Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)HM/1016-1024
TitleAutograph letters, signed from Henry William Wilberforce
Extent9 items
DescriptionLetters discuss the preparation and writing of Wilberforce's article for the 'Dublin Review' on the American Civil War and slavery. Knowing Harriet Martineau was a campaigner for the anti-slavery movement and also due to Wilberforce's lack of money, Wilberforce asked Martineau for help in providing current information from her books, newspapers, and her friends in America to help him write the article. Wilberforce hoped to do something towards dispelling "the sad and disgraceful prejudice existing in both countries" [America and the UK]. As a Catholic and a journalist, Wilberforce wanted to "keep the English Catholics informed" as they seemed "almost universally Southern in their sympathies". Letters discuss slavery and the abolition of slavery in American in 1865.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryWilberforce, Henry William, 1807-1873. He was the youngest son of William Wilberforce, 1759-1833, who was a leader of the movement to stop the slave trade. Henry William Wilberforce served the Anglican Church from 1834-1850, then followed his wife, Mary Sargent, into the Catholic Church in 1850. Upon his conversion to Catholicism, he wrote 'Reasons for Submitting to the Catholic Church: a Farewell Letter to his Parishioners' (1851). The Catholic Defence Association was founded in Ireland the same year, and in 1852 Wilberforce became Secretary, living in Ireland for several years. In 1854 he became owner and editor of the 'Catholic Standard', changing the name to the 'Weekly Register' the following year. In 1864, finding the pace of weekly editorial responsibility too demanding, he sold the 'Weekly Register' and embarked on a more leisurely production of articles and reviews for the 'Dublin Review', which was an influential Catholic periodical. Henry William Wilberforce had five sons and four daughters. He died in Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 23 April 1873.

Information: (accessed July 2017)
The American Civil War was fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. The result of a long-standing controversy over slavery and state's rights, war broke shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected. The nationalists of the Union proclaimed loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States of America advocating states' rights to perpetual slavery and its expansion in the Americas. The Confederacy grew to include eleven southern states. The states that remained loyal were known as the Union or the North. The Civil War ended in 1865, with the Union winning. The Confederacy collapsed and slavery in America was officially abolished in 1865.


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