William, an English philanthropist, born in Hull, Aug. 24, 1759, died in London, July 29, 1833. He was educated at Cambridge, and elected to parliament in 1780, and held a seat there till 1825. In the session of 1786 he proposed a plan for purifying county elections by establishing a registry of freeholders and holding the poll in several places at once. This measure was incorporated in the reform bill of 1832. Early in 1787 he aided in establishing a society for the reformation of manners. Thomas Clarkson entreated him to exert himself in favor of the abolition of the slave trade, and soon after the meeting of parliament in 1787 he gave notice of his purpose to call the attention of the house to the subject; but in consequence of ill health and other hindrances, it was not till 1791 that he moved for leave to bring in a bill to prevent further importation of African negroes into the British colonies. He continued to press it till 1807, when he secured its adoption in both houses. He next agitated the question of negro emancipation, and continued it till his retirement. Just before his death the emancipation act was passed.
He published "A Practical View of the prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of this Country, contrasted with real Christianity" (1797; translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and German), many essays and pamphlets, and a volume of " Family Prayers." His income was largely devoted to charity. He was buried in Westminster abbey, and a statue was erected there to his memory. - His sons published his life (5 vols., 1838; new ed., 1868) and a selection from his letters (2 vols., 1840). See also "William Wilberforce: his Friends and his Times," by John C. Colquhoun (London, 1866).
Robert Isaac, an English clergyman, second son of the preceding, born at Broomfield house, near Clapham common, Dec. 19, 1802, died in Albano, Italy, Feb. 4, 1857. He graduated at Oxford in 1823, was chosen fellow of Oriel college, and became tutor and public examiner in litteris humanioribus. In 1830 he took charge of a parish, and in 1840 obtained the living of Burton Agnes, and was made archdeacon of the East Riding of Yorkshire. His publications include "The Five Empires, an Outline of Ancient History" (1840; 10th ed., 1856); "Rutilius and Lucius, or Stories of the Third Age" (1842); "Doctrine of the Incarnation" (1848); "Doctrine of Holy Baptism" (2d ed., 1849); "History of Erastianism" (1851); "Doctrine of the Eucharist" (1853); "Inquiry into the Principles of Church Authority" (1854); and sermons "On the Holy Communion" and "On the New Birth of Man's Nature." In 1854 he resigned his preferments, was received into the Roman Catholic church in Paris, and entered the ecclesiastical academy at Rome, with the design of becoming a priest.
An English Bishop Samuel, brother of the preceding, born at Broomfield house, Sept. 7, 1805, killed by a fall from his horse near Dorking, July 19, 1873. He was educated at Oxford, was ordained in 1828, and appointed rector of Brightstone in the Isle of Wight in 1830. In 1837 and 1845 he was select preacher before the university of Oxford; in 1839 became archdeacon of Surrey, rector of Alverstoke, and chaplain to Prince Albert; in 1840 canon of Winchester cathedral; in 1841 Bampton lecturer; in 1844 sub-almoner to the queen; and in 1845 dean of Westminster. In November, 1845, he was made bishop of Oxford, and in 1869 transferred to the see of Winchester. In 1847 he was made lord high almoner of the queen. He was one of the ablest debaters in the house of lords. His principal works are: " Eucharistica" (1839); "Rocky Island and other Parables" (1840); "Agathos and other Stories" (1840); "History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America" (1844); " Times of Secession Times of Revival" (1863); and several volumes of sermons.
A massive granite cross has been erected on-the spot where he was killed.