \\ ilherforcc adds here a pencil iiotr in his own hand- 
writing: " Remarkahlf llial when I LiUeivd N'ork, in onlcr to 
attend a ])uh!ic mccling whicli was aliDiit U) take i)kiee, there was 
but one gentleman witli whom I had the smallest aetiuaintance, 
till' l\e\. \\ ni. Mason, tlu' jjoet." 



SKETCH OF PITT 6i 

never use any information I might obtain frtMii him 
for any unfair purpose, he talked freely before me of 
men and things, of actual, meditated, or question- 
able appointments and plans, projects, speculations, 
&c., See. No man, it has been said, is a hero to his 
z>a/ct dc cJiaiubi'e, and if, with all the opportunities I 
enjoyed of seeing Mr. Pitt in his most inartificial 
and unguarded moments, he nevertheless appeared 
to me to be a man of extraordinary intellectual and 
moral powers, it is due to him that it should be 
known that this opinion was formed by one in whose 
instance Mr. Pitt's character was subjected to its 
most severe test, which Rochefoucault appeared to 
think could be stood by no human hero. 

Mr. Pitt's intellectual powers were of the highest 
order, and in private no less than in public, when he 
was explaining his sentiments in any complicated 
question and stating the arguments on both sides, it 
was impossible not to admire the clearness of his 
conceptions, the precision with which he contem- 
plated every particular object, and a variety of 
objects, without confusion. They who have had 
occasion to discuss political questions with him in 
private will acknowledge that there never was a 
fairer reasoner, never any one more promptly recog- 
nising, and allowinor its full weight to everv consider- 
ation and aro-ument which was uro-ed against the 
opinion he had embraced. You always saw where 



62 I'RIVATl-: rAI'I-:RS of W'lI.l^l'.RFORCK 

you ditfcrctl Irmn him antl k>//v. I he clifTcrence 
arose CDiiiinouU- h-oni his sanL;iiiiH-; temper leadiiiL;' 
him to !L;i\e crecht to miormalion which others mi^lu 
dislriisl, and to e.\|)ect that doiihthil coiuiii^'encies 
would have a more favourable issue than (jthers 
miL^ht \-enture to anlieip.ite. 1 nex'cr met with an\- 
man who comljined in an ef|ual deL^ree this extra- 
ordinarx' precision ol understandinL;' with the same 
mtuiti\e appi'ehension of every shad(j ol opinicjn, or 
of feeling, which mi^ht l>e indicated hy those with 
whom he was con\ersant. In taking' an estimate ol 
Mr. Pitt's intellectual powers, his extraordinarx' 
memory ou^ht to be special!) noticed. it was 
indeed remarkable for two excellencies which arc 
seldom found united in the same person -a t"acilit\- of 
receivinL;' impressions, and a Inanness and })recision 
in retaining" them. llis i^reat rixal, Mr. I'Ox. was 
also endowed with a memor\ which to mxself used 
to appear pertcctK" wonderful. ( )fien in the e.u-lier 
part of m\' i^u'liamentary life 1 ha\ e he.u'd him 
(l*\)x) at a \er\" late hour speak, without haxiiiL; 
taken any notes, tor two or three hours, noticing" 
ever)^ material argument that had l)een urL^cd b\- 
every speaker of tlu' (»pposile part) : this lie com- 
mitnl) did in the order in whicli those ari^uments 
had been delivered, whereas it was rather Mr. Pitts 
hal)it to form the jjfan of a speech in his mind w hile 
the debate was Li'oinLi" forw. u'd. and to distribute his 



SKETCH OF PITT 63 

conimcMits on the various statements and remarks of 
his opponents according to the arrangement whicli 
he had made. Such was his (Pitt's) recollection of 
the great classical authors of antiquity that scarcely 
a passage could be quoted of their works, whether 
in verse or prose, with which he was not so familiar 
as to be able to take up the clue and go on with 
w4iat immediately followed. This was particularly 
the case in the works of Virgil, Horace, and Cicero, 
and I am assured that he was also scarcely less 
familiar with Homer and Thucydides. 

He had considerable powers of imagination and 
much ready wit, but this quality appeared more to 
arise from every idea, and e\'ery expression that 
belonged to it, being at once present to his mind, so 
as to enable him at will to make such combinations 
as suited the purpose of the moment, than as it his 
mind was only conscious at the time ot that particular 
coruscation which the collision of objects caused to 
tiash before the mental eye. It arose out of this 
distinctive peculiarity that he was not carried away 
by his own wit, though he could at any time com- 
mand its exercise, and no man, perhaps, at proper 
seasons ever indulged more freely or happily in that 
playful facetiousness which gratifies all without 
wounding any. He had great natural courage and 
fortitude, and though alwa)'s of a disordered stomach 
and gouty tendencies (on account of which port wine 



64 rRiVATi: I'APKRS OF \viij^i-:rforce 

h.'ul l)('cn rccomiiicnclcd to hini in his earliest youth, 
and ch'iiikiiiL;- I'rcnch wine tor a clay or two would at 
an\ time produce ^'outy pains in the extremities), 
\"ct his bodily temperament ne\er produced the 
smallest appearance ot mental weakness or sinking". 
I think it was from this source, combined with that 
ol his naturall)' sanL;uine temper, that though mani- 
festly showing how deej)ly he felt on public affairs, 
he never was harassed or distressed by them, and till 
his last illness, when his bodily powers were almost 
utterly exhausted, his inward emotions never ap- 
peared to cloud his spirits, or affect his temper. 
Always he was ready in the little intervals of a busy 
man to indulge in those sallies of wit and good 
humour which were naturally called forth. 

Excepting only the cases of those who have had 
reason to apprehend the loss of life or liberty, never 
was a public man in circumstances more harassing" 
than those of Mr. I'itt in 17S4: for several w^eeks 
the fate of his administration and that of his oppo- 
nents were trembling on the beam, sometimes one 
scale preponderating, sometimes the other; almost 
daily it appeared doubtful whether he was to con- 
tinue Prime Minister or retire into prix'aie life. \ et 
though then not live-and-twenly I do not believe 
that the anxiety ol his situation v\rv k(|)i him 
awake tor a single minute, or e\er appeared to 
sadden or cast a gloom over his hours of relaxation 



SKETCH OF PITT 65 

It cannot perhaps be affirmed that he was alto- 
gether free from pride, but great natural shyness, ' 
and even awkwardness (French gaucJicrie), often 
produced effects for which pride was falsely charged 
on him ; and really that confidence which might be 
justly placed in his own powers by a man who could 
not but be conscious ot their superiority might 
sometimes appear like pride, though not fairly deserv- 
ing that appellation ; and this should be the rather 
conceded, because from most of the acknowledged 
effects of pride upon the character he was eminently 
free. No man, as I have already remarked, ever 
listened more attentively to what was stated against 
his own opinions ; no man appeared to feel more for 
others when in distress ; no man was ever more kind 
and indulgent to his inferiors and dependents of 
every class, and never were there any of those little 
acts of superciliousness, or indifference to the feel- 
ings and comforts of others, by which secret pride 
is sometimes betrayed. But if Mr. Pitt was not 
wholly free from pride, it may truly be affirmed that 
no man was perhaps e\'er more devoid ol vanity in 
all its forms. One particular more in Mr. Pitt's 
character, scarcely ever found in a proud man, was 
the extraordinary good humour and candour with 
which he explained and discussed any plan or 

' Here there is a pencil note : " For he was one of the shyest 
men I ever knew." 

6 



66 rRIVAII': I'.\IM:RS ()!• wilbi-.rforce 

measure, of which he had foriTiccl the outline In his 
miiul, with ihosr ])r()h'ssi()iial men who were neces- 
saril\- to l)c ('ini)l<)yetl in .^ixini; it a Parhanicntary 
form antl languai^e. I do not beHeve thai tliere is a 
single professional man or the head ot any board 
who ever chd l)usiness with him. who would not 
acknowledge that he was on such occasions the most 
easy and accommodable man with whom they ever 
carried on ofhcial intercourse.' One instance ol this 
kind shall be mentioned as a specimen of the others. 
He had formed a plan of importance (I think in 
some Revenue matter) on which it was necessary 
for him to consult with the Attorney-General of the 
day, I believe Chief Haron Macdonald ; Mr. Pitt 
had been for some time ruminating' on the measure, 
his mind had been occupied lor perhaps a month in 
moulding" it into form and in dexisini;" exj)edients tor 
its more complete execution. it may here be not 
out of place to mention as a peculiarity of his cha- 
racter that he was habitually apt to have almost his 
whole thoughts and attention and time occupied with 
the particular object or plan which he was then 
devising and wishing- to introduce into j^ractice. He 
was as usual lull ol his scheme, and detailed it to 
his j)rofessional friend with the- warmth and ability 
natural to him on such occasions. IWil the .Attorney- 
General soon became con \i need that there were 
legal objections to the measure, which must be 



SKETCH OF PITT '^y 

decisive aoainst its adoption. These therefore he 
explained to Mr. Pitt. \\h(j ininiediately oave up his 
plan with the most unruttled uood-huniour, without 
attempting- to hang by it, or to devise methods of 
propping it up, but, casting it at once aside, he pur- 
sued his other business as cheerfully and pleasantly 
as usual. 

But there are many who with undisturbed com- 
posure and with a good grace can on important 
occasions thus change their line ot conduct and 
assume a course contrary to that which they would 
have preferred. It is, however, far more rare to 
tind men who on little occasions, which are not of 
sufficient moment to call a man's dignity into action, 
and which are not under the public eye, can bear to 
have their opinions opposed and their plans set 
aside, without manifesting some irritation or momen- 
tary fretfulness. But on the lesser scale as well as on 
the greater ^Ir. Pitt's good-humour was preserved. 
This same disposition of mind was attended with 
the most important advantages, and in truth was one 
which eminently qualified him to be the Minister of 
a free country. 

If towards the latter end of his life his temper 
was not so entirely free from those occasional ap- 
proaches to fretfulness which continued disease and 
the necessity of struggling against it too often pro- 
duce, it ouuht to be taken into account that another 



68 PRIVAIK PAPHRS OF \VI LBERFORCP: 

powerful cause besides human infinniiv mi^ht have 
tended to lessen that kindness and j^ood-humour for 
which h(; was for the ^rc'ater part of his life so re- 
markal)lc. 1 he (Ictcrcncc that was |)ai(,l to him was 
jusll)- L^rcat. 1)111 though no man less than himself 
exacted anxlhiiiL; like ser\ilit\' from his companions, 
it is imj)ossil)le to deny that there were those who 
attemj)t('(l lo culli\atc his f;L\our 1)\- this sj)ecies of 
adulation. Another pailitular in Mr. I'ill. seldom 
connected with pride, was the kind interest he took 
in the rising' talents ot e\er\' N'oiin^" public man of. 
an\" j)romise whose j)olitics were conL^enial widi his 
own; as well as the justice which he did to the 
powers of his opponents — a qualit\ which it is but 
fair to .say was no less apparent in Mr. b'o.x also. 
It he sometimes appeared to be desirous of letting" a 
debate come to a close without hearing' some friends 
who wished to take a part in it, this arose in some 
degree in his wishing to get away, from his being 
tired out with Parliamentary speaking and hearing, 
or Irom thiid<.ing thai the debate would close more 
advantageous!) at the point at which he stopped. 

In society he was rem.u'kablv cheerful and 
pleasant, full of wit and playfulness, neither, like 
Mr. Fox, fond ol arguing a ([uesiion, nor x^et 
holding lorth, like some others.' lie was alwa\s 
reatl\ to hear others as well as to icdk himself 

' rciK-il note : " W'yiidhani." 



SKETCH OF PITT 69 

In very earl\- life he now and then engaged in 
games of chance, and the vehemence with which 
he was animated was certainly very great ; but hnd- 
ing that he was t(KO much interested ])y them, all at 
once he entirely and for life desisted from gambling. 
His regard for truth was greater than I ever 
saw in any nian who was not strongly under the 
inrtuence of a powerful principle of religion : he 
appeared to adhere to it out of respect to himself, 
from a certain moral purity which appeared to be 
a part of his nature. A little incident may afford 
an example of his delicacy in this respect. A 
common friend of ours, a member of the House 
of Lords, was reflected upon with considerable 
acrimony in the House of Commons by one of 
Mr. Pitt's political opponents. Being with him, as 
often happened, the next morning, while he was 
at breakfast, I told him that the animadversions 
which had been made on our friend the night 
before were stated in the newspaper, and I ex- 
pressed some surprise that he himselt had not 
contradicted the fact which was the ground of the 
reprehension. " This," said he, " I might have 
done, but you will remember that it was a 
circumstance in which, if I deviated Irom strict 
truth, no other man could know of it, and in such 
a case it is peculiarly requisite to keep within the 
strictest limits of veracity." 



70 PRIVATK PAPERS OF WILRERFORCE 

The remark I am aljout to make may deserve 
the more attention on account of its general appli- 
cation, and becaiis(,- it may probably tend to illustrate 
other characters. It may. I believe, be truly affirmed 
that the imputations which were sometimes thrown 
out ai^ainst Mr. Pitt, that he was wantino" in sim- 
plicity and frankness, and the answers he made to 
questions put to him concerning his future conduct, 
or the principles which were regulating the course 
of measures he pursued, were in truth a direct 
consequence of that \'ery strictness and veracity 
for which he was so remarkable. Wlien men are 
not very scrupulous as to truth, they natura1]\- deal 
in broad assertions, especialK" in cases in which their 
feelings are at all warml\- engaged ; but it seldom 
happens that a ])()]itical man can thus assume a 
principle and ai)j^l\- it to all the cases, which, in 
the use he is about to make of it. it mav be 
supposed to comprehend, without some (lualifi- 
cations and distinctions ; and a man of strict 
veracity therefore makes a contlitional declaration 
or gives a qualified assurance. The same remark 
applies to the judgments we ma\' e.\j)ress of the 
character and C(3nduct of j)ul)lic men. In order to 
be strictlx correct we cannot al\va\s use broad and 
strong colouring, but there must be shades and 
gradations in our drauglu. \'et such is the natural 
and e\'en commendable lo\e whiih men generally 



SKETCH OF PITT 71 

have of truth and honesty, that we feel an instinctive 
preference of simple and strong affirmations or nega- 
tions as indicating more blunt and straightforward 
principles and dispositions, than where men express 
themselves in measured and qualified and conditional 
propositions. No man, I believe, ever loved his 
country with a warmer or more sincere affection ; 
it was highly gratifying to converse familiarly with 
him on the plans he was forming for the public good; 
or to witness the pleasure he experienced from 
indulging speculations of the benefits which his 
country might derive from the realising of such or 
such a hope. 

But notwithstanding all my admiration of Mr. 
Pitt's extraordinary powers, and still more, with 
the deepest and most assured conviction of his 
public spirit and patriotism, I cannot but think that 
even his uncommon excellencies were not without 
some alloy of human infirmity. In particular he 
appeared to me to be defective in his knowledge 
of human nature, or that from some cause or other 
he was less sagacious than might have been expected 
from his superior talents, in his estimate of future 
events, and sometimes in his judgment of character. 
This might probably arise in part from his naturally 
sanguine temper, which in estimating future contin- 
gencies might lead him to assiijn too little weight to 
those probabilities which were opposed to his ultimate 



/-' 



PRIVATK r.XrKRS OF WILHKRFORCE 



conclusion. Vn\l if 1 niiisl he honest in delineating" 
Mr. Pitt's character and ([ualities, 1 must also confess 
that in considerinL^- their j^ractical influence on the 
fortunes of his countr)-, I have sometimes been 
ahnost ready to believe that powers far inferior to his, 
under the direction of a mind equally sincere and 
equally warm in its zeal for the public i^ood, might 
have been the instrument of conferring" far ^"reater 
benefits on his countr\ . His great qualities, under 
the imj3ulse and guidance of true religion, would 
prol)al)lv have been the means of obtaining lor his 
country much greater temporal blessings, together 
with others of a far higher order, and more durable 
effects. The circumstances of the period at which 
he llrst came into the situation of Prime Minister 
were such as almost to in\-est him with absolute 
power. All his faculti(;s then possessed the bloom 
of youthful beauty as well as the full \igour of 
maturer age : his mind was ardent, his principles 
were pure, his patriotism warm, his mind as vet 
altogether unsullied by habitually associating with 
men of worldly ways of thinking and acting, in 
short, with a class which may be not unfitl\ termed 
trading politicians ; this is a class with which perhaps 
no one, however originall\- purt', can habiiualK" 
associate. especialK" in the hours of friciulU inter- 
course and of social recreation, without coniracling 
insensibl\- more or less tlctilcmciu. No one who 



SKETCH OF PITT 73 

had not been an eye-witness could conceive the 
ascendency which Mr. Pitt then possessed over 
the House of Commons, and if he had then gene- 
rously adopted the resolution to govern his country 
b\' principle rather than b)' influence, it was a 
resolution which he could then have carried into 
execution with success, and the full effects of which, 
both on the national character, interests, and happi- 
ness, it is scarcely possible perhaps to estimate ; but 
it would be a curious and no unprofitable speculation 
to trace the probable effects which would have 
resulted from the assumption of this high moral 
tone, in the actual circumstances of this country, in 
reference both to our internal interests and our foreign 
relations. This is a task I cannot now undertake, 
but I may reniind the reader that the principles were 
then beginning to propagate themselves with the 
greatest success which not long after exhibited their 
true nature and ruinous effects in the French Revo- 
lution. Such a spirit of patriotism would have 
been kindled, such a o-enerous confidence in the 
Kino-'s orovernment would have been diffused 
throughout all classes, that the very idea of the 
danger of our being infected with the principles of 
French licentiousness, which might have produced 
among our people a general taint of disloyalty, 
would have been an apprehension not to be 
admitted into the bosom of the most timid poli- 



74 rRI\'ATE TAPERS OF W'lT.BKRFORCE 

tician ; while the various reforms which would have 
taken j)lace, ami ihc manifest independence of 
l^u-liamenl wnuld ha\e j^eneraled and ensured in 
tile minds of all reasonable men a continualh" in- 
creasino- oratitudc and affection for the constitution 
and laws of our country. On the other hand, the 
I'rench, infatuated as they were, and wicked as were 
the men who then j)ossessed the chiet inlluence in 
the coimsels of that country, could never have been 
so blind to their own manifest interest, as to have 
eni^aij^ed their people in a war with Great Britain 
from any idea of our confederatiuL;" with the 
Crowned Heads of Europe to crush the risinj^ 
spirit of libertN' in 1*' ranee. Hence we should 
have escaped that Iohl;- and bloody war, which, 
however, in its ultimate issue justly deserving' the 
epithet of glorious, is nexertheless the cause of 
all our present dangers antl sufferings, from the 
insupportable burdens with which it has loaded us. 
Nor is it onl\' Financial e\ils ol which our long 
protracted warlare has been the cause ; to tliis 
source also we must probabK trace much ot lliat 
Moral e\il, which in so main' different forms has 
been of late beginning to nianilesi iisell, especialK" 
among the lower orders ol oui' peoj)lc. I lie 
gracious l'i-o\idcnce ol (lod has indeed abundanlK 
answered the pra\ers ol man\' among us, who 1 
trust iiax'e all along been looking up lo the (ii\er 



SKETCH OF PITT 75 

of all Good for their country's safety and pros- 
perity; and while those causes were in operation 
which were hereafter to manifest themselves in 
various forms of social and domestic evil, it 
pleased God to diffuse a spirit of an opposite 
kind, which beg-an to display its love of God and 
love of man by the formation of societies of a 
religious and moral nature, which have already 
contributed in no small deo-ree to bless almost 
all nations, while they have invested our own 
countr)' with a moral glory never before enjoyed 
b)' any nation upon earth. The diffusion of the 
Sacred Scriptures, the establishment of societies 
for spreading- throughout the world the blessings 
of religious light and of moral improvement, the 
growing attention to the education of our people, 
with societies and institutions for relieving every 
species of suffering which vice and misery can 
ever produce among the human race, — what 
would have been the effects of all this, if not 
obstructed and counteracted in all the various 
ways by which war, that greatest scourge of the 
human race, carries on its baleful and wide 
wasting operations. ' 

Is it not a melancholy consideration that this 
very country, the constitution and laws of which 
have been the objects of the highest possible 
' A note : " Vary here." 



76 PRIVATl-: IWIM'.RS OF WILl^KR FORCE 

admiraiioii of ihc wisest men. should be in such a 
state that hut too hu-^e a part of the j^reat body of 
our ])(M)j)]c, instead i»l IdnkiiiL; uj) to Heaven with 
i^ratiludc fur bciiiL;- fax'oured with ])lessinu-s never 
before enjoyed by any nation, should be led by 
their sufferings to reij^ard that very constitution and 
those \'er\- laws with disgust and aversion ? Of 
this unhappy state of things the war. as haviuLj' 
been the cause of our llnancial distresses and 
difficulties, is in fact the source. Ihit there is 
nothing' in whicli we are so apt to deceive ourseh'es 
as in conceiving" that we are capable of estimating" 
the full amount of moral i^-ood or evil ; short-siu"hted 
as we are. there is nothing" in which our \"iews are 
more manifestly narrow and contracted ; an impor- 
tant, na)", an awtul consideration, which, while it 
may well encourage to acti\"it\" in all L;"ood. should 
make us tremble to admit (the slightest speck) the 
smallest seed of moral evil to pollute our c(nintrv's 
soil. i)Ul I ha\"e been led to expatiate more than 
I intended on this topic, though merely n'lancin;^" at 
some of the most important of the considerations 
which it presents to the \iew e\en of the most 
superficial observer. 

Returning to the consideration ot the ettect ol 
true religion on the character and conduct ot the 
L^real man who has been the subject ol this m(|uii-\", 
I .un naturalK led to remark th.il thei"e can be no 



SKETCH OF PITT yy 

possible occasion on which the application of the 
principle on which I have been lately speaking 
would suggest wider scope for our reflection. But 
if we consider the effect which true religion would 
have produced either in himself or in others around 
him, how immense would appear the mass of bene- 
fits, in the employment of his time, in the applica- 
tion of his faculties, in the selection ot his com- 
panions, perhaps, above all, in his giving their just 
weight to religious and moral principles and cha- 
racter in the exercise of his unlimited patronage, 
both in Church and State ; and considering that 
every religious and good man, who by him should 
have been invested with power and influence, would 
himself have selected others of similar principles 
and character, throughout the descending series of 
official appointments, and through all the variety of 
social occupations, who can say what would have 
been the effect of these religious and moral secre- 
tions, if they may be so termed, which throughout 
the whole political body would ha\'e been gradually 
producing their blessed effects in augmenting its 
fulness, symmetry, and strength ? ' And these 
effects, remember, wT)uld have been of a merely 
public, still less of a merely political character. 
They would have been, to say the least, full as 
manifest, and even more fertile in the production 
' A note :— -" Dilate, and Figure.'' 



78 I'Kix'ATi-: i'.\ri":RS of wilhkrforck 

of happiness in all the walks of pri\-atc life and all 
the xarielic'S ot social conibinatiun. 

In consitlcrinL;- the estimates which were formed 
of Mr. Pill's and Mr. I^'ox's characters respectively, 
more especially in ])oint of what ma\- he called 
popularity; and also as to their reputation l<»r 
oenius, wit, and classical taste, it should be 
remembered that Mr. I-'ox haj)])ened to have 
become connected, both at school and at (Jxtord, 
with a circle of men eminent for talents and 
classical proficiency, men also who were not shut 
up in cloisters, but who lived in the world, and i^ave 
the lone in the highest and most polished societies 
of the metropolis. Among these were Mr. Hare, 
General bitzpatrick. Lord John Townshend ; and 
to these must be added Mr. Windham, Mr. I^>skine, 
and, above all, Mr. Sheridan. .Mr. I'iii had also 
several college friends who came into I'arliament 
about the same period with himself, men of no 
inferior consideration — Mr. Hankes, Mr. Kliot. Lord 
Abercorn, Lord Spencer, and se\eral others. lUit 
these, it must be confessed, were 1)\ no means men 
of the same decree of brilliancy as the former set ; 
nor did the)' in the same decree li\e in the circle of 
fashion and there dilliise their own opinions. Again 
Mr. Fox's political connections were numerous, and 
such as nalurall)- tended to stamp a high \alue on 
his character. IWiike, IJarre— tor thei'e were those 




THE KIC.HT HONKI.K. WII.I.IAM I'll T. 



SKETCH OF PITT 79 

also who though not of h^ox's party, often associated 
with him in j:)rivatc, and tended to sustain the 
general estimate ot his suj)eri()rity ; of these were 
Gibbon, Lord Thurlow, Dunning, Jeykell. 

Again, the necessity under which Mr. Pitt often 
lay of opening and speaking upon subjects of a low 
and vulgarising quality, such as the excise on 
tobacco, wine, &c., &c., topics almost incapable 
with propriety, of an association with wit or grace, 
especially in one who was so utterly devoid of all 
disposition to seek occasions for shining, tended to 
produce a real mediocrity of sentiment and a lack 
of ornament, as well as to increase the impression 
that such was the nature of his oratory. Also the 
speeches of a minister were of necessity more 
guarded, and his subjects, except where he was 
opening some new proposition or plan, were rather 
prescribed to him by others, than selected by him- 
self.' 

The MS. of Canning's lines on Pitt is amongst 
the Wilberforce Papers ; they are so little known 
that no apology is needed for inserting them here. 
Canning wrote them for the feast in honour of Pitt's 
birthday, May 28, 1802. It will be remembered 
that Pitt had resigned in 1801, because the Kini>" 
would not accept his Irish policy. A vote of cen- 
' Here is added in pencil, " 2nd Nov. 182 1." 



So I'RIVATK r.Ari-.RS OI- WILBERFORCE 

sure had been moved, and was not merely rejected. 
i)ut, 1)\- an ()\er\v]iclmin^4 majority, it was carried 
"that the Rii^ht 1 Ion. William Pitt has rendered 
j^reat and important ser\ices to his country, and 
especially deserved the gratitude of this House." ' 

TJIK I'll.UT THAI" WKAIHKRI) THE STORM. 

(.1 So/i^i;^ written in 1802.^ 

If hush'd the loud whirlwind that ruffled the deep, 
The sky, if no longer dark tempests deform ; 

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep ? 
No ! Here's to the Pilot that weather'd the storm ! 

At the footstool of Power let flattery fawn, 
Let faction her idols extol to the skies ; 
To Virtue, in humble retirement withdrawn, 

Unblam'd may the merits of gratitude rise. 

And shall not his memory to Britain be dear, 
Whose example with envy all nations behold ; 

A Statesman unbiased by int'rest or fear. 
By pow'r uncorrupted, untainted by gold ? 

Who, when terror and duubt through the universe reigned, 
While rapine and treason their standards unfurl'd. 

The heart and the hopes of his country maintained. 

And one kingdom preserved midst the wreck of the world. 

Unheeding, unthankful, we bask in the blaze, 

\\'hile the beams of the sun in full majesty shine ; 

\\'hcn he sinks into twilight, with fondness we gaze, 
And mark the mild lustre that gilds his decline. 



' Rosebery's " Life of Pitt," p. 2},i. 



SKETCH OF PITT Ri 

Lo ! Pitt, when the course of thy greatness is o'er, 

I'hy talents, thy virtues, we fondly recall ! 
Now justly we prize thee, when lost we deplore ; 

Admir'd in thy zenith, hut lov'd in thy full. 

Oh ! take, then — for dangers by wisdom repelled, 
J'or evils, by courage and constancy brav'd — 

Oh take ! for a throne by thy counsels upheld 
The thanks of a people thy firmness has sav'd. 

And oh ! if again the rude whirlwind should rise ! 

The dawning of peace should fresh darkness deform. 
The regrets of the good, and the fears of the wise, 

Shall turn to the Pilot that weather'd the storm 



LETTERS FROM FRIENDS 



83 



llw Idlers w/iii/i fo/Ioic arc from friends of 
]]^ilbcr force i)c/icccii the years 1786-1832: they 
touch on a variety of sul^jccts. George Rose^ zvrites 
in 1 790 /// the full //nsh of excitement on the neius 
of '" peace certain and nnc^nrvoca/ on the Z'cry teivns 
prescrilh'd from hence y 



' I'lun Ckik of rurlianicnts. Rose writes to WilhcrfDrcc 
lain : " 1 shall iu\cr fiiul words. titlKr in speaking or writing, 
to express what I think of you." 



»*■« 



LETTERS FROM FRIENDS 

Right Hon. George Rose to Mr. Wilbcrforcc. 
" Old Palace Yard, 

" Xoi'Liiibcr 4, 1790. 

" 1\Iy dear Wilberforce, — I was shocked this 
morning in putting" my papers in order on my table 
to find a letter I wrote to you before I went into 
the country ; you must have thought me shamefully 
inattentive to you, which I trust I never shall be 
while I retain my senses, for anxious as I am to 
avoid such an imputation in general I do assure 
you I am particularly so to stand clear of that in 
your opinion. I will now, however, make you 
ample amends for the seeming neglect by telling 
you that the expected messenger is arrived and 
brings us an account of peace certain and unequi- 
vocal, on the very terms (I may say to you) 
prescribed from hence ; they secure to us great 
and essential points important to the interests 
of the country, and must prevent future occasions 



S6 I'KW.Vl'K I'APKRS OF WILBERFORCE 

of quarrel with Sjxiin ; war witli all its certain 
and |)()ssil)le consecjuences are [sn') axoicled. So 
much for public benefits ; what it must {produce 
to the indi\idual ' to whom the merit is justly 
ami lairl\- to be ascribed it is impossible at once 
to foresee — -I mean with respect to character 
of everything that can be valuable to a man in 
his situation. 

" I have actually been drunk ever since ten 
o'clock this morning', and ha\'e not yet quite the 
use of m)' reason, l)ut 1 am 

" Yours most faithfully and cordially, 

" Georue Rose." 

Pitt's views as to a bounty on corn in the 
scarcity then - prexailin^" are given by Rose in the 
next letter. 

/^/o/i/ Hon. a. /\osc to Mr. ]\'ilbcrforcc. 

"Mv iiKAR W'li.Di.RioRci:,— It would be very 
odd il )our writing to me on the subject of )"our 
last, or indeed t)n an\ other, could require an 
apology ; 1 regret only that 1 cannot give you 
the light uj)on it )()u wish. 

" W ilh respect to measures within the re.ich 
of Government to relieve the scarcit\ I tear none 
can be effectual. Mr. Pitt caimot, as you know, 
after his declaration in Parliament, import at the 

' Pill. » About iSoj. 



LETTERS FROM FRIENDS 87 

expense or risk of the public, but he is inchned 
to give a bounty on corn imported when it shall 
be below a certain price within a limited time. 
This is a new principle, but I really believe it 
would produce much good. The idea occurred to 
him on reading Mr. Richardson's letter to you, 
who stated the great discouragement of individuals 
importing to be the risk of prices being low on the 
arrival of cargoes in the spring ; I was so much 
struck with Mr. Richardson's observations that I 
wrote to beg him to call on me last Monday, but 
he had unfortunately set off that morning for 
Liverpool. I am more than half disposed to take 
the chance of prevailing with him to come up 
again. 

" During- our late sittino- the Scotch distilleries 
were stopped, but the prices of barley in England 
were not then such as to induce any man to hint 
even at the English ; and of course there is now 
no power to prevent them going on. We did 
prohibit the distillation of wheat ; and allowed the 
importation of starch at the Home Duty, which 
will stop that manufactory ; but I deplore most 
sincerely and earnesdy any agreement against the 
use of hair powder, not merely for the sake 
of a laro-e revenue, but to avoid other mischief 
which I am very sure is not enough attended to, 
the distinction of dress and external appearance. 



88 I'RIVATK I'APKRS 01-' WILBKRFORCE 

The inattention to that has l)een a threat support 
of Jacobinism. 

" The resokitions which were taken in the last 
scarcit)' for restraining; the use of flour, &;c., were 
so httle attended, and were on the whole productive 
of so Hllle i^ood that Mr. Pitt has not thoui^ht it yet 
advisable to recur to them. 1 beliexe imich may be 
done. especiall\' in towns, by soup shops, respecting" 
which I should think Mr. Bernard can inform you 
as full)' as any one, from the share he took in the 
conduct ol them in London last winter. Perhaps 
the article ma\' be made somewliat cheaper here 
than an\- where else froni there beini;' a larger 
(juantily of ct^arse parts ol the meat than in any 
counlr\ place, but the souj) was made admirably 
good, palatable and nulriti\e lor twopence a (juart, 
and retailed at half that price ; one pint an ample 
allowance for each person, taking adults and 
children together, so that for one halfpenny a dav 
a comfortable mess was pi'o\idcd lor a j)oor person. 
1 am making the experiment both at Christ Church 
and L\ lulhurst and I shall soon see liow ii will 
answer. I am ikiI sure but thai sonu- geiiei'.d plan 
ol that sort will l)e as likel\ .is an\ t»ther to be 
useful now. I think also ol imijoiling a cargo 
of corn now, as I tlid j)oi'k on the last occasion, and it 
ma\' be a gootl thing to encourage others to do the 
same tor the suppK' ol their respecti\e neighbi)ur- 



LETTERS EROM ERIENDS 89 

hoods, which people will be more disposed to do if Mr. 
Pitt should propose the bounty I have alluded to. 

"The dr\- weather during- the last twelve days 
I hope will be productive of infinite good ; nothing- 
could be more fortunate, as the seed I hope will 
now be all well got in, which may have an imme- 
diate effect in lowering the prices." 

A letter of a later date from Rose follows as to 
the payment of Pitt's debts by subscription amongst 
his friends. W'ilberforce was sanguine as to the 
success of this plan " considering the number of 
affluent men connected with Pitt, some of whom 
have got great and lucrative places from him." 
Wilberforce drew up a list of sixty-three persons 
who " might be expected to contribute." But the 
plan of a private subscription fell to the ground. 
Right Hon. G. Rose to Mr. Wilberforce. 

" Old Palace Yard, 

" January 25, 1806, Saturday. 
" Mv DEAR Wilberforcp:, — I told you, imme- 
diately after the receipt of your former letters, that 
all th(jught of applying to Parliament for payment 
of Mr. Pitt's debts was abandoned ; and measures 
are taking for the attainment of that object, which 
will be very greatly assisted by your endeavours 
I am sure. Mr. Samuel Thornton and Mr. 
Anoferstein are to meet several gentlemen in the 
city on Tuesday morning to promote a private 



90 I'RIVATI-: r.AIMCRS 01~ W ILBERFORC1-: 

subscrij)ti(^n, aiul wliatcvcr may be necessary to 
be done al this ciul of the town I trust will be 
effectetl. I hope I expressed ni\sell intellii^ibl)" 
respecting' Noiir moti\'es — you cannot be more 
certain of them than 1 am — and 1 felt deeply 
obh'Ljed by the plainness with which you expressed 
\()ur sentiments ; they decided m\- conduct instantly, 
as I told )'ou before. 

"As U) the wish expressed by oin" late inestimable 
friend relati\e to the Stanhopes, I sun^estetl to nou 
that as pro\ision had been made tor the husbands 
of the two elder ones, ecjual to /, i,ooo a year, 
I believe, for each, 1 tliou^hl a further one by 
Parliament could hardly be acquiesced in. b'or 
Lady Hester I hoped no difficulty would l)e made 
in [)ro\'idin«4- an amuiitx' to that amount. The two 
)ounL;' men are in the ■drmy—///iy are not of Mr. 
Pitt's blood — and small sinecure employments are 
given to them which will aid their income. 

" Three gentlemen are to meet in the city on 
Monday to concert the best measures tor i)romoting 
the subscription, and you shall know the result. 
W)u will, I am persuaded, come in lo allend the 
1 louse on that day. 

"The l)ishop of Lincoln is at the l)eanery. 
" 1 am, my dear \V ilbertorce, 
" Most trul) yours, 

"Gi;oRc;i-: Rosi:." 



LETTERS FROM I<'RI1<:XDS 91 

The next two letters are from Dundas. afterwards 
Lord Melville.' " the only minister to whose judge- 
ment Pitt greatly deferred." Wllberforce writes 
of him as "an excellent man of business and a 
fine, warm-hearted fellow," but later on he says, 
" his connection with Dundas was Pitt's great 
misfortune." - The first letter is on the subject 
of free exports of our manufactures to Holland. 
Rio/if Hon. Henry Dundas to Mr. W^ilbcrforce. 

" \\'l.MliI,EDON, August 15, 1796. 

" My dear W., — I have spoke both with Mr. 
Pitt and Lord Grenville on the subject of a free 
exportation of our manufactures from this country 
to Holland. I think they agree with me in 
thinking that if the restraint was ever a politick 
one the time is passed. Lord Liverpool, I believe, 
is of a different opinion, but it will imniediately 
come under discussion, and I would hope he will 
act wisely upon it. For my own part, I am of 
opinion that it is a degree of infatuation at the 
present moment to prevent the trade and manu- 
factures of the country finding an exit and a vent 
in any mode and by any channel the enterprise 
of the merchants can devise. I am as well as can 
be under all the anxieties which the state of the 

' Lecky, vol. vii. p. 32. 

^ Dundas, who had been Treasurer to the Navy, was impeached 
on April 29, 1805, on a charge of misappropriating ^10,000 
worth of public money. He was acquitted June 12, 1805. 



92 I'RIWATK rATLkS Ul' W ILJ51-:KI-(JRCE 

country naturally sug-gests, and the pain arising;' 
from that anxiclx" is not diminished by feelincr 
oneself free from ihc hlamc of all the mischief 
which is uoinu' <»ii. W ho would ha\e UioliliIu not 
many years aoo that in the year 1796 (ireat 
Britain should he the only nation to be lound 
true to its own interests, or in a situation to 
maintain them. Init 1 tind m\- pen rumiin^' away 
with nif, and must conclude with con^ratiilatinL;' 
you on the line weather and Kixiiriant crops, and 
with bein^", m)- dear \Vil, 

" \'ours sincerely, 

" I 1i;nk\ I )lni)As." 
Dundas's remarks on the defence of the country 
and the raisiuL^' of Nohintcer and \eomanr\' corps 
in 1798 are not widitml interest in 1S97. 

" W i.Mi;i.i-.ii< )\, ydiiiiiirv 2g, I7(>8. 
'' M\- i)i;.\K \\'ili;i:ri()Kci:, I'here can not be 
a douljt of the wishes of Government to brin^' 
forward the zeal and exertions ot the countr\' in 
every j)raclicabl(' shaj)e ; at present I am not 
aware ihal an\ ihin^ cheaper (it realK elticieiU) 
can be resorted to than the s\sU'm ol xnliinieer 
corj)s and xt-omam')' coi'i)s to which e\er\' encoiii'a^e- 
ment is j^ix-en. At the same lime it an\ proj)osal 
through the I'c^iilar channel tan be- laid before 
( iovermneiU haxin;^ the same teiulencw there tan 
not be a tloubl oi its bein-' dul\ alleiuletl lo. 



Ll-mi'.RS I'ROM 1-RI1-:.\US 93 

The on]\' satisfactory answer therefore which I 
can make to your letter is to suggest to you the 
propriety of mentioning to \'our friends who have 
apphed to you, that it would be best for them to 
put in writing the specified plan they would seve- 
rall\- wish to adopt, and if that is sent to the 
Duke of Portland by the Lord Lieutenant, I haxe 
no reason to doubt that it will be duly attended 
to. If a copy of the proposal is at the same 
time extra officially laid before me, it might be 
the means of expediting" the consideration of it, 
as I have frequent opportunities of conversing 
with the Dukes of York and Portland, and like- 
wise with Mr. Pitt on all subjects of that nature. 
Indeed the proper defence of the country by 
every possible means it can be done with effect 
and economy occupies my unremitting attention, 
and if I observe it neglected in any department, 
it vexes and distresses me more than I can 
describe, and perhaps more than is convenient 
consistently with keeping one's mind in a constant 
tenor of steady and unruffled attention. I was 
sorry to learn within these two days that Mrs. 
Wilberforce is ailing, and 

" I remain, my dear W^ilberforce, 

"Yours very sincerely, 

" Henry Dundas." 
In his later days when he had withdrawn to 



94 rRI\'.\Tl-: I'AIM'.KS OF W I l.m'.RFORCE 

a L^rcat cxtciU frnni the society which he had 
charmed in his Noiiih W'ilberforce's chief female 
friends were Hannali More, of whose letters hun- 
dreds remain, Martha More, Mrs. I'ry. Maria 
Edo'eworth. In stroni^' contrast stand out the 
friendships n\ the \oiilhhi] da\ s. when W'ilher- 
torce s W inihlcdon \illa was the resort ot witty 
and fashionable, rather than of learned and cha- 
ritable ladies, when he was " sitting ujj all night 
singing " and w hen the society he frecjuented 
included Mrs. Siddons, Mrs. Crewe, Mrs. She- 
ridan, the 1 )uchess of Portland, and last Init not 
least, the beautiful and bewitching Jane Duchess 
of Gordon, she who raised the regiment of Cior- 
doii I 1 iglilandcrs b\ gi\ing, as was .saitl, the 
shilling from her mouth to the recruits. 

The Duchess of Gordon writes to William 
W'ilberforce in July, I7<S<S, of "the man\- haj)py 
hours 1 hax'c spent at Wimbledon," and from 
Keswick this \ersatile woman tells him of the 
"sweet church" she had passed b\- and how she 
"found myself repeating ihc lines, 'Remote from 
man with Gotl he passed his da\ s, l'ra\cr all 
his business, all his j)leasure j)raise ' : it is thus 
1 should like l<) li\c, the worKl forj^elling b\ 
the world forgot." She tries to tempi him to 
(lordon ("asUe in these wortls : " I kiinu ih.u 
'silent glens ha\c chaims lor thee,' and this is the 



LETTERS P^ROM FRIENDS 95 

country in which you will find those silent and 
peaceful abodes. Nature bestowed every wild, 
uncultivated beauty, with a purer air and brighter 
horizon. Here Hyoeia is to be found ; we lead 
the li\'es of hermits. Dr. Beattie shall be our 
companion. We go to bed at eleven, and some- 
times \isit the majestic ocean before breakfast. 
I am certain the air of this country would per- 
fectly re-establish your health, which would give 
joy to thousands, and no one more than, &c., 

"J. Gordon." 

In this letter the Duchess encloses her corre- 
spondence with Dundas, who was one of the 
circle at that Liberty Hall of Wimbledon. 

The Duchess had had a misunderstanding with 
Dundas which she wished Wilberforce to heal 
through his influence with Pitt. She had "dropped 
some words" respecting Dundas to Pitt which had 
" got round " to the former. Dundas writes to 
her : 

" India Office, 

"7///)' 4, 1788. 

" Dear Duchess, — I received your affectionate 
note previous to your departure for Scotland. A 
great part of its contents are more fit for discussion 
in free conversation than by letter. I have only to 
beg of you always to keep in remembrance the 
long letter I wrote to you in consequence of some 



96 PRIVATI-: PAl'KRS OF WILHKRFORCE 

words you tln)j)j)ccl to Mr. Pill respecting" me last 
winter. 

"Ii is scarcely possible for you to put me out 
of luiniour, because however much nou may at 
times forget, yourself, and iL^ct into sallies of un- 
ouardct-1 expression, \t)U would be almost the 
worst of l)einL;s if noli was seriously to entertain 
for me an\ other sentiments than those of perfect 
regard and affection. I therefore ne\er suspect 
you of any serious alteration of your regard. But 
let me for )our own sake entreat you to reflect 
that everybody does not make the same allowance 
that I tlo. You judge trul\' when )ou think that 
you have many encnnies. and be assured thai there 
is no such good receipt f )r ha\ing enemies than to 
talk rashl\- or disrespectfully behind their backs; 
and be sure of it these things in some way or 
other get round, and no after-ci\ilitv is received as 
an expiation. On the contrar\". it brings upon 
you the imputation of duplicity which of all other 
ingredients in a character ought (even the sus- 
picion of it) to be avoided. 

" After so long a lecture. 1 think it right to 
console you with enclosing Sir Cieorge Young's 
note just received. 1 leave you to say ainthing 
)ou please about me to Mrs. Ciordon, only let hei- 
not imagine that 1 made j)rofessions even in the 
middk- ol a couiUr\ d.uice without a perfect deter- 



LKTTICRS I'ROM KRIKNDS 97 

mination to realise them. Remember me affec- 
tionately to everybody, and 

" I rcMnain, 

" \'ours sincerely, 

"Henrv Uundas." 

The Duchess's answer to Uundas is so lull ot 
pi(juancy that it helps one to realise the per- 
sonality of this remarkable woman. 

I) lie /less of iiordon to RioJii Hon. Henry Diindas. 

" (loRDON Castlk, 

''July 13, 1788. 

" I have this mornino' yours, and though not a 
little confused with the bustle of joy that surrounds 
me, cannot delay answering it. There is something 
in the strain of your letters so unlike the ideas that 
you convey in our conversation that I cannot think 
they are wrote b)^ the same person. 

" Why mention duplicity to me } Vcju know 
there is not a human being further from it ; and 
I know you don't in your heart believe one word 
upon the subject. If you do, you have not the 
penetration the world gives you ; for I can assure 
you with the hrmest ccjnhdence you are most egre- 
giously mistaken. It would be better lor me if I 
had a little more of that detestable vice, or even 
the policy to conceal my sentiments, lor I am con- 
vinced my enemies are the offspring of too much 
openness ; far, very far, from that detested duplicity, 

8 



98 I'KiNAri-: r.\i'i:Rs of wilberkorce 

or ;in\- of its haictul train. I ncx'cr expressed an 
idea ol noli or \our coiulucl thai I did iiol express 
to yourself. ll was the impulse ot the moment; 
and I feel too independent ol any man's power, how- 
ever much 1 ma\ choose to depend upon their good 
opinitjn and hiendship, to suppress my sentiments 
when justly founded. For many years of m\- lite 
my confidence in you was unbounded. Vou said 
)ou loved me with all the extra\aL;ance of passion; 
at the same time that respect, esteem, and \enera- 
tion made you express sentiments that did you 
honour to teel and me to follow. \'ou certainly 
ditl not act to m\- brother as 1 would ha\-e done 
to yours or to any one \ ou protected. W hat Mr. 
Pitt told N'ou 1 could not tell him as a secret. 
\ ou ha\e olten told me he has none from you. 
1 do not doubt -I could not doubt — that the 
Huke and 1 were the })ersons on earth xou wished 
most to serve, and yet m\- brother lias met with 
the most cruel disappointments. In this, m\- m)od 
iriend, there is no duplicit\. Xot e\'en to \our 
enemies did I express <ui idea that coukl lead 
them to think that 1 e\'er doubted xour honour, 
)<)ur sincerit}', or xour talents as a statesman. 
No dark hints and half-sentences ; but an open 
declaration ol m\ Irientlship and a ik'pendeiice 
upon N'ours. ThcU your Iriends ami th.u society 
was where ue sj)ent the happiest hours. lio\\e\er 



LETTERS EROM M^IICNDS 99 

imj)()litic-, I always openly declared my decided 
preference lo those parties, and I don't doubt it 
but it made enemies of those that had felt and 
expressed ver) different sentiments — I know it 
did. But to L^tiin one friend such as I could name, 
more than repaid a legion of such insipid triflers 
and ignorant pu])j)ies. When 1 wrote you my 
note from London I had resolved to obliterate all 
causes of complaint, and only remember with 
gratitude the pleasant parties we had enjoyed at 
your house ; but your letter makes it necessary 
that I bring" to your view fVom how many different 
sources any dissatisfaction on my part arose. The 
last cause — your cc^nduct relative to our politics — 
I thought both impolitic as a statesman and unkind 
as a friend. You say you thought otherwise, and 
your kind proposal of the Duke's succeeding to 
Lord Marchmont's office will more than cancel his 
disappointment. This is a true picture of my 
mind. After eighteen years' acc]uaintance, you 
would hav^e drawn a much more flattering one ; 
indeed, till the last few months of my life, you 
certainly thought me all perfection — so no more 
duplicity, or I must attribute eighteen years of 
that most horrid vice to you, and only a few 
months' sincerity. So I know, whatever you may 
amuse yourself with writing, that it is still, and 
must be, your firm belief I would not have said 



loo rRi\'A'n-: I'.xri-.Rs oi-^ \\ii.p.i-:rforce 

so much upon the siil)jc(i, hiii I ircmMc for I 
doii'i kiKiw wlial. I had hints in l,(t)ul(»ii. I had 
fori^ol du'iii. till yniir h-llcr hrin^s du-m widi 
redoublfd loixc id in\ ix-iiicinhraiicc. I could not 
believe ihcin ; for \(»u had coininced me Mr. Pitt 
had some unlavourable impressiuns of me, and 
that you had removed them. For no one favour 
ditl I ieel more L^ratcful. Hut 1 shall never haxx- 
done. I was hap])\ to see all xour famiK in 
I'.dinburL^h well and ha])p\ ; 1 louml nn little bov 
the most lo\el\" creature 1 e\'er saw. .M\ 1 )uke 
is most sincerely \ours ; he cannot douljt \()ur 
friendshij), as that office had lon^ been the object 
ol his wishes and expectations. Xo one is better 
entitled anil no one more worth v of it. Once 
more adieu. Ma\- the races aftord you much 
amusement, and ma\- the paths of McKille and 
])uneira be strewed with roses, without one care 
irom public or private lite to cause a i^ioom, 

6v:c.. «S:c.. 

" |. Gordon." 

The I )uchess, in enclosiuL;' this corresj)ondence. 
bei^s W ilberforce to be her lU tender it he liears 
her character attacked on the L^round ot "dupli- 
city" or " inaci'uracN' ; " his mllucncc with I'lit 
was one reason toi' hci' iroubliiii^ hnn with the 
sul)ject. 

Later on slie writes to \\ ilbcrlorce. who was 



LETTERS EROM ERIIu\I)S loi 

gradiially wiihdrawiiiL;" himsclt Iroin fashionable 
society, a note docketed "before iSoo." to say: — 

"Am I never to see you more;? The Duchess 
of Leeds and lier sister sini;- here Monday evenino". 
Pray come ; I shall be deli!4hted to see you. and 
much mortified if you don't come. 

" L^ver yours most truly, &c., 

"J. Gordon." 

After 1 800 Wilberforce seems in i^reat measure 
to have cut himself loose from society that he 
considered frivolous ; and to have used the extra- 
ordinary influence he possessed over his friends to 
endeavour to induce them also to forsake the world 
of fashion. The long- letter which follows is from 
Lord Calthorpe (a relation of Barbara,' Wilber- 
force's wife), who had been strongly advised by 
Wilberforce not to spend a Sunday with the 
Duchess of Gordon in Scotland. Lord Calthorpe 
writes in great chagrin at having neglected the 
g'ood advice of his mentor, had found the warn- 
ings against her fascinations very necessary, and 
had had the mortification of seeing her go to 
sleep while he read Leighton's "Commentary" to 



' ^^'illialn Wilberforce married Barbara, daughter of Isaac 
Spooner ; she was the seventh Barbara in her family, the name 
having been handed down from mother to daughter. The first 
Barbara was daughter of Viscount Fauconberg and wife of 
Sir Henry Slingsby, Bart., who was beheaded on Tower Hill 
June 8, 1658, by Oliver Cromwell, for loyalty. 



I02 I'RIVA ri". I'AI'l-'.RS OF WILBERFORCE 

her. It \v()iil(.l he of iiUcrcst to know \vh;il were the 
"hill and iisciul (lireclioiis Idi' puMic speaking" for 
wliicli \j}\\\ ("allhorpc is L;ralehil In W'ilherforce. 
Lord Ca/lhorpc to Mr. ]\'i/bcrfLVCc. 

" KiNKAKA, 

^' Sc'pU'lllhiT 2, iSoi. SdllircldV. 

" M\ i»i:ar Sii;, — I have just exinced a j)n)()r of 
want of \iL;ilance and self-discipline which \e.\es me 
so much thai I am endea\'ourini4" to Imd relief from 
m\- N'exation 1)\- lellinL;' it to \<>u, as it is a satislac- 
lion to me to think that \(»u will pitv me. in spite of 
the nenlect of xour adxice, which I ha\e hetrayed. 
After ha\-inL;' had the carriage at the door to leave 
this place (the 1 )uchcss of (iordon's) in order that 
we mi^'ht s])end tomoi'row (|UKtl\. about twenty 
miles off I ha\(,' sutferetl nnself to l)e persuaded to 
sta\- here till Mond.iy. () how suhlle are the de- 
vices of the enem\' of our peace, and how weak 
our natuial means of defence; the real cause of my 
falling' into this temptation is now ])lain enough, hut 
the shadow of tlelusion that for a moment imposed 
uj)on me was the idea of ha\inLi' some serious con- 
x'ersation with the I )uchess, when we were llk(l\- to 
he almost alone, and which com|).in\ has hitheiao 
L;i\('n me hul little opporlunil\ for; and this 1 was 
weak enough to indulge m spite of more soher c'on- 
\ictions and the adx ice of Mr. ( loi'ham and other 
uhjettions. and 1 am just aw.ikened ttj sec the 



LETTERS EROM I-^RIICXDS 103 

extent of my folly, conceit, cincl wilful depravity, by 
hiulin:^- that we are to have no chance of ha\'inL;' niy 
imagination o-ratirted, as Sir Win. Scott has written 
word that he is coming to-morrow, and the delight 
with which the Duchess welcomed the intelligence 
has opened my eyes to my sottishness in thinking 
her sincere in her wish that I might pass a Sunday 
with her. I cannot conceive a scene more calcu- 
lated to excite feelings of devotion and to expose 
worldly vanities than this spot, which is (|uite lovely, 
yet here I have found how strongly the world may 
engage the affections ; there is something in the 
Duchess that pleases, although against the judgment 
(perhaps a little in the way of Falstaff), and makes 
her entertaining even when she is the subject of 
melancholy reflections ; indeed, I feel how neces 
sary your warnings against her fascinations were ; 
she talked a great deal about her friend \\ ilber- 
force, and threatens you with a letter about me, and 
told me all my faults which she intended to report to 
you ; I have not spent a Sunday (for it is now over) 
with so much self-reproach since I came into Scotland. 
She seems to be on the same kind of terms with 
religion as she is with her Duke, that is, on terms ot 
great nominal familiarity without ever meeting each 
other except in an hotel or in the streets of Edin- 
burgh. She fell asleep on Sunday while 1 was 
reading to her part of Leighton's Commentary 



I04 rkix'ATi-: i'An-:KS ov wilhkrforck 

and awoke with li\cl\ cxjircssions ol admiration at 
what she had not heard ; she talks of setting' oil tor 
Ircland in a \vw weeks and ol L^'oinLi' to Lomlon 
afterwards, so I hope that she will do no harm at 
lulinbur^h next winter. I lett Kinrara on Monday 
and L;i)t to l)lair at ni^^ht ; 1 found there more of 
ancient staleliness than 1 ha\'e \ct seen, and 1 think 
the 1 )iike ol Athol is lond ot kee])In^ it up ; he has 
some ver\' fme scenery ahout him there, and his 
other place 1 )unkeld, which is twent\" miles oft, is 
j)erhaj)s more heautiiul although less wild and 
mannificent. Sir W. Scott (whom 1 ne\-er see 
without thinking' ot \'ou)is on a \isiim^' tour, and 
went trom iJlair with Lord hrederick Campbell to 
Lord MeKille's and trom thence goes to the Duke 
of Aru)le's and Montrose's hack to Edinbtirt;h ; he 
was \'ery tortuous and amusini;. 1 ha\e written 
this b) scra})s, and am ashamed to ha\e been so 
Ioiil;" about it. Man\ thanks lor \"our last letter, 
and especially for )our kindness in L;i\ iiii; me such 
full and uselul directions lor at-(|uirin;4 a talent lor 
public speaking ; 1 will endea\-our, as lar as 1 am 
able, to do justice to them, and I expect to jnul 
)'our technical lines ot i^reat serxice to me. 1 be- 
lieve that the plan ot relii^ious reading which \t)U 
mention is the best, and sureK 1 ha\e no small 
encouragement to pui'sut' it, and when I am so 
<>reat a ''.liner b\ Us benelicial ettecis m \ our lase. 



lI':tti<:rs i-rom 1'RI1':ni)s 105 

I spent yestercla\- at Lord Maiisricld's. at Scoone, 
where the Kin^s of Scotlaiul used to he crowned ; 
the old palace has l)een pulled down, and a very 
large Gothic house l)uilt upon its site. I hoj^c you 
are enjoying- health and quiet where you are, and 
every other blessing. Give my kindest remem- 
brance to Mrs. \\'. 

" Believe me, my dear sir, 

" Affectly yours, 

" Caltiioki'E. 

" You shall hear from me again." 

W'ilberforce's influence with Pitt was also known 
to Maria, Duchess of Gloucester.' It will be remem- 
bered that Henry W^illiam, third son of George 
II. (created Duke of Gloucester in 1764), married 
Maria, Dowager Countess of Waldegrave, in 1766. 
This lady writes to W^ilberforce, hoping that through 
his "mediation with Pitt " a regiment of dragoons 
may be given to her son Lord Waldegrave. 

The Duchess of Gloucester to Mr. ]]'ilberforce. 

" CiENOA, February -j, 1786. 

" Sir, — Although you did not succeed in one of 
my requests to Mr. Pitt, you were more successful 
in the other, and for that I return you my thanks. 
I did not very much Hatter myself that Mr. Pitt 
would add a place to what Lord Waldegrave at 

' She was second daughter of Sir Edward Walpole ; her uncle 
Horace ^^'alpole writes of her : " For beauty 1 think slie is the 
first match in England, she has infinite wit and vivacity." 



loT) pRix'ATi-: r.APKRs OF \\ilhi-:rforce 

present jjossesses, indeed a regiment is almost 
the ()iil\- atlditlon he is likely to L^ain ; and as Mr. 
l^ll lias exjjressccl his salislaction in the marks of 
la\()ur already received from the Kin^. may I hope, 
through your mediation, that Mr. I'itt will be so 
good as to remind His Majest\- how \ery accept- 
able a regiment of dragoons will be to Lord 
W'aldegrave. If Lord W'aldegraxe was distressed 
from his own extravagance I would not trouble Mr. 
Pitt, but m\- daughter's father left his brother a 
clear estate which is now encumbered as much as 
if the late Lord W'aldegrave had come to the title 
and estate, at twent\"-four, insteatl of fort\-four. 
The Duke of (irafton's reconciliation with his son 
is now so old a story that 1 onl\ mention it as a fact 
that I am sensil)le gives you pleasure? Mr. Pitt 
is so much attached to Lord pAiston, that I must 
take part in an e\ent that I know gi\es him so 
much pleasure. I hope Lord Lucan will sufter 
the match to take place, but till it is o\ er 1 shall 
have my doubts. It Mrs. W ilberforce antl vour 
sister are in town will xou give them my best 
conipHmciUs. .Soj)hia an<l W ilHam .ux' both as 
tall as yourself. 

" Sir, 

" I remain nouis, <S;c.. »S;c., 

" Maria." 
Ihc next letter is horn the same ladw thanking 



LETTERS EROM ERIICXDS 107 

W'ilhcrforcc for hax-ini;- written " so full an explana- 
tion ot wlial so few people understand " in his 
work on " Practical Christianity." 

" (li.oucESTER House, 

"April 14, 1797. 

" I received your inimitable book the day before 
I i^ot your letter, and had read a good way in it. 
I have continued to read in it with the greatest 
satisfaction, and beg of you to accept of my 
thanks for ha\'ing written so full an explanation 
of what so few people understand. I hope and 
trust it will be universally read, and that with 
attention, as then the good it will do will be 
infinite. Mrs. H. More was with me last night; 
she is so exalted by your book that she almost 
forgets humility is one of the Christian requisites, 
" I remain, dear sir, 

" Your z'ery much obliged, &c., 

" Maria." 

Let us turn to the more serious friendships of 
Wilberforce's middle age. So much of his corre- 
spondence with Hannah More has been published 
that it is only lightly touched on here. 

hi 1809 Hannah More wrote to Mr. W'ilber- 

force : " Oh, if I could have had the benefit of 

your assistance in Coelebs ! ' but I could not be 

' "Coelebs in Search of a Wife," published 1809. Of her 
publishing experiences, Hannah More writes: "One effect of 
Ccelebs has pleased me. I always consider a bookseller in respect 



io8 I'Rix'A'n-: i'Ai'i':ks ov \\'ilhi-:rforce 

such .III unrccliiiL;' hriitc ;is to ;isk it. "lis not to 
///a/cr (7 s/>i'i\/i w hen I sa\ that voii are the oii/y iwiiiQ- 
whose ((Hiiisels would /// d// ponifs ha\'e exactly 
lallcii in with nw own ideas Ironi \i)ur unilni^' a 
critical knowledge of the world in its higher classes 
with such deep religious feelings — either of these 
1 nii^ht have found in a ver\- tew. hut not both 
in an\." 

Hannah M(jre and her friends had apparently 
unfortunate experiences with re_L;'ard to the spiritual 
help to he obtained ironi the hii^her ranks ot tlie 
cler<7-y at that time, as she writes : "1 ha\e had 
nian\' interxiews with Ladies \\ aldci^raxf and 
luiston. Thev told me that, though ai<iuainte(.l 
with sexxTcd bishops, the)- ne\er could t4"et a word 
of seriousness or profit Irom an\' ot them." 
Whether it was the "critical knowlcdoe of the 
world in its higher classes" joined to "deep 
religious teelin<^" ' mentioned 1)\ Hannah More, or 
the " indul^'ent benevolent temper, with no preten- 
sion to suj)erior sanctit\' or slnciness, ol which 
Maria lul^eworth writes.' certain it is that 

to a book a.s I do an undertaker with regard to death — one con- 
siders a j)uhli(ati()n as the other does a corpse, as a tiling to grow 
rich by, hut not to W affected with. 1 )avies (Cadell's ])artncr) 
seems deeply struck, and earnestly iiii|)lores me to rollt)w up some 
of the hints respecting Scripture in a work of which he suggests 
the subject." 

' "Life and Letters of Maria I'ldgewortli." by .\ugustus [. (\ 
J tare. 



LETTERS EROM ERIENDS 109 

W'ilhciTorcc liccamc a L;uidc of the religious life 
c»t nian\- of his tViciuls. ¥nr insUmcc. Mr. l^liot, 
the brothcr-in-Iaw of l^itt. writes from Ikirton 
Pynsent a letter, marked " ver)- pleasing" and 
serious " by Wilberforce. in which he says in 
answer to \\ ilberforce, who " hoped he had been 
going on in a regular, steady way," that he had 
been " endeavouring to work a good will into a 
good habit, that so the habit may come in turn 
to the assistance of the will, which, as you very 
truly say, I am sure (except under the special 
favour of God's grace), will flag and waver in its 
best pursuits and firmest intention. My chief 
readinu- for the month has been Warburton." 

Mrs. Elizabeth Fry writes to Wilberforce to 
say : — 

"When thou hast leisure, advise with me as 
with a child if thou hast any hint to give me in 
my new circumstances. I look before long once 
more to entering the prisons. The cause is near my 
heart, and I do not see that my husband, having 
lost his property, should, when he and my family 
do not want me, prevent my yet attending to these 
duties ; in this I should like to have thy advice." 

In 1801 the question of Irish Union divided 
educated opinion. Dr. Burgh,' a well-known man 

' "Poor Uurgh almost mad about the Union" ("'Life of 
Wilberforce," vol. ii. p. 359). 



no I'RIX'ATJ-: rAI'KRS OF WILHKRFORCE 

at this linic aiul iViciul of Wilbcrlorcc, takes one 
side, aiul Lord 1 lardwicke, Viceroy of Ireland, the 
other. 

Dr. Burgh to Mr. W'ilhcrforcc. 

" \'okK, I'chruavy 9, 1801. 
"M\ hi-AR WiLiiKR., — I sincerely thank you for 
the conmuiiiication )ou have made to nie, and 
assure you that you may rely upon m\- profoundest 
silence. The cruel and corrupt means that were 
ade(|uatel\- resorted to, in order to effect the revolu- 
tionary Union which has subverted the prescriptive 
consiiiution of both these kingdoms, ha\"e so 
entirely intected the sweetness of afhance in my 
bosom, that whatever systems or changes are 
adopted my eye sets instantl}' to search amon^- all 
possible motives in order to find the worst of 
issues. Can I see Addin^ton climb upon the 
stooping neck of Mr. l^iti, and not beliexe that it 
is done in hostilit)', or in a masked confederac) .■' 
If the iormer, how ani 1 to estimate the man who 
comes in .■^ If the latter, what judgment can 1 form 
of the man who goes out } Is a retiring adminis- 
tration to be allowed, in a temporary agreement 
with opposition, to sup[)ort the claims of Irish 
Popery, and by carr) ing their point in their new 
character, to exonerate the Cabinet of the charge ; 
and are the)' to re-occup) their posts when there 
are \vy larlher measures to be carried b) them in 



LETTKRS FROM KRIKNDS ill 

their unresponsible sitiKilions ? All this I foresaw, 
thouL^h not perhajis in the detail ; and, indeed, it 
required no prophet's eye to foresee it, when hints 
which bind not were conscientiously substituted for 
promises in order to purchase a momentary calm. 
The downfall of the Church of England is still 
involved, and however the Papists of Ireland, on 
mereino- the two kingdoms into each other, may be 
considered as outnumbered by the Protestants, it 
is not by the Protestants of the Establishment, 
who will, on the whole, be outweighed by the 
incorporated force of the Protestant Dissenters 
with those of the same description in Ireland, who 
will derive the most unqualified assistance froni the 
Romish body. Show favour to Popery, and the 
Dissenters' claims will be abetted by millions who 
will only infer a kind of right against all anticipa- 
tion of consequences ; or, on the other hand, deny 
the demands of Popery, and you instantly and 
directly unite the two denominations against the 
Church of England. I know but one mode to 
prevent all these, and ten thousand other uncon- 
sidered evils ; at once declare the impracticability of 
carrying conditions into execution, and dissolve 
this ill-starred Union, from which no benefit will 
ever flow, but every evil that imagination can 
picture, 

" I will trouble you no farther now except to 



112 i'Ri\ ATI': r.\i'i-:ks of \\ii.I!i:ki-()rce 

desire ihal \(>ii will iiol charL^c me with (letecli\-e 
candour; the things iliat are alreadx' done will 
surely luo clearK jusiil\- \\hale\cr inlerenee I ha\'e 
drawn Iroin them. 

" Ma\' e\cr\ haj)))niess attend \ ou and \ours — in 
opposition to j)i-osj)ects I sa\' it; l)Ut it a few ^"(jod 
men ma\' not sav^e a nation, the) ) et may save 
and purchase fav(jiir to themseK'es. • 
" 1 am e\er. m\' dear W ilher., 

" Most ler\entl\' \durs, 

'•W. P,." 

Loi'd //a>'(hvi(kc to Mr. W'ilhcrforcc. 

" Scpicni her 30, 1 80 1 . 
"1 think the alterations made 1)\" the l'nii»n are 
in some respects likely to facilitate the conduct 
of j;)ublic business in this countrv with a \-icw to 
the pul)lic IxMiefit. 1 ha\e hitherto had i^reat 
reason to he satistied with m\" reception. The 
city of I)ul)lin, 1 mean the leatlin;.^' j)art ot it. is 
extremely lo\al and attached to ( io\ernment, but 
they still consider the Union as ha\in^' atlected 
in some decree their local interests, and it will 
l)e some time before this feeliiiL;' is entirely 
removed. 1 here can ho\\c\fr be little tloulH that 
when they see the I'nilcd Tarliament as attenti\e 
to Irish as the\ h;i\e been t<i Ih'iiish interests, 
and disjjoseil to promote them b\ the s.une liberal 
encouragement, that uhatexcr p,u-li.il ilissalisfaclioii 



lktti<:rs i«"R()m 1'Rii-:xds 113 

may remain will gradually wear off. If the P^rcnch 
do not succeed in landinL;" a C()nsideral)le body 
of trooj^s in this countrv we shall certainly con- 
tinue to enjoN' trancjuillity, but if the enemy effect 
a landing" In force, we must expect rebellion to 
revi\'e." 

The state ot Ireland at a later date after the 
Union is alluded to in the next letter from Lord 
Redesdale, ' who was aj^parently much aofrrieved 
at the treatment which he had experienced in 
oivini^' up the Lord Chancellorship of that country. 
The letter is marked by W'ilberforce " Lord 
Redesdale shamefully used on beino- turned out 
of Chancellorship." 

Lord Redesdale to Mi'. ]]Hber force. 
" P2lv Place, Uuislin, 

''March 5, 1806. 
" Mv DEAR Sir, — I rely upon your letter, 
desiring- to know whether there was any esta- 
blishment in this country by contribution to which 
you could forward its civilisation, for excusing 
my sending- you ' observations on the necessity 
of publishing the Scriptures in the h'ish language,' 
by Dr. Stokes, of the College, who is engaged 
in such a work, without any view of emolument, 
but merely to promote the cixilisation of the 

' Lord Redesdale was appointed Lord High Cliancellor of 
Ireland .\hirch 15, 1802 ; he resigned Februar\-, 1806. 



114 I'RIVA'I'l-: l'.\r]-:RS of WIUn^RFORCE 

coLiiUry, and the projjaLialion, as niiicli as possible, 
ot the Christian rcHnion in its })urity. lie is 
sii])p(>rtccl hv contribution of the colle^'e. and 
some ])ri\ale contributions; but such is tlie temper 
ot the Irish that e\en their charities, hberal as 
the\' rre(|uentl\ are. are more the result of pride 
and \anit\ than ot an\' ot the true feelings of 
the charitable mind. 1 think Dr. .Stokes's work 
will lie very useful ; and that in sjiite of all 
the arts of the priests, the circulation of the 
.Scriptures will prexail amongst the lower orders, 
and must reform even the Irish Catholic Church, 
which 1 take to l)e the most corrupt now 
remaining" of all the menibers of the Church of 
Rome. It will also ha\e the effect of enablini^" 
the Protestant clergy of the I'^staljlishment to 
perform their dut)- ; namelw to endeavour to 
instruct those who do not understand the English 
language ; and 1 think it will also enable the 
gentlemen of the counlrx to gain so much of 
the Irish language as will gi\e them some inter- 
course with their poor neighbours, where the Elnglish 
language is not spoken ; antl 1 think it will also 
contril)ute to diffuse the b. nglish language, which 
1 think is a most important adxantage. I ha\e 
thought it my dut\- to subscribe ten guineas for 
the encouragement of Hr. .Stokes, and 1 beliixe 
a few subscriptions with what the College pro- 



LKTTKRS FROM FRIKXDS 115 

poses to L;ive him, will encourage him to proceed 
with activity ; as I have strong" assurances that 
he seeks for nothing' hut iiulcmnit)' and desires 
no compensation (or his time or his labour. I 
yesterday L^ax'e up the (ireat Seal, in consequence 
of Lord Spencer's ha\in^" thought ht to advise 
His Majesty, alter he had signed a warrant for 
Mr. Ponsonby's appointment, to sign another for 
putting" the Great Seal in commission, and then 
to send it by express, directing the Lord Lieu- 
tenant to lose no tune in procuring the Commission 
to pass the Seal. This has been done in so much 
hurry that I have great doubts of its regularity ; 
and if it had been the case of any man but 
myself, I should have refused to put the Great 
Seal to the patent, without further consideration ; 
and I find the Lords Commissioners are very 
much puzzled how to act. But this I feel prin- 
cipally as a marked and gross personal affront 
to me, and through me to the Lord Lieutenant. 
" I could do nothing (without the Lord Lieu- 
tenant's warrant) but despatch the business of the 
Court of Chancery ; and yet I am not to be 
trusted with the Great Seal for a few days till 
the arrival of Mr, Ponsonby for that purpose ; 
and the suitors of the Court of Chancery were 
to be equally injured ; for the Commissioners 
being the Chief Justice and Chief Baron, who 



iir, pRU'ATK i'.\im:rs of wilhkrforcr 

lia\L' too much l)iisiiK'ss in their own courts to 
sit ill the Court of C'hiuiccry, and the Master of 
the Rolls who cannot (from the state of his health) 
do more business than he does as Master ot the 
Rolls, ver\- little of the l)usiness which would have 
been dispatched b\- me can be done till the arri\al 
of Mr. Ponsonbx ; and by that time all the 
Counsel will be L^nne the circuit. 1 must confess 
I resent this wanton and childish insult (for I 
ha\(' no doubt the afh'oiU was intended b\' Lord 
Spencer) much more than m\' removal from m\' 
office, and nothing- could be more insulting- than 
the terms of the letters written l)y my old friend 
C. W. \\'\ nne, by order of Lord Spencer, with 
the directions to have the patent to the Com- 
missioners sealed forthwith, b^rom L(^rd Spencer 
and from \\'\-nne 1 liad certainlv a claim at least 
to personal cixility. But it is the miserable effect 
of j^art)' violence to blind all those who suffer 
themselves to be led 1)\- it. 1 ha\e the satisfac- 
tion of knowing' that all those j)ersons here whose 
good opinion is of :\\w \alue regret my remoxal, 
and ha\'e gi\en me most affectionate testimonies 
of their regard. I am sorry to add that the 
conduct of His Majesty's ministers, in \arious 
instances, has raised in the I'rotestant inhabi- 
tants ol this counir\' great and serious alarm. 
The e.xpressioiis of Mr. \u)\ on the subject of 



LETTERS EROM ERIENDS 117 

the Union ha\e sunk deep into their minds ; and 
thouL^h it has been contrived to rfuiet those adverse 
to the Union for the nioinent, with a view to 
prevent alarm, the poison is working in their 
minds, and you will probably soon perceive its 
effects. Mr. Fox's answ^er to Lord Shrewsbury 
and Mr. vScully, as stated in the papers, has 
also had a very unfortunate effect. It is a libel 
on the Government of the country in all its 
parts ; imputin<4' to it gross partiality even in the 
administration of justice, and it promises the 
Roman Catholics a different order of things ; not 
by the interposition of the legislature, but by the 
iii/^liicncc and favour of the executive government; 
and it applies itself directly and particularly to 
the aruiy, as if it were intended to frighten the 
Protestants into acquiescence. It should be recol- 
lected that Lord Shrewsbury is not connected in 
any way with Ireland, except by a claim of 
peerage; and that Mr. .Scully is the author of a 
pamphlet in which he wTites of James the Second 
as the /aic/u/ Kiu^- of Ireland at the battle of 
the Boyne, and King William as a Dutch inva- 
der. You can have no conception of the gloom 
which prevails in the minds of thinking people 
in this country. Our Chief Justice and Chief 
Baron, both very sound men and highly esteemed, 
are very strongly affected. The Chief Justice fore- 



ns i'Ki\'.\ri-: I'Ari'.KS oi- wii.hi'.ri'orci-: 

bodes every species ot mischief. Lord Xoriniry. 
whn is Chicl luslicc ol the COminoii I'lcas, is 
ot a lighter turn ol iniiid, and irnlalcd 1)\ a l^toss 
and nduiilous atlroiu in oiniiiinL^ his name in the 
Commission for cusiocK ol the (ireat Seal — ev'i- 
dciul\ a mere piece ot j)arl\ mah'ce. P)Ut lie also 
is till! ot gloomy apprehensions ot" the result of 
the measures likely to he adoj)ted. 

"P)iit m\' aj)[)rehensions are ^reatK increasetl 
1)\- ol)S('r\in^ that Lord (ireinille and Lord 
Spencer are mere dupes to the other part)' in 
the Cabinet with respect to Ireland, if not 
i^eneralh' so. Lord ("irenxille and Lord Spencer 
perhaps imagine that the\- ma\- have some 
intluence in Ireland ihroui^h Mr. hJlioit and .Sir 
J. Newport. Most certainl\ the\- will haxc none. 
1 he Ponsonhy lamiK' will L;'o\'ern Ireland ihrouL^h 
the Lord Lieutenant, who is com})letel\' in their 
hands. Lord (ireinille and Lortl Spt'ucer seem 
also to ha\c put .Scotland and linli.i out ot their 
control ; and with the intluence of all the L^reat 
aj)penda_n"es ot the h", mpire ai^ainst them, and a 
majorit)' in the Cabinet to contend with at home, 
what can the\ hope tor.-^ As the least of two 
e\ils, 1 shall \ei teel it m\ dui\ lo support them 
against their rixals in the ("abinel, though the 
j)ersonal insults I ha\'e receix'ed ha\'e conu- ihrouLjh 
them, and iheir rivals ha\e been compar.uiveK- 



li-:tt1':rs m^om I'Rii:xi)s 119 

ci\il. I sliall t^cl ritl ol in\' property here as soon 
as I can, aiul with the niisLTaljlc remains trans- 
port niNselt to IuiL;lantl tor the rest ot mv days. 

" I have had enough ot otiice, and especially in 
my last change, which has had the effect of 
makin^^" mv. pa\' a tme of at least twenty thou- 
sand jjounds tor the honour ot servini^" four vears 
in a laborious oHice, separated trom my tamily 
and all my old friends, I shall return to England, 
however, with pleasure ; for though I shall be 
reduced to practise an economy to which for 
thirty \ ears I have been a strani^er, I shall return 
to my old friends, and to a country where my life 
will probably be in no greater clanger than that 
of any other person, and where Lady Redesdale 
will be relieved from the fear and anxieties which 
have lono- ao-itated her mind, and made her 
ardently wish that I had never taken the office 
of Chancellor of Ireland ; a wish in w^hich I most 
heartily concur. The remainder of my life I trust 
will be passed more quietly than the last three 
years. Lady Redesdale begs to join in respects 
to Mrs. \\ ilberforce, and I am 
" Truly, my dear sir, 

"Your faithtlil, humble servant, 

" Rkdksdale." 

Sydney Smith writes in 1S07 with regard 
to the Yorkshire election, and the state of 



I20 I'RIXWri-: I'AI'l-'.RS Ol- WII.in-.Rl-^ORCK 

Irelaiul : his Ii-ilcr is marked "characteristic" by 
\\ ill)crt(>rce. 

■■l)i;\k SiK, \\ Mrs. S. remains in her present 
state of heahh I hardK' know how I can go clown 
to \'orkshirc at all. It is ci^ht weeks since her 
KiiiL^-in, aiul she cannot \'et stand upon her feet. 
It 1 do come 1 will certainly vote inr Lord 
Milton and lor now. I hoj)e now \'ou have done 
with Africa \"ou will tlo something" lor Ireland, 
which is surely the greatest cjuesiion and interest 
connected with this I^mpire. 1 here is no man 
in I'.n^land who from acti\il\', undersiandinL;', 
character, and neutralitv could do it so effectually as 
Mr. W ilherforce — and when this country conceded 
a centur\' at^o an eslahlishment to the I'reslnterian 
Church, it is horrible to see lour millions of 
Christians ol another persuasion instructed by 
raL;L;ed priests, and j)raisinL;' their Creator in wet 
ditches. 1 hope to ( iod xou will stir in this ^real 
business, ,uid then w c will \ote vou the consul- 
ship tor lite, and you shall be perpetuaL member 
tor \ orkshn'e. 

" in the meantime 1 remain, with L;reat resj)ect. 
" \()ur ol)edient ser\ant, 

" S\ i>\i:\- S.Mrni." 

W'ilberlorce had e\idenll\ wi'illen lo Lord Lldon 
bei^j^in^ him not to take up the u;r(.-at (piesiion ol 
aboliiion ot sla\c-r\' on |);u'l\' L^rounds; .md I .ord 



LKTTKRS FR01\I FRIENDS 121 

F^ldon wrote llial he wished thai the House ot 
Lords iiiiLiht not ch's^race itself by its mode ot 
proceeding, as he saw a strong' inclination to do 
justice, "if al)olition he justice, in a most unjust 
mode." This letter is undated ; it was j)robably 
written in 1802. 

Lord E /don (0 Mi'. W'ilbcrforcc. 
"Dear Sir,— -I thank you for your book, and 
I add my thanks for your letter. You may be 
assured that I am incapable of ' takiny," up this 
great question on party grounds.' As a proof 
of that. I may mention that after listening more 
than once, with the partiality which my love of his 
virtues created, to Mr. Pitt himself in the House of 
Commons, and discussing the subject with him in 
|)rivate, again and again, the difficulties which 1 
had upon immediate abolition, and abolition without 
compensation previously pledged (not compensation 
for British debts out of African blood, but out ot 
British treasure) never were so tar surmounted, as 
to induce me to think I had clear grounds for voting 
zvitli hiiu. After such a statement, I need not say 
that, although my political life has, at least so I 
fancy, for near twenty-four years been so far really 
reo-ulated bv a sincere belief that I am actino' 
according" to the dictates of duty in an uniform unin- 
terrupted opposition to some persons now in power, 
that I feel it verv difficult to class amono' mv 



122 rkixAri". I'Ai'i-.Ks oi- \\ii.hi:ki'ORCK 

honoiirahlc iViciuls L;ciulcnK'n wlio hcive never, ihdt 
1 know of, clisiUDWi'd ilu- j)rinciples ai^ainsi which I 
ha\"e been \vaL;inL;' war. and who, I presume, have 
never disa\-owed ihcni because they entertained 
iheni. as siiuerel)' as 1 tletest them; \et, in a case of 
this sort. I know that I must either stand or tall by 
takiiiL;' diliL^rnt heed that in what I do or forbear to 
do 1 am j^overned by the best lights, which my own 
reason, aided by information, can afford me; and I 
should think m\ self a worse nicUi, if 1 was inlluenced 
b)' part)' considerations in such a business, than 
indiscreet zeal has yet represented a West India 
planter to be. 

"What 1 shall linalK' do I know not. 1 wish the 
House of Lords ma\- not disL;Tace itself b\' its mode 
of proceeding". I see or think I see a strong inclina- 
tion, if abolition be justice, to do justice in a most 
unjust mode. I'erliaps the dilatory conduct t)f that 
House lormerK', it is now thoUL^hl, can be atoned 
for l)y hurry and precipitation. And that its char- 
acter will be best maintained bv its IjeinL; doubly 
disLTraced. I wish m\ mind had been so framed as 
to feel no doubts on this awful and fearful lousiness, 
but as that is not the case, 1 must endeaxour to tlo 
as riL;hll\ as, with m) intn'milies of mind I ma\ be 
able to act. I shall see lo-da\ what course the 
matters take, and it m\ \ iew ot the subject leads me 
to determine to \-oie and 1 feel il likeK lo be l)ene- 



li-:ttI':rs vrom frii<:nds 123 

ficial to converse upon facts, as well as to read all I 
can hnd. I shall seek the benefit \-ou kintll\- olier me. 

" Yours sincerely, 

" Eldon." 

W'ilberforce had met Lord Ellenborou^-h on the 
Continent in 17S5, and had maintained a friendly 
intercourse with him. The following- letter froni 
Lord Ellenboroug-h shows his attitude towards 
abolition. Thouoh he acknowledoed the viciousness 
of the system he was extremely alarmed at the 
consequences of disturbing it (especially in the then 
convulsed state of the world). At the same time he 
said that he should not be governed by any supposed 
policy of man. if he were clear as to the will of God 
on the point. His letter is marked "truly pleasing" 
by Wilberforce. 

Lord Ellcnborough to Mr. ]]^ilbcrforcc. 
" Bloomsbury Square, 

" y/zz/f 27, 1802. 

" Mv DEAR Sir, — I recollect perfectly the conver- 
sation between us in the House of Commons to 
which you allude, and should be extreme happy to 
appoint a time when I might have the benefit, which 
I should certainly derive from a communication with 
you upon the important subject mentioned in your 
letter, — it I could do so with convenience to you, 
and without breaking in upon my necessary attend- 
ance during' the sittings at Westminster and Guild- 



124 rKix'ATi'. PAPKRS OI-' w'l i.hI':ki<x:)R(1<: 



li.tll .11x1 whiih «»cciij)\" iiU' Iroin hall-p.ist ci^hl lo 
tour or later c\ c'r\' tlav and on some cla\ s I am 
afterwards ohli^ctl to attend tin- ijiiiise •>! Lords 
till helweeii fu'e and six. 1( tliei-e he an\' morning' 
this week diirini; whieh ni\ sittini^s will continue 
at Westminster, when it mi^ht he ci)n\'enient to vou 
to he at nu" ehamher at Westminster, called the 
Kind's iU-nch FreasurN ( hamher, \)V hall-past eiL;ht, 
1 would he down there h\ that time, which wDuld 
allow me the satislaction ot seeing" \ ou lor hall 
hour helore mv sittings, which commence at nine, 
hei^in. 1 leel the inlmite importance of the (]uesti<)n 
ot aholition. and will L^ix'e no x'ote ujxm it at all, 
unless 1 can do so with a much more satished judg- 
ment and conscience t)n thi; suhject than 1 ha\'e 
attained at j)resent. 1 have alwaws lelt a L;reat 
ahhorrence ot the mode hy which these unlortunate 
creatures are lorn Irom tln-ir lamilies cuul countr\ , 
anil ha\e douhted whether an\ sound polic-\ could 
oToW' out ot a SNStem whiih seemed to he so \icious 
in its touiulation ; hut 1 .un extremeh alarmed at the 
consecjuences ot disturhiiiLi it. ])articulai-l\ in the 
present con\'ulsed state ot the world. In short, m\" 
dear sir, I am almost ashamed to say that 1 tremble 
at L^^'ivini;' their lull ettect to the impressions which 
the suhject naluralU makes on m\ mind, in the hrst 
\iew ot it, as a man and a ( hristian. I am lriL;hteiK-d 
at the conse(|uences ot an\ mno\alion u|)on a lon^- 



LKTTl'.RS I 'ROM FRII'.XDS 125 

established j)racticc, at a j)C'ri()(l so lull of dano-er as 
the present. At the same time I cannot well reconcile 
it with the will of (iod, and if I was (]iiite clear on 
that head, 1 should he decided b\' it, and should not 
be governed by any supposed policy of man which 
mio-ht be set up in opposition to it. I write this in 
confidence to yourself I remain, my dear sir, with 
very sincere respect, 

'■ \ our obedient servant, 

" Elli:ni;orouc;ii." 
Wilberforce had written to Lord Ellenborough on 
the evils of his havino- a seat in the Cabinet, Lord 
Ellenborough being- at that time Lord Chief Justice 
of the King's Bench, and the next letter contains 
Lord Ellenborough's defence of his conduct, which 
does not err on the side of brevity and which 
Wilberforce describes as "a very handsome answer." 

Lord EllcuboroiiQ'h to Mr. ]]ilhcrforcc. 

" BLOOMSr.URV SgUARK, 

'' February 4, 1806. 
" Mv DEAR Sir, — I sit down to thank you for the 
favour ot your letter in the very instant in which I 
have received it. I regret very much that I have no 
opportunity of personal communication with you on 
the subject of it : if I had I could explain more per- 
fectly and unreservedly than I can do by letter all 
the motives which have induced my reluctant acquies- 
cence in a nomination of myself to a place in the 



126 i'Ri\'.\ri-: r.\ri:RS of wilhkrforci-: 

Cabinet. 1 he siiiiaiioii has notoiiK- not been sought 
by me. l)Ut 1 appeal to e\er\ nieniber ol the Govern- 
ment about to be tormed who is ac(jiiaintecl with the 
tiansaction, whellicr it was not accepted b\ me with 
extreme reluctance, and after objections raised by 
myself which nothing' but a superior sense ot the 
present dut\ and a })rospect ot present usefulness to 
the public would ha\e surmounted. If I had felt 
that a situation in the Cabinet would ha\e ])lacetl me 
under circumstances inconsistent with the due and 
impartial dischari^e ol m\' judicial lunctions, no con- 
sideration on earth would ha\e induced me to accept 
it. A member ot the Cabinet is onlv a member of a 
Select Committee ot the Pri\\ Council, of which 
Priv\ Council at laroe every justice ot the K.l). is of 
course a member. In that lander Fri\\- Council his 
Majest)' ma\ and trecjueniK- does take the opinion 
of its members on matters which ma\' come in (jues- 
tion judiciall)- before some of them. I^ut 1 think 
that no man can correctK act in l)oth capacities, and 
theretore when a cjuestion ot a hi^h criminal nature 
was al)out a \ear ai^'o under discussion at a Prix'X' 
Council at which I was jxirticularK desirc-tl b\ the 
C hancellor to attend. 1 siij)ulated expressK with m\" 
\j)\\\ Chancellor that I should not be inclucUHl in a 
.Sjiecial Commission to tr\ the offence then undc-r 
consideration. 1 think both m\ Loril C. |. liolt. 
and \'er\- lateK' m\' Lord C". j. i''\re wouKl have 



LKTTKRS FROM FRn<:NT)S 127 

clone better to liave forl^ome ])eini4- present at the 
preliniinar\- incjuiries I)efore the Pri\-y C>)uncil, the 
sul)jects of wliich in the resuh mi^ht l)e, and after- 
wards in fact were, tried lieforc? them; hut the; objec- 
tion is not so nuicli in ni\- opinion that I niiL^ht be 
led to particij)ate in the counsels of the Executive 
Go\-ernnient upon (juestions connected with the 
criminal jurisdiction which 1 am to exercise else- 
where (because from these I should of course in\ari- 
ably withdraw m\self) but because it mi^ht i^ive 
a political cast and bias to a judicial mind, mi^ht 
s^'enerate views of ambition, and destroy that indiffer- 
ence and impartiality on all questions which is the 
proper characteristic of a I)ritish judge, and e\'en if 
it had not that effect, it mi^ht be supposed by the 
world at large to produce it, which very opinion of 
others would detract much from the public credit 
and consequent usefulness ot the person so circum- 
stanced. 

" The consideration ot this objection at first gave 
m\ mind no small degree of anxiety. I was conscious 
to myself that I had no views of ambition to gratify. 
Those views, if I had entertained any such, would 
have been better consulted by accepting the Great 
Seal, and with it a highly efficient place in the public 
Councils — but which I had already refused — indeed 
every view of that kind has been long since more 
than satisfied. I lent myself at the earnest soHcita 



I2S I'RIX'A'll-: 1'.\1'1-:RS OI-' \\llJiI-:RFORCE 

tinii of oiIkm^s lo ilic L;rcal j)iil)lic object of form- 
iiiL^" a slnnii^" and iinilt-d atlininislralion, which, 
j)rrha|)s. wiihoiil iin coiisciU to accc|)l this situa- 
tion could not, trom j)ai-li(ular circumstances and 
ditiicultics which I am not at liberty to state, have 
been formed. 

" In acceptinLi' it 1 ha\c stij)ulated that I should not 
lie exj)ected to attend except on |)articularl\ impor- 
tant occasions, and on such occasions some ot m\' 
predecessors and particularU Lord Mansfield has, I 
understaml, been called upon for his ad\ice, and 
indeed, in \irtue of ni)- oath as Pri\'y Councillor I 
am botmd to .L;ive that acKice when re(juired. 

"Will \"ou accjuit me of \anit\'? I hope \t)u will, 
when 1 L;i\e one reason more for mv consenting' to 
become lor a time (I hope it will Ix- a short one) an 
ostensil)le member of his Majesty's select and confi- 
dential Cotincil. As I had, so I hoped I should be 
understood to have, no motixe of amliition or interest 
inducing" me to take this place in his Majestv's 
Councils. I had in i^cnei'al been supj)osed on most 
subjects to think ior nnsell. 1 had, I beliexe, been 
considered in s^eneral as a zealous Irieiitl to the just 
j)rero'Li;ati\es ol the Crown. 1 had no particular stain 
upon m\ j)ri\ate characlei': in the miscellaneous 
composition ot v\vr\ ailmimsiiMiion. and ot diis. 
amongst othei's, I thouL^lu a person swch as 1 mii^ht 
be esteemed to be. and on the ''n>und o| thai estima- 



lktt1':rs i-'rom frii-:xds 129 

tion particular]}", would he an in^rc-dient not wholly 
without its use. 

" So it appeared to some of my friends. So it 
did (I speak it in confidence) particularly to Lord 
Sidmouth, as to the purity of whose views and 
conduct in the formation of the present arrangement 
I can bear the fullest testimony, and whose earnest 
request (I speak it still in the same confidence) 
overcame my reluctance, and induced me to make 
this sacrifice ot private convenience and to incur 
the hazard which your kind and honourable letter 
represents to me as greater than I had thought it, 
of suffering" in the good opinion of others. If, after 
this explanation, unavoidably less perfect than I 
could have wished to make it, you shall still retain 
your unfavourable opinion of the step I have taken, 
I shall learn it from you (and I am sure in that case 
you will have the frankness to tell me so) with 
inexpressible pain. As long as I shall continue a 
member of his Majesty's Councils (and I hope the 
necessity which induced my acceptance of the 
situation will not be of long continuance) I will 
give a faithful, honest, and fearless opinion upon 
the subjects under consideration, and, although it is 
possible that good men may doubt of the prudence 
or propriety ot my conduct in accepting it, I am 
confident that no good man who shall have the 
means of knowing the actual course I shall pursue 

10 



130 PRIVATl-: I'Ai^KRS OF WILHRRFORCE 

in thai situation will Jiavc reason to blame it. The 
exjjjanaiion I ha\e i^iven \"oli is entirely confiden- 
tial. W iih an anxious wish consisteiuK in perforni 
all the \arious dulirs which press upon me at this 
moment antl to })reserve the j^ood opinion of good 
men, and especial!)' of one whom on many accounts 
I ha\e so lon^" and so highly esteemed as yourself. 
" I remain, ni)- dear sir, 

"Most sincerely and faiihrull)- )()urs, 

" KlLKN BOROUGH." 

In 1802, on the supposition that Lord W'ellesley's 
resignation as Governor-General of India was im- 
minent, an idea had been entertained that Lord 
Castlereagh should be offered the Governor- 
Generalship, and W'ilberforce had been asked to 
approach him on the subject. bVom Lord Camden's 
letter to W'ilberforce, given below, it will be seen 
that Pitt had objected to an appointment that 
would take Lord Castlereagh from the House of 
Commons, which he thought should be the theatre 
ol his future fame. 

Lord CaDidcii to Mi'. Wllhcrfonc. 

" Tiitniiiiy 7, 1S02. 

" I)i:,\K \\^i.I',i:ki-()Rck, — I lament extreme))- that 
Lady Camden and I have been dej)ri\ed of the 
pleasure we should ha\'e IluI in receiving )'ou and 
Mrs. W'ilberforce here, and still more that )-ou 
should ha\e been confined to Loiulon b\ the \'ery 



LETTERS ERO!\I ERIENDS 131 

anxious attendance you have undergone. I thank 
you for coiiimunicatinu- with me on the subject of 
Lord Casdereagh, and I will explain to you all I 
know of his objects as connected with the situation 
you have mentioned. 

" Amongst the many unpleasant circumstances 
attendinuf our secession from office I have con- 
sidered Lord Castlereagh's actual situation as one 
peculiarly awkward to himself, and I have also 
thought that in the present dearth of men of spirit 
and sense who can take office it was unfortunate for 
the country that he should be excluded. With a 
view of relieving him, if possible, from such exclu- 
sion, I contrived that he should meet Pitt here about 
a month ago, and have a full and explicit conversa- 
tion with him and me relative to the future views of 
the one and the future prospects of the other. (I 
confess I was not indifferent at the same time to 
the consideration of the line I may myself hereafter 
think it right to adopt.) In a previous conversation 
I had with Pitt respecting Lord Castlereagh, he 
expressed his anxiety that he should take office, and 
he is desirous of contriving it if possible with credit 
to him ; and amongst the objects to which Lord 
Castlereagh might look, he took notice to me of an 
idea which he knew had been entertained of send- 
ing him to the East Indies as Governor-General. 
He (Pitt), however, expressed an objection to this 



132 PRIVATE r.APKRS OF WIT^RKRFORCE 

appoiiitnu-iu. as it woiiUl take him from the House 
of Commons, which he thought should \w the 
theatre of his tutiire tame, aiul where, whenever 
Lord FIavvkesl)ur\- is remcned. he will Ije much 
wanted. In ])r('i)arinL; Lord Castlerea_n"h for his 
conversation wiili Pill I mentioned to hini the idea 
which had l)een entertained of his (roin<>- to hidia, 
but i took notice of it as a mere floating- idea that 
had not been matured, and in the short con\ersation 
upon that ])art of the subject which ensued, his 
impression appeared to Ije an unwillingness to 
banish himself from his country and to withdraw 
for ever (as he should conceive he did, b\- now 
abandoning- it) from the situation he had a riL;'ht to 
look for in the hiouse of Commons. In the sub- 
sequent conversation with Pitt at which I was 
present, not a word passed on this subject, and 
I should therefore conceive that Lord Castlereagh 
has never had the subject fairly before him. I am 
convinced he would have communicated with me if 
he had ; and although I should concei\e it \erv 
doubtful if the event might turn out as \-ou wish, if 
the proposition were made to him. 1 \ et think if 
the dircx'tors of the luist India Compan\- have 
reall\- thought of him. he ought to ha\c' the oj)por- 
tunit)' of weighing a subject of this great impor- 
tance in his mind before he has bec-n untlerstood 
to decline the ojlei-. I5\ \\a\ of appi-ising Lord 



LETTERS EROM ERIENDS 133 

Castlereagh upon the subject I will enclose him 
your letter (if you have no objection), which I think 
will L;i\e him the opinion of a person indifferent to 
everything- concerning him except his public cha- 
racter, and open the business in as advantageous 
a manner as it can be done. 
" Believe me, 

" Ever most sincerely yours, 

" Camden." 
In 1803 the tardiness of our military preparations 
had been accentuated in a debate on the second 
reading of the Army Reserve Bill. Windham, of 
whom Wilberforce sa\s that " he had many of the 
true characteristics of a hero, but he had one great 
fault as a statesman, he hated the popular side of 
any question," gives as his opinion in the next 
letter, that he saw no impossibility in two armies 
of from twenty to thirty thousand men being 
landed in different places, and being opposed only 
b\' yeomanry and volunteers they might advance 
to London or wherever else they pleased. 
" Government acknowledge that there is an utter 
want of firearms."' \\ indham's hope was that 
Buonaparte might, for some reason or other, not 
come ; though he confesses that he did not know 
of any foundation for such hope. 

' Wilberforce to Henry Bankes. " Life of \\'. ^^'ilberforce," 
vol. iii. p. 1 17. 



134 PRIVATE PATERS OF WILBERFORCE 

Right Iloii. W'illia})! ]\'i]idlia))i to Mr. ]\llbcj-forcc. 

" Hkaconsfiei.k, 

'' Am^iisl 1 8, 1803. 
"Dear \\'ii.p.i:kforce, — The breakintr up of 
Parliament. acKanced as the season is, I can hardly 
help regretting' on another account. One wants a 
means of publishing the abominable backwardness in 
which things are with respect to defence : so as lite- 
rally to put us in the situation, described b\- some 
writer in the Moiiitcur, namely that if fift\- thousand 
men can anxhow get on shore, the)' must concjuer 
the island. What shall we sa\' to the fact, that at the 
end of now more than five nionths since the King's 
message not a single ball cartridge (I suppose) has 
been in-ed from one end of the country to the other, 
unless perhaps a few that I have desired to be fired 
just b_\' me in Norfolk, and some that 1 hear Cjrey has 
been using u])on the same principle in Northumber- 
land ? that the corj)s, which ha\'e been raising, 
such as the)' are. remain to this monient for the 
greater part without arms .-* that e.Kcepting. I ani 
afraid, a \'ery few thousand men to the arm\' of 
reserve, not the smallest a(.ldiii(»n has been or can 
be made to a force truK' regul.u-, such as can alone 
be opposed upon ciiual ternis to the troops 1)\ which 
we shall be inxaded? — and that llu' w hok' assist- 
ance, that would be to \^v rccei\(.'d trtun woi'ks, ot 
whatever sort, is all \ el to be be>'un. and e\en 



LETTERS EROM ERIEXDS 135 

settled ? When men talk of the difficulties and 
impracticability of inx'asion, of the impossibility of 
conquering a country such as this, they say what 
may be true, but which is certainly not so for any 
reasons which they can, or at least which they do, 
give. It is all a kind of loose, general vague 
notion founded on what they have been accustomed 
to see and to conceive, to which the answer is that 
so was everything which we have seen successively 
happen for these last fourteen years. Considering 
things not in much detail, but upon principles some- 
what less oeneral than those which I have been 
alluding to, I can see no impossibility in the suppo- 
sition of two armies landing in different places of 
from twenty to thirty thousand men each, of their 
beating, severally, the troops immediately opposed 
to them, and that having nothing then to encounter 
but volunteers and yeomanry, and other troops of 
this description, in the midst of all the confusion 
and panick which would then prevail, that they 
might advance to London or wherever else they 
pleased. Wliat the further consequences might 
be, one has no pleasure in attempting to trace ; but 
I should be obliged to any one who would show 
me some distinct limits to them. The persons to 
do this are, I am sure, not those who talk so glibly 
of crushing and overwhelming, and smothering, and 
I know not what all ; without the least idea how 



136 PRIVAT1-: I'APKRS OF WILHKRFORCE 

any of tlicsc things are to 1)C' clone, while the 
persons attackinu; us know how these things are, 
sometimes at least, not done, by the example 
of the numerous countries which they have over- 
run in spite of all such threatened opposition. 
1 shall go from here, that is from London, as soon 
as 1 ha\e settled some necessary business, and see 
whether I can be of an\ use in Norfolk, though I 
do not perceixe how widi the aid of only a single 
regiment of militia (all (jur present force) we are to 
stop a l)od\' ot ex'en one thousand men. or how tor 
the present. an\ thing at all can be done, when there 
is not as yet a provision for even the delivery of 
arms. All the hrelocks which the\' ha\'e as yet got 
immediately about here have been sent down at my 
own expense. My chief hopes are I confess that 
Buonaparte ma)-, for some reason or another, not 
come, or at least for some time ; but what founda- 
tion there is for any such hojie I confess 1 do not 
know. b^)rgi\'e m\- running on at this rate. The 
importance oi die subject would certainK' warrant 
me if 1 had an) thing new to say. 

" \'ours ver\ inilv, 

" W . W IMHIA.M." 

1 .oi'd ( "hatham ' at thai limr Masier-( leneral of die 

(Jrdnance, writes on the same subject : al an\ rale 

' IJiolhcr to Mr. Tilt, ot whom l.onl Mldoii yaw it as liis 
deliberate opinion tliat "the al)ksl niaii 1 ever knew in the Cabinet 
was Lord Chatham." 



l1':tt1':rs from i-rii<:nds 137 

there were " one hundred thousand pikes ready for 
the defence of the country, but there was an indis- 
position to take them." 

Lord Chalhani to Mr. U^ilbcrforcc. 
" St. James' Squ.\re, 

" September 2, 1803. 
" I had certainly felt it my duty (as only follow- 
ing up the plan proposed before I came to the 
Ordnance) to endea\our to restore at the Peace, 
and with such impro\'ements as could be suggested, 
the manufacture of the old Tower musquet, which 
our troops used to have, but which the necessities 
of the late war, and the naked state of our arsenals 
at its commencement, had obliged us to depart from, 
and to have recourse to an inferior arm. I found 
of course considerable opposition to any improve- 
ment, not only from the manufacturers, but from all 
the interior servants of the Ordnance. This was, 
however, nearly surmounted, and the manufacture 
of the better sort of arm on the point of taking 
place, when this sudden and unprecedented demand 
for arms took place. I ought here to state that had 
it not been with a view to improvement, and intend- 
ing graduall)' to dispose of those of inferior quality 
through the medium of the India Company, we 
should not ha\-e been, previous to the war breaking 
out, carrying on any manufacture ot arms, our 
arsenals beinL!' ox'erllovviniJ", calculatiuL!' on the most 



138 PRIVAT1-: TAl'lCRS OF W ILJ51:RI-C)RCK 

extended scale the Department had ever heen called 
upon to furiiish. I have, however, in consecjuence 
of the cxlraordiiiary calls of the present crisis, 
detenniiicd to use every effort, to meet it, and 
directions have been L;i\en to the Hoard of 
(Ordnance to revert to the same arm as was made 
last war. and to manufacture to the utmost possible 
extent the muscjuet of the India palicrn. You will 
easily believe I must have felt some reluctance in 
being obliged to lake this step after all the pains I 
have bestowed, but 1 hojx- 1 ha\e judged lor the 
best. I have great satisfaction in thinking that 
the stock of arms we j)ossess will enable us in the 
hrst instance, to arm to a consideraljle extent j)er- 
haps all that is really useful, and as arms come in, 
which with the exertions of the manufacturers they 
will do <|uickl\", and with the aid oi what we exj)ect 
trom aljroad the remainder will be proxiiled before 
long. We ha\'e alread)' one hundred thousand 
pikes, and can increase them rapid!) , but in general 
there is an indisposition to take them. 1 shoukl 
like much to talk over with \"ou, not onl\ the subject 
of arms, but the whole (juesliou of \dhmteering 
which 1 C(jniem|)late as a most serious one. b'x- 
cuse great haste with which 1 ha\e wrliim, antl 
with Lad\ < halham's \cr_\ bcsi i-cincinbranccs to 
\()U. " l)c-lie\e nic, yours \'ci"\ sincci'eb', 

" CuA ru.wi." 



LETTERS EROM ERIENDS i39 

Henry Bankes, the old friend of both Pitt and 
Wilberforce, writes on the political situation in i S07 
as follows : — 

Mr. Bankes to Mr. Wilberforce. 
" Kingston Hall, 

" January i, 1807. 

" Mv DEAR \\'iliu:rforce, — upon perusing the 
French papers I am well satisfied with the conduct 
of our Government. The tone is firm and uniform, 
and the den^iands such that we might have felt 
extremely happy to have made peace if we could 
have obtained them. There is somewhat of a 
blundering about the basis, which you will recollect 
Lord Malmesbury wrote so much ingenious non- 
sense about upon a former occasion, and it is to be 
lamented that Mr. Fox (whose letters upon the 
whole do him great honour) laid down an indistinct 
and indefinite basis in general terms of loose con- 
struction instead of binding that Proteus, his friend 
Talleyrand, to whom in his first address he professes 
the most perfect attachuieut (what a word from a 
Minister not born in the days of Charles II.!) 
to the sense in which he meant to interpret, 
fairly as I think, his words, and the words of his 
master. 

" Nothing can equal the shabbiness. chicanery, 
and double dealing of the French negotiators, 
and their proceedings do in fact but little credit 



I40 privatp: r.\i'i-:RS of wilhkrforce 

to their iiiulfrsiaiulinL;s, if they have any opinion 
of ours. 

" Believe me, my dear Wilberforce, 
" Most siiicc-rel\' yours, 

" 1 Ii;xk\ P).\NKi:s." 
Lortl llarrowhy. who twice refused the Premier- 
ship, writes ot the state of parties in 1809. 

Lord Jlan'oivby to Mr. W'ilbcr force. 

'■' l'riihi\\ Scplciiibir 22, 1809. 

" Dkar \\'ii.i;i:Ri(jkri;, — \nu must ha\c thought 
me a threat l^ear imi to have thanked you sooner 
lor your knid recollection of m\- wish to see a 
sketch of Mrs. II. Mores rustic huikliuL^". It is 
much more finished than 1 wished, and shall be sent 
to Kensington as soon as Mrs. Rwler has taken a 
slight sketch of it. 

" I have, since I received it, taken two journics 
into I )e\"onshire, upon Ma\nooth Inisiness, and 
have not had, when in town, a spare moment from 
Indian and domestic torments. The histor\- of the 
latter could not he put upon p.ijxr. and it il could, 
would l)e as xoluminous as an Indian despatch. 
You know enough of the parties not to suspentl 
)'our opiin'on till xou know as much as is necessar\' 
to form il. The 1 )ukc of Portland's resi;.4nalion has 
onl\' accelerated the I'risis. and \ ou know t-nouL;h of 
Perce\al to he sui'c ih.il w f are not lnokt-n u]), 
because /ic insists ujxtn h.i\ in;^ ilir w lioU- powci' in 



LETTERS EROM 1-R11-:XDS 141 

his own hands, and will not serve under any third 
person. Under these circumstances, and a thousand 
others, there seemed no resource left, but to attempt 
an overture to Lord Grey and Grenville jointly, 
which is made with the Kind's consent and 
authority. It it is met m the spirit in which it is 
made, 1 trust it will be successful. Whatever we 
may be driven to do, if the\" shut their ears to the 
proposal of an extended and combined administra- 
tion, we shall not, in my opinion, have been justified 
in our own eyes or in those of the country, if any 
party feelings prevented us from endeavouring bond 
fide to form such a Government as may both protect 
the King, and be fit for these times. They are, I 
believe, as little able to form a separate Government 
as ourselves, unless they mean to re-unite them- 
selves with those at whose proceedings they were 
so evidently alarmed last year. If they come in 
alone by force, they will have the Catholic question 
as a millstone round their necks. The very tact of 
an union with us who are known to entertain a 
decidedly opposite opinion upon that question (some 
of us for ever, and all during the King's life) would 
enable them to get rid of it for the present, as, 
without any pledge, which, after all that has passed, 
could neither be asked nor given, that question 
could never be made a Government question with- 
out the immediate dissolution of the administration. 



142 l'RI\'.\TK I'Al'l'lRS OF W I LB MR FORCE 

" \'()u express a \ery datlerinn' satisfaction at my 
return to public life. It will probably be a \ery 
short excursion, and certainK" a most painful one. 
1 look lor no comtort but in planting' turnips in m\' 
Sabine farm. 

" \ Ours (;\er most sincerely, 

" Harrowi'.v." 

Lord Erskine writes in 1813. to Wilberforce : — 

" I cannot sufficiently discharo^e a duty 1 owe to 
the public without telling" you what 1 think of the 
speech you sent me on the Christian question in 
India. The subject, though j^reat and important, 
was local and temporary ; but the manner in which 
you treated it made your sjicech ot the greatest 
value in the shield of Christianit)' that clociucnce 
and faith could possibly have manufactured. 

" I read it with the hi^'hest admiration, and as I 
am now a prixate man lor the remaining' years of 
m)' lite, I may say, without the presumption of 
station to give weight to my opinion, that it 
deserves a place in the library of ('\er\ man of 
letters, even if he were an atheist, for its merit 
in everything that characterises an aj)j)eal to a 
Christian assembl\" on the subject of Christianitv. 
W ith the greatest regard 1 ever am, 
" M)' dear sir, 

" \'our most fiilhlul ser\-anl, 

" I'lkSKlXK." 



LETTERS FROM r'RllCNDS 143 

Rowland Hill, the celebrated preacher, the 
disciple of Wliilefield. and the founder (jf the 
Surrey Chapel, writes to hrin^- jjefore W'ilberforce's 
notice the; (luestion of " untaxed worship," with 
regard to his chai)el. 

Rev. Row/and Hill lo Mr. Wllbcrforce. 

" Surrey Church, 

''April 16, 1 8 14. 
" My dear Sir, — Another prosecution for poor 
rates on our chapel has commenced. Though the 
appellant, Mr. Farquarson, a man of no character 
and involved in debt, is the ostensible person, yet 
all the evil arises from a Mr. Whitlock. who has a 
place in the lottery office under Government, who 
probably might have been quiet had he received a 
hint from the Government that his designs were not 
correspondent with their wishes. As matters are, 
the most vexatious and perplexing consequences 
must be the result. Different persons are subpoena'd 
down as far as Rygate, while these large expenses 
a thii'd tiiiic over is the least of the evil that must 
result. If they gain a verdict, for the sake of 
thousands of religious people that must be ruined 
by such a taxation, we must and shall resist. 
Surely the present mild Government will not suffer 
us to be deprived of the privilege of untaxed 
worship that we have uninterruptedly so long en- 
joyed. 



144 i'Ri\'.\ri: r.\i'i-:ks oi- w ilhi:ri<^orce 

" If. dear sir, you couKl l)iil hint to Mr. \'ansittart 
what iiuisi lie ihc rcsiili ol his iK-^iccliii^" lo answer 
our rcspccthil jx'litions so as to obtain s(»mc redress 
on our hehaKcs, thousands would have to bless you, 
and none Jiiore so than 

" \ DLirs most respectfully, 

" Rowland I lii.i.. 

"It should appear according" to the new French 
consiitulii Ml that our relii^ious liberties in I'^n^land are 
soon likely to be much iiilcridr to those in brance. 

" We humbly conceive we ha\e some little claim 
on the attention oi the Government aL^ainst these 
\'e\atious disputes, haxin^' made the largest collec- 
tion ol any place ol worship in the kinml«im on 
different {patriotic calls." 

It will be remembered that when the I )uke ol 
Wellington was ambassatlor to Paris in 1S14 he 
took up ver\ warmb" the (]uestion of the .Slave 
Trade, himsell circulating in Paris W ilbcrlorce's 
letter to his \'oi-kshire coiisliiueiils nn the subject, 
which Madam de .Siac'-I had translated at the I )uke's 
suggestion, and also tmdertaking to dis])erse W ilber- 
force's pamphlet to Tallex rand. The I )iikc writes 
from Paris, I )ecember 14. 1S14. 

The Ihtkc of irc/Iiiioioii lo Mr. ]\'i/hcrforcc. 

" It is impossible to tlescribe the prejudice of all 
classes here upon the subjeii, j)arlicularly those of 
our determined enemies, the priniij)al itfficers aiul 



LETTERS FROM FRIENDS 145 

employes in the public departments. I was in 
hopes that the King's measures had changed the 
pubHc opinion in some degree, of which the silence 
of the public journals appeared an e\idence. But I 
found yesterday that I was much mistaken, and that 
the desire to obtain the gain expected in the trade 
is surpassed only by that ot misrepresenting our 
views and measures, and depreciating the merit we 
have in the abolition. I was yesterday told gravely 
by the Directeur de la Marine that one of our objects 
in abolishiny' the Slave Trade was to ^et recruits to 
fight our battles in America ! and it was hinted that 
a man mioht as well be a slave for agricultural 
labour as a soldier for life, and that the difference 
was not worth the trouble of discussing it." 

The Duke goes on to complain that what was 
taking place in Paris as to the Slavery question had 
got into the English newspapers. 

The Duke of Wellington to Mr. Wilberforce. 
" I am quite convinced that the only mode in 
which the public opinion upon it here can be brought 
to the state in which we wish to see it, is to keep 
the question out of discussion in England by public 
bodies and by the newspapers, and I must say that 
it is but fair towards the Kino- of France not to 
make public in England that which he has not 
published to his subjects. We shall do good in this 
question in France only in proportion as we shall 

II 



14^1 PRIX'ATl-: IWri'.RS 01-' W II.HKRFORCE 

anticipate and carry ibc j)ul)lic ()j)iiiit>ii with us ; and 
in recommcndiiiL;' to axoid discussion at j)rcscnt in 
order to mal-cc some progress in the oj)inion ol 
France, 1 ina\ laN' claim to the merit ol sacrificin;4 
the poj)ularit\" which I shouKl have acquired by 
ha\in;^' been the instrument to prevail upon the 
French Goxcrmnent to prevent the renewal oi the 
trade on that part of the coast on which we had 
effectually abolished it duriiiL^- the war. I see that 
Mr. \\ hitbread mentioned the subject at a |)ublic 
meeting- in the city, which 1 ho|)e will be avoided at 
least till the French Government w ill have carried 
into execution all it proposes to do at present. 
" Elver, m\- dear sir, yours most faithfully, 

" \\'i.i.lin(;ton." 
The Duke of W elliuL^ion's letter to General 
IMacaulay is on the same subject : he says that in 
the case of the Slave Trade he could only be succe.ss- 
ful in b'rance by beini;' secret. He evidently ilis- 
approves of the people " who will have news and 
newspapers at their breaklasts," and thinks that the 
great cause had sutlered from premaiui\-l\ publishetl 
reports. 

The Puke of ]]\-//iii<^/oii fo (icncra/ Maiaii/av. 

" I'aris. December 22, 1814. 
" Mv Di.AR Ma( Aii.AV , — I receixed onl\ \ ester- 
dity yoin- letter ol the gih, and 1 had alreadx' re- 
ceived one Irom Mr. W ilberlorce on the same 



LKT'riCKS VROM I-RIICXDS 147 

subject, to which I have written an answer. I am 
quite certain that he has nothing- to say to the 
pubhcation in (|uestion. 

"It is, I believe, very true that secrecy in such 
a matter cannot be expected, but the people of 
England ought to advert to this circumstance when 
they are pushing their objects, and if they will 
have news and newspapers at their breakfasts they 
should show a little forbearance towards their 
Governments, if Foreign Courts are a little close 
towards their agents. In the case of the Slave 
Trade I could be successful in this country only by 
being secret, and in proportion as we should be 
secret. And in point of fact I have found the 
agents of this Government much more disposed 
lately to oppose our views than they were six weeks 
ago, and I have been reproached with having 
allowed what has been done to be published in 
our newspapers. 

" I must observe also that thouoh Mr. Wilber- 
force could not prevent what was published from 
appearing in the newspapers, Mr. Whitbread might 
have avoided to mention the subject at a public 
meeting held in London upon some other subject ; 
but the truth is that we mix up our party politics 
with our philanthr<){)y and everything else, and I 
suspect we don't much care what object succeMs 
or fails provided it affects the Ministers of the day. 



i4>^ I'RixATi': i'.\ri:Ks of wilhkrforce 

" Matters here are ap})areiuly in the same state 
as when you went away, but I beUeve are really 
in a better state ; the aj)})()intments of Monsieur 
Didule to the Police and of Marshal Soult to the 
W^ar Department have done some good. 

" Ever yours, 

" Wellington." 

Wilberforce was a member of a committee for the 
relief of the " poor German sufferers, " the wounded 
Prussians in i 8 14 15. The translation of Marshal 
Blucher's letter to the Managing' Committee after 
Waterloo is as follcjws. ' 

" Chatillon sur Sambre, 
'"y II lie 24, 1 81 5. 
" Are vou now satisfied ? In eioht davs I have 
fought two bloodv battles, besides five considerable 
engagements. 1 have taken one fortress, and keep 
three more surrounded. Yesterday the worthy 
Wellington was with me : we are agreed, we go 
hand in hand : the blockaded fortresses will not 
stop our operations, and if the Austrians and 
Russians do not specdiK' push forwartl. we shall 
finish the game ourselves. I'^u'cwell, and remember 
me to all England. 

" Hlucukk. 

' I'arl of this letter only is priiUeil in "" l.itc of William 
NN'ilbcrforce." 



LETTRRS FROM FRIENDS 149 

"It is all very well, hut I ha\'e twenty-two thou- 
santl killed and wounded. It is one consolation 
that they fell in the cause of humanity. I hope in 
England care will be taken of our suffering brethren ; 
put it to the feelings of Mr. Wilberforce and other 
friends." 

In a later letter to Wilberforce, Marshal Blucher 
disclaims the idea that personal affection for himself 
had had anything to do with the unexampled 
liberality of the English to his suffering fellow 
countrymen. For this liberality he begs to be 
allowed to offer other motives, i. The flattering 
description by the Duke of Wellington of the con- 
duct of the Prussians at the Battle of W^aterloo ; 
2. The command of the Prince Regent to make 
collections for them in all the churches of Great 
Britain ; and 3. Wilberforce's " own noble exer- 
tions in their behalf." He entreats \\'ilberforce 
to be the organ of his gratitude to the whole 
English nation. 

Alarshal Blucher to Mr. Mllberforcc. 

"Bonn, Decciiibcr 7, 1815. 
"Sir, — Your letter, dated the 31st of October, 
reached me in safety, and w^ith it the cheering in- 
telliofence that the Eno-jish nation, and all the 
subscribers for the relief of the Prussians who have 
suffered in the present war, and for the survivors 
of those who have fallen, have borne an honourable 



I50 I'Rix'ATi-: i'A1'i:rs of \vilhi:rforce 

testimony to their lixcly interest in the cause, by 
the greatest and most unexampled liberaHty. 

" In vour letter, sir, nou arc so L^ood as to say. 
that it is in some measure owinij;" to the j)ers()nal 
affection felt for me by your countrymen, that this 
liberality has exceeded any which in similar cir- 
cumstances has ever been exhibited ; and you 
appeal to my own experience in the support of 
this assertion. It is true that during my residence 
in England 1 met everywhere with the most flatter- 
\\v^ reception ; and 1 hope I shall always remember 
it with gratitude. Wwi this very recollection con- 
firms my belief, that the imagination of my services 
was magnified by that affectionate goodwill which 
is always the result of personal intercourse. I 
cannot otherwise account for the attentions which 
I receiv(,'(l. 

" I)Lit, sir, allow me to say that other motives 
than those of personal goodwill to me have quick- 
ened the exertions of the British nation fi)r the 
relief of the suffering Prussians. I allude to the 
flattering description of their conduct at the battle 
of Waterloo, by the most noble the Duke of WV'll- 
ington, and to the command of llis Roxal Highness 
the Prince Regent, to make collections for ihcm in 
all the cliLirches of Cireal P)rllaln : neither let me 
forget to mention as a most |)owerful cause your 
own noble exertions in ihi-ir behalf. 



LETTERS EROM ERIENDS 151 

"Allow me, sir, to present you my most cordial 
thanks for this fresh service which you have 
rendered to suffering" humanity. Let me also en- 
treat you, my truly noble friend, you, who so richly 
deserve the blessings of the whole human race, for 
having so courageously defended their rights, to be 
the organ of my gratitude, and to present my ac- 
knowledgments to the whole English nation for 
their very generous assistance to my brave com- 
panions in arms, and to the survivors of those who 
have fallen. May this liberality, which we cannot 
but receive as an undoubted proof of the truest 
friendship and esteem, prove a fresh bond of union 
between us. W^e fought for the highest blessings 
which human nature is capable of enjoying — for 
Liberality and Peace. May our high-spirited 
people be firmly united in so noble a confederacy, 
and may that union never be interrupted. 

" Much as, at my advanced age, I cannot but 
feel the necessity of repose, still should it please 
Providence to prolong my life, I shall yet hope 
once more to revisit England, and to repeat my 
thanks for the sympathy of that generous nation. 

" I entreat you to accept the assurances of my 
sincere esteem and high consideration ; and I have 
the honour to remain, sir, your most devoted 
servant, 

" Blucher." 



152 rRIVATl'. PATERS OF WILRERFORCE 

Lord Ilolland,' clL'Scril)C'd as "truly fascinatintr 
liaxiiiL;" somcihiiiL; oj his uncle's ^ood humour." bv 
W'ilhcrforcc, writes ol Abolition to hiin in 1S15, 
and tliinks "the cause had been very c<3ldly sup- 
ported, if not actually betrayed, at Paris, at 
Madrid, and at Rio Janeiro ; and that we ought 
to ha\e imposed conditions on this subject when 
b'erdinand \'II. wanted money, instead of giving 
him the mone)' hrst." 

Lord 1 1 ol laud to Mr. ]]ilbc7'forcc. 
" HoLi.ANo House, 

" Xoriiiihcr 13, 181 5. 

" Dear Sir. — I heard that you were anxious 
to get some j)aper on the Slave Trade translated 
into Italian. An Italian gentleman who is upon 
a visit to me will, I am sure, very willingly under- 
take it. and is well (jualitied for the task, as he 
writes his language with great elegance and 
understands ours. I am ah'aid \"ou will not hntl 
his Holiness as much disposed to anathematise 
rapine and murder committed under the sanction 
ot the j)owerlul C'rown ot Spain, as to disdain 
the extravagances of the Catholicks in Ireland. 
There was no diHicnlty in abolishing the i'^rench 
.Sla\'e Trade last \ far but in the breasts ot the 
Ii(mrbons aiul their adherents. Hona|)arle bv 

' 'I'lic third I And Holland was I'ox's nephew, and iDiiverte*.! 
his palace at Kensington into a .sort ol temple in hoiu)ur of 
Fox's memory. 



LETTERS FROM FRIENDS .i; 



:)j 



doin!4' it at once lost no adherents either in 
France or in the colonies, and the repuL^nance 
felt in 1S14 to the measure at Court orig"inated 
from their persuasion that the principles of all 
Abolitionists, as well as of all toleration in religion, 
are more or less connected with notions of political 
liberty which they know t(j be incompatible with 
their system of Government. True French Royal- 
ists, and many English Royalists too, make no 
difference between you and me or between me and 
Tom Paine. We are all equally heretics in 
Religion and Jacobins in Politics. There is there- 
fore nothing to be done with that class of men 
in the o-reat cause of Abolition, but bv fear. We 
have already lost many opportunities, and if we 
do not now insist on Portugal and Spain abandon- 
ing the trade, and on F ranee and the other powers 
treating it as piracy if they do not, we shall have 
shifted the ignominy from ourselves, but we shall 
not have rescued the world from the e\'il. May 
I ask if you understand why the complete abolition 
in France (it that measure of Bonaparte be really 
and in proper form confirmed) does not make part 
of the treaty.'^ It seems to me that at Paris, at 
Madrid, and at Rio Janeiro the cause has been 
very coldly, or at least very inefficiently, supported, 
if it has not been actually betrayed. W^hen Fer- 
dinand Vn. wanted money we might ha\e imposed 



154 I'RIVATl-: I'AriCRS OV WWAUUU'ORCi: 

conditions on this and on othc-r subjects, but we 
gave the inone\- In-sl, and he now sets us at 
defiance. With many ajxiloL^ies for tlie length 
ot nu' letter, 

" I am, sir, yours trul\-, 

" \^\SSALL HuLLAND." 

Karl)- in 1S25, W'ilham NVilberforce's brilliant 
Parliamentary career came to an end b\- his own 
\-olunlar\- retirement. The Speaker's ' letter is the 
expression of a \-er\- g-eneral leelinL; b'lili in the 
House and outside it, 

T/ic Rii^lit Hon. Speaker of the House of 
Couinwns to Mr. IVi/ber force. 
" I'ai.ack Yard, 

'^ FclviiiiiT 19, 1S25 
" Mv DEAR Sir. — W^'ith respect to your quitting- 
iis for more prix^ate retirement, permit me to say 
with the; truest sinceritw and in accordance 1 am 
persuaded with the unanimous .sentiment of the 
whole House, that we shall leel we have lost one 
of our briL^hlest (M-namenls, and \\hale\er ma\- be 
the honest variance of opinion on j)iilitical (juestions, 
1 know we must all be ol one mind in regretting 
the absence ol one as disiinguishetl lor e\'er\' 
moral \irtue as tor the brilliancy ot his talents. 
"That retirement mio more private lite ma\' 

' (Jliarlcs Manners .Sullon, .Spc ikcr of llu- 1 Idusc of Coninioiis, 
1817 1834; created Viscount (.■anlcil)iiry 1835; died 1845. 



Li<:Tri-:RS m^om I'Rii-:xds 155 

contribute lar^'ely to your personal ease, and to 
the entire restoration of \'our health, is, my dear 
sir, the sincere wish of your most faithful and 
respectful 

" Friend and servant, 

" C. Manners Sutton." 
Lord John Russell's answer to Wilberforce's 
anti-bribery suggestions at the time of the first 
Reform Ih'll is oiven below. It is marked "kind 
and pleasing " by W'ilberforce. 

Lord John Russell to Mr. ]Vilberfoi^ce. 
"South Audley Street, 

''June 3. 

" Mv DEAR Sir, — I w^as very much gratified at 
receiving your letter, not only for the kind senti- 
ments personally expressed towards me, but still 
more for the high testimony of your authority in 
favour of the course I have been pursuing. The 
resolutions I lately moved were directed against 
the \'ery practice of which you complain in your 
letter ; only instead of an election committee I 
propose a separate public committee for the purpose. 
The expenses of an election committee are such 
as to deter any from seeking that remedy but a 
candidate who has hopes of acquiring the seat 
himself, and the public is wronged for want of 
some one bound over to prosecute these offences. 

After all, we must trust more to the frequent 



156 PRIVATE PAPERS OF \VI LHICRFORCE 

canvassing- of the qiu'stion, and the improvement 
of moral tcclinu;-, which ma\- be expected from 
etUicalioii, iliaii to the letter of any law that we 
can trainc. 

" I showed your letter to Mr. Pitt and Mr. 
\\'\nne, and should have been f^lad to have read 
it to the ib)use, but I did not like to do so without 
your permission. Wisliini;- xou many years of 
happiness in your retirement, enhanced by reflect- 
ing- on the usefulness of your past life, 

" 1 remain, yours faithfully, 

" j. RlSSELL." 

Wilberforce writes on the same subject in 
October, 1831, to an old friend: — 

" I cannot but think the Lords managed it 
very ill not to attempt the discovery of some 
comj)romisr. L;i\ iiiL^" up the rotten bonHiLj,-hs. L^-rant- 
ing- niembers to threat towns, accepting- the new 
county members, and yet somewhat raising- the 
(jualilication (surely no pau[)er shouKl have the 
rii^hl ol x'oliiiL^") ; this must at least ha\'e pre\-ented 
the comnion ti'aud now |)ractised on the j)eople, 
that ol impuliiiL;- to those who \'oted at all against 
the Hill that the\- wished to retain all the worst 
abuses, which, in tact, ihvv were as willing as the 
reformers to ab( »lish. Hut 1 must bi'eak oil. NOu. 
and I hope I, are prompted to sa\' with oKl 
Hooker, 1 ha\e li\ed Ion-' enou''h to see that 



LKTTKRS FROM FRIENDS 157 

the world is made up of perturbations. P)Ut. blessed 
be God, there remaineth a rest for the people of 
God. May I be permitted to meet you there, my 
dear sir." 

On the different effects of the Oxford and 
Cambridge system on the minds of young men, 
Wilberforce writes to a friend : — 

Mr. Wilberforce to Mr. William Gray. 

" Dcxciiibcr 31, 1830. 
"It is curious to observe the effects of the 
Oxford system in producing on the minds of 
young men a strong propensity to what may be 
termed Tory principles. From myself and the 
general tenour of our family and social circle, it 
might have been supposed that my children, 
though averse to party, would be inclined to 
adopt Liberal or, so far as would be consistent 
with party, Whig principles, but all my three 
Oxonians are strono- friends to Hio-h Church and 
Kinor doctrines. The effects I mvself have wit- 
nessed would certainly induce me, had I to decide 
on the University to which any young protege 
of mine should go, were he by natural temper or 
any other causes too prone to excess on the Tory 
side, I should decidedly send him to Cambridge, 
Trinity ; were the opposite the case he should 
be fixed at Oriel, Oxford. 



158 rkix'ATi". i'.\ri:Rs oi-^ w ilhi-:rI''orci'. 

".As tor the gentleman you mention,' his character 
is not to be expressed in a few words. ( )t his 
extraorcHnary jiowers no one ever entertained a 
doul)l. I hc-re are also \er\- j)leasino- traits of 
private character: I ha\e been assured ot his in- 
cessant and kind attentions to his old mother. On 
his brother's failiiiL;', I believe, in business, he paid 
his debts to a lart^'e aniouiu and took on himself, 
I am assured, before beini; in office, the charge 
of his eij^ht or nine children. Of his own little 
o-irl he was excessi\el\' fond, and he was alwa\s 
kintl in what concerned friends or accjuaintances. 
I cannot also but ho])e that he has seen so much 
of religious men as almost to ha\e superior con- 
hdence in them. lUit )<iu suppose me to be more 
personal!)' ac(|uainied with him than I am." 

The next letter, to Mr. Mannin;^", contains an 
allusion to his son ilem'w afterwards Cardinal 
xManninL;', ot whom it will be noted that \\ ilber- 
force "forms sanguine hopes that he will be a 
blessing' to his fellow creatures." 

At the lime the leltei' was wi-iuen. \\ ilbcrloi'ce's 
large fortune had been serioush tliminished, thouL;h 
he was tar Irom being, as his letter would lead one 
to suppose, in the same unfortunate position as 
Mr. Maiming.- Idle effect of his own loss was 

' .Mr., atlcrwards Lord. lirouLiiiam. 

" iMr. .Manning l)C(anic l).uikrui)t in ihv uinicr of 1S30-31. 



LETTERS EROM ERI1<:NDS 159 

as he says, " oreatly to augment his happiness." 
Enough was left for his comfort. It is true he gave 
up his home, and was no longer able to practise 
indiscriminate hos{)itality ; also his subscriptions 
had to be curtailed, such as those to the York 
charities, as to which he " had been reminded in 
1 83 1 that they were larger than those of any other 
subscriber." 

Mr. Jl'i/bcrforce to M7\ Manning. 

" -/////f 1 1, 1832. 
" I am trul)- rejoiced, my dear friend, to hear 
that you are so comfortably circumstanced. I 
also have abundant cause for thankfulness. The 
loss of fortune was graciously delayed in my 
instance until all mv children havino- been educated, 
and two of them supplied with comfortable resi- 
dences (Robert, my second son, recently by the 
perfectly spontaneous kindness of Lord Brougham), 
so that the effect of my loss of fortune has been 
greatly to augment ]\L-s. \\\'s and my own happi- 
ness. What can be more delightful than to be 
the dailv witness ot our children havino- a laro'e 
measure ot conjugal happiness, the best of this 
world's goods, while at the same time they are 
discharging conscientiously and zealously the im- 
portant duties of the pastoral office. It gave me 
real pleasure that your son had given up the 
situation at the Treasury for the Church. I have 



i6o i>ki\'.\ ri-: I'Ai'i-.RS ov w ilherforce 

heard such an account <»f him from my sons, as 
jj^ives me reason to form sanL;"uine hoj)cs that he 
will he a hlessinu;" to his tellow creatures. ' 

The next extract reters "to the paintinu; of the 
well-known jiicture of Wilberforce now in the 
National Tortrait Ciallery. 

Sir Thomas Laivrcucc to Mr. Wilberforce. 

" You make a too flattering' apology for sending 
me but \()ur name in your own handwriting. I 
hanlK' know what other wortl in our laiiLiuatre 
could b(jast ot ecjual interest, and \'ou may be 
assured, my clear sir, that by those the nearest 
to me it will be eciually |)rized wiien the person 
to whom it is written can no longer produce it 
as evidence of his too fortunate career." 

The date of the following lines of Cowper and 
also of Hayley is not given. They are marked 
" Verses sent to me by Cowper and Hayley." 

To ]J1/Iia))i Wilberforce, Esq re. 

SONNET. 

Thy counlry, ^\'ilbcrforce, with just disdain, 

Hears thcc by cruel men and impious called 
Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose th' enthralled 

I'roni exile, public sale, and slav'ry's chain. 

l-'riend of the poor, the wronged, the fetter gall'il. 

Fear not lest labour such as thine be vain. 

Thou hast achieved a part — hast gaineil the ear 

Of ]5ritain's senate to thy glorious cause ; 



LETTERS EROM ERIEXDS i6i 

Hope smiles, joy si)iings, and tliout^h cold (^aulioii pause 
And weave delay, the better hour is near 
That shall remunerate thy toils severe 

By peace for Afrie feiici'd with liritish laws. 

Enjoy what thou hast won, esteem and love 

From all the good on earth, and all the Blest above ! 

W'l I.I.I AM COWPER. 



To Williaiii ]]'ilbcrforce, Esqn\ on the preccdiiio- 

Sonnet. 

\\'hen Virtue saw with brave disdain 
Lucre's infuriate sons profane 

Her Wilberforce's worth ; 
As she beheld with generous ire, 
His image fashioned for the fire 

Of diabolic mirth : 

" Firm friend of suffering slaves ! " she cried, 
" These frantic outrages deride, 

While I protect thy name ! 
Soon shall one dear selected hand 
Richly o'erpay at my command, 

Lidignity with Fame : 

" Since thou hast won, in Nature's cause, 
My fondest love, my prime applause, 

Thy Honour is my care ; 
Now shall my favourite Bard be thine : 
My Cowper, guard of glory's shine ! 

Shall grave thy merits there." 

William Havley. 



13 



HOME LETTERS 



it>3 



IIOMK LKTrKRS. 

Till-: iamily letters which toUow are some ot a 
reliofious character, while others turn on more 
general topics. 

Four letters written by Wilberforce to his 
daughter Elizabeth, aged fifteen at the date the 
correspondence begins, show the care with which 
he instilled into her niind all that he considered 
of niost moment ; also how he exercised " the 
privilege ot a friend," tor such he considered him- 
self to his daughter, and " told her frankly all 
her faults." 

Mr. Wilberforce to his daughter Elizabeth. 

'"' y^ ovt'iwhcy 30, 1 81 6. 

" This is but a short letter to my dear Elizabeth. 
When I do address my dear girl, I ought to con- 
sider how I can best testify my friendship : for 
friendship let there be between us ; never can you 
have a friend niore warmh" attached to \ou or 
more interested in your welldoing and happiness 

than myself. Ikit if we are to be friends, you 

105 



i66 i'Ri\'.\ri': i'.\1']-;rs oi- w ii,hi:ri-()kc1": 

nuisl allow me the prixilcL^r ot a triciul, a j)rivi- 
IcL^c 1)\- lar the iiinsi \aliialilc i>l all its cxcc-llcncies. 
So ihoii^lu \()iir ileal- I lulc Su'phcn.' when in the 
x'L'i')' fxtrfinc hiiUTiicss of his ^rief. which was as 
iijreat as that ot aii\' one I e\er witnessed, though he 
is now al)le to control his leelin^s before companw 
he said to me while cnlarL^inL; on the various 
j)articiilars ot \u\ dear sisters extraordinar\ cha- 
racter, ' ( ), she was a Irieiid lo iin soul! She 
told nie h'ankK' all \u\ taults,' an ottice in which, 
I am ohlii^ed to conless, he charged me with ha\ in^' 
been deficient. This has arisen, however, solelv 
from m\- scarcely ever having seen him alone, 
when only I could converse with him confidentialK-. 
\h\t if I am to exercise this best prero^atixe. this 
most sacred and indispensable dut\" ot triendshij), 
it will be necessar\- lor m\- tlccU- bdi/abeth to pre- 
pare her mind and temper lor receiving' it {)roperly, 
and tor dei-i\in^' Irom it all the benehts it is capable 
of imparting. Shall I be honest, and I must be 
so or be silent; were 1 otherwise, the \'ery sheet 
which I am wriliiiL;" would rise up in jiKlL^nient 
against me at the last da\ ; it lluMi. 1 am traid<. 
and honest, 1 must declai-e to xou, that it is on 
this (juarter that it will be necessary lor m\ dear 
gii-1 to guard hersell With the utmost watchtulness, 
and. still more, {n /y/r/^(f;r //t'rsi'// with consi-ieiuious 
' Mr. j.mu>i Stcplun niairiiii \\'ili)frluRL"\ sister. 



HOMl<: LETTERS 167 

care. This is whal St. Paul terms " exercising 
herself to maintain a conscience Noid of offence 
towards (iod and towards man " : what the Hook 
ot Proverbs styles, " keepini;' the heart wilh all 
diligence :'^ for unless we have accustomed ourselves 
to self-suspicion, if I may use such a j)hrase, w^e 
never benefit as we mii^ht from the friendly 
reproofs of a real friend. We may receive 
his remarks with civility, and even i^'ive hini 
credit for his kind intentions, but we shall be 
almost sure to let it appear to any acute 
observer at least, that we rather tolerate his frank- 
ness out of principle, or put up with it in C(jn- 
sideration of the friendly motives by which it has 
been prompted, than that we listen to it with a 
sincere desire of profiting from it, still less that 
we welcome it as one of the most valuable services 
in design, even when not in fact, that C(juld be 
rendered to us. The grand preparation that is 
needed is. Humility ; that sense of our own in- 
firmities and our own weakness, which is felt by 
every true, at least by every flourishing Christian. 
We read in the Scripture that ' our hearts are 
deceitful above all things : ' by which is meant, 
that we are all pnjne to flatter ourselves, to form 
too high an estimate of our own good qualities, 
and too low an idea of our bad ones. Now it is 
the first office of the Holy Spirit to teach us to 



i68 I'RIVATl-: r.\l'l-:RS of WILBKRFORCE 

know ourselves, aiul imiiu-dialely to suspect our- 
scKl'S as the first ettect of thai knowledge. Now 
l)c honest with yourself, my \er\' clear child. 
1 la\e \«)U Ix'cn accustomed to distrust the jud;^- 
meiu you ha\'e been in the hahil ot tormiuL;" of 
\our own character, as you would ha\ e done it it 
had been formed and stated to \'ou 1)\- any one 
whom \-ou knew to he a notorious liar? \ et this 
is i-call\' ihc wa\' in whith we oUL;ht to leel ; I 
know how difficult it is in ])ractice from m\ own 
experience ; and because it is so difht uli, it is 
here that we need the special aid ot the Holy 
Spirit, and should earnest!)^ [)ray tor Ills l)lessed 
inlluence to teach us to know ourselves. Be 
earnest, then, in prayer, my \er)' dear Iilizabeth. and 
trecjuent in self-examination on this x'ery point. 
I ha\e often delected m\- own selt-partialit\- and 
sjlt-deceit b\' observini; how differenth" the same 
tault, be it small or L;real, aj)pears to me when 
c )mmitted b\ mxselt, and when committed by 
others, how much more read\ 1 am with apoloj^ies 
t.)r it, or with extenuations tor its J4"uili. It a 
servant has clone am ihiuL^ wroni^, or omitted 
some act ot dut\, 1 observe ho-w it appears lo me, 
and it 1 ha\'c done much the s.unc tault, oj- been 
i^uilt)' ot the same omission, how much less does it 
imj)ress itself on nic how much soonei' do 1 toro"et 
it. I assure \<»u, 1 speak sincei'eh when 1 tell 



HOME LIlTTI'LRS 169 

you I fiiul this the case with myself: now observe 
whether you do ; and if so, then it will l)e a sub- 
ject for humiliation before (jod, and a motive for 
earnest prayer. Let my dearest Lizzie be par- 
ticularly watchful to improve the present season ; 
for as you have heard me say, Christ — as is 
stated in Rev. iii. — 'stands at the door and knocks,' 
that is. He uses particular events and circumstances 
of our lives, for impressing us with the im- 
portance of spiritual things, and if the event and 
the circumstances pass over without producing 
their proper effect, there is always a positive bad 
consequence. So much grace is, as it were 
expended on us in vain. The heart becomes 
harder and less favourably disposed on another 
occasion. And though we must not limit the 
grace and power (jf God, yet it is a great point 
to know what the Scripture (2 Cor. vi.) terms 
"our appointed time, our day of salvation." I 
am sure you find your heart softened and affected 
more than usual just now. O try, my beloved 
girl, to render this permanently, let me say eternally, 
useful to you. I understand you are reading 
Doddrid""e's ' Rise and Progress.' You cannot 
read a better book. I hope it was one of the means 
of turning my heart to God. Certainly, there 
are few books which have been so extensively 
useful. Pray over some of the prayers at the 



I/O i'Ri\'.\ri-: r.\n-:R.s oi^" wiuiicRFORCE 

conclusion of the chaj)lcrs ; as, for instance, if I 
rcincnilxT ri^ht. that al [he. end of the chapter. 
' Atu-r a siaU- ol spiritual cleca\.' l)Ut 1 have 
not the hook al hand, and cannot (|uote it from 
nienior\-. Don't read this till vou ha\ e half an 
hours leisure." 

< )i the j)i-i\ ilcL^c ot friendship alluded li> in this 
letter. W ilherlorce also writes later to his dau^'hter 
I{liz,d)eth : " \'ou will ne\er find telling' Rohert" (after- 
wards Archdeacon W'ilherforce), "of an\- fault offend 
him, it you do it when nou are Ictc a tcU\ and when he 
sees trom )'our manner and from the circumstances 
that \()u can onl\ haxc his happiness at heart, I 
mean that this triendly regard can alone j)rom])t 
you to such a proof of real attachment. " 

Ml-. W'i/bcrforcc to his daui^hlcr I'^/izahcfli. 

" I Iasi iN(;s, 

" ^timuiry 17, 1 Si 7. 

" Ah- i)i,Ai;i,si \a/:/.\\ A'our letter to-da\- L;ives 
me pleasure. W'e heard from Marianne (Thornton ) 
of her hax'inL; paid \'ou a \isit. Her friendK att.ich- 
ment to liarhara ' and xou, 1 account as one of the 
special hlessin^s of I'roxidence ; aiul there are man\ 
j)articulars, thoui^h not all, in which I should he- 
very L;iad to haxc her tlu- ohject of xour imitation. 
I am half aslecj) from not ha\ in^" had a Li"ood ni^lu, 
and Imd nnself oceasionalK writiiiL; one woi-d ni- 
' Mr. \\ ill)( rIoK I's M-coiul (lauuliln. 



HOiME IJ^yiTERS 171 

stead of another — a slip which I sometimes witness 
in my dear Lizzv's case ; I know not whether it be 
from the same cause, I hoj)e not. h'or my last 
night's wakefulness arose in pari from m\- thinking- 
on some sul)jects of deep interest from which, thouoh 
1 made several efforts, I could not altogether with- 
draw m\- ihouL;hts. My mind obeyed me indeed 
while I conlinuetl wide awake, but when dropping 
half asleep, it started aside from the serious and 
composing train of ideas to which I had forced it 
up, and like a swerving horse, it chose to go its own 
way rather than mine. It is a delightful considera- 
tion, my clearest child, that there is a gracious and 
tender Saviour who, in our sleeping as well as 
waking hours, is watching over us for good, if we 
are of the number of those who look to Him 
habitually lor consolation and peace, and such I 
trust will be more and more the case of my clear 
Elizabeth." 

The next letter is in a more lively strain and 
explains to Elizabeth the system of Bishop Berke- 
ley. 

Mr. Wilbcrforcc to his daughter Elizabeth. 

" HiGHwooD Hill, 

''July 13, 1830. 
" Mv 1)i;ar Lizzy, — If many intentions to write 
could be admitted as making up one letter, you 
would have to thank me for beino- so uood a corres- 



172 I'KIVATi: TAPERS OF WIIJil-.RFORCE 

poiulcnl. lull I tear ihai Lliis is a iiintle ot calcula- 
tion thai will oiiK conic into use. when the system 
ot ^■of)cl Hishoj) rx-rkelcN- has become established. 
I caiuiol explain what this is so well as Robert 
coultl, but its (lisiinctix'e principle is that there are 
no such things as substances. \'ou may suppose 
that \du ha\e had the ple.isure ot re-visiting" a very 
dear Iriend, called Miss Palmer, and \ou ]jrobably 
would assure me. it" i asked \ ou whether they still 
continued at the Hall an\' such vulvar pnictice as 
that of eatiny", iIku the turkies anel fowls were as 
^"ooel and as treel\" bestowcLl as when 1 used to par- 
take of them in earlier years. All mere delusion. 
All imagination. All ideal. There is no I"llizrd)eth 
(she onl\- appcaird to occup)' an ideal j)lace in an 
ideal carriage, when she travelled down to Mosely 
and I'Jmdnn), there is no Miss Palmer, nor are the 
ft)wls and turkies a whit more substantial thcUi ihe 
suj)posed eaters ot them. 1 really am serious — 
such is the s\stem ot one ot the ablest aiul best ot 
men (he was sj)oken ot bv Pope as " lla\in^ exery 
virtue under heaxen); he held that the Almighty 
tormed us so as to ha\'e im|)ressions produced on 
u^. as il these were i-ealitic-s, but that lhi>. was all. 
I little inlt'uded when 1 look u|) m\ j)en to ^i\e yi^)U 
such a Lecture in Meta|)h\ sics. 1 am siu'e 1 have 
had a Lecture, a |)ractical one. on the tlul\ ot bear- 
ing inlerrui)iions with _L;ood humtau'. 1 his morn- 



HOME LETTERS 173 

ino' (il is now 4 j).m. and dinner lakin^' on the 
tabic) I look ii|) ni\' pen al ioo"c:]o(~k, and m\' first 
ihoii^ius were; naturall)- drawn to \'ou. Scarcely had 
I linished m\' lirst sentence when in came Knowles 
(as queer he is as ever) and announced Lord Teii^n- 
mouth. Vp 1 went to him in the drawinu^-room, 
and as cordial a shake of the hand he received from 
me as one friend can give to another. But I own I 
be^an to wish I could be in two places at once. I 
had secured as I thought, several h(jurs of quiet, 
and my eyes happened to be better than for some- 
time past, and I was therefore hoping to pay away 
a great part ot my epistolary arrears, when in comes 
my friend, and remains with me between three and 
lour hours, refusing to stay dinner, l)ut not depart- 
ing till alter the post had gone out. H(3wever, such 
incidents are salutary, they accustom us to bear with 
cheerfulness the little vexatious interruptions which 
people sometimes bear with less equanimity than 
more serious grievances. Here enter Lhicle 

Stephen But with some pressing I have got him 

to agree to stay till to-morrow morning, so I may 
fini.sh my letter. I must first tell you what I think 
a remarkably well-expressed description of Lady 
Raffles, contained in a letter from the Duchesse de 
Broglie, to whom I gave Lady R. a letter of 
introduction — ' C'est une personne (|ui inspire un 
profond interet. Fdle a tant de dignite et de 



1/4 rRIX'AT]': I'AI'l-.RS OF W ILr.KRFORCE 

douceur.' The c'j)ith('ts appear to nie x'erv haj)p\-. 
And now, m\' dear \a/.v.\\ I must conclude nu' \'ery 
disjointed letter, written a p/nsicrs 7'cpriscs as the 
French j)hrase it." 

rji/ahcll") would scc-ni to ha\e written to her 
father as to her solitariness of spirit in so con- 
fidential a strain that his sympathx' had been 
thoroughh awakened, in his answer he excuses him- 
self for not ha\ino- been more of a comj)anion to her 
on the L^round that he had been so lon^- engaged in 
public business, and also that as he had been almost 
an old bachelor before he married, he had got out 
ol the habit of tender attention to young women of 
education and delicacy ; but he assures her she will 
alwa\'s find in him unfeigned tenderness of spirit 
for all her feelings, and all her intuMiiities. His 
remedies for "solitariness of sj)irit" are most 
practical. 

Mr. W'ilbcrforcc to fiis daughter Elizabeth. 

" Hic.HwooD Hn.L, 

" /"(v -^\ 1S30. 
" Ah" \ i:m dkar Li/./\, — Thotigh, owing to my 
having been betra\ed into forgetfulness of the 
flight of time while sitting under the shade nf the 
lime tree it is now so late that 1 shall not be abK' to 
write to you so full)- as 1 wishetl aiul intencK'd, 1 
must not be so unjust to m\self or so unkind to \'ou 
as I certainly should be if 1 were not to repl\' to 



HOME LETTKRS 175 

your last interesting" letter as soon as possible. 
And yet. my dear i^irl, it could be only from nervous 
sensibility that you could doubt of m\' putting' the 
right construction on your openino' your heart to me 
without disguise. I wish you could have seen the 
whole interior of mine when I had read through it : 
I am not ashamed to say that I melted into tears of 
affectionate sympathy. Your letter really contained 
nothino- but what tended to call forth feelinos of 
esteem and regard tor you. My dear Lizz)', I will 
return your openness by a similar display of it. I 
will confess to you that I have not seldom blamed 
myself for not endeavouring more to cheer your 
solitary hours, when you ha\'e had no friend of your 
own sex to whom you could open your heart, and I 
will try to amend of this fault. My not walking 
with you more frequently has, however, been often 
caused by the circumstance you mention, that at the 
very hour at which I can get out, just when the 
post has departed, you are yourself employed in a 
way of which 1 always think with pleasure, and 
which I doubt not will bring down a blessing on 
your head. But there is another cause which may 
have some effect in rendering me less tenderly 
attentive than yoimg women of education and 
delicacy like persons to be, and must in some 
measure find them, before they can open their 
hearts to them with unreserved freedom. I allude 



176 rRIX'ATl-. I'Al'KRS OK WILHERFORCK 

to m\- ha\ iiiL; l)c-t'ii so Iniit^" ;iiul so constantly cn- 
j^'UL^C'd in j)ul)lic l)usincss aiul ha\inn' l)ecn almost an 
old i)ac:hc'lor ht-torc I married. Let m\- dear chiltl, 
howcNcr. !)(' assurt'd that she will always experience 
from me an unteii^ned tenderness ot s[)irit and a 
kind consideration tor all her teeliniLi"s and even, shall 
I say it, all her infirmities. Meanwhile let me advise 
yon. mv dear child, whenever yon dn feel anvthin^' 
of that solitariness ot spirit ot which nou sj)eak, to 
endeavour to tind an antidote tor it in prayer. 
There is otten much of bodily nervousness in it. I 
am ashametl to acknowledge that 1 am sometimes 
conscious ot it nnselt. Another nuihod which 1 
would recommend to you tor ^ettinj^" the better ot 
it, is to engage in some active exertion, teaching 
some child, instructing some serxant, comforting 
some poor sufferer from poverty and sickness. I 
deeply feel the Bishop and Mrs. Rxder's kindness 
to you, but it is of a pi(,'ce with all their conduct 
towards me and mine. Cjod bless them. 1 sa\' 
from the heart." 

In 1S14, Mr. W'ilbertorce at the age of ht't\-tive, 
begins his corresj)ondence with his son .Samuel, 
aged nine. I he tather is alread)- seeking tor a 
proot ot the grand change ot conx'ersion in his child. 

A//: \\ ilhi')/o)ic to Jus sou Scui/iu/. 

''Stpliiiilnr 13, 1S14. 
"1 was shocked to luai' that \ttu art- nine \ears 



HOME LETTERS i;; 

oltl ; I th()UL;hl it \v;is ci^hl. ^'()ll must take i;"rcat 
pains to prove to nie tliat you are nine not in years 
onl\, l)ut in heatl and heart and mind. Alcove all, 
my dearest Samuel, 1 am anxious to see decisive 
marks of your having" be^un to underoo the great 
change. 1 come ao-ain and a^ain to look to see if 
it really be be^un, just as a gardener walks up 
a^ain and attain to examine his fruit trees and see 
if his peaches are set ; if they are swelling and 
becoming larger, finally if they are becoming ripe 
and rosy. I would willingly walk barefoot from 
this place to Sandgate to see a clear proof of the 
o^rand chanoe beino' beo-un in my dear Samuel at 
the end of my journey."' 

^^ Ma nil 25, 181 7. 
" I do hope, my dear Samuel, like his great 
namesake at a still earlier period ot lite, is beginning 
to turn in earnest to his God. Oh, remember prayer 
is the great means of spiritual im[)rovement, and 
guard as you would against a wild beast which was 
lying in a bush by which you were to pass, ready 
to spring upon you — guard in like manner, I say, 
against wandering thoughts when you are at prayer 
either by yourself or in the family,- Nothing 

' Part of this letter is in "Life of \Vilberforce." 
^ This thought, thus strongly impressed on Samuel's mind, was 
many years afterwards expanded by him into the lovely allegory 
of the "Children and the Lion," published in " Agathos and 
other Stories.'' 

13 



i;8 l'RI\'.\'H': I'AI'KRS 01-' W I l.HKRFORCE 

t^rieves ihc Spirit more than our w illiiv^iy sLilferino" 
our ihoin^hts lo waiulcr ami lix themselves on anv 
ol)jeci which hapjjcus at the time to interest us." 

" yiiiiL- 5, 1817. 
".M\ 1)1:ak Samikl, — LoxiiiL; \ ou as clearly as I do, 
ii miL^ht seem strange to some ihouL;htless jjeople 
that 1 am L;lail to hear noli are unhappy. lUit as 
it is about your soul, and as 1 know that a short 
unhappiness of this kind often leads to lastiiiL; 
happiness and peace and jo\-. I cannot but rejoice. 
1 trust, m\- dear boy. it is the .Spirit of Ood knock- 
ing" at the door ot your heart, as the Scrij)ture 
exj)resses it, and making" \nu feel uneasy, that you 
may Ije dri\en to find pardon and the sanctilxino- 
inlluences ol the Holy Spirit, and so be made one 
of Christ's llock and be taken care of in this world 
and Ije delixered troni hell, and be taken when \t»u 
die, whether sooner or later, to exerlastiuL^' happi- 
ness in heaven. My dearest bo\ , \\hene\i'r \ ( "U 
leel in this \\a\-, 1 beseech \'ou, i^et alone ami f.iU 
on your knees, and pra\- as earnest]) as noli can to 
God loi- Christ's sake to lor^i\-e \ ou ami to .s,uiciif\ 
)()U, and in short to make you to l)e born a^ain, as 
our .Saxiour e\j)ressetl it to Nicodemus." 

" "7///v 19///. 
"I will |)i-ocure antl semi \ ou ( loKlsmith's 'Grecian 
llistor),' it \ ou will read it attenti\el\ , thouL^h it is 
by no means .so gocd a histoi) as Mitfoiil's; it is 



HOMi: LETTERS 179 

little l)ettcr than an epitome. Let me tell you I 
was pleased with xoiir skeleton of Mr. LanL;"ston's 
sermon, and I should be i^lad of such another bat;' 
ot bones. I\l\" dear l)o\-, \\hene\er nou teel any 
melting's ot mnul, an\' sorrow" tor sin, or an\' concern 
about \()ur soul, do not, I bei;' ot \"oli, stitle it or 
turn away your thoughts to another subject, but t^et 
alone and pray to God to hear and bless you, to 
take away the ston\" heart and substitute a heart 
of tlesh in its place." 

"T//,i,v/s/ 15///, 1817. 
" The great rule practically for pleasing- our 
Saviour in all the little events of the day is to be 
chinking of Him occasionally and trying to please 
Him, by not merely not doing evil, but by doing 
good ; not merely negatively trying not to be 
unkind, not to be disobedient, not to give pain, but 
trying positively, to be kind, to be obedient, to give 

pleasure." 

" Xoi'cnibcr i, 181 7. 
" Mv VERY DEAR Samuel, — Though Some com- 
pa;ny who are to dine with me are already in the 
draw'ino--room, I must leave them to themselves t(jr 
two minutes while I express the very great pleasure 
I have received from Mr. Marsh's account ot both 
my dear boys. Being a political economist, I cannot 
but admit the beneficial effects which always fiow 
from the division of labour, and must therefore 



i8o TRIXATl-: I'Al'KRS OF WILBKRFORCE 

rather comnicnd than l)lanH' llic instance o\' it which 
is afinrded h\ Nour wrilinu; the letter while l^)b is 
l)uilclinL; the house. it is (jiiite a drop ot balm into 
nn heart when 1 hear of nn dear boys going on 
well." 

" Mtiv 2, 1818. 

"Could \'oii both l)Lil look into my heart and 
there see the tender antl warm lo\e I teel tor you ! 
ilow m\ heart bleeds at the idea of your being 
drawn into the paths of sin and Ijrin^inL;" the ^rey 
hairs of \"our j)oor old lather with sorrow to the 
grave — a most unlikely issue 1 do really hope ; and. 
on the other hand, could xou witness the glow ot 
affection which is kindled b\ the j)rospect of your 
becoming the consolation of m\" declining years, 
you would want no more powertul motives to 
Christian obedience." 

"April 25, iSiS. 

"Oui" West Indian wartare is begun, and our 
ojjponents are commencing in the wa)' ot some ( 1 
wont add an epithet) classes ot enemies b\" the 
poisoneil arrows ot calumn\' and talsehood. Ilul 
how ihaiiktul should we be to lixc in a countr\' in 
which the law protects us trom pei'sonal injin'N' ! " 

" 'tiiiii' -'>, 1S18. 
'' M \ dccU' children little think how otien we 
parents are ruminating about them when we are 
absent trom them, peril. ips in \er) bustling scenes 



IIOMK LETTERS 



i8i 



like that from which I come. Mr. l)ahino-t()n is a 
candidate for. the county of Leicester, and I really 
trust he will succeed ; the two other candidates are 
Lord Robert Manners, the Duke of Rutland's 
brother, and Mr. Phillips, a country gentleman of 
large property. My dear Samuel, keep going on 
well. Pra)er and self-denial, as you used to be 
taught when a very little boy, are the grand 
things." 

" Fchiiian' 13, 181 9. 
" I am very glad that you like your new situation. 
One of the grand secrets to be remembered, in 
order to enable us to pass through life with comfort, 
is n(^t to expect too much from any new place or 
plan, or from the accomplishment of any new 
purpose." 

" Mdirli 12, 1819. 
"On the whole, Mr. Hodson's report of you is a 
gratifying one. But there is one ground for doubts 
and fears, and I hope my beloved child will en- 
deavour to brighten that quarter of my pro.spect. 
I fear you do not apply to your business with 
energy. This, remember, was yom- fault at Mr. 
Marsh's, and you alleged, n(3t without plausibility, 
that this arose in a great degree from your wanting 
spirits, in consequence of your having no play- 
fellows lor your hours of recreation, no schoolmates 
for your season ot business. A horse never goes 



i82 TRIWATK l'.\ri':RS ()!• \\I LB1<:R1-X)R('K 

so chcerfullv aloiK- as wlicn animated In the 

presence ol a c<)ni|)aninn, and a hny |)rnhis tntni 

the same (luickeninL;' ])rinciple. Ikit m\' dearest 

Samuel has not now this danger to plead at Mr. 

Hodson's, antl 1 h()j)e he will now hear in mind 

that this indis|)()siti()n to work streniiousK' ' is one ot 

his hesettini;" sins." - 

"MuY 2 2. 1819. 

'' I hear with pleasure of your L;oinL;s on. and 1 

ma\- adil that we all thouniu our dear boy j^'reatiy 

im|)ro\cd when he was last with us. How delii^ht- 

ful will it he lo me in m\- decliniuL;" years to hear 

that m\ dearest Samuel is doiuL;' eredit to his name 

and family ! " 

'' Mdv 25, 1819. 

" I do not like to write mereK" on the oii/sic/r ot 

this co\er, though I ha\e time to insert \ery little 

within, \et as when \'ou were a little l)o\" 1 used 

to deli<^"ht in taking' a jxissin^' kiss ot you. so now 

it is (|uite L;ralil\ ini;" to exelian^e a salutatit)n with 

you on pa])er, though hut tor a miiuilc oi' two. 

The sii^ht «)! m\' handwriting' will tall torth in the 

miiul ot m\ dear, atUHiionale .Samuel all those 

imaLi'es ot' j)areiUal and l.uniK tenderness \\idi 

' ISisho]) \\'ill)crr()rfc oiiic told hi. Woodford ( Hisliop of Kly) 
tlial he was naturally iiulokiit and had at first "to floi^ liimscif uj) 
to his \vorl< " (I Jfc, vol. iii. p. ,105). To those wlio rcmcinhcr 
Hisliop W'ilhcrforoc, and to iiadcis of his Life, tlicse passages 
nuist appear surprising indeed. I'Iun afford a strikini,' instance 
of a natural defect turned into the eonlrarv ("hristi.m ^racc. 
I'art of this letter is in the " Life of \\ ilberforce." 



HOME LETTERS 183 

which the Ahni^hu' pci-niits us to be refreshed 
when chikh-cii or {);irents are separated from each 
other far asunder. \'ou have a Heavenly blather, 
too, inv dearest boy, who loves you dearly, and who 
has promised He will ne\^er leave you nor torsake 
you if you will but devote yoiu'self to His service 
in His app )inted way. And so I trust you are 
resoU'ed to do. I hope you i^'ot yoLU" parcel safe, 
and that the lavender-water had not oozed out of 
the bottle ; the cork did not seem tight. Farewell, 
my very dear Samuel." 

" .SV/i/t7///u-/' 17, 1819. 
" Mv DKAR Bov, — It is a great pleasure to me 
that )'ou wish to know your faults. Even it we 
are a little nettled when we first hear of them, 
especial!)' when they are such as we thought we 
were free from, or such as we are ashamed that 
others should discover, yet if we soon recover our 
gooddiumour, and treat with kindness the person 
who has told us of theni, it is a very good sign. 
It may help us to do this to reflect that such 
persons are rendering us, even when they them- 
. selves may not mean it, but may even only be 
gratifying; their own dislike ot us, the greatest 
almost ot all services, perhaps may be helping us 
to obtain an eternal increase of our happiness and 
glory. F^or w^e never should torget that though 
we are reconciled to God through the atoning 



iS4 rkiVATic i'.\ri-:RS nv wilberforce 

hlood of Christ, allotrclhcr frcclv and of mere un- 
tl('ser\('(l inci-c\", \cl when once reconciled, and 
become the t hildren of ( iod, the degrees of hapj)!- 
ness and u;lor\ which lie will o;rani to us will be 
j)roj)oriioned to the degree of holiness we have 
obtained, the degree (in other words) in which 
we ha\c improxcd the talents committed to our 
slewardshi])." 

" Wrvmouth, Scplcinhcr, 1820. 

" I have this day learned for the first time that 
there were to be oratorios at Gloucester, and that 
some of the l)o\-s were to go to them. I will be 
\'er\' honest with \-ou. When I heard that the 
cost was to be halt a guinea, I greatly doubted 
whether it would l)e \\ari-antable to jkiv such a 
sum loi' such a |)crtormance for such youth. This 
last consideration has considerable weiG^ht with me, 
both as it renders the j)leasure ot the entertain- 
ment less, and as at \iiur carK a'^e the sources ot 
])lcasurc arc so numerous. Inil m\" dithcullies were 
all i-'Mno\cd by Imding that the mone\' would not 
merel)' be applied to the use ol twcedK-dum and 
tweedledee (though I write this, no one is fonder 
than nnself of music), but was to go to the relief 
ol the ( Icr^A wid()\\sand childi'en. I sa\' ihcreioi-i- 
yes. g.l'.D." 

" .S'( •/>/<•;///'(•/■ 4, iSjo. 

" I am j)ersuaded that m\ dear Samuel will 



HOME LETTERS 185 

eiKlea\'OLir to keep his mind in such a right frame 
as to enable him to enjoy the pleasures of the 
scenes through which he is passin^', and to be 
cheered by the consciousness that he is now 
carrying forward all the necessary agricultural pro- 
cesses in order to his hereafter reaping a rich and 
abundant harvest. Use yourself, dear boy, to take 
time occasionally for reflection. Let this be done 
especially before you engage in prayer, a duty 
which I hope you always endeavour to perform 
with all possible seriousness. As I have often told 
you, it is the grand test by which the state of a 
Christian may always be best estimated." 

" Bath, Stptc'iiibcr 23, 1820. 
" Did you ever cross a river with a horse in a 
ferry boat? If so, you must have observed, if 
you are an observing creature, which if you are 
not I beg you will become with all possible celerity, 
that the said horse is perfectly quiet after he is 
once fairly in the boat — a line of conduct in which 
it would be well if this four-footed navigator were 
imitated by some young bipeds I have known in 
their aquatic exercitations. And so said animal 
continues — the quadruped I mean, mind — perfectly 
quiet until he begins to approach the opposite 
shore. Then he begins to show manifest signs of 
impatience by dancing and frisking sometimes to 
such a degree as to overset the boat, to the no 



i86 rkiwATi-: i'.\ri:KS oi-" w ilhicri'orck 



small injur\- of olhcrs (for whom he \cr\- liiilc 
cares) as well as himscll. 1 his is whal max he 
well c-allc(l makiiiL;' moi-c haste than good s})(x*d. 
Xoiu- the less, though 1 am tulK aware that the 
same frisking i]ua(lrLij)ecl is a \er\ im])ro])er suljject 
of imitation, not onl\ to an old hipcil hut to an 
e.\j)erienced M.I', of forty years' standini^", vet I 
lind mxself in a state of mind e.\actl\' like that of 
the horse abo\'e mentioned, though it has not the 
same efTects on m\ animal powers, and though, 
Ix'ing on dr\' land and m a ])arlour, not a lioat, I 
might frisk awa\ if I chose with perfect imjjunity 
tonnscif and others. Ihit to (|nit metaphor which 
1 ha\ (,■ faii'h woi'n out, or, rathei', rode- to death, 
when I was a hundred miles fi'om \n\ dear Samuel. 
thou'j;h m\' affection for him was as strong and m\' 
sentiments and f(.'elinj4"s as much emplo\ed in him 
as now, \ ct these are now accompanied with an 
impatient longing' to extinguish the comparati\"el\' 
little distance that is between us, anil to ha\e 
m\ dearest l)o\ not onl\' in m\ heart l»ui in m\' 
arms, and \ct on reflection this \-er\' feeling is 
henelicial. I recollect that our se])aration is an 
act of self-denial, and I <)lfer it up to m\' Sa\iour 
with a humble sense of I lis goodness, m subjecting 
me to such few and lhi)se t'( impai'ali\'el\ such eas\" 
crosses. M\ dearest .Samui'l will remember to 
ha\e our blessed I .ord conlmualU in remembrance. 



HOME IJ:TT1':RS 187 

and 1)\- associaliiii; lliin llius with all the little 
circumstances of lite, it is that we are to live in 
His lo\-e and tear continually." 

" Xo-i'ciiihcr 20, 1820. 

"We quite enjoyed Nour pleasure in Robert's 
\isit. In truth the gratification we parents derive 
from our children's innocent, much more their 
commendable, enjoyments is one ot the greatest 
ot our pleasures." 

"Bath. Xoi'fiiibcr iS, 1S20. 

" INh- DKAR Samuel. — I am sorry to hear that 
your examination is. or part ot it at least, disad- 
vantageous to )'ou. Does not this arise in part 
from ^•our having^ staved with us when your school- 
fellows were at Maiseniore ? If so, the lesson is 
one which, if my dear boy duly digests it and 
bottles it up for tliture use. may be a most valuable 
one for the rest of his life. It illustrates a remark 
which I well remember in I^ishop Butler's 'Analogy,' 
that our faults often brins^" on some bad conse- 
quence lono" after they have been committed, and 
when they perhaps have been entirely banished 
from our memory. Some self-indulgence per- 
haps ma\" have lost us an advantage, the benefit of 
which might have extended through life. Hut it 
is due to my dear Samuel to remark that, though 
his stay was protracted a very little out ot selt- 
indulgence (as much ours as his), yet it was chiefly 



iSS I'RIXWT]-, l'Al'I<: RS OF WILHKR FORCE 

occasioned \)y tlic necessity of his goinj^- up to 
FonJon on account oi his ancle. (By the way, 
tell me in two words- ancle better or worse or 
idoji.) l)Ut in\- Samuel must not vex himself 
with the idea of iallin^" below the boy who has 
commonK bc-en his competitor, owing to his stay 
haxiiiL^ })re\ented his reading what is to Ije in 
part the subject of the examination. It would 
really be quite wronj^' to feel much on this account, 
and that tor several reasons. First, everybody 
about you will know the disathanta^es under 
which you start, and will make allowances accord- 
inyiv. Next, if xou tlo as well or better in the 
parts you hare read, you will show the probabilitv 
ol \'our hax'inL;' done well in the other also, it \(>u 
had po.s.sessed with it the same advantai^e. And 
what I wish m\ dearest bo\' seriousK to consider 
is, that an\ uneasiness he miy;ht feel on account ot 
this circumstance would deserve no better a name 
than emulation, whiih the aj)oslle enumerates as 
one ot the lusts ol the llesh. ^'ou sliouKl ilo \<)ur 
business and tr\ to excel in it, to please \'our 
.Sa\iour, as a small return lor all lie has done for 
\-ou, but a return which lie will b\- no means 
despise. It is this whiih constiiules the cliaracter 
of a real ( hi'isiian : th.it, ci>nsiderinn' himselt as 
bouL^hl with .1 price \ i/., that ot the blood (tt 
Jesus Christ he rej^ards it as his dul\ to tr) and 



HOME LETTERS 189 

please his Saviour in everything. And to be 
honest with you, my very dear boy, let me tell 
you that it appears to me very probable that the 
Heavenly Shepherd, whose tender care of His 
people is, you must remember, described to us 
as like that of a shepherd towards the tender lambs 
of his flock, may have designed by this very incident 
to discover to you that you were too much under 
the influence of emulation, and to impress you 
with a sense of the duty of rooting" it out. Emu- 
lation has a great tendency to lessen love. It is 
scarcely possible to have a fellow-feeling (that is, 
duly to sympathise) with any one if we are thinking 
much about, and setting" our hearts on, o-ettino- 
before him, or his not getting before us. This 
disposition of mind, which includes in it an over- 
estimation ot the praise ot our tellow-creatures, is 
perhaps the most subtle and powerful of all our 
corruptions, and that which costs a real Christian 
the most trouble and pain ; for he will never be 
satisfied in his mind unless the chief motive in 
his mind and feelings is the way to please his 
Saviour. The best way to promote the right 
temper of mind will be after earnest prayer to 
God to bless your endeavours, to try to keep the 
idea of Jesus Christ and of His sufferings, and of 
the love which prompted Him willingly to undergo 
them, in your mind continually, and especially 



ujo PRIVATK I'.\1'1:RS OF WI LI^KRFORCE 

when \()ii ai'c- .^'Hiil; l«> clo, occasioiialK' when xou 
are doin^", xoiii' l)usiness. .And ihen recollect that 
lie has declared lie will kindK accept as a tribute 
of L^ralilmle \\hate\er we do to please Him. and 
call lo mind all His kintlness, all His sacrihces ; 
what L;l'>r\' and haj)piness He lett, what humiliation 
,uid shame and aL;(>n\' He enduretl; and then rellect 
that the onl\ return He, who is then, rememher. at 
that \c'rv moment actualK looking;- uj)on you, ex- 
pects from \()U, is that \"ou should I'ememher His 
Hea\enlv Father who sent Him, and Him Himself, 
and (as I said helore) entleaxour to ])lease Him. 
This He tells iis is to he done l)\ keeping God's 
commandments. And ni}- dear .Samuel knows 
th<it this obedience must be uni\ersal — all Goci's 
commantlments. Not that we shall be able actually 
to do this; but then we must wish and desire to 
do it. Aiul when, trom our natural corruj)tion, 
intn-mities do break out we must sincereK l.unent 
them, and tr\ to L;uard against them in future. 
Thus a true Christian endeaxours to ha\-e the 
icK-a oi his .Sa\iour coiuinualK' present with him. 
'Fo do his business as the .Sci-ipture phrases it, 
unto the Lord and not unto men. Fo enjo)- his 
'.'iMtiluations as allowed to hnn by his mei'citui and 
kind Sa\ iour, who knows iIku we \]v{-(\ ri-creations. 
and when the\' are neither wron^ in kind nor 
excess! \e in degree ilu) m.i\ and should be en- 



HOME LETTERS 19^ 

joyed with a ^ralchil recollection ol llini who 
iiUeiuls tor us still nobler and hiL^her pleasures 
hereafter. Idiis is the \ery perfection of relii^ion ; 
'Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, do 
all to the i;l<)ry ot God.' 

" All I am now contending- for is that my dearest 
Samuel may at least endeavour to do his school 
business with a recollection of his Saviour, and a 
wish to please Him, and when he fmds the teeling 
of emulation takin^- the place of this rii^ht principle 
look up and beg" God's pardon for it, and implore 
the Holy Spirit's help to enable you to feel as you 
ought and wish to feel. But let me also ask my 
dear Samuel to retiect if he did not stay too long 
at home in the last holidays. Too much prosperity 
and self-indulgence (and staying- at home may be 
said to be a young person's indulgence and pros- 
perity) are good neither for man nor boy, neither 
for )"Ou nor f(jr myself." ' 

"Downing Street, December 11, 1820. 
" Three words, or, rather, five lines, just to 
assure you that in the midst (jf all our Parliamentary 
business I do not forget my very dear Samuel ; 
on the contrary, he is endeared to me by all the 
turbulence of the elenient in which I commonly 
breathe, as I thereby am led still more highly to 
prize and, I hope, to be thankful to God tor 
' Part of this letter is in Bishop \\'ilbei force's Life. 



192 PRIVATE PAPERS OF WILBERFORCE 

tloinestic peace iuul love. Pray Gotl bless you, 
iny dearest hoy, and enable you to devote to 
Him \()ur \arious faculties aiul })i)\vers." 

The mutual affection of father and son is touch- 
ingly shown in many passages scattered through 
their letters. Two may serve as specimens : — 

" I'cbnidiv 24, 182 I. 

"Perhaps at the very time of your being occupied 
in reading my sentiments. I ma\ be engaged in 
calling you up before my mind's eye and recom- 
mending you to the throne (jf grace." 

^'Scplciiibcr 5. 

" Probably at the very same time you will be 
thinking' of me and holding a conversation with 
me." 

"London, yiiiic 7,0, 1821. 

'' M\ vl•;R^ 1)i:ar Wov, — I congratulate \"ou cor- 
dially on your success, and 1 rejoice to hear of 
your liierar)- progress. Hut I should ha\e been 
still more gratified, indeed bevond all comparison 
niore. had Mr. Hodsons certificate ol your scholar- 
ship been accompanietl, as it formerly was, with 
an assurance that \-ou were advancing" in the 
still more important particulars of self-control, of 
humility, of love — in short, in all the \arious forms 
and j)hases. il I ma\' so term ihcm. which Si. 
Paul ascribes to it in his be.uilitui eul<ii;ium (i Lor. 
.\iii.). (^h, ni)- dear bo) , 1 should be e\en an 



HOME LETTP:RS 193 

unnatural father instead of what I trust I am, an 
affectionate one. if, l)chevin«>' as I do, and bearino- 
in mind that you are an immortal beini^- who must 
be happy or miserable for ever, I were not, above 
all things, anxious to see you manifest those buds 
and shoots which alone are true indications of a 
celestial plant, the fruits of which are the produce 
of the Garden of God. My dear Samuel, be honest 
with yourself; you have enjoyed and still enjoy 
many advantages for which you are responsible. 
Use them honestly ; that is, according to their just 
intention and lair employment and improvement. 
Above all things, m)- dearest boy, cultivate a 
spirit of prayer. Never hurry over your devotions, 
still less omit them. Farew'ell, my dearest boy." 

"1821. 
"In speaking of the pros and cons of Maisemore, 
you spoke of one great boy with whom you dis- 
agreed. I always meant to ask you about the 
nature, causes, and extent of your difference. And 
the very idea of a standing feud is so opposite to 
the Christian character that I can scarcely under- 
stand it. I can, how^ever, conceive a youth of such 
crabbed and wayward temper that the only way of 
going on with him is that of avoiding all intercourse 
with him as much as possible. But, nine times out 
of ten, it one of two parties be really intent on 
healing the breach and preventing the renewal of it, 

14 



194 I'RIVATl-: r.XPKRS OF WILHKRFORCE 

the thiiiL; nia\ he done. Now. my dear Samuel, 
ma\- iiol \<iii l)e parth" in faiih ? It so. I Ije^' of you 
to stri\'e to L^'et the hetter ot il. I ha\e recently 
hail occasion to ol)ser\f how much a trank and kind 
demeanour, when we conceive we have realK just 
cause for complaint, disarms resentment and con- 
ciliates regard. Remember, m\ dearest ho)". that 
you have enjoyed ach'antages which probabl)- R. has 
not, and that therefore more Christian kindness and 
patience may be expected from \ ou than Irom him. 
Aifain, \"ou would be Li'lad, I am sure, t(j produce in 
his mind an opinion favourable to true religion, and 
not that he should sa\-. ' 1 don't see what effect 
Christianity has produced in Samuel W'ilberforce.' 
Oh. m\- dear Samuel. I love you most affectionately, 
and I wish you could see how earnesth' 1 long here- 
after (perhaps from the world of spirits) to witness 
my dearest boy's progress into professional lite that 
of a growing Christian, 'shining more and more 
into the pertect day.' My Samuel's conduct as it 
respects his studies, and, what I \alue much more, 
his disposition antl beha\'iour, has been such 
for some time as to draw on him Mr. 1 lodson's 
eulogium. and su 1 trust he will continue doing." 

''Oclolur 12, iS.M. 
" It is (juite dclighltul to me to receive such an 
account ot \'ou as is contained in the letter Mama 
has this da)' had trom M i-. I iodson. ( )h lh<u 1 ma\" 



HOME LETTERS 195 

continue to have such reports of my dear Samuel 
wherever he niay l)e. They quite warm his old 
father's heart, and melt his mother's." 

'■'■ Fchniiirv 20, 1822. 

"You never can have a friend, your dear 
affectionate mother alone excepted, whose interests 
and sympathies are so identically the same. Yet I 
have known instances in which, though children 
have been convinced in their understandings of this 
being the case between them and their parents, yet 
from not having begun at an early period of life to 
make a father a confidant, they could not bring 
themselves to do it when they grew older, but felt a 
strange shrinking back from opening their minds to 
the parent they cordially loved, and of whose love 
to them they were fully satisfied. I hope you will 
continue, my dear Samuel, to speak to me without 
constraint or concealment. 

" The two chief questions you ask relate to 
Repentance and to Predestination. As to the 
former — sorrow for sin is certainly a part of it, 
but the degree of the feelings of different people 
will be as different as their various tempers and 
dispositions. If the same person whose feelings 
were very tender and susceptible on other topics 
and occasions were very cold in religion, that 
doubtless of itself is no good sign. But remember, 
repentance in the Greek means a change of 



196 PRIVATK PAPERS OF WILBERFORCE 

heart, and the test of its sincerity is m(^re its 
renderlnL^ us serious and watrhlul in our endeavours 
to abstain from sin and to j)ractise known duty, 
than its causing- many tears to flow, which eftect 
nia\ he produced in a susceptible nature with \ery 
little solid imj)ressi()n on the heart and character. 
The urand mark, 1 repeat it. of true repentance, is 
its providing a dread of sin and a watchfulness 
against it. As for Predestination, the subject is one 
the depths of which no human intellect can fathom. 
Hut even the most decided Predestinarians I have 
ever known ha\e acknowledged that the invitations 
of God were made to all without exception, and 
that it was men's own fault that they tlid not accept 
these inxitations. Again, does it not appear un- 
deniably from one end of Scripture to the other that 
men's perishing, where the) do perish, is always 
represented as their own bringing on.-* Indeed the 
passage in P^zekiel. 'As I live, .saith the Lord. 1 
have no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but that 
he should rej)ent and li\e." Again, do compare the 
ninth of Romans, in which that awful passage is 
contained: 'I lath not the potter power over the 
clay to make one \essel to honour, and ant^ther to 
dishonour? W hat if (iod.' cVc. «^v:c. : and comj)are 
this with Jeremiah. 1 think x\ iiilh. to which passage 
.St. Paul manifesll)- refers, and \<>u will see there 
that the execulin*'' or remillin'j a ihrealenimj" 



HOME LETTERS I97 

of veiii^'cancc is inadc to cle{)('ml on ihc object 
of the tlircats UiniiiiL;' from his evil way or 
contiiuiin^;- in it. This is very remarkable. Only 
pray, my dearest boy, and all will be well ; and strive 
not to orieve the Holy Spirit. Before you actually 
engage in prayer always pause a minute or two and 
recollect yourself, and especially practise my rule of 
endea\()uring to imagine myself in the presence of 
God, and to remember that to God all the bad 
actions, bad tenipers, bad words of my whole life 
are all open in their entire freshness ot circum- 
stances and colourinci^ ; and when I recollect how I 
felt on the first committing of a wrong action, and 
then call to mind that to God sin must appear in 
itself far more hateful than to me, this reflection 1 
often find to pnxluce in me a deep humiliation ; and 
then the promise is sure — the Lord is nigh to them 
that are of a contrite heart, and will save such as be 
of a humble spirit. I rejoice that it has pleased 
God to touch your heart. May I live, if it please 
God, to see you an honour to your family and a 
blessing to your fellow-creatures." 

" Miinli 30, 1822. 
"It is scarcely possible for children to have an 
adequate conception of the delight it gives to a 
parent's heart to receive a favourable report ot a 
dear child. And of late God has been very 
gracious to me in this particular. 1 trust 1 shall 



iqs PRivATi-: r.M'i-.RS OF \vilri-:rforce 

CDiitiiuic to ciijo)' such L;"raiificati<)n, and that the 
tla\' will conic when my dear Samuel will in his 
turn become a })areiu and be solaced and cheered 
widi such .iccounts as he himself will now furnish. 
And then, when I am dead and ^one, he will re- 
member his old father, and the letter he had from 
him on Sunda\-, 31st March, 1822." 

''April, 1822. 
" I houi^h honc-sily in\- purse is in such a state 
ihcU I cannot buy books except very sparingly, I 
beg \-ou will bu\ llume and Smollett, 13 vols, large 
8vo, for ^5 ios.,and Oibbon's ' Rome ' you may also 
purchase, if you wish it, for ^4 los., 12 \-ols. But 
you must take these two birthday presents tor 
Scotch pints — each douljle. Had I as much 
money as I have gootl will \ou should wish lor no 
book that I would not get nou." 

" OclohiT 22, 1822. 
"The train of your idea and feelings is precisely 
that which 1 believe is commonly experienced at 
the outset of a religious course. It was my own. I 
am sure ; I mean specialK thai j)ainful apprehension 
of which you speak, lest sour sorrow lor sin should 
be less on account of its guilt than its danger, less 
on account of its hatehilness in the sight ot dod, and 
its ingratitude towards \(»ur Redeemer, th.ui on that 
of its subjc-cting \t>u to the w r.idi and punishment 
of God. Hut, m\ dear Samuel, blessed be Inul, we 



HOME LETTERS 199 

serve a gracious Master, a mcrcitiil Sovereign, who 
has denounced those threatenings for the very 
purpose of exciting our fears ; and thereby being 
driven to flee from the wrath to come and la)- hold 
on eternal life. By degrees the humble hope of 
your having obtained the pardon of your sins and 
the possession of the Divine favour will enable you 
to look up to God with feelings of filial confidence 
and love, and to Christ as to an advocate and a 
friend. The more you do this the better. Use 
yourself, my dearest Samuel, to take now and then 
a solitary walk, and in it to indulge in these spiritual 
meditations. The disposition to do this will 
gradually become a habit, and a habit of unspeak- 
able value. I have long considered it as a great mis- 
fortune, or rather, I should say, as having been very 
injurious to your bnjther William, that he never 
courted solitude in his walks, or indeed at any time. 
Some people are too much inclined to it, I grant ; 
they often thereby lose the inestimable benefit 
which results from having a friend to whom we 
open our hearts, one of the most valuable of all 
possessions both for this world and the next. 
When I was led into speaking ot occasional 
intervals of solitude ('when Isaac, like the solitary 
saint, Walks forth to meditate at eventide,' you 
remember the passage, I doubt not), I was men- 
tioning that holy, peaceful, childlike trust in the 



200 TKlXAri': I'APKRS OF W ILHICRI'UKCK 

fatherly love of our God and Saviour which 
gradually tlilTiiscs itself through the- soul and takes 
possession ot il. when we are habitually strixing to 
walk by faith under the inlluence of the Holy 
S|)irit. W hen we allow ourseK'es to slacken or be 
indok-iu in our religious exercises, much more when 
we fall into actual sin. or have not watched over 
our tempers so as to be ashamed of looking our 
Heavenly Father in the face (if 1 may so express 
myself. 1 am sure with no irreverent meaniuL;), then 
this holy confidence lessens and its diminution is a 
warning- tn us that we are o'ointr on ill. We must 
then renew our repentance and supplications, and 
endeavour to obtain a renewed supply of the blessed 
influences of the divine Spirit ; and then we shall 
again enjoy the light of God's countenance. There 
are two or three beautiful sections in Doddridge's 
' Rise and Progress ' on these heads, and I earnestly 
recommend especially to you that, the subject of 
which is, I think, the Christian under the hiding of 
God's presence. 1 have been looking, and 1 hnd 
the section, or rallicr chaj)ter 1 allude to, is that 
entitled, 'Case <>! spiritual decay and languor in 
religion.' There is a f)llowing one on 'Case of a 
relapse into known sin.' and 1 trust you ha\'e a 
|)r(;tt\' good edition ot this super-excellent book. 

" 1 ha\c a word to sa\' on .mother topic that, 1 
mean, ol puril\- the necessity ot most scruj)ulous 



HOME LETTERS 201 

gLiardiiiL;' against the very first coninienccmcnt or 
even against the appearance of evil is in no 
instance so just and so imj)ortant as in the case of 
all sins of this class. Man\' a man who would have 
been restrained from the commission ot sins ot this 
class b\- motives of worldly prudence or considera- 
tions of humanity, has been hurried into sin by not 
attending' to this warning. I myself remember an 
instance of this kind in two people, both of whom I 
knew. And as Paley truly remarks that there is no 
class of vices which so depraves the character as 
illicit intercourse with the female sex, so he likewise 
mentions it as a striking proof of the superior 
excellence of Christ's moral precepts, that in the case 
of chastity and purity it lays the restraint on the 
heart and on the thouoJits as the only way of 
providing against the grossest acts of disobedience. 
Oh, my dear Samuel, guard here with especial care, 
and may God protect and keep you. Indeed, I 
trust He will, and it is with exceeding pleasure that 
I think of you, and humbly and hopefully look 
forward on your advancing course in lite. I did not 
intend saying half so much, but when I enter into 
conversation with n^iy Samuel 1 know not how to 
stop. ' With thee conversing I forget all course of 
seasons and their change.' " 

"Oitobcr 26, 1822. 
" I cannot to-day send you the account of /////c. 



202 rkix'Aii-: rAri:Rs or w ii.hi:rit)rc]<: 

but I will transmit it to you. It was a very simple 
business, aiul the chief object was to take precautions 
a^-ainst the disposition to waste time at breakfast 
and other rciia/criwis, wliich I have found in mvself 
when with agreeable companions, and to prove to 
mxselt by the decisive test of figures that I was 
not working so hard as I should have supposed 
rom a general sur\ey of m\- daw The grand point 
is to maintain an habitual sense of responsibilit)- and 
to })ractise selt-examination dail\- as to the past and 
the future da\"." 

".l/<;/i7/ 17, iSjj. 

"No man has perhaps more cause for gratitude 
to God than myself lUit of all the various 
instances of His goodness, the greatest •>f all. 
excepting only His Heavenly Grace, is the many 
kind friends with whom ,1 Gracious Pro\"idence has 
blessed me. ( )h rcnK-mbcr, m\- dearest boy, tt) 
form Iriendships with those onl\ who love and serve 
God. and when once xou ha\ e formed them, then 
preserve them as the most valuable of all posses- 
sions. 

" One o( m\- chiel motixes now lorpaxing visits 
is to cultixate the h'Icndship of woriln peojjK- who, 
I trust, will be kind to m\ clearest children when 1 
am no m<irc. I hoj)e \<)U and the rest will ne\er 
act so as to be- unworthy ol the comuctions I h.i\e 
lormed." 



HOME LETTERS 203 

^Woi'cinbcr 22, 1822. 
" Robert Gram's ' election has cost my eyes more 
than they could well expend on such a business. 
But both his hereditary, and his personal, claim to 
all I could do was irresistible. Your mother, Eliza- 
beth, and I have of late been mo\inu- from place 
to place, staying a few days with the W hitmores, 
with the Gisbornes and Evans's, and from theni 
with a Mr. Smith WVii^ht and his wife, Eady Sit- 
well. She is a sensible, interestinp" woman. Thev 
live in a residence, Okeover, which is in the most 
beautiful part of Derbyshire, very near Dovedale, 
close to Ham, &c. My dear Samuel will one day, I 
trust, delight himself in these beautiful and romantic 
vallies. My chief object in these visits was to 
provide future intimacies and I hope friendships for 
you and your brothers. And how thankful ought 
we to be, to be enabled thus to select for our 
associates the best families in so many different 
counties; best, I mean, in the true sense of the word, 
— men of real w^orth, who. I am sure, will alwa\'s 
receive you with kindness for my sake. I often 
look up with gratitude to the Giver ot all good, 

' Born 1779, younger son of AN'ilberforce's intimate friend, 
Right Hon. Charles Grant. Robert was in ParUament, 1818-34: 
was Judge- Advocate-General : knighted, 1834, and made Gover- 
nor-General of Bombay : a persistent advocate of Jewish emanci- 
pation : author of pamphlets on Indian aft'airs and many well- 
known hymns : died 1838. 



204 PRIVATi: I'Al'ERS OF W ILBKRFORCE 

for the favour with men which it would be affecta- 
tion not to confess wliere it is not inij)roper to 
nuiiiion sLich things, that He has ^raciouslx ^iven 
me, chiefiy in the \iew ol its ensuring t(jr my 
children the Irieiidly regard and personal kindnesses 
of many good people after I shall be laid low in the 
grave. 

" I could have made them ac(|uainted with great 
people, l)ui 1 have always axoided it. from a 
conviction that such connections wcnild tend neither 
to their temporal comfort in the long run, nor to the 
advancement of their eternal interests. IJut it is 
most gratifying to me to rellect that the\" will be 
known to some of the very best people in the 
kingdom, and to good pe<^ple of other countries 
also. Oh, my dear Samuel, how thankful should we 
be to our Heavenly Father who has made our cup 
to overflow with mercies. How rich will our 
portion appear when compared with that of so 
many of our fellow-creatures. It used, when 1 was 
a bachelor especially, when I often spent my 
Sundays alone, to be my frecjuent Sunda\- habit to 
number up m\- blessings, and I assure you it is a 
most useful j)ractice ; c.i^., that 1 hatl been born in 
Great l>i-itaiii, in such a century, such a i)art of it, 
such a rank in life, such a class aiul character ol 
parents, then m\' personal pri\ileges. lUit 1 have 
no time to-(.lay lor long conversation." 



HOME LETTERS 205 

The next letter touches on topics of the day, and 
then refers to the son's question, Why had not his 
father a settled home? lu'idently Samuel felt it 
a desolate arranoement. hut Wilberforce, as was 
his wont, finds certain advantages in the very dis- 
comforts of the plan. 

^^ December 5, 1822. 
" I believe I never answered your question who it 
was that advised me to retire from Parliament. I 
entirely forget. Your question, Will there be war ? 
I answer, I know no more than you do, but I am 
inclined to believe the French will attack Spain, 
very unadvisedly in my opinion, and I shall be 
surprised if the French Government itself, how- 
ever priding- itself on its policy, will not ultimately 
have reason to form the same judgment. . . . 
Never was there before a country on earth, the 
public affairs of which (for many years past at 
least I may affirm it.) were administered with 
such a simple and strong desire to promote the 
public welfare as those of Great Britain. And 
it is very remarkable that some of those very 
measures which were brought forward and carried 
through with the most general concurrence have 
subsequently appeared most doubtful. The 

present extreme distress of the agricultural class 
throughout the whole kingdom, is admitted by 
all to have been in some degree, by many to 



2o6 PR1\ ATI-: I'APKRS OF WILBERFORCE 

have been cnlircK", caused by <>ur ill-nianaLiL-tl 
if not ill-a(l\isc(l rcuini to cash pa\nKMUs, in 
which ncarl) the whole of both Houses con- 
curred. Surel\ this should teach us to be 
diffident in our judgments of others, and to hold 
our own oj)inions with moderation. In short, ni\ 
dear .Samuel, llie best preparation tor bein^- a 
good j)olitician, as well as a superior man in 
every other line, is to be a truly religious man. 
For this includes in it all those qualities which 
fit men to pass through life witli benefit to others 
and w iih reputation to ourselves. \\ hatever 
is to be the effect produced by the subordinate 
machinery, the main-sj)ring must be the desire 
to please God, which, in a Christian, implies 
faith in Christ and a grateful sense ot the 
mercies of G(xl through a Redeemer, and an 
aspiration after increasing lioliness of heart and 
life. And I am reminded (\<)u \\ill soon see 
the connection of m\ ideas) of a passage in a 
former letter of yours al)out a home, and 1 do 
not dvny that your remarks were very natural. 
Yet every human situation has its ad\antag"es as 
well as its e\ils. And if the want iA a liome 
deprixe us of the main' and great pleasures 
which arise out of the relations ami associations, 
especialK- in the case of a large famil\. with 
which it is comiected, ) et there is an adxant.ige. 



HOMK LETTERS 207 

and of a vlt}- hi^h (jrder, in our not having" this 
well-known anchoring- u-round, it I may so term 
it. We are less likely to lose the consciousness 
of our true condition in this life; less likely to 
foro"et that while sailing- in the ocean of life we 
are always exposed to the buffeting- of the 
billows, nay, more, to the rock and the quicksand. 
The very feeling of desolateness of which you 
speak — for I do not den)- having formerl)- 
experienced some sensations of this kind, chiefly 
when I used to be long an inmate of the houses 
of friends who had wives and families to welcome 
them home again after a temporary absence — this 
very feeling led me, and taught me in some 
measure habitually to look upwards to my per- 
manent and never failing inheritance, and to feel 
that I was to consider myself here as a pilgrim 
and a stranger who had no continuing city but 
who sought one to come. Yet this very con- 
viction is by no means incompatible with the 
attachment and enjoyment of home-born pleasures, 
which doubtless are natural and virtuous pleasures, 
such as it gratifies me and fills me with hope to 
see that my very dear Sam relishes with such 
vivid delight, and that he looks forward to them 
with such grateful anticipations. 

I have not time now to explain to you, as 
otherwise I would, how it happened that I do 



2o8 l'RI\\\TF. P.\P1:RS OF WILBERFORCE 

nor j)()sscss a C()iinlr\ house. Inil I max" state 
to \<)U in ^fiicral, thai it arose from my not 
ha\ inL; a lar^e fortune, coiTi})arecl. I mean, with 
m\- situation, and from the j)eculiar duties and 
circumstances ot m\- Hfe." 

"Muirli 23, 1S23. 

"Above all remember ///c one //////;' needful. I 
had far rather that you should be a true 
Christian than a learned man, luit I wish you 
to become the latter thrcjugh the influence of the 
former. 1 had far rather see you unlearned than 
learned from tlic impulse ot the love of human 
estimation as Nour main principle." 

On the 13th of May Mr. V. lUixton moved this 
resolution in the House ot Commons: "That the 
state of sla\er\- is repugnant to the j)rinciples of 
the Ih-ilish Constitution and of the Christian 
Relitrjon. and that it ou!>ht to he abolished ijraduallv 

o o .^ , 

throughout the IJritish Colonies with as much ex- 
pedition as ma\ be lound consistent with a due 
regard to the well-being of the parties concerned." 
The main j)oint was that all negro children born 
after a certain da\ were to be tree. 

".1/(;\' 17, 1S23. 

" 1 he debate was b\ no means so interesting 

as we exjX'cled. iUixion s oj)ening sj)eech was not 

so good as his ojxnings ha\'e before been. llis 

rej)l\ hiiwexci". lhi)Ugh sh<iil, was, \vs\ sweet 



HOME LETTERS 209 

indeed, but excellciU. I was myself placed 
in very einl)aiTassini4' circumstances from having 
at once to decide, withotit consulting- my friends, 
on Mr. Canning's offers, if I may so term them. 
However, I thank God, I judged rightly, that it 
would not be wise to press for more on that night, 
as subse(|uent conversation with our friends 
rendered indubitably clear ; and on the whole 
we have done good service, I trust, by getting 
Mr. Canning pledged to certain important reforms. 
I should speak of our gain in still stronger terms 
but for his (Canning's) chief friend being a West 
Indian, Mr. Charles Ellis, a very gentlemanly, 
humane man, but by no means free from the 
prejudices of his caste. 

" Dear Robert has just been prevailed on by 
William's kind importunity to try to study for a 
while at Brompton Grove. I am glad of it on 
all accounts. It would add substantially to the 
pleasures of my life, if my dear boys could 
acquire firmness enough to study at home. I 
would do my best to promote the success of the 
experiment ; but, believe me, it is a sad habit 
that of being able to study only when you have 
'all appliances and means to boot.' 

" I just recollect this letter will reach you on 
the Sunday. Allow me, therefore, to repeat my 
emphatic valediction Reniciiibei'. You will be in 

15 



2IO ri<i\'.\ ri". i'.\r'i-:RS of wit.bf.rforck 

my licart cind in m\" j)raycrs. and j)r()l)al)ly we 
shall l)e ceichraiiiiL^ alioiii the same time the 
memorial of our hlessetl Lord's suHcriiiLi' and the 
l)ond of the miiliial aftection ot His disciples 
tt)\\ards each other. The anniversaries which 
ha\e passed remind me forcibly of the rapid 
flio'ht of time. My course must l)e nearly rim, 
though perhaps it may please that God who 
has hitherto caused goodness and mercy to follow 
me all my days, to allow me to see my dear 
boys entered into the exercise of their se\'eral 
professions, if they are several. lUii how glad 
shall I be il they all can conscientiously enter 
into the ministrw that most useful and most 
honourable of all human employments."' 

"yiiiw 14. 

" All may be done through prayer — almighty 
prayer, I am ready tcj say ; and why not ? for 
that it is almighty is only through the gracious 
ordination of the Ciod ot lo\e and truth. Oh 
then. pra\-. j)ra\-, pray, my dearest bo\-. Hut 
then rcmrmbcr to estimate your state on self- 
e.xamination not b\' xour praxers. bui 1)\ wh.ii 
you fmd to be the effects of them on \-our 
character, tempers, and life." 

" y///v 12. 1823. 

"Il has ollen Ijeen a matter t)f griet to me 

' I'iirl of this letlcr is in llic " Lite ol ^\ ilbciroice." 



HOME LETTERS 211 

that both Henry and Robert have a sad habit 
of appearing, if not of being, inattentive at 
church. The former I have known turn half 
or even quite round and stare (I use the word 
designedly) into the opposite pew. I am not 
aware whether you have the same disposition 
(real or apparent) to inattention at public 
worship. I trust I need not endeavour to 
enforce on you that it is a practice to be 
watched aoainst with the utmost care. It is 
not onlv a crime in ourselves, but it is a crreat 
stumblincy-block of offence to others. The late 

o 

Mr. Scott, though an excellent man, had con- 
tracted a habit of staring in general while 
reading the prayers of our excellent liturgy ; 
and he once told me himself he actually did 
it most, when his mind was most intent on the 
solemn service he was performing. But to others 
he appeared looking at the congregation, especially 
at any persons entering the chapel, and many 
I fear were encouraged to a degree of distraction 
and inattention in prayer by the unseemly habit 
he had contracted. Now let me entreat you, my 
dearest boy, to watch against every approach to 
inattention in yourself, and to help dear Henry, 
in whom I ha\'e remarked the practice, to get 
the better of it. I have always found it a 
great aid in keeping my thoughts from wander- 



212 pRi\\\Ti-: i'.\i'i-:rs of \\iij^.i<:rforce 

iiiLi" at church i»> repeal the prayers to myself, 
either in a whisper or mentally, as the minister 
has bein;^' ;4<)in;4 alon^', and I liiL^hl) approxe of 
making" responses, and al\va\s when you were 
children tried to have you make them ; but I 
used to think vour mother did not join me in this 
when you were next to her, partly probably from 
her own mind beini!; more closely engaged in 
the service — pra\er beini^ the grand means ot 
maintaining our communication with heaven, and 
the life of religfion in the soul claiming" all 
possible attention." 

In the next letter W^ilberforce mentions that he 
had limited his personal expenditure so as to 
have larger sums to give away. He says that 
he had left off giving claret, then a costh- wine, 
and some other expensive articles still exhibited bv 
those of his rank. He speaks strongly against 
gratifying all the cravings of fashion, thoughtless- 
ness, or caprice. 

"Baknkh'th, Oclohcr 14, iS.'^. 
"Mv \i:rv di:ar Sa.mukl, — I again take up m\- 
pen to gi\'e \'ou m\' sentiments on tlie imporiant 
subject on which I promised to write to \-ou. 
and on which you have kindlv asked m\ adxice. 
l)Ut belon- 1 j)roceed to fulfil this engagement 
let me meiuioii what I had inientleil to slate 
in m\ last, but omiiiiHl, ih.u 1 ha\e reason to 



HOME LETTERS 213 

believe dear Robert has suffered in the estimation 
of some of my friends, whether rightly or wrongly 
I really know not, from the idea that his associates 
were not religious men (irreligious in its conimon 
acceptation would convey more than I mean), and 
therefore that he preferred that class of com- 
panions. Now when people have once conceived 
anything of a prejudice against another, on what- 
ever grounds, they are disposed to view all he 
says and does with different eyes, and to draw 
from it different conclusions from those w^hich 
would otherwise have been produced, and I sus- 
pect dear Robert has suffered unjustly in this 
way. However, he will. I doubt not, live through 
it, and so long as all is really right, I care less 
for such temporary misconceptions, though, by the 
way, they may be very injurious to the temporal 
interests, and to the acceptance of the subject 
of them. 

" But now let me state to you my sentiments 
concerning your principles and conduct as to 
society, and first I must say that if I were in 
your case I should be very slow in forming new 
acquaintances. Having already such good com- 
panions in Robert, Sir G. Prevost, and I hope 
Ryder, it would surely be wise to be satisfied 
with them at the first, unless there were any in 
whose instance I was sure I was on safe and 



214 I'RIVATI-: P.\PI:RS of \\II.in':RFORCE 

good Li'rouiul. lUii now to your question itself. 
There are two points of view in which this 
subject of Lrood associates must naturally be 
regarded. The one in that which is the ordinary 
object (jf social intercourse, that I mean of 
recreation : for it certainly is one of the very 
best recreations, and may be rendered indeed not 
merely such, but conducive to higher and better 
ends. On this first head, however, I trust I need 
say nothing in your case, I will therefore pass it 
by for the present. It would, 1 am jiersuaded, be 
no recreation to you to be in a party which should 
be disgraced by obscenity or profaneness. But 
the second view is that which most belongs to 
our present inquiry— that, I mean, of the society 
in which it may aj)pcar necessary to take a 
share on grounds of conformit)' (where there is 
nothing wrong) to the ordinary customs of life, 
and even on the j:)rinciple of ' ])ro\iding things 
honest in the sight of all men " (honest in the 
Greek is ^luaioc'j and not suffering Nour good to 
be evil spoken of. Now in considering this 
question. I am persuaded I need not begin in 
my dear Saniuel's instance with arguing for. 
but may assume the j)rincij)le that there are no 
indifferent actions j)n)])erl)' speaking, 1 should 
rather sa\- none with which religion has nothing 
to tlo. 1 his ho\\c\er is the coininonK recei\ed 



HOME LETTERS 215 

doctrine of those who consider theniselves as very 
good Christians. Just as in Law it is an axiom, 
' De minimis non curat lex.' On the contrary, a 
true Christian holds, in obedience to the injunction, 
'Whatever you do in word or deed' tliat the 
desire to please his God and Saviour must be 
universal. It is thus that the habit of living in 
Christ, and to Christ is to be formed. And the 
difference between real and nominal Christians is 
more manifest on small occasions than on greater. 
In the latter all who do not disclaim the authority 
of Christ's commands must obey them, but in the 
former only they will apply them who do make 
religion their grand business, and pleasing their 
God and Saviour, and pleasing, instead of grieving 
the Spirit, their continual and habitual aim. We 
are therefore to decide the question of the com- 
pany you should keep on Scriptural principles, 
and the principle I lately quoted ' Provide things 
honest,' &c. (There are several others of a like 
import, and I think they are not always sufficiently 
borne in mind by really good people, this of 
course forbids all needless singularities, &c.) That 
principle must doubtless be kept in view. But 
again, yoii. will not require me to prove that it 
can only have any jurisdiction where there is 
nothing wrong to be participated in or encouraged. 
And therefore I am sure you will not deny that you 



216 1>RI\'.\T1' PAl'KRS OF WILRERFORCE 

oucrht not to make a pari of any society in wliich 
)()ii will l)c licarinL;' what is indecent nr profane. 
I lio])(' that there are not many of the Oriel 
undergraduates Ironi whom xou would he likely to 
hear obscenity or j^rofaneness, and 1 trust that 
you will not knowingly visit any such. As to the 
wine [jarties, if I have a correct idea of them 
they are the youni^' men L^fjing after dinner to 
each other's rooms to drink their wine, eat their 
fruit, ike. ; and with the qualification above speci- 
fied, I see no reason for your absenting yourself 
from them, if your so doing would fairly subject 
you to the charge ot moroseness or anv other evil 
im])ulalion. 1 understand there is no excess, and 
that you separate after a short time. Its being 
more aorccablc to you to stay awa\- I should ncn 
deem a legitimate motive if alone. But in all 
these questions the practical question often is. how 
the expenditure of any given amount of time and 
money (for the former I estimate full as highly 
as the latter) can be made producti\e of the best 
effect. There is one ])articular member of \-our 
college w'ith wliom 1 hope v<hi will lorm no 
acquaintance. W Ould it make it more easy for 
you to avoid this, if you were able to allege that I 
had exacted Irom ndu a promise to that effect.'^ 
It was not Irom Robert, but trom another jierson. 
that I heard of him a |)ariieular instance of mis- 



HOME LETTERS 217 

conduct, which I beheve even in the more relaxed 
disciphne of Cambridge would have drawn on the 
offender exemplary punislimcnt. Such a man must, 
I am sure, be a very dangerous companion. If 
it be necessary for you to know him, of course 
you will treat him like a gentleman ; but further 
than this I hope )'ou will not go. From what 
Robert said to me I have a notion that there is 
a very foolish practice, to call it by the softest 
name, of spending considerable sums in the fruit 
and wine of these wine drinkinofs, where I under- 
stood that there was no excess, every man also 
being allowed to please himself as to the wine he 
drinks. But for a young man, the son perhaps 
of a clergyman who is straining to the utmost to 
maintain him at college, stinting himself, his wife 
and daughters in comforts necessary to their 
health, for such a young man to be giving claret 
and buying expensive fruit for his young com- 
panions is absolutely criminal. And what is more, 
I will say that young men are much altered if 
any youth of spirit who should frankly declare, 
* My father cannot afford such expensive indul- 
gences, and I will not deprive him or my brothers 
and sisters for my own gratification,' would not be 
respected for his manliness and right feelino-. 
Your situation is different, though, by the way, 
your father has left off giving claret except in 



2iS I'RIVATK P.\I'1:RS OF WILHERFORCE 

sonic very special cases, and lias ciuirel\- left off 
several other expensi\e articles, which are still 
exhibited liy others of his rank. 15iit then 1 know 
this will not conin"ionl\- he inij)iited to inijjroper 
parsimon\" in me. And if \<)u or an\' other 
Oxonian could lighten the pressure on youn^' men 
goinir to college, you would be rendering a highly 
valuable service to the comniunitx', besides the too 
little considered obligation of limiting our own 
expenditure for our own indulgence as much as 
we can. C(jnsistentl\ with 'gc^od report.' and with 
not sutteri ng our good to be evil spoken of. I 
say this deliberately, that it is a duty not suffi- 
cientl)' borne in mind even by real Christians, 
when we read the shviio- passage in the 15th of 
Deuterononi)-. and still more when we remember 
our Saviour's language in the 25th of St. Matthew, 
we shall see reason to be astonished that the 
gcuc7-ality of those who do fear God. and mean 
in the main to please Him, can give away so 
small a proportion of their fortimcs. and so little 
appear sensible of the obh'g.uion under which they 
lie to economise as much as they can lor the 
purpose ot hax'ing the funds lor gi\"ing awa\' 
within their jjower. W C serve a kind Master, 
who will e\en accej)l the will for the deed when 
the (\{-k-k\ was not in our powci-. Inil ihis will not 
be held to be the case when we can L!ratil\' all 



HOME LETTERS 219 

the cravings of fashion and self-indulo'cncc, or even 
thoLiL^htlessness or caprice. Wdiat pleasure will a 
true Christian sometimes feel in sparing himself 
some article which he would be glad to possess, 
and putting the j)rice instead into his charity 
purse, looking uj) to his Saviour and in heart 
offering it up to His use. Oh, my very dear 
Samuel, be not satisfied with the name of 
Christian. But strive to be a Christian ' in life 
and in power and in the Holy Ghost.' I think a 
solitary walk or ride now and then would afford 
an excellent opportunity for cultivating spirituality 
of mind, the grand characteristic of the thriving 
Christian. 

"But my feelings draw me off from the proper 
subject I was writing upon — expense. And really, 
when I consider it merely in the view of the 
misery that may be alleviated, and the tears that 
may be wiped away by a very little money judi- 
ciously employed, I grow ashamed of myself for 
not practising more self-denial that I may apply 
my savings to such a purpose. Then think of 
the benefits to be rendered to mankind by mis- 
sionary societies. Besides all this, I really believe 
there is commonly a special blessing on the 
liberal, even in this life, and on their children ; 
and I hesitate not to say to you that, as you will, 
I hope, possess from me what, with the ordinary 



320 PRIVATE PAPERS OE WILREREORCE 

eiiKiliiiiKMits of a |)rofessinn. may afford you a 
comfortable competence. I am persuaded I shall 
lea\-e \-ou far more likeK' to l)c hajjpy than if 
you were to ha\'e inlierited from me ;/^io.ooo 
more (and I say the same for your brothers also), 
the fruits of m)- bachelor savings. In truth, it 
would be so if the Word of God be true, for it is 
full of declarations to that effect. Now all this is 
general doctrine. I am aware of it. I can only 
give you principles here. It must be for you to 
apply them, and if you appl\ ihcm with simplicity 
of intention, all. I doubt not, will be well. Hut 
again 1 cannot help iiuimalin^' m\' j)ersuasion that 
you would do well to conlme yourself at first to 
the few friends you alread\' ha\'e and on whom 
you can depend. And also let me suggest that 
it would be truly wise to be looking around you. 
and if you should see any one whose j)rinciples, 
and character, and manners are such as suggest 
the hope that he might be desirable even for a 
friend, then to cultivate his acquaintance. May 
our Hea\enl\- P'ather direct and ])i-iisprr you, 
carry you safely through the oixlea! into which 
you are just about to enter, and at length receix'e 
you into that blessed world where d.uiger will be 
over, and all will be lo\e aiul peace and jo\- (or 
evermore. 

" 1 am e\er atlectioiiateK' )()urs, 

" W. W'll.i.KRFORCE." 



HOME LETTERS 221 

^^No7'ciiibcr 5, 1823. 

" I trust I scarcely need assure you that I must 
always wish to make you comfortable qiwad money 
matters, and on the other hand that the less the cost 
of rendering you so, the more convenient to me. 
My income is much diminished within the last few 
years, while the expenses of my family have greatly 
increased. . . . 

"What a comfort it is to know that our Heavenly 
Father is ever ready to receive all who call upon 
Him. He delighteth in mercy, and ever remember 
that as you have heard me say, mercy is kindness to 
the guilty, to those who deserve punishment. What 
a delightful consideration it is that our Saviour loves 
His people better than we love each other, than an 
earthly parent loves his child." 

" Xoveiiibt'r 7, 1823. 
"There is a vile and base sentiment current 
among men of the world that, if you want to 
preserve a friend you must guard against havino- 
any pecuniary transactions with him. But it is 
a caution altogether unworthy of a Christian 
bosom. It is bottomed in the mistakenly supposed 
superior value of money to every other object, 
and in a very low estimate of human friendship. 
I hope I do not undervalue my money, but I 
prize my time at a still higher rate, and have 
no fear that any money transaction can ever 



222 l'RI\\\Tl-: I'ArP.RS OI-^ WII,ni:RI-^ORCK 

lessen the nuitiial confidence and affection which 
subsists between us and which I trust will nc\er 
l)e diminished. And let me take this opportunity 
also of statiiiL; that xou would L;i\'e me real 
pleasure b\" making; me your friend and opening 
vour heart to me as much in e\ery other par- 
ticular. I trust \"ou would ne\er find me abusing" 
\-our confidence. E\en any indiscretions or faults, 
if there should be an\-, if I can helj) to prevent 
your being invoked in ditticulties 1))' them. Hut 
1 hate to put such a case. It is no more than 
what is due to my dear Samuel, to say that my 
anticipations are of a \ery different sort. And 
I can truly declare that the good conduct and 
kindness of my children towards me is a source 
of the purest and greatest pleasure I do or can 
enjoy." ■ 

''Aiigiisie, 1824. 
" 1 can bear silence no longer, and I beg you will 
in future send me or your dear mother a something, 
be it e\er so short, in the way of a letter once a week, 
if it be merely a certificate of your existence. 1 ha\e 
been for some days thinking of writing to you, in 
consequence of my ha\iiig heard that xiuir friend 
R\(lerand Sir ( leorge Prexost were reading classics 
with Mr. Kcble. (."ould \()U not ha\e been alloweil 
to make- it a triumxirale.-* Much as I \alue classical 
' I'art of lliis Idler is in tlic " Lik' of W ill)crti)irt.'.' 



UOMV. LICTTKRS 223 

scholarshij), I prize siill more hiL^hK' tlic superior 
benefit to be derived from associating with such 
good young men as I trust the two gentlemen are 
whose names I have mentioned, and I ha\e the 
satisfaction of knowing that you have the privilege 
of calling them your friends. Is it yet too late? " 

"September 10, 1824. 
" As I was talkinor to vour mother this mornino; on 
money matters it shot across my mind that you had 
desired me to send you a supply, which I had neg- 
lected to do. I am truly sorry for my inadvertency, 
and will send you the half of a ^20 bank note which 
I happen to possess, the other half following of course 
to-morrow. Ask for what you want, and we will settle 
when you are here. It gives me real pleasure to 
believe that you are economical on principle, and it 
is onlv bv being so that one can be dulv liberal. 
Without self-denial every man. be his fortune what 
it may, will find himself unable to act as he ought in 
this particular, not that giving is always the best 
charity, far from it ; employing people is often a far 
preferable mode of serving them. To you I may 
say that if I have been able to be liberal not less 
before my marriage than alter it, it was from denving 
myself many articles which persons in mv own rank 
of life and pecuniary circumstances almost universallv 
indulged in. Now when I lind my income con- 
siderably decreased on the one hand, and my ex- 



224 PRIVATK PAPERS OF WILBERFORCE 

penses (trcjiii in\' lour sons) j^reatly increased on 
the other, econonn- must even be made parsimony, 
whitli, jusiK- construed, does not in m\- meanino' at 
all exclude generosity." 

This letter is here interrupted, he says, by "two 
X'ouiiL^' widows both ol whom had receniU" lost their 
husbands in I iidia -with their four little children, all 
in deep inourninii^. Yet the two widows ha\e the 
best of all supports in the assured |)ersuasion that 
their husbands were truly pious, and in the hope 
that they themselv^es are so." 

It is easy to imagine the reception given to the 
"two young vvidow^s" by W'ilberforce. He had 
not yet learned the lesson of "economy or even 
parsimony" as regarded his charities — even when he 
had to reduce his expenses he spent ^3,000 ' in one 
year on charity. 

" December 10, 1824. 

" 1 have deemed it ([uite a dtity on this delicious 
day to prolong my country walk in a tete-a-tete with 
your dear mother, a tcte-d-tcte, however, from which 
our dear children's images are not excluded. I own 
that those who are termed Methodists b\- the world 
do give more liberall\- lo the distressed than others, 
yet that I think they do not in this duty come up to 
the full demands of Scripture. The great mistake 

' A .single year's almsgiving uxccodccl ^3,000. " Life of 
Bishop Wilberforce," vol. i. p. 22. 



HOME LETTERS 225 

that prevails as I conceiv^e is, it's being" thouf^ht 
right that all persons who are received on the 
footing of gentlemen are to live alike. And without 
economy there cannot be sufficient liberality. I can 
sincerely declare that niy wish that my sons should 
be economical, which is quite consistent with being 
generous, nay, as I said before, is even necessary to 
it, arises far more from my conviction of the effects 
of economical habits on their minds and happiness 
in future life, than on account of the money that 
will be thereby saved. You ha\'e heard me, I 
doubt not, praise Paley's excellent remark on the 
deo'ree in which a rioht constitution of the habits 
tends to produce happiness, and you may proceed 
with the train of ideas I have called up in your 
mind." 

"October 26, 1825. 
"You ask me about your Uncle Stephen's having 
been a newspaper reporter. He was. The case was 
this. At the age of, I believe, eighteen, he came up to 
town to study the law, when the sudden death of his 
father not only stopped his supplies, but threw on 
his hands the junior branches of the family, more 
especially three or four sisters. Seeing no other 
resource, he embraced an offer, made to him I 
believe through or by Mr. Richardson, the friend of 
poor Sheridan. Richardson afterwards came into 
Parliament, and the fact respecting Stephen came 

16 



226 PRIVATE TAPERS OF WILBERFORCE 

out thus, a few years ai^o. A regulation was pro- 
posed by some of the l)enchers of Lincohi's Inn that 
no one shoultl be permitted t(j be calletl to the Bar 
who ever had practised the reporting art. Sheridan 
brought the question forward in the House of 
Commons. Stephen, who was then in l^u'Hament. 
spoke to the question, and in arguing against the 
illiberal and even cruel severity of the regulation, put 
a supposed case, that the son of a gentleman, by a 
father's sudden death was at once deprived of the 
means of pursuing the legal profession on which he 
was just entering, being also harassed in his mind 
by the distressed state of some affectionate sisters. 
Thus embarrassed, he received an offer of empUn'- 
ment as a reporter, and gladly accepted it and 
discharged its duties, thereby being enabled to 
prosecute his professional studies as well as to assist 
his relatives. 'But,' added Stephen, 'the case I 
have just stated is no imaginary one. It is the story 
of a living individual. It is that. sir. of the indi- 
vidual who has now the honour to address you.' 
There is in all bodies of Englishmen a generous 
feeling which is always called forth powerfully when 
a man confesses, or rather boldly avows any circum- 
stance respecting himself which, according to the 
false estimate of the world, might l)e supposed to 
disparage him ; as when Peel at the meeting for a 
monument to James Watt declaretl that, ' owing all 



HOME LETTERS 227 

his prosperity to the successful industry of a person 
originally in the humble walks of life,' the applause 
was overpowering". And I never remember a more 
general or louder acclamation than immediately 
broke out when Stephen had (indeed before he had 
completely) closed his declaration." 

" Dcceiiibcri6, 1825. 
" It is Henry Thornton ' that was connected with 
the house of Pole & Co. He became a partner 
about five months ao-o. The storm through which 
he has been passing has been indeed violent ; but 
the call for self-possession, temper, judgment, and 
above all scrupulous, punctilious integrity has been 
abundantly answered. He has behaved so as to 
draw on him the universal applause of all who have 
witnessed his conduct. Mr. J no. Smith especially 
speaks of it in the highest terms, and has been 
acting towards him with corresponding generosity 
and kindness. It has been very strikingly evidenced 
that commercial transactions on a great scale enlarge 
the mind, and the obedience which, with men of real 
principle, is paid to the point of mercantile honour, 
produces a habit of prompt, decisive integrity in cir- 
cumstances of embarrassment and distress. • I am 
happy to be able to tell you that there is reason to 

' Eldest son of Wilberforce's old friend and ally, Henry 
Thornton, of Battersea Rise, who died in 181 5. The Henry 
Thornton of the text was only twenty-five years old when this 
letter was written. 



228 PRIVATE PAPERS OF WILBERFORCE 

believe th;il whik- llcnry will i;ain ^reat credit he 
will lose no iiioiuw lie has borne the trial with 
the calmness of a veteran." 

"S////(/<7v, y'diiiiiiry 2 2, 1826. 

" \'oLi ma)- have heard me mention, that when in 
my solitary bachelor state I was alone all day on 
the Sunday, 1 used after dinner to call up before 
me the images of my friends and acquaintances, 
and to consider how I could benefit or gratify them. 
And when the mind is scarcely awake, or. at least, 
active enough for any superior purpose, this is no 
bad employment for a part of the day, especially 
if practised with religious associations and purposes. 
The day is so raw here that I have yielded to your 
mother's kind entreaties that I would not go to 
church, where the greater part of the family now 
is at afternoon service. So I am glad to spend 
a part of my da\- with my dearest Samuel. 

" 1 will remind you of an idea which I threw out 
on the day preceding your departure — that I feared 
I had scarcely enough endeavoured to impress on 
my children the idea that they must as Christians be 
a peculiar people. 1 am persuaded that you cannot 
misunderstand me to mean that I wish you to aflect 
singularity in indifferent matters. The \ery con- 
trary is our duty. But from that \er\- circumstance 
of its being right that we should be like the rest ot 
the world in exteric^r, nuumers, «!^c., <S:c., results an 



HOME LETTERS 229 

aiin-ment^ition of the dano-er of our not maintaining 
that diversity, nay, that contrast, which the P^ye of 
God ought to see in us to the worldly way of 
thinking- and feeling on all the various occasions of 
life, and in relation to its various interests. The 
man of the world considers religion as having 
nothing to do with 99-iooths of the affairs of life, 
consideringr it as a medicine and not as his food, 
least of all as his refreshment and cordial. He 
naturally takes no more of it than his health re- 
quires. How opposite this to the apostle's admoni- 
tion, ' Whatever ye do in w^ord or deed, do all in the 
name of the Lord |esus, giving thanks to God the 
Father through Him.' This is being spiritually- 
minded, and being so is truly declared to be life and 
peace. By the way, if you do not possess that 
duodecimo volume. ' Owen on Spiritual Mindedness,' 
let me beg you to get and read it carefully. There 
are some obscure and mystic passages, but much that 
I think is likely to be eminently useful ; and may our 
Heavenly Father bless to you the perusal of it. . . ." 

" Febriiarv 27, 1826. 
" Let me assure you that you give me great 
pleasure by telling me unreservedly any doubts you 
may entertain of the propriety of my principles or 
conduct. I love your considering and treating me 
as a friend, and I trust you will never have reason 
to regret your having so done, either in relation to 



230 PRIVATK l\\n<:RS ()!• WILBERFORCE 

your benefit or your comfort. In stating' my 
suspicions that I had not sufficiently endeavoured 
to impress on my chikh-en, and that you were 
scarcely enougli aware of the force of the dictum 
that Christians were to be a peculiar people, I 
scarcely need assure you thai I tliink the commands, 
' Proxide thinirs honest in the si^ht of all men, 
whatever things are lovely, whatsoever of good 
report,' Sec. (admirably illustrated and enforced by 
St. Paul's account of his own principles of becoming 
all things to all men), clearly prove that so far from 
being needlessly singular, we never ought to be so, 
but for some special and good reason. Again, I 
am aware of what you suggest that, in our days, in 
which the number of those who profess a stricter 
kind of religion than the world of .?(?/-<■//><■? ;// Chris- 
tians in general, there is danger lest a j)arl\- sj)iril 
should creep in with its usual effects and evils. 
Against this, therefore, we should be on the watch. 
And yet. though not enlisting ourselves in a party. 
we ought, as I think you will admit, to assign con- 
siderable weight to any opinions or practices which 
have been sanctioned by the authority of good men 
in general. As again, you will 1 think admit, that 
in any case in which the more adxancetl Christians 
and the less adxanced are both affected, the former 
and their interests deserve more of our conside- 
ration than the latter. kor instance, it is alleged 



HOME LETTERS 231 

in behalf of certain worldly compliances, that by 
makinij;" them you will give a favourable idea, 
produce a pleasing impression of your religious 
principles, and dispose people the rather to adopt 
them. But then, if you thereby are likely to 
become an offence (in the Scripture sense) to 
weaker Christians, (persons, with all their infirmities, 
eminently dear to Christ.) )'ou may do more harm 
than good, and that to the class which had the 
stronger claim to your kind offices. Let my dear 
Samuel think over the topic to which I was about 
next to proceed. I mean our Saviour's language 
to the Laodicean Church expressing His abhor- 
rence and disgust at lukewarmness, and the danoer 
of clamping the religious affections by such re- 
creations as He had in mind. Of course I don't 
object to domestic dances. It is not the act, the 
salhis, but the ii'hole tone of an assembly." 

** Cliftox, May 27, 1826. 
" I am very glad to think that you will be with 
us. Your dear mother's spirits are not always the 
most buoyant, and, coming first to reside in a large, 
new house without having some of her children 
around her, would be very likely to infuse a secret 
melancholy which might sadden the whole scene, 
and even produce, by permanent association, a 
lasting impression of despondency. I finish this 
letter after hearing an excellent sermon from 



2^2 PRIX'ATl-: 1'.\1'1:RS oi^^ wilbkrforce 

Robert Hall, li was not merely an exhibition of 
powerful intellect, but of fervent antl feeling- piety. 
especialK' impressing on his hearers to live by the 
faith of the love of Christ daily, habitually looking 
to Him in all Mis characters. Prayer, prayer, my 
dear Samuel ; let your religion consist much in 
prayer. May you be enabled more and more to 
walk by faith and not by sight, to feel habitually 
as well as to recognise in all your more deliberate 
calculations and plans, that the things that are seen 
are temporal, but the things that are not seen are 
eternal. Then you will live above the world, as one 
who is waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus 
Christ." ■ 

"April 20, 1826. 

" I would gladly fill my sheet, yet I can prescribe 
what ma\' do almost as well. Shut your door and 
muse until you fancy me by your side, and then 
think what 1 should say to you. which I dare say 
your own mind would supply." 

'^ Sept I III her 30. 

•'I am thankful to reflect that at the very moment 
I am now thinking of you and addressing you ; you 
also are probably engaged in .some religious exer- 
cise, S(jlilar\- or social (for I was nuuh gratified by 
learning fi-om a |)assage in one ol \(>ur letters to 
your mother thai nou and Antlerson went through 

■ Ihc beginning of this IcUcr is in ihc " Life of W'ilberforce." 



HOME LETTERS 233 

the serv'ice of our bcjuitiful liturgy together). Per- 
haps you are thinking of your poor old father, and, 
my dear boy, I hope you often pray for me, and I 
beg vou will continue to do so. 

" I am not sure whether or not I told you of our 
having been for a week at Lea,' having been de- 
tained there by my being slightly indisposed. But 
it was worth while to be so, if it were only to 
witness, or rather to experience, Lady Anderson's 
exceeding kindness. I really do not recollect having 
ever before known such high merits and accomplish- 
ments — the pencil and music combined with such 
unpretending humility, such true simplicity and 
benevolence. With these last Sir Charles is also 
eminently endowed. He reads his family prayers 
with great feeling, and especially with a reverence 
which is always particularly pleasing to me. There 
is, in 'Jonathan Edwards on the Religious Affec- 
tions,' a book from which you will, I think, gain 
much useful matter, a very striking passage, in 
which he condemns with great severity, but not at 
all too great, me judicc, that familiarity with the 
Supreme King which was affected by some of the 
religionists of his day, as well as by Dr. Hawker 
recently, and remarks very truly that Moses and 

' Lea, Lincolnshire — the residence of Sir C. and I>ady 
Anderson. The son, in his turn. Sir Charles Anderson, w.is 
Bishop Wilberforce's hfe-long friend. 



234 I'KIX'ATE rATHRS OF W 1 LI ;i:K FORCE 

I'-lijah, and Aljr.ihain the friend of God (and all of 
them lionoiircd b\- such especial marks of the Divine 
condescension), al\va\s manifested a holy awe and 
reverence when in the Divine presence." 

Samuel \\'ill)erf()rce had written to his father 
asking- him what athice he should o-i\e to a friend 
whose family was \'ery irreligious. In the house 
of this friend ' it was a common phrase accompany- 
ing a shake of each other's hands on meeting, 
" I\Iay we meet together in //r//.'" The answer to 
the appeal for advice is as follows : — 

" -T/z/v -nS, 1826. 

" 1 will frankh' confess to you that the clearness 
and strength of the command of the apostle, 
'Children, obey your parents in all things' (though 
in one pas.sage it is added, 'in the Lord ') weighed 
so strongly with me as to lead me, at first, to doubt 
whether or not it did not overbalance all opposing 
considerations and injunctions, yet more reflection 
has brought me to the conclusion, to which almost 
all those whom 1 consulted came still more j)romi)il\ , 
that it is the dul\' of )-our young Iriend to resist his 
parents' injunction to go to the j)la\ or the opera. 
Thai the)' are (juile hotbeds ol \ ice no one, 1 think, 
can dcnw lor muih more might be said against 
lliem than is contained in m\ ' Practical \ iew,' though 
1 own the considerations there staled appear to m\" 
understanding such as must to any one who means 



HOME LETTERS 235 

to act on Christian principles be perfectly decisive. 
One argument against the young man's giving 
up the point in these instances, which has great 
weight with me, is this, that he must either give 
himself entirely up to his friends and suffer them at 
least to dictate to him his course of conduct, or 
make a stand somewhere. Now I know not what 
ground he will be likely to find so strong as this 
must be confessed to be, by all who will argue the 
question with him on Scriptural principles, and more 
especially on those I have suggested in my ' Practical 
View ' of the love of God, and I might have added, 
that of the apostle's injunction, ' Whatever ye do 
in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord 
Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father through 
Him.' I scarcely need remark that the refusal 
should be rendered as unobjectionable as possible 
by the modest and affectionate manner of urging it, 
and bv endeavouring to render the whole conduct 
and demeanour doubly kind and assiduous. I well 
remember that when first it pleased God to touch 
my heart, now rather above forty years ago, it had 
been reported of me that I was deranged, and various 
other rumours were propagated to my disadvantage. 
It was under the cloud of these prejudices that I 
presented myself to some old friends, and spent 
some time with them (after the close of the session) 
at Scarborough. I conversed and behaved in the 



236 IMilVATR PAPERS OF WILHERFORCE 

spirit above recommended, and I was careful to 
embrace aii\ little opportunity ol pleasiny them 
(little presents often have no small effects), and 1 
endeavoiH'cd to imj:)ress them with a persuasion that 
I was not less happ\ than before. The consequence 
was all I could desire, and I well recollect that the 
late Mrs. llenr\" Ihornton's mother, a woman of 
very superior powers and of L^reat intluence in our 
social circle, one day broke out to my mother — she 
afterwards said to me something- of the same kind, 
not without tears — 'Well. I can only say if he is 
deranged I hope we all shall become so.' To your 
young friend again I need not suggest the duty of 
constant prayer for his nearest relatives. By degrees 
they will become softened, and he will j)robably enjoy 
the delight of Imding them come over to the blessed 
path he is himself jnirsuing. lie will also fiiul that 
self-denial, and a dispositicMi to subject himself to 
any trouble or annoyance in order to |)romote his 
friends' comfort, or exem[)tion trom some grievance, 
will have a very powerful effect in conciliating his 
friends. With all the courtesy that prevails in high 
life, no one. 1 think, can associate with those who 
move in it. without seeing how great a share selfish- 
ness has in dccitling their language and conduct, 
saving themseK'cs trouble or monc\ , »S:c., (S:c. 
naj)pily the objeitions of woildb parents to their 
children becoming religious are C(.)nsiderably weak- 



HOME LETTERS 237 

ened since it has pleased God to diffuse serious 
religion so much through the higher ranks in society : 
the)- no longer despair, as they once did. of their sons 
and daughters not forming any eligible matrimonial 
alliance or any respectable acquaintances or friend- 
ships. The grand blessing of acting in the way I 
recommend is the peace of conscience it is likely to 
produce. There are, we know, occasions to which 
our Saviour's words must apply, ' He that loveth 
lather and mother more than Me is not worthy of 
Me,' and I doubt not that if your friend does the 
violence to his natural feelings which the case sup- 
poses, in the spirit of faith and prayer, he will be 
rewarded even by a present enjoyment of spiritual 
comfort. If I mistake not I wrote to you lately on 
the topic of the joy which Christians ought to find 
familiar to them, still more the peace ; and the 
course he would pursue would, I believe, be very 
likely to ensure the possession of them. We have 
been, and still are, highly gratified by finding true 
religion establishing itself more and more widely. 
Lord Mandeville, whose parent stock on both sides 
must be confessed to be as unfavourable as could 
be well imagined in this highly favoured country, is 
truly in earnest. He, you may have forgot, married 
Lady Olivia's only daughter. He is a man of very 
good sense ; though having been destined to the 
Navy, which had been for generations a family 



238 PRIVATI<: PAI'KRS OF WII.l^KRFORCP: 

service, his educati(Mi was probably not quite such 
as one woiiUI wish. He is a man of the greatest 
simplicity of character, only rather too (|iiiet and 
silent." 

" HuiHwoon Hill, 

" Xovtiiihc-r 27, 1826. 
" I hope you are pleased, I assure you I am, with 
the result of your B.A. course. And I scarcely 
dare allow myself to wish that you may be in the 
I St class, or at least to wish it with any degree of 
earnestness or still less of anxiety. The Almighty 
has been so signally kind to me even in m\ wt)rldly 
affairs, and so much more gracious than 1 deserved 
in my domestic concerns, that it would indicate a 
heart never to be satisfied were I not disposed in 
all that concerns my children, to cast all my care on 
Him : indeed, you pleased me not a little by stating 
your persuasion that it JuioJit be better for you ulti- 
mately not to have succeeded (to the utmost) on 
this very occasion. And I rejoice the more in this 
impression of yours, because I am sure it does not 
in your instance arise from the want of feeling ; 
from that cold-blooded and torpid temperament 
that often tends to indolence, and if it sometimes 
saves its j)ropriclor a disappoinlmciU. estranges him 
from man\- who might otherwise attach themscKes 
to him, and shuts him out h'om many sources of 
pure and \iriuous pleasure. 



HOME LETTERS 239 

" Your dc;ir mother in all weather that is not bad 
enouofh to drive the labourers within doors, is her- 
self si/i) dio, studying" the grounds, ^"iving directions 
for new walks, new plantations, Hovver-beds, &c. 
And I am thankful for being able to say that the 
exposure to cold and dew hitherto has not hurt her 
— perhaps it has been beneficial." 

'* August 25, 1827. 

" I was lately looking into Wrangham's ' British 
Biography,' and I was forcibly struck by observing 
that by far the larger part of the worthies the work 
commemorates were carried off before they reached 
to the age 1 have attained to. And yet, as I think, 
I must have told you. Dr. Warren, the first medical 
authority of that day, declared in 1788 that I could 
not then last above two or three weeks, not so much 
from the violence of an illness from which I had 
then suffered, as from the utter want of stamina. 
Yet a gracious Providence has not only spared my 
life, but permitted me to see several of my dear 
children advancing into life, and you, my dear 
Samuel, as well as Robert, ^ibout to enter into Holy 
Orders so early that if it should please God to 
spare my life for about a couple of years, which 
according to my present state of health seems by no 
means improbable. I may have the first and great 
pleasure of witnessing your performance of the 
sacred service of the Church. It is little in me — I 



240 PRIVATK PAPKRS OF \\I I. PERFORCE 

mean a vcrv ordiiiarv proof of n"i\ preference of 
sj)iriiual lo earthly things, of ni\- desirincr to walk 
rather hy faitli than by sight — that I rejoice in the 
prospect of your becoming" a clerg) man rather than 
a lawyer, which appeared the alternative in your 
instance ; but it is due to you, my dear Samuel, to 
say that it is a very striking- proof of your ha\ing 
been enabled by, I humbly trust, the highest of all 
influences, to form this decision, when from your 
talents and qualifications it appeared by no means 
improbable that in the legal line you might not 
improbably rise into the enjoNinent of rank and 
ailluence. It is but too true that m\ feelings would, 
at your time of life, have been powerfully active in 
another direction. Perhaps this \-er\" determination 
may have been in part produced b\- that connection 
to which you look forward. And may it j)lease God, 
my dear Samuel, to grant you the desire of your 
heart in this particular and to render the union con- 
ducive to your spiritual benefit and that of your 
partner also, so that it may be looked back upon 
with gratitude even in a better world, as that which 
has tended not only to vour mutual happiness during 
the journe\' of life, but has contributed to bring \(H1 
both after its blessed termination to the enjo\inent 
of the rest that remaiiuth lor the people ol Ciod." 

This letter refers to .Samuel W ilberforce's marriage 
with l'.mil\- .Sargent, as to whiih his lather remarks : 



HOME LETTERS 241 

"Viewed in a worUly li.^ht, llie connection cannot 
be deemed favourable to either of you." 

"Mnnh 20, 1S28. 
" The cheerfulness, which at an earlier period of 
my life mii;ht have been a copious spring supplying 
my letters with a stream of pleasant sentiments and 
feelings, has been chilled even to freezing by 
advancing years, and yet, to do myself justice, 
though this may have dulled the activity and liveli- 
ness of my epistles, I think it has not cooled the 
kindly warmth of heart with which I write to my 
friends and least of all to my children." 

" yiily 22, 1828. 
" I am glad that any opportunity for your coming 
forward as a public speaker has occurred, I mean an 
opportunity proper for you to embrace, in which 
you were rather a drawn (though not a pressed) 
man and not a volunteer. We have had the oreat 
pleasure of having dear Robert officiate twice, both 
in the reading-desk and the pulpit. The apparent, 
as well as real, simplicity of his whole performance 
must have impressed every observant and feeling 
hearer with a very favourable view of his character. 
His language remarkably simple, much every way 
in his sermon to esteem and love. It sugra-ested 
one or two important topics for consideration, which 
I shall be glad to talk over with you hereafter, as 
well as with Rubert himself. One is, whether he 

17 



242 PRIVATK r.APKRS OF WILHERFORCE 

(lid iiol fall iiUo wliai 1 ha\c oflcn ihou^ln an error 
in ihc sermons ot sound di\ines. and in those 
j)erhaps of Oxonians more than Cantabs — that I 
mean of adchx-ssini^" their congregations as being all 
real Christians chikhT'ii ot ("lod, tvc. who needed 
(to use our Saxiotir's ligure in John xiii.) only to 
ha\e their feet washed. Whatever may be the ri^ht 
doctrinal o])inion as to baptismal regeneration, all 
reall\- orthodox men will i^rant, I presume, that as 
people L;row up they may lose that privilege ot 
being children of dod which we trust they who 
were baptised in their intancx did enjoy, and would 
have reaped the benetit of it had they died before, 
by the gradual development of their mental powers, 
they became moral agents capable of responsibility. 
And if so, should not their particular sins ot dis- 
position, temper, or conduct be used rather to 
convince them of their being in a sintul state, and 
as therefore recjuiring the converting grace ot Ciod, 
than as merely wanting a little retormation ? " 

" XOi'illllhlJO, iSji>. 

"Has Sargent' heard of the tresh explosion in 
the British and Foreign i>ible Society? 1 truly and 
deeply regrtt it. It has proceeded troni a j)roj)osal 
to print the Sei)tuagint. In the tliscussion that 
took place on that topic it was perhaps unwarily 

''the Kcv. John Sargent, oi Lavington, I'alhcr olMis. Saimn.'! 
Wilbcrlorcc. 



HOME LKTT]-:RS 243 

said there was no proper standard of the Holy 
Scriptures. No standard ! ! ! ! ! Then we have no 
Bible ! You see how a little Christian candour 
would have prevented this rupture. Oh that they 
would all remember that the end of the command- 
ment is Love. I fear this is not the test by which 
in our days Christians are to be ascertained : may 
we all cultivate in ourselves this blessed principle 
and pray for it more earnestly. I am quite pleased 
myself, Robert is delighted, by the appointment to 
the Professorship (Hebrew) of Pusey — above ^1,200 
per annum. Pusey had opposition, and is appointed 
by the Duke of Wellington, solely we suppose on 
the ground of superior merit." 

" February 20, 1829. 

" Legh Richmond," though an excellent man, was 
not a man of refinement or of taste. I cannot deny 
the justice of your remarks as far as I can fairly 
allow myself to form a judgment without referring 
to the book. I entirely concur in your censure of 
Richmond's commonplace, I had almost termed it 
profane, way in which he speaks of the Evil Spirit. 
This falls under the condemnation justly pronounced 
by Paley against levity in religion. 

" When I can spare a little eyesight or time, I 
feel myself warranted to indulge the pleasure I 
always have in the exercise of the domestic affections, 
' His life had been recently published. 



244 I'KIWMI'. I'ArKKS OI-" W 1 1 BKRFORCE 

aiul in L;raiiiyii\L; \ ou (as 1 hujjc ii is nut vanity to 
think I do) in writini;" to you at a time when you are 
in circumstance's of more ([uiet than usual, though I 
am aware that a man of xour a^e, who is spending 
his first year of married life with a partner, between 
wh<^m and himself there was great mutual attachment, 
grounded on esteem, and a mutual acquaintance 
with each other's characters and dispositions, can 
never be so happy as when he is enjoying a tctc-a- 
tetc with his bride. By the way, do you keep any- 
thing in the nature of a journal ? A commonplace 
book I take it for granted you keep ; and speaking 
of books, let me strongly urge you to keep your 
accounts regularly, and somewhat at least in the 
mode in which we keep ours — under different heads. 
If you have not the plan, tell me and I will send it 
to you. Its excellence is that it enables you with 
ease to see how your money goes ; and remember 
we li\e in da\ s in which a single sovereign given by 
an individual is often productive of great effects. 
Where is it that a single drop (stalactite) from a roof, 
falling ini<j the ocean, is made to bemoan itself on 
being lost in the abyss of waters, when afterwards 
it became the seminal principle of the great pearl 
that constituted the i>lorv of the Great Mo^ul .'^ 
And now also, remember ilie Church Missionary 
Society is so poor, that it will l)c compelled to cjuit 
some fields whitening to the harvest, unless it can 
have its fLinds considerablv auLinientet-l." 




SAMUEL WILBERFORCE, Aged 29. 



HOME LETTERS 245 

The next letter refers to the offer of the vicarac^e 
of Ribchester, near Preston, in Lancasliire, made 
by the Bishop of Chester to Samuel W ilberforce. 

*' March 3, 1829. 

" Whether regarded in relation to your bodily 
strength, your spiritual interests, or to prudence in 
affairs, I should be disposed to advise you to decline, 
with a due sense of kindness, &c., the Bishop's offer. 
Your constitution is not a strono- one, and it is 
highly desirable in that view alone that you should 
for a time officiate in a small sphere, and if it may 
be in a place where, as from your vicinity to Oxford, 
you can have assistance when you are not equal 
yourself to the whole duty. With such a scattered 
population, there must be a call I conceive for great 
bodily strength. Secondly, the situation appears to 
me still less elioible considered on hio-her grounds. 
It is no ground of blame to you that your studies 
have not hitherto been of divinity. Supply all that 
I should say under that head, were I not writing to 
one who is capable himself of suggesting it to his 
own mind. Again, you cannot have that acquaint- 
ance with human nature, either in general, or in your 
own self, which it would be desirable for any one to 
possess who was to be placed in so wide and 
populous a field, especially in one so circumstanced 
as this particular place. Then you would be at a 
distance from almost all your friends, which I men- 



246 iM^^ivATi-: i'.\im:rs of wii.i^krforce 

tion now in reference to the sj)iritual disadvantages 
of tlie situation, not in relation to your comfort and 
I'^niiK's. in wliich, however, it may he fairly admitted 
to some weight. Again, / should much regret your 
being placed where you would naturally be called to 
study controversial anti- Roman Catholic divinity, 
rather than that which expects the cultivation of 
personal holiness in vourself and your parishioners. 
I could say much on this head. Thirdly, Mr. 
Neale sees the objections on the ground of pecuniary 
interest, as alone of so much weight, as to warrant 
your refusing the offer — a vicarage. Its income is 
commonly derived from small payments, and in that 
district probably of poor people whom you would 
not, could not scjueeze, and yet without squeezing 
from whom ynu probably would get nothing. Most 
likely a curate would be indispensable." 

On the same topic W^ilberforce writes again : — 

"'Mil nil 17///, 1829. 

"I ought to tell you that in the reasons I assigned 
to the Bishop for declining his offer, one, and in 
itself perhaps the strongest, (nay, certainl\- so, not 
perhaps,) was my persuasion that tor any one 
educated and associated as you have been, it was 
of very great im})ortance with a view to your 
spiritual state, (more es})eciall\- lor the cultixation 
of dt'X'otional feelings and s|)iritualil\ ol mintl,) that 
he should in the outset ol his ministerial course l)e 



HOME LETTERS 247 

for some time in a quiet and retired situation, where 
he could hve in the enjoyment of domestic comfort, 
of leisure for relii^ious readincr and meditation, and 
devotional exercises ; while, on the contrary, it was 
very undesirable in lieu of these to be placed in 
circumstances in which he would almost necessarily 
be alniost incessantly arguing for Protestant 
principles — in short, would be occupied in the religion 
of the head rather than of the heart. I own to 
you in confidence (though I believe I shall make 
the avowal to my dear Robert himself) that I am 
sometimes uneasy on a ground somewhat congenial 
with this, about the tutor of Oriel. For though I 
doubt not the solidity of his religious character, yet 
I fear his situation is far from favourable to the 
growth in grace, and would, alas ! need every help 
we can have for the advancement of personal 
religion within us, and can scarcely bear without 
injury any circumstances that have an unfavourable 
tendency. I trust my dear Samuel will himself 
consider that he is now responsible for living in 
circumstances peculiarly favourable to the growth 
of personal piety, and therefore that he should use 
his utmost endeavours to derive the benefits that 
appear, (humanly speaking,) to be placed within his 
reach. Oh, my dearest boy, we are all too sadly 
lukewarm, sadly too little urging forward with the 
earnestness that might justly be expected from 



248 TRIVATl-: IWPKRS OF WlT.Rl-.RFORCE 

those that arc contcndiiiL;- for an incorruptible 
crown. Dill sou ever read Owen on sj)iritLial- 
mindedness ? There are some passages tliat to 
me appear almost unintelligible (one at least), but 
it is in the main, 1 think, a highly useful book. I 
need not say how sorr\- we are to hear of Emily 
being' poorh'. Hut our gourds must ha\e some- 
thing to alloy their sweets. I). G. your mother 
is recovering gradually, and now profits much from 
a jumbling pony-chair ; its shaking quality renders 
its value to her double what it would be other- 
wise." ' 

" Mdirli 19, 1829. 
" In speaking of W'hately's book I ought to 
have said that 1 had not got to the part in which 
he speaks of imputed righteousness. I remember 
it was an objection made to my 'Practical View' 
by a certain strange head of a college that I was 
silent on that point. The honest truth is, 1 never 
considered it. 1 have always been disposed to 
believe it to be in some sort true, but not to tlcem 
it a matter oi importance, it the doctrine ol tree 
grace and justification by faith be held, w hich are, 
I believe, of primar)- importance. Hooker, unless 
I forget, is clcarK tor it ; see his sermon on |usii- 
lualion. 1 trust 1 need not tear xoui' misc(»nsiruing 

' riic first lew lines of lliis Itltcr arc in llic " Lite ol IJisliop 
Wilberforce." 



HOME LETTERS 249 

nic, and supposinq- I can be advisinq- you, cither to 
be roguisli, or slial)l)ilv reserved. Hut really I do 
think that nou ma\' produce an unlaxourable and 
false impression of )'our principles and professional 
character, by talking unguardedly about I\[ctJiodisticaI 
persons and opinions. Mrs. R. may report you as 
UNSOUND to the Bishop of Winchester, and he 
imbibe a prejudice against you. Besides, my dear 
Samuel, I am sure you will not fire when I say 
that you may see reason on farther reading, and 
reflection, and more experience to change or qualify 
some of the opinions you may now hold. I own, 
(I should not be honest if I did not say so,) that I 
think I have myself witnessed occasions which have 
strengthened with me the impression that you may 
need this hint. . . . Have you any parishioners who 
have been used to hear Methodists or Dissenters, or 
have you any who appear to have had, or still to 
have, much feeling of religion ? I cannot help 
suspecting that it is a mistaken notion that the 
lower orders are to be chiefly instructed in the 
ordinary practical duties of religion, whereas I own 
I believe them to be quite capable of impressions 
on their affections : on the infinite love of their 
God and Redeemer, and of their corresponding- 
obligation to Love and Obedience. \\ e found 
peasants more open to attacks on their consciences, 
on the score of being wanting in gratitude, than on 
any other." 



250 TRIVATK PAPERS OF WIT.RERFORCE 

'M/-/773, 1829. 

" Articles sent to Mr. Samuel — Bewick, X'cnn's 
Sermons (2 \<)ls. ), Wliite's ' Selborne ' (2 \<)ls. 
l)oiincl in one), 2ncl xol. of 'The Monastery.' A 
lending" library is, I ihiiik, likely to be considerably 
beneficial. It cannot but have a tendency to 
generate in the poor a disposition favourable to 
domestic habits and pleasures, and to seek their 
enjoyments at home rather than in the alehouse, 
and it strikes me as likely to contirm this taste, to 
enccuirage the poor people's children to read to 
them. .Send me a list of an\" books you will like 
to have for your lending library, and 1 will by 
degrees pick them up for you. . . . 

" We ought to be always making it our endeavour 
to be e.xperiencing peace and joy in believing, and 
that we do not enjoy more of this sunshine of the 
breast is, I fear, almost always our own fault. We 
ought not to acquiesce quieth in the want of them, 
whereas we are too apt to be satisfied if our con- 
sciences do not rej)roach us with anxthing wrong, 
if we can on good grounds entertain the persuasion 
that we are .safe ; and we do not sufficientl\- consider 
that we ser\e a gracious and kind master who is 
willing that we should l.isic thai lie is gracious. 
Ijoth in .St. John's first general I^pisilc, and in our 
Lord's declaration in John x\., we are assur(.-d thai 
our Lord's object aiul the apostles in telling us of 



HOME LETTERS 251 

our having" spiritual .su[)plic.s and communion, is that 
our joy may he full. It is a great comfort to me 
to reflect that you are in circumstances peculiarly 
favourable to your best interests. To be spiritually- 
minded is both life and peace. How much happier 
would your dear mother be if she were living the 
quiet life you and Emily do, instead of being 
cumbered about many things ; yet she is in the 
path of duty, and that is all in all." 

" Scplciiibc'i- 7, 1829. 
"An admirable expedient has this moment 
suggested itself to me, which will supersede the 
necessity for my giving expression to sentiments 
and feelino-s. for which vou will o-ive me full credit, 
though unexpressed. It is that of following the 
precedent set by a candidate for the City of Bristol 
in conjunction with Mr. Burke. The latter had 
addressed his electors in a fuller effusion of 
eloquence than was used to flow e\en from his 
lips, when his colleague, conscious that he should 
appear to great disadvantage were he to attempt a 
speech, very wisely confined himself to, ' Gentle- 
men, you have heard Mr. Burke's excellent speech. 
I say ditto to the whole of it.' Sure I am that 
no lanofuaee of mine could oive vou warmer or 
more sincere assurances of parental affection than 
you will have received in the letter of your dear 
mother, which she has just put into my hands to 



252 PRTVATR r.XPKRS OF WILRRRFORCE 

be inserted into my letter. To all she has said, 
therefore. I sa\- ditto. My dear Samuel, 1 must 
tell \ nu ilic j)!(asure with which 1 look back on 
what 1 witnessed at Checkendon,' and how it 
combines with, and au^inents the joyful oratulations 
with which I welcome the 7th of September.- I 
hoj)c- I am deep]} thankful to the bountiful Giver 
of all L2ood for having' granted me in you a son 
to whose future course I can look with so much 
humble ho})e, and even jo\ful confidence. It is 
also with no little thankfulness that 1 reflect on 
your domestic prospects, from the excellent qualities 
of your, let me say oui\ dear b'miK". 1 must sto[), 
the rest shall be j)rayer, prayer for both of you, that 
y(jur course in this lite ma\" be usetul and honour- 
able, and that xou ma\" at length, accompanied by 
a large assemblage of the sheep of Christ, whom 
you have been the honoured instrument oi bringing- 
to the fold of Christ, have an abundant entrance 
into the everlasting kingdom of God." 

" ScpU-iiihiT 28, 1829. 

" Mow much do the) lose of comfort, as well as, 

1 bcliexe, in incentixes to gratitude anil love, and ii 

it l)e not their own lault thereb\' in the means ol 

practical impros cmcnl, who do not accustom thcm- 

seKes to watch the operations ol the Pixine 1 buul. 

' < hcckcndon, on the ('hiltt.in Hills in Oxfordshire, SanuiL-l 
W illjcrforcc's first curac), wIkil- his uicinorN' was lonu rlKrishcd. 
'■' Samuel's birdiday. 



HOME LETTERS 253 

I have often thouylu thai, had it not been for the 
positive declarations of the Holy Scriptures con- 
cerning" the attention of the Almiyhty (Governor of 
the universe to our minutest comforts and interests 
enforced by a comparison with the o-T-Ojoy*; of parental 
affection, we should not dare to be so presumptuous 
as to believe, that He who rolls the spheres along, 
would condescend thus to sympathise with our 
feelings, and attend to our minutest interests. Here 
also Dr. Chalmers' suooestions, derived from the 
discoveries made to us through the microscope, 
come in to confirm the same delightful persuasion. 
I am persuaded that many true Christians lose 
much pleasure they might otherwise enjoy from not 
sufficiently watching the various events of their 
lives, more especially in those little incidents, as 
we rather unfitly term them ; for, considering them 
as links in the chain, they maintain the continuity, 
as much as those which we are apt to regard as of 
greater size and consequence." 

^^ November 21, 1829. 
" We have been for a few days at Battersea 
Rise. But your mother will, I doubt not, have 
told you the memorabilia of this visit, and especially 
the inexhaustible conversational powers of Sir 
James Mackintosh. I wish I may be able, some 
time or other, to enable you to hear these powers 
exerted. Poor fellow ! he is, however, the victim 



254 PKivATi': i'.\i'i:rs or wili^krforck 

of his iiwn social dispositions and excellences. For 
I caniioi l)iit Ijclieve. thai the superlUioiis hours 
dissipated in these talks, mii^ht suffice for the 
performance ot a i:;Teat work. They are to him, 
what, alas I in some detiree. mv letters were io me 
during my Parliamentary life, and even to this 
day. " 

" Dc'cciiihcr 17, 1829. 
"We ought not to expect this life to How on 
smoothly without rubs or mortification. Indeed, it 
is a sentiment which I often inculcate on myself 
that, to use a familiar phrase, we here have more 
than our bargain, as Christians, in the days in which 
we live ; for I apprehend the promise of the life 
that now is, combined with that which is to come, 
was meant to refer rather to mental peace and 
comfort, than to temporal prosperity. My thoughts 
have been of late often led into reflections on the 
degree in which we are wanting to ourselves, in 
relation to the rich and bright prospects set before 
us as attainable in the W Ord of Ciod. More 
especially I refer to thai of the Christian's hope 
and peace and joy. Again and again we are 
assured that jo\- is ordinarily and generalh to be 
the portion of the Christian. Vet how prone are 
but too commonK those, whom we realK" believe 
to be entitled to the name of Christians, disposed 
to remain contented without the possession ol this 



HOME LETTERS 255 

delightful state of heart ; and to regard it as the 
privilege of some rarely gifted, and eminently 
favoured Christians, rather than as the general 
character of all, yet I believe that except for some 
hypochondriacal affection, or state of spirits arising 
from bodily ailments, every Christian ought to be 
very distrustful of himself, and to call himself to 
account, as It lucrc, if he is not able to maintain a 
settled frame (3f 'inward peace,' if not joy. It is 
to be obtained through the Holy Spirit, and there- 
fore when St. Paul prays for the Roman Christians 
that they may be filled with all peace and joy in 
believing, and may abound in hope, it is added, 
through the power of the Holy Ghost." 

" HiGHwooD Hill, 

" December 31, 1829. 

"Mv DEAR Children, — For to both of you I 
address myself. An idea, which for so old a fellow 
as myself you will allow somewhat to be deserving 
the praise of brightness, has just struck my mind, 
and I proceed to act upon it. Are you Yorkshire- 
man enough to know^ the article (an excellent one it 
is) entitled a Christmas, or sometimes a goose or a 
turkey pie.'* Its composition is this. Take first 
the smallest of eatable birds, as a snipe, for instance, 
then put it within its next neighbour of the feathered 
race, I mean in point of size, the woodcock, insert 
the two into a teal, the teal into a duck, the duck 



256 PRIVATE PAPERS OE WILBEREORCE 

and Co. into a fowl, th(^ low! into a t^'oose, the goose 
and Co. into a turkey. In imit.ilion of this laudable 
precedent, 1 j)rop()se, though with a \ariatit)n, as our 
Speaker would sa\', in the order ot (jur proceeding, 
that this large sheet which 1 have selected tor the 
purpose should contain the united epistles of all the 
family circle, from the fullest grown if not largest in 
dimensions, myself, to the most dimunitive, little 
William. ' As the thought is my own. I will begin 
the execution of it, and if any vacant space should 
remain, I will hll it, just as any orifices left vacant 
in said pie are supplied by the pouring in of the 
jelly. But I begin to be ashamed of this jocoseness 
when I call to mind on what da\" I am writing — the 
day which, combined with the succeeding one, the 
1st of Januar\", I consider, except perhaps my birth- 
day, as the most important of the whole year. For 
a long period (as long as I lived in the neighbour- 
hood of the Lock, or rather not far from it) I 
used to receive the Sacrament, which was always 
administered there on New Year's Day. And the 
heart must be hard and cold, which that sacred 
ordinance in such a relation, would not solten anil 
warm into religious sensibility and tenderness. I 
was naturally led into looking backwanls to the 
past da\ s ol in\ lite, and torward to the tuture ; led to 
consider in what pleasant places my lines were fallen, 
' Only son uf \\ ilbcrforcc'.s eldest son William. 



HOME LETTERS 557 

how g-oodly was my herita^'e, that the bounds of 
my life should be fixed in that little spot, in which, of 
the whole earth, there has been the greatest measure 
of temporal comforts, and of spiritual j^rivilcgcs. 
That it should be also in the eighteenth century, 
for where should I have been, a small, weakly man, 
had I been born either among our painted or skin- 
clothed ancestors, or in almost any other before or 
after it ? As they would have begun b)- exposing 
me, there need be no more inquiry as to the sequel 
of the piece. Next take my station in life, neither 
so high as naturally to intoxicate me, nor so low as 
to excite to envy or degradation. Take then the 
other particulars of my condition, both personal and 
circumstantial. But I need go no farther, but leave 
it to you to supply the rest. And you will likewise, 
I doubt not, pursue the same mental process in your 
own instance also, and find, as may well be the case, 
that the retrospect and prospect afford abundant 
matter for gratitude and humiliation, (I am sure I 
find the latter most powerfully called forth in my 
heart by my own survey). Many thanks for your 
last kind letter. You have precisely anticipated 
what was said by the several di^aniatis personce. It 
is a real sacrifice for Emily and you to be absent 
from my family circle. But the sacrifice is to duty, 
and that is enough. And you have no small ground 
for comfort, from your not having to go through 

18 



25S I'RIVATl-: I'AI'KRS OF WII.HKRFORCE 

the 'experiment solitary.' as Lord Bacon terms it, 
but to have one, to whom nou niay say that solitude 
is sweet. lUit 1 must surrender the pen to your 
dear mother." 

The country was at that time extremely disturbed 
b\- what were known as the "Swini^ Riots." ' Bands 
ot rioters went about, burning- ricks and threshing' 
machines, then newly introduced, and considered by 
the labourers as depriving them of the winter 
threshing" work. W ilberforce seems to have shared 
this leeling. 

" HlGHWOOD Hh-l, 

" Xovc'iiibcr 2^, 1830. 

" Your mother sum>ests that a threshing" machine 

used to be kept in one of your barns. If so I really 

think it should be removed. I should be very sorry 

to have it stated that a threshing" machine had been 

burnt on the premises of the Rev. Samuel W'ilber- 

force ; they take away one of the surest sources of 

occupation for farmers in frost and snow times. In 

what a dreadlul state the country now is! Gisborne, 

I lind. has stated his opinion, that the present is the 

period of pouring out the 7th \'ial, when there was 

to be general confusion, insubordination, and misery. 

It really appears in the political world, like what 

the abolition of some of the great elements in 

' The laidcr of ihcsc riots, whose exact peisonaHty is unknown, 
was called "Jack Swing," and in this name the mob sent their 
threats and summonses. 



HOME LETTERS 259 

the physical world would be ; the extinction, for 
instance, of the principle of gravity." 

" December 9, 1S30. 
" I have been delaying;- the books that all mii^ht 
go together. Mather's ' Magnalia ' ' shall be one 
of them. There is a very curious passage in it 
early in the volume, in which in Charles I's time, 
he says, expenses have been increasing so much of 
late years that men can no longer maintain their 
rank in society. Assuredly this Government is 
greatly to be preferred before the last. Brougham 
better than Copley, and several highly respectable 
besides, the Grants (Charles is in the Cabinet), Lord 
Althorp, Sir James Graham, Lord Grey himself, 
highly respectable as family men ; Denman a very 
honest fellow. The worst appointment is Holland, 
Duchy of Lancaster; he has much church patronage 
which, thouph I love the man, I cannot think 
decorous. Lord Lansdowne, very decent, Lord 
Goderich ditto. But your mother is worrying me 
all this time to force me out, and Joseph declares 
the letters will be too late. So farewell." 

"December 17, 1830. 
" I have always thought that your having a 

' " Magnalia Christi Americana, or Ecclesiastical History of 
New England," by Cotton Mather, U.D. It was a costly book 
with a large map. Southey considered it one of the most 
" singular books in this or any other language." 



26o PRIVATE r.Al'KRS OF WILBERFORCE 

strong virtuous attachment when you first went 
to the University was a great security to you. 
The blessed effects of this safeguard we shall one 
da\- know. It will he a mutual augmentation of 
attachment and happiness to find that those whom 
we loved best had been rendered the instruments 
more or less of our salvati(jn. . . . 

" That religious feelings are contagious (ii I may 
use the word so), is undeniable, and there may be 
temporary accesses of religious feeling, which may 
produce a temporary effervescence, with little or none 
of the real work of God on the heart. But you and 
I, who are n(jt Calvinists, believe that even where the 
influence of the Holy Spirit was in the heart, that 
Spirit may be grieved and quenched. The good 
seed in the hearts of the stony-ground hearers is 
just an instance in point. When my friend Terrot 
was chaplain, of the Defence 1 think, great num- 
bers of the rough .sailors were deeply affected by 
his conversation and sermons, of whom, I think he 
said, thirty only appeared in the sequel to be per- 
manently changed." 

*' yanuavy 4, 1831 . 

"You are now a man possessed of as much 
leisure as you are ever likely to possess. What 
think N'ou of la\ing in materials for a Doctrinal and 
practical History of Religion in I*lngland, indifferent 
classes of society, and of males and females, from 



HOME LETTERS 261 

the time of the Reformation to the present time or 
perhaps to 1760. It was once my wish to write 
such a work, but the state of my eyes long ago 
rendered it impracticable. The sources from 
whence the particulars for the work must be 
derived are chiefly Lives and Memoirs. Numbers 
of these have been published of late years, and the 
object is one which would give opportunities for 
exercising sagacity, as well as candour. There is 
this also of good in it that, nullus dies sine lined, you 
might be continually finding some fresh fact or hint, 
which would afterwards be capable of being turned 
to good account. The Annual Registers and the 
different magazines and reviews would be rich mines 
of raw material. Do meditate on these suggestions. 
How very strong has dear Henry become both in 
his opinions and his language! Really if he were 
to 00 into the law, which Robert seems to think 
not improbable, there would be considerable danger 
of his getting into quarrels which might draw on him 
challenges, the more probably because people might 
suppose from his parentage, &c., that he most likely 
would not answer a call to the field. I must say 
that the becoming exempt, even in the world's 
estimate, from the obligation to challenge or being 
challenged may be no unfair principle of preference 
of an ecclesiastical profession to any other. The 
subject of duelling is one which I never saw well 



262 I'RIX'ATK I'APKRS OF WIIJ^ERFORCE 

treated ; a verv worthx- and sensible man, a Scotch- 
man who was shi])wrfckc-(l in Madaf^ascar, I forget 
his name (was it 1 )uncan ?) sent me one, his own 
wriiinL;, hut 1 ihou^in il uauo;ht. And now my 
very dear box larewcll." 

\\ ilbertorce writes to Mrs. Samuel Wilberforce 
tlu- da\" alter his daughter b'Ji/.abeth's marria^'e. 

Mr. ]]'ilhcrfoi-cc to Mrs. Samuel Wilberforce. 

" Hk.hwoop Hii.i., 

" Tdlllldl'V 12, 1831. 

" Mv DKAR b^MiL\-. — We had a delic^'htful day 
yesterday for our ceremony, and after tlie indis- 
soluble knot had been tied in due form, tlie parties 
drove off about 12 o'clock to spend a few days at 
Mr. Stephen's fax'ourite residence of Healihx Hill. 
as he terms it, Missendeii. 1 really au^ur well of 
this connection, haxiuL^" strong' reasons for believing 
Mr. James to be a truK aimahle as well as })ious man, 
and m\ ck^ar Liz/y is really well fitted for the office 
ol a parson's aider and comforter. It has gi\-en me 
no little pleasure to ha\e been assured 1)\' Mr. 1 )upre. 
the curate of lh(; ])arish, that she has been lrul\- use- 
ful to the poor (.■ollagers around us. llis expression 
was, '.She has done more good than she knows of.' 
This event, combined widi the close of another \ ear 
and the amn'\ersar\- of m\ own dear wile's birthda\-, 
has called loi'lh in me a li\el\' sense ol the Li'oodness 



HOME LETTERS 263 

of that t^racious Beino- who has dealt so bounti- 
fully with me durini>" a long succession of years. 
Dr. Warren, in 1788, as I was reniinded when at 
Brighstone, declared that for want of stamina there 
would be an end of my feeble frame in two or 
three weeks, and then I was a bachelor. After 
this, near ten years after, 1 became a husband, and 
now I have assured me full grown descendants, 
and an offset in my Elizabeth. I have been receiv- 
ing many congratulations from being perhaps the 
only living father of three first-class men, one 
of them a double first and the two others in the 
second also. Above all their literary acquirements 
I value their having, as I verily believe, passed 
through the fiery trial of an university, for such I 
honestly account it, without injury. And it gives 
me no little pleasure (as I think I have before 
assured you), to add that I ascribe this in part to 
the instrumentality of a certain young lady, who 
was a sort of Guardian ano-el hoverino- around him 

*_? <r> o 

in fancy and exerting a benign influence over the 
sensibility and tenderness of his lively spirit. Fare- 
well, my dear Emily. 

" Believe me, begging a kiss to baby, 

" Ever affectionately yours, 

" W. WiLBERFORCE." 



264 PRIVATK PAPERS OF WILBERFORCE 

Mr. lVi/berfo?rc to the Rev. Sannicl ]\'ilberforce. 

" Fcbnmry 8, 1831. 

" Mv DKAR Samuel,- Pray botli for your mother 
and for ])()()r William that tlic-y may be delivered 
from intfi(nv<t. The fjrmer, alas ! lies awake for hours 
in the morning", and cannot banish from her mind 
the carkiny cares that haunt and worry her. We 
profess to believe in the efficacy of prayer. Let us 
prove the truth of our profession by at least not 
acquiescing", without resistance, in such assailments. 
It is more from natural temperament than from any 
higher attainment that 1 am not the prey of these 
corrosions. Something may be ascribed to the 
habit of controlling' my thoughts which I accjuired 
when in public life. . . . \'ou might, I believe, 
ha\e shone in political life ; but you have chosen 
the better part. And if you can think so now when 
in your younger blood, much more will you become 
sensible of it by and by when you look back, if God 
should so j)crmit. on a long retrospect, studded with 
records of the Divine blessing on your ministerial 
exertions. Kindest remembrances to dear Emily, 
and a kiss to little Emily, and the blessing of your 
affectionate father, 

" W. W'lI.HKRl-OkCK." 

" Hk'iMWooi) Iln.i,, 

" Miiii li 4, I S3 1. 
" I w ill IrankK conlcss to nou thai I .ilmosl lreml)le 



HOME LETTERS 265 

for the consequences of Lord Russell's plan of Re- 
form if it should be carried. I wish the qualification 
had been higher. The addition to the County Re- 
presentation lessens the danger. Much in the judg- 
ments we form on such practical questions depends 
on our period of life. I find niyself now at seventy- 
one a(id a half far more timid and more indisposed 
to ,^reat changes, and less inclined to promise my- 
S'cilf great benefit from political plans. I own I 
scarcely can expect the plan to succeed, especially 
in the House of Lords. We understand your 
invitation to be for July and August. But I foretell 
you plainly you shall not regularly walk with me, or 
break off any habits which can in any degree inter- 
fere with duty. \\g have not yet settled our plans. 
Indeed, they may greatly depend on the convenience 
of our friends. I well remember the Dean of 
Carlisle used to say when invitations multiplied, 
' Do you think that if you wanted a dinner there 
would be so many disposed to give you one ? ' We 
are now about to put this to the proof. I own now 
that it comes to the point I am a little disposed to 
exclaim, ' O happy hills ! O pleasing shades ! ' &c. 
But I should be ashamed were I to have any other 
prevailing feeling than thankfulness. I feel most the 
separation from my books. However, s?i?'snni corday 
Wilberforce writes to his friend Babino^ton on 
Lord Russell's propositions : — 



266 PRix'ATi-: i'.\i'1':rs of wilbkrforce 

^[)■. ]\'{/bcrforcc to Mr. Bahimrfon. 

" I Iic.iiwoon Ilii.L, 

" Mdirli 14. I S3 I . 
■' M\ Di'.AK Tom, — I fear you will be again 
disposed to accuse nie of treating \ou with neglect 
(not. I hope, with unkindness) in suffering week after 
week to pass awa\- without returning answers to 
your kind letters. i ha\-e really had as much 
necessar\- writing on \w\ hands, as even when 1 was 
member for Yorkshire. But I cannot bear to think 
that you are, day after day, looking out for m\- hand- 
writing (as you are opening your daily ])ackets). and 
looking out in \ain. There have been main' topics. 
I assure you, on which I should ha\e been glad to 
communicate with you had 1 been able. I know- 
not how you have felt, but 1 must say 1 felt glad by 
the consciousness that I was not now in a situation 
to be compelled to approach, antl act upon, die im- 
portant question ot Lord lohn Russell's proposition. 
On the whole, 1 think I should ha\-e been favour- 
able to it; chic'll}, i»r radier most conlidendw from 
trusting that we shall do awa\' with much \ice and 
much bribcrx which now prevail. I am pt-rsuaded 
also that llu- change will be lor llu- benefit, and 
greatly so, ol our poor West India clients. 
1 should like lo know Nour senlimenis on the 
plan." 



HOME LETTERS 267 

Mr. Wilbei-forcc to the Rev. Saimiel Wilberforce. 

''April 8, 1 83 1. 

"And now, my dear Samuel, we have commenced 
our wandering's. I write front Daniel Wilson's, who 
treats us with the utmost kindness." 

From this time W ilberforce had no house of his 
own, but spent the remaining years of his life with 
his sons and with his friends. In his own language, 
he "became a wanderer without any certain dwell- 
ing-place." 

" Kexsixgtox Gore, 

" April 20II1. 
"It must be three weeks or more since Lord 
Brougham, when on the woolsack, called Stephen, ^ 
then attending the House of Lords, quasi master 
(two of their description you perhaps know are 
required to be always present ; they take down their 
Lordships' Bills to the House of Commons), and 
after expressing in very strong language his concern 
at having heard such an account as had reached 
him of the state of my finances, and more particu- 
larly of its being" necessary for me to quit my own 
house, and become a wanderer without any certain 
dwelling-place, he stated that he had lately heard of 
my having sons and a son-in-law in the Church, and 
that he should be most happy to do what he could 
for them. Lord Milton afterwards, as I understand 

' Mr. A\'ilberforce's brother-in-law. 



268 TRIVATl-: PAPERS OF WILBKRFORCE 

from Dan Sykes, expressed to Lord Hrouo-ham 
some kind intentions towards me, and more especi- 
ally that he waived a claim or an application he had 
been making; lor the livin^' of Rawmarsh, as soon as 
he learned that Lord BrouL!;"ham had destined it to 
me. Robert would not accept any livino- which 
would not afford me a suitable residence." 

"April 23. 1 83 1. 
"You cannot conceive how little time I appear to 
have at my own command while passing our lives 
in this vagarious mode, which, however, calls forth 
emotions of gratitude to the Giver of all good, who 
has raised up for me so many and so kind friends. 
I ought not to forget, while a Gracious Providence 
has granted me a good name which is better than 
great riches, that many public men as upright as 
myself have been the victims of calumny. I 
myself indeed have had its envenomed shafts at 
times directed against me. Hut on the whole 
few men ha\-e suffered from them so little as myself" 

" I^ath, October U). 1831. 
" I am but poorly, and I am bothered (a vulgar 
phrase, but ha\ing been usetl in the House of Lords 
I may condescend to adopt it) with incessant \isitors. 
There is a j)erson come over to this countr\- from 
the l^iited .States, of thr SocietN" of Ouakers, for 
the excellent purpose ol obtaining populai'il\ and 



HOME LETTERS 269 

support for a society which has been in beino" for 
nine or ten years — the American Colonisation 
Society. I could not but assent to his proposal to 
pay me a visit at this place. The time was when 
such a visitor would have been no encumbrance to 
me. But now that he takes me in hand when I 
am already tired by others, (though it is only justice 
to him to say no one can be less intrusive or more 
obliging- than he is), I do sink under it. My dear 
Samuel, it is one of the bad consequences of the 
plan you prescribed that I exhibit myself to you in 
the state of mind in which I am at the moment, 
though I should not otherwise have selected it for 
that purpose. 

" Fiiciaw 12 o'clock, October 2isl. 

" Our American friend has left us this morning 
But, alas! he has requested me to write in his album. 
What a vile system is the album system ! No, I do 
not, I cannot think so, though I am somewhat 
ruffled by being called on for my contingent, when 
I have little or no supplies left to furnish it." 

Wilberforce goes on to express his gratitude for 
the safety of his daughter Elizabeth (Mrs. James), 
who had been confined of a daughter. 

"The mere circumstance that a new immortal 
being is produced and committed to our keeping is a 
consideration of extreme moment. Though I own 
it sometimes tends to produce emotions of a sadden- 



270 PRIVATIC PATRRS OF WILBKRFORCE 

ino- character, to consider inlo what a world our new 
grandchild has entered, what stormy seas she will 
have to navigate. I will enclose an interesting 
passage I have received from Tom Babington. 
giving an account of Dr. Chalmer's speculations. 

" I own I am sadl)' alarmed for the Church. There 
is such a combination of noxious elements ferment- 
ing together, that I am ready to exclaim, ' There is 
death in the pot,' and there will be, I fear, no I'^lisha 
granted to us to render the mess harmless. But 
yet I am encouraged to hope that the same gracious 
and longsuffering Being who would ha\e spared 
Sodom for ten, and Jerusalem even for one righteous 
man's sake, may spare us to the i)ra\ ers of the many 
who do, I trust, sincerely sigh and cr\- in behalf of 
our proud, ungratekil land. Yet, again, when 1 con- 
sider what light we have enjoyed, what mercies we 
have received, and how self-sufficient and unorate- 
ful we have been, I am again tempted to despond. I 
wish 1 could be a less unprofitable servant. Vet 1 
must remember Milton's sonnet, 'They also serve 
who only stand and wait.' Let us all be found in 
our several stations doing therein the Lord's work 
diligently and zealously. What do \t»u think 
ol Shulllc'worth's new translation ol Si. Paul's 
P.j)istl('s .-^ I ha\'e borrowed but not \el read them. 
Affectionate remembrances to dear l'"inil\-. ami a 
kiss to sweet baby. " 



HOME LETTERS 271 

" Blauk Castlk,' 

'' Oiiobcr 31, 1S31. 
" You will hear what dreadful work has been 
j^'oini^- on at Bristol for the last eight and forty 
hours. Sir Charles Wetherell - escaped from the 
fury of the mob by first hiding himself in some 
upper room in the Mansion House and then 
passing, disguised in a sack jacket, from 
the roof of the Mansion House to that of 
another house, whence he got to a distant part 
of the town, and in a chaise and four returned 
in all haste, (they say) to London. He was, as 
Recorder, to have opened the Commission and 
tried all the prisoners to-day. However, the latter 
are now all at work again in their accustomed 
callings. Not a single gaol, I am assured, is 
left undestroyed. The Bishop's Palace, (and 
Deanery too I am told), burnt to the ground. 
The Custom House ditto, Mansion House ditto. 
Poor Pinney, the Mayor, I was assured, behaved 
on Saturday with great presence of mind. The 
populace, however, got into the Mansion House 
before the corporation went to dinner ; so all the 

' The seat of J. S. Harford, Esq. 

- Lord Cirey's Reform Bill had amongst its most vehement oppo- 
nents Sir C. Wetherell, Recorder of Bristol. On his arrival in 
that city the riots began there by an attack upon his carriage, 
after which " Bristol was the theatre of the most disgraceful 
outrages that have been perpetrated in this country since the 
riots of London, 1780." {An. Reg. 1831.) 



272 PRIVATK I'AI'KRS OF W ILBKRFORCI^. 

good things regaled the ,'„ ttoXXoi. Strange to say, 
(just as in the London riots), people were allowed 
to walk the streets in peace, and last night half the 
people in the square were looking on at the depre- 
dations committing by the other halt. W'^ell-dressed 
ladies walked about great part of the night 
staring as at a raree show. The redness of the 
sky from the conHagration was quite a dreadful 
sight to us in the distance. It is said they are 
endeavouring to organise a force for the defence 
of the city. It is \'ery strange that this has been 
so long delayed. I'm assured pillage has latterly 
been the grand object. The deputation, I am told, 
were followed by a cart, in which, as they went 
along, they stowed the plunder. I have not said 
it to your mother, for fear of her becoming still 
more nervous,' (which need not be), by her finding 
me entertaining such cogitations, but if I perceive 
any grumblings of the volcano at Bath, before the 
lava bursts forth I shall hurry your mother to a 
certain quiet parsonage — though, alas! I cannot but 
fear for the Church in these days." 

" Bi.AizK Castlk, Xoiciiihti 2. 
"The llrisiol riots, though in some particulars 

' Mrs. WilbcTfurcc writes to her son .SaimiLl : " Shall I send 
you the deeds, iVc, to take care of for the family, and the plate 
to bury in your garden ? I think you will be safe in the Isle of 
U'ight. Do not let my fears be mentioned ; they say we should 
all appear brave and bold." 



HOME Ll'.TTlCRS 273 

the accounts were as usual exaggerated, were 
quite horrible, and the great events as reported. 
But a striking instance was afforded how easily 
perpetrations, if I may use the word, the most 
horrible may be at once arrested by determined 
opposition. On Monday morning early the mobs 
were parading about without resistance. But on 
that morning the troops, a small body of dragoons, 
charged them repeatedly at full speed, and not 
sparing either the momentum or the sharpness 
of their swords, no attempt at making a head 
afterwards appeared. Afterwards the day was 
properly employed in appointing a great number 
of special constables and other civil force, and 
every night, as well as day, since has passed in 
perfect quiet. A great part of the plunder has 
been recovered, and numbers of criminals have 
been seized — some of them sent to a o-aol 
about seven miles off; and happily the con- 
demned cells have escaped the fury of the mob, 
and have afforded a stronghold for keeping the 
prisoners. I need not tell you in what a ferment 
the mind of our host was thrown, indeed with 
great reason. He had been threatened with a 
visit at this place, and the best pictures were 
stowed away in safe custody. I am persuaded 
it has become indispensably necessary to form in 
all our great cities and neighbourhoods a civil 

19 



274 i'Ri\'.\ri-: i'.\ri-:Rs oi-" w iij^i:ri-orck 

police, j)n)j)erl\' armed and drilled. And thus, as 
usual, out (»r e\il ^ood ma\' arise. " 

" IJath, Xovciiilnr 13, 1H31. 
" I think \(»u know Mr. Pearse of this place, 
an excellent and xcry a^reealjle man, and niaster 
of the Grammar .School at this place, a lar^e 
and nourishing" one. lie is a \'ery musical man, 
an intimate anil loiii^- attached friend of Dr. 
Crotch. I will consult him about \our oro-an. 
I believe I toKl you that I scarcely ever re- 
member ImdiiiL;' m\ time so little equal to the 
claims on it as at this place, though were 1 
asked 'What are you doino?' I should, alas! 
say ' Nothing ' ; and even, ' \\ hat have you 
to do?' still the same reply, 'Nothing' I 
have one occuj)ation of an interesting and in 
some degree ol an cmbai'i'assing nature. Soon 
after our arrixal, 1 learnt that the onl\' other 
inmate of our house was a gentleman who had 
been conlmed to his sola lor mam months 
trom the effects of a rheumatic lexer. He hatl 
no h-iends with him, only a family servant who 
attended on him. Naturally feeling for the pfTor 
man, he and ourselves being the onl\- inmates, 1 
sent a message to him to sa\ that, if agreeable, 
1 should be happ\ to wail on him loi- a tew 
minutes. lie returned an assenting aiul cour- 
teous re|)ly. AccordingK 1 called, ami found 



IIOMK LETTERS 275 

a very civil and well-behaved man. I found 
that he had been fond of ^anie, and had expressed 
his regret that he could not purchase it (this 
was his servant's report). Accordingly I sent 
him some now and then. I soon afterwards was 
told that he was a Roman Catholic. He is by 
profession a lawyer at Pontypool. I have since 
had several conversations with him, and find 
him a decided Roman Catholic, but a man appa- 
rently of great candour and moderation. I was 
not surprised to find him strongly prejudiced 
against Blanco White.' 'Oh,' he cried, 'I assure 
you, sir, that book is full of the grossest false- 
hood.' But I was a good deal surprised to 
receive from him an assurance that he had been 
reading with great pleasure in a book of my 
writing ; and I found, to my surprise, that quite 
unknown to me Kendal had lent him the book. 
I durst not have done it, but the event has 
taught me that we may sometimes be too timid 
or delicate. Can you suggest any mode of 
dealing with my fellow lodger? Hitherto I have 
gone on the plan of cultivating his lavourable 
opinion by general kindness, sending him game, 

' '1". Blanco White, a Spaniard by birth, left the Church of 
Rome and joined the Church of England, and also became 
a naturalised Englishman. He was closely connected with the 
Oxford movement, but lapsed into Socinianism. He died in 
1841, 



276 I'KIVATl-: I'AI'KRS OF WILBKRFORCP: 

t^c, and endeavouriiiL; to press on him the most 
important doctrines of true Christianity and of 
showing" where the case is really so, that he may 
embrace those doctrines and still continue a good 
Roman Catholic. There is in the Christian 
Obscj-i'cr tor September last a critique on Dr. 
W'hateK's sermons hv the Bishop of Chichester, 
lie is said, in the oLitset, to have stated in a 
})amj)hlet on the Iiiblc Society controversy, that 
the only books in the Scriptures which were fit 
or useful for general circulation were Genesis, 
Exodus, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, I think Isaiah, 
but am not sure, the four Gospels, Acts, ist 
Timolhw I st Peter, ist [ohn ami fudc; all the 
rest likely to do more harm than good." 

"B.MH. Dili' II I her 6, 1831. 
" I am unaffectedly sorry for hax-ing been appa- 
rently so dilatory in complying with your request 
for In inns and tunes. I use the word apparently, 
because to any charge of suffering any oppor- 
tunity of executing the commission to pass by 
unimproved, I may boldly plead not guilty. 
There never, surely, was such a place as this for 
the frittering away of time. Two visits before 
breakfast to the Pump Room, antl two again 
from 2 to \\ o'clock in the alternoon, make such 
a chasm in the da\', that Htlle before dinner 
(about .j'l') is left tor an)- rational occujiation. 



HOME LETTERS 277 

Then not being able, for many reasons, to receive 
company at dinner, we often invite trlends to 
breakfast, and as we cannot be^in the meal till 
10^ at the soonest, we seldom have a clear room 
till after 1 2. Sometimes morning callers come 
in before the breakfasters are gone (as has been 
the case this morning, when my old friend 
Bankes has entered, taking Bath in his way 
from his son in North Wales into Dorsetshire). 
You owe this account of expenditure of niy time 
to my feeling quite uncomfortable, from the idea 
of neglecting a commission you wished to consign 
to me for prompt execution. I will put down in 
any letter I may write to you any hymns and 
hymn tunes which I like (' Happy the heart 
where graces reign,' Lock tune), and you may 
add together the disjecta uienibra into one list. 
But I have not hymn-books here except G. 
Noel's. At Hiohwood I have a considerable 
number. Your poor mother is worried to pieces 
by company and business. I am fully persuaded, 
my dear Samuel, that you wish to lighten the 
pressure on me as much as possible, and on 
the other hand I doubt not you give me full 
credit for wishing to make you as comfortable 
as I can, and I really hope I shall be able to 
go on allowing my children what is necessary for 
their comfort." 



2/^ I'RiVATi-: I'AiMCRS oi-^ w'l lri-:rforce 

" ^iiiiiiiiiy 19, 1832. 
"St. [ohn sa\s. you will rcniLMnber, ' I have no 
l^j^reater j()\- ihaii lo know that my children walk 
in the truth.' This he could declare concernintf 
his finiiratiN'e t-hiKlren. And well, therefore, ought 
we to be able, at least, to desire to feel similar 
sensations on witnessing the graces of our true, real 
children. Antl I am in a situation to feel this with 
peculiar force. Indeed, 1 hope I can sa\' with truth 
that the more frequent, more continued and ckxser 
opportunities ot witnessing your conscientious and 
diligent discharge of your pastoral duties — oppor- 
tunities which I probably should not have enjoyed 
in the same degree had 1 still a residence of my 
own— more than compensate all I suffer from the 
want ot a pn)j)er home. Indeed, there are but 
two particulars that I <it all feel, i.r., the absence 
of my bo(jks. and the not being able to practise 
hospitalit)- ; though that is rather a vulgar word 
for expressing m\ meaning, which is, the pleasure 
of receiving th(jse we love under our own roof, 
joining with them morning and night in familv 
pra)ers, shaking hands with ihem, and inter- 
changing continual intercourse of mutual affection. 
Well, the time is short. e\'en lor those who .ux" 
far less advanced th.ui myself in the journey of 
life." 



HOME LETTERS 279 

"Bath, June 14, 1832. 
" I forg-et whether you know the Dean of Win- 
chester ' or not. W'c have many a discussion 
together, and I now and then stroke his plumage 
the wrong way to make him set up his bristles. 
He holds the great degeneracy ot these times. I, 
on the contrary, declared to him that, though I 
acknowledged the more open prevalence of pro- 
faneness, and of all the vices which grow out of 
insLibordination, yet that there had been also a 
marked and a great increase of religion within 
the last forty years. And as a proof I assigned 
the numerous editions of almost all the publi- 
cations of family prayers, beginning with the 
Rector of St. Botolph's (Bishop of London's)." 

" '7'/^' 12, 1832. 
" Though I do not like to mention it to your 
mother, I feel myself becoming more and more 
stupid and inefficient. I think it is chiefly a bodily 
disease, at least there, I hope, is the root of the 
disease. I am so languid after breakfast that, if 
I am read to, I infallibly subside into a drowsi- 
ness, which, if not resisted by my getting up and 
walkino-, or takino- for a few minutes the book 
Joseph may be reading to me, gradually slides 
into a state of complete stupor. Yet it is down- 

' Dr. Thomas Rennell : he was appointed in 1805, and was 
succeeded in 1840 by 1 )r. (larnier. 



2So i'Ri\'.\Ti'. r.\ri:ks oi- wit.i^.erforce 

riLiht shocking; in nif to use language which may 
ai all suhjccl me justly to the imputati(3n of 
rci)inini;. Aiul to be just to myself, I do not 
think I am fairl\- chartreable with that fault. I 
hope that which might at first sight seem to have 
somewhat of that appearance is rather the com- 
punctious visitings of my better part grieving 
over my utter uselessness. 1 do noi like to give 
expression to these distressing risings, because I 
may not unreasonably appear to be calling for 
friendly assurances in return of m}' having 
been an active labourer. Vet when I am pouring 
lorih the effusions of my heart to a child to whom 
I may open m\self with the freedom I may justly 
practise towards you, I do not like to keep in 
reserve ni)- real feelings. My memory is con- 
tinually gi\ing me fresh proofs of its decaying at 
an accelerated rate of progress. lUit I will not 
harass your affectionate feelings; and however I 
may lament my uiiprohtableness, and at times 
really feel depressed by it. \et my natural cheer- 
fulness of temper produces in m)' exterior such 
an ajjpearance ol good spirits that 1 nu'ghl be 
supposed by m\ daily associates to be li\ing in 
an atmosphere oi uncloudetl comtorl. So you 
need not be distressing Noursclt on m\' account." 
The rest of this IciU'r shows that W ilbcrtorce 
had asked tlu- adxice ol .Samuel as lo tin- wisdom ol 



HOME LETTERS 281 

engaging- a Roman Catholic tutor for his grandson 
" dear little William." ' Samuel's answer was couched 
in decisive terms against this step. W^ilberforce, 
however, was reconciled to the idea by the know- 
ledge that " dear little William's mother will be 
always on the spot, always on her guard, watchful 
and ready to detect and proceed against any 
attempt whatever which might be made to bias 
William's mind into undervaluing the importance 
of the difference between the Roman Catholic 
and the Protestant system, or still more to infuse 
into his pupil's mind any prejudices against our 
principles or personages, or any palliations of the 
Popish tenets." 

In the concluding year of Wilberforce's life, 
though he complains of " becoming more and more 
stupid and inefficient," the feelings and thoughts 
which animated his life appear in full vigour. His 
watchful love for his children, his hospitality, the 
steady, faithful looking forward to the life ever- 
lasting — all are there. Nor, until he has made one 
more effort to secure the freedom of the slaves, does 
the weary, diligent hand finally "lay down the pen." 

'' Dariiibcr 18, 1832. 
" Although we should use great modesty in 
speculating on the invisible and eternal world, yet 
we may reasonably presume from intimations 
' Only son of Wilberforce's eldest son A\'illiani. 



282 PRIVATK 1'.\1'1-:RS OF WII.I^F.RFORCE 

conveyed to us in the Holy Scriptures, and from 
inferences which the\- fairly sui^gest, that we shall 
retain of our earthly character and feelings in that 
which is not sinful, and therefore we may expect 
(this, I think, is \ery clear), to know each other, 
and to think and talk o\'er the various circum- 
stances ol our lix'cs, our se\'eral hopes and fears 
and plans and speculations ; and you and 1, if it 
please God, may talk over the incidents of our 
respective li\es, and connected with them, those 
ot our nearest and dearest relatives. And. then, 
probably we shall be enabled to understand the 
causes of various events which at the time had 
appeared mysterious." 

" December 28, 1832. 
" 1 should wish to suororest to vou an idea that 
arises from a passage in a letter from William 
Smith.' The idea is that it might have a very 
good eflect, for any of my reverend children to be 
known to manifest their zeal in the great cause 
of West Indian emancipation, and slaves" improve- 
ment. And as 1 am on that topic let me tell you, I 
need not say with how much pleasure, that I really 
believe we are now going on admirably. The 
slaves will, 1 trust, be immediateh' placed under 
the govermnenl ol the same laws as other 

• "My most lailhlul liicnd, William Smith" ("Life oi W ilbcr- 
lorcc," vul. iii. [>. 530). 



HOME LETTERS 283 

members of the community, instead of beinir 
under the arbitrary commands of their masters, 
and (perhaps after a year) they will be still more 
completely emancipated. I was truly glad to find 
in the evidence taken before the House of Com- 
mons' Committee (which the indefatigable Zachary ' 
is analysing), highly honourable testimony to our 
friend's (Wildman's) treatment of his slaves. But 
I ought not to conceal from you the connection 
in which \\\ Smith's suo-o-estion of the orreat 
benefit that would result from my sons taking a 
forward part in befriending the attempts that would 
be made to stir up a petitioning spirit in support 
of our cause, (for he informed me that efforts 
for that purpose would be made). He stated that 
it had been observed almost everywhere that the 
clergy had been shamefully lukewarm in our cause ; 
and of course this, which I fear cannot be denied, 
has been used in many instances for the injury 
of the Church. You and I see plainly how 
this has happened : that the most active supporters 
of our cause have too often been democrats, and 
radicals, with whom the regular clergy could not 
bring themselves to associate. Vet even when 
subjected to such a painful alternative, to unite 
with them, or to sufter the interests of justice and 
humanity, and latterly of religion too, to be in 
' Macaukiy. 



284 l'KI\ATK I'Al'KRS OF WILBERFORCE 

question without rcceivin^j^ any support from them, 
or to do \ iolence to, 1 will n<jt say their prejudices, 
but their natural repugnance to appearing to have 
anything of a fellow-feeling with men who are 
commonly fomenting vicious principles and pro- 
positions of all sorts ; when placed, I say, in such 
distressing circumstances, they should remember 
that their coming forward, in accordance with those 
with whom they agree in no other particular, will 
give additional weight to their exertions, and prove 
still more clearly how strongly they feel the cause 
of God, and the well-being of man to be implicated, 
when they can consent to take part with those to 
whom in general they have been opposed most 
strongly. The conduct of the Jamaica people 
towards the missionaries has shown of late, more 
clearly than ever before, that the spiritual interests 
of the slaves, no less than their civil rights, are at 
stake. In such a case as this, it is not without 
pain and almost shame that I urge any argument 
grounded on the interests of the clergy ; and yet 
it would l)e wrong to keep considerations of this 
sort altogether out of sight, because one sees how 
malignantK and injuriously to the cause of religiiMi 
the apath)' ol the clergv mav, and will. l)e used, 
to the discredit of the Church, ami its most attached 
adherents. It is not a little vexatious to lind people 
so igiioi'anl, as loo manv are, concerniiv' the real 



HOME LKTTKRS 2S5 

state of the slaves, notwithstanding all the pains 
that have been taken to enlighten them. Stephen's 
book in particular has, I fear, been very little read. 
When we were at Lord Bathurst's I saw plainly 
that the speeches of a Mr. Borthwick, who had 
been a-oinQf about sfivinof lectures in favour of the 
West Indians, had made a great impression on 
Lady Georgiana. But I must lay down my pen." 



Zbc Orcsbain press, 

UKWIN BROTHERS 
V,-OKl\a AND LONDON. 



Seco nd Edition. With Por traits, dolh, pric e 12s. 

I HE YEAR AFTER 
^ THE ARMADA, 

And other Historical Studies. 

RY 

MARTIN A. S. HUME. 

THE TIMES— 

" Major Hume tells the story in lull detail and with invent spirit. . . . 
Very interesting." 

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, W. L. Courtney in— 

"Major Hume has thrown the most curious and valuable light on the 
Armada period. Full of delightful sketches of men and things." 

THE DAILY CHRONICLE— 

" Mr. Hume has already established his reputation as an authority on 
Anglo-Spanish relations in the Elizabethan age. ... A most fascinating 
picture. . . . We are glad to recommend Mr. Hume's interesting volume, 
and we trust he will still further extend his researches into Spanish life." 

THE MORXIXG POST— 

"A work which adds many a fresh page to English, and, one may say 
to European histdry. . . . From first to last the volume is excellent 
reading, while the entertaining style in which the matter is presented 
and the undeniable authority of the writer . . . render the book of 
special interest and permanent value." 

COSMOPOLIS, Andrew Lang in— 

" Quite as good as a novel — and a good deal better, too. The book 
is so bright and vivid that readers with the common dislike of history 
may venture on its pages unafiaid." 

THE GLOBE— 

" Major Hume furnishes us with much that is as instructive and valu- 
able as it is readable." 

PALL MALL GAZETTE— 

" Mr. Hume has had luck and he deserves his luck. We hope he will 
give us some more of his ' chips' and clippings from the records of the 
past." 

THE ATHEN.EUM— 

"'The evolution of the Spanish Armada' is an essay of the first 
importance. . . . ' The Coming of Philip the Prudent,' is a most 
interesting account of Philip's voyage, his arrival in England, and his 
marriage to the Queen." 



PRESS NOTICES— Co,, tin, u;l. 

THE SPEAKER— 

" WliatcvcT Mr. Hmnc writes on the subject wliich he has made liis 
i)\VM is sure to be j^ood in substance and brij^jht in style. E.xtreniely 
inlerestiufi, and at once instructive and amusing." 

THE XEW SATURDAY— 

" Very delifjhtful. . . . Everytiiinj^ he has to tell is worth hearinjj, 
and to listen is easy by reason of the j^ood tellinj^. . . . We could go on 
indetinilely dippin;^' thus into Mr. Hume's pleasant paj^es, but enou{;;h has 
been said, we trust, to induce readers to obtain the b(»olc for themselves, 
and it is to be hoped that the author will continue to give us the fruit 
of his researches." 

THE TABLET— 

"The volume presents much careful and critical research, and the 
results are offered in a spirit of impartiality and historical detachment of 
which we gladly make acknowledgment." 

SOTES AXD Ol'ERlES— 

"Thanks to the researches Major Hume is making, the history of 
Tudor times lias to be entirely rewritten. . . . The whole is well-written, 
interesting, luminous, and valuable. The book has genuine historical 
value." 

THE SHEFFIELD IXDEPEXDEST— 
"A bright and unusual book." 

THE LIVERPOOL DAILY POST— 

" No aphorism so apologetic is needed to recommend or preface a 
book by Major Hume, who has gathered from unexplored quarters great 
stores of historic lore, and who has a pleasant gift of bright e.\pression 
which makes interesting, even to the casual reader, his essays and studies." 

GLASGOW HERALD— 

" Most interesting reading. It is certain to attract the attention of 
students of history, and it may be confidently commended to all who 
can enjoy a vivacious narrative of long past events, or a realistic de- 
scription of vanished manneis." 

MANCHESTER CITY XEWS— 

"The story is told with great spirit by Major Hume in a vulume full 
of novelty and varied interest." 

THE OIISERVER— 

" Readers of these historical studies will line! a great deal that is good, 
new, and interesting. We cordially recommend Ihcm to our readers." 

THE SPECTATOR— 

"Mr. Hume will add very greatly to the reputation as a serious but 
not dryasdustish or pedagogic histoncal investigator which he obtained 
by his ' Courtships of Queen Elizabeth ' . . . He has a remarkable 
faculty for producing life-like portraits of men who are at once strong 
and scoundrelly." 

PUBLISHERS- CIRCULAR— 

" Seldom have we come across such interesting and well-written 
historical essays. The book is brightly written and handsomely pro- 
duced " 



London : 
T. KlSUl-:!,: I\\VI.\, I'Ari KNosTKu Sor.vKK. K.C. 



THE COURTSHIPS OF QUEEN ELIZABETH: 

A HISTORY OF THE VARIOTS XECiOTIATIOXS FOR 
HER MARRIAGE. 

By Martin A. S. Hume. 

Fourth Edition, with poitrait>. Cloth, I2S. 

"A clear and very intefesting account. An excellent 
book." — The Times. 

" We would counsel a perusal of that very remarkable 
volume, ' The Coiuiships of Queen Elizabeth,' which, 
besides being in the highest degree entertaining, ftirnishes 
utterly new views of the spacious times of great Elizabeth." 
— The Daily Telegraph (Leading Article). 

" A delightful book." — The Daily Telegraph (Review). 

" Without a perusal of Mr. Hume's most researchful and 
interesting volume, no one, no student even of Eroude can 
claim to have thoroughly grasped the character and aims of 
our good Queen Bess." — The Daily Chronicle. 

" Mr. Hume, who is the learned editor of the Calendar of 
Spanish State Papers issued by the Record Office, has gone 
to the fountain-head. A connected and consistent — though 
assuredly a most extraordinary story. A fascinating picture." 
— Standard (Leader), 

" Mr. Hume has performed his task admirably. In his 
hands the story of a unique series of farcical courtships 
becomes a luminous study in sixteenth century international 
diplomacy." — TJie Daily News. 

"A luminous and fascinating narrative. Mr. Hume's 
masterlv and impartial narrative. It is undeniably an 
important addition to the history of the Elizabethan period, 
and it will rank as the foremost authority on the most 
interesting aspect of the character of the Tudor Queen." — 
Pall Mall Gazette. 

"Among the historians of the later Victorian era Mr. 
Hume will take high rank. His contributions to our know- 
ledge of Elizabethan times are the result of attainments 
which no other writer can claim to possess. He is to be 
congratulated on producing a work with which no student 
can afford to dispense if desirous of understanding the 
character of Elizabeth, and which no other living English- 
man could have prodticed." — TJie Ohseiver. 

20 



THE COIKISHII'S OF OIKEX ELIZABETH (coutiuiud ). 

" Mr. Hume is a serious authority with far too great a 
keenness for facts to be a partisan. One might make dozens 
of pointed extracts, but the book is distinctly one to be read 
by those who care for past manners." — Daily Courier. 

" Mr. Hume tells an interesting tale with enviable clear- 
ness and felicity of language. He may claim to have made 
a valuable addition to our knowledge of one of the greatest 
'of our national benefactors." — 'flic Echo. 

" Eminentlv thorough and lucid, and throws fresh light 
on what has hjng been one of the most perplexing as it will 
ever be the most amusing chapter in the English annals."— 
The (il(L\i^Ou' Hcrahl. 

"The volume is based on authentic State papers . . . 
ex}')l()ied with great pains and marvellous industry." — Dublin 
Daily Telegraph. 

"A careful and .learned piece of work." — Manchester 
Gnardian. 

"A serious and able work." — Spectator. 

"This volume is a splendid contriiiution to English 
historv." Tlie Hirniin<fhtini Cur:ette. 

"The stoiv is altogether a very remarkable one, and is 
now told for the lirst time with fulness and accuracy. 
Students of English and European history during the 
critical sixteenth centurv peiiod cannot afford to overlook 
this strikinglv interesting volume." — The Freeman. 

"A verv curious and important cha]tter in English history 
. . . throws a fiood of light on the character and methods 
of the Queen." The Tablet. 

" Written in a charmingly clear literary style, and the 
solid character of its contents should recommend it to 
serious readers." — Aberdeen Free Press. 

" Extremely interesting. The author is to be congratu- 
lated on having written a most entertaining record." — The 
Daily Graphic. 

" It has the interest of a novel. This engrossing history 
of the various negotiations for the Queen's marriage." — The 
Slu-tch. 



London : 
r. FlSIli;u rXWlX, Pathrnostek Suiaue, E.g. 



Uniform with " The Year After the Armade.*' 

Life and Letters of Mr. 
Endy mion Porter : 

Sometime Gentleman 

of the Bedchamber 

to King Charles 

the First 



By Dorothea Townshend 



IFit/j Portraits 



[In Preparation 



London: T. FISHER UNWIN 



,., lOANDEPT " 

This book is due on thp fo 7 * 

-^ ^'^ 'o "nraediare recall. 




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