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FAMOUS SPEECH: WILLIAM WILBERFORCE
William Wilberforce was one of Britain’s great social
reformers. In particular, he is remembered for his active
participation in getting Parliament to outlaw the slave trade.
After his time in University he decided to run for parliament
and at the age of twenty-one he won the seat of his native
Hull. After four years in Parliament, William travelled to
Europe with his mother and sister and it was during this
vacation that the religious urge came back to him and led to
a religious life, losing interest in card games and drinking.
On his return to England he spoke with John Newton, one of
the leading Anglican churchmen of his day and composer of
the lyrics to Amazing Grace, one of the most popular songs
of all time. This further encouraged Wilberforce to lead a
religious life, but he was also encouraged to stay in politics
and work for social reform.
Wilberforce tried to pass a bill to abolish slave trading in
1789 and although there was considerable support within
Parliament, the anti-abolitionists were well organised and
they managed to defeat the bill by 163 votes to 88.
However, he never gave up trying and in 1807, both the
Lords and Commons finally passed the Slave Trade Act.
Just a few days before his death, Wilberforce heard the news
that on 26 July 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act was passed –
outlawing slavery in most parts of the British Empire.
His epic struggle for social justice is excellently portrayed in
the 2006 British film Amazing Grace.
William Wilberforce’s Abolition Speech delivered in the
House of Commons on Tuesday 12 May 1789:
When I consider the magnitude
of the subject which I am to bring
before the House – a subject, in
which the interests, not of this
country, nor of Europe alone, but of
the whole world, and of posterity, are
involved: and when I think, at the
same time, on the weakness of the
advocate who has undertaken this
great cause – when these reflections
press upon my mind, it is impossible
for me not to feel both terrified and
concerned at my own inadequacy to
such a task.
But, when I reflect, however, on the
encouragement which I have had,
through the whole course of a long
and laborious examination of this
question, and how much candour
I have experienced, and how
conviction has increased within my
own mind, in proportion as I have
advanced in my labours; – when
I reflect, especially, that however
adverse any gentleman may now
be, yet we shall all be of one opinion
in the end; – when I turn myself to
these thoughts, I take courage – I
determine to forget all my other
fears, and I march forward with a
firmer step in the full assurance that
my cause will bear me out, and that
I shall be able to justify upon the
clearest principles, every resolution
in my hand, the avowed end of
which is the total abolition of the
I wish exceedingly, in the outset, to
guard both myself and the House
from entering into the subject with
any sort of passion.
Abolition of the slave trade
of Australian art, one that reflects a
greater understanding of who we are
at this time.
The telling of a revised story of
Australian art carries us into the new
millennium. From the first chapter
of this new narrative, masterpieces
of Aboriginal art introduce the pre-
contact period and the continued
presence of Aboriginal culture.
Aboriginal art in all its various
disciplines will be an integral
component of the whole story of
Australian art as never told before.
Also included in the rehang are 20
spectacular new, multi-million dollar
gifts in honour of the Gallery’s 130th
anniversary, with stunning works by
Hugh Ramsay, Richard Noble and
The Art Gallery of South Australia
conducts free guided tours of the
General Collection daily at 11am
and 2pm. And as well as the formal
guided tours, the Gallery offers an
exciting introduction to visual art for
children and families through START
at the Gallery.
Held on the first Sunday of every
month from 12 noon – 3 pm, the
START program includes art and
craft activities, tours, trails, live
music and entertainment suitable
for ages 5-10 years. START is free
and bookings are not
required. Meet at the
required to have
creates the ideal
spend quality time
Children can also take a fun tour
and are encouraged to explore the
collection through their own eyes.
Look for the brightly coloured Small
Talk labels dotted throughout the
Gallery to find out what the Gallery’s
youngest visitors think of the works
The Art Gallery of South Australia
also offers a School Holiday
Program from Monday 10th –
Friday, October 14th.
Refurbished Gallery offers Art for all ages
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