Hull – Ferens Art Gallery (1791 Debate of Motions Book)

This beautiful book is part of the William Wilberforce Coming Home temporary exhibition at the Ferens Art Gallery, a debate of the motions which took place in the House of Commons. The book belonged to Wilberforce himself and some of the notations in it are by him. The whole debate, which is available on Google Books, is a fascinating read, including some rather ridiculous notions that MPs had who were defending the slave trade. Wilberforce’s arguments were strong, coherent and passionate, although he lost the 1791 debate with 88 votes supporting him and 163 opposing him. It was another 42 years before slavery was finally abolished in the UK with the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act, but sadly Wilberforce died just three days before that vote took place.