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John Gilmore

Politician and campaigner against the slave trade and slavery born into a wealthy merchant family in Hull. His fortune freed him from the need to earn a living and enabled him to enter politics. He became MP for Hull in September 1780, when he was only just of legal age, and he remained in the House of Commons for some 45 years (MP for Hull, 1780–4; for Yorkshire, 1784–1812; for Bramber in Sussex, 1812–25). Wilberforce was a personal friend of William Pitt the Younger (1759–1806; Prime Minister 1783–1801, 1804–6) and of many other leading politicians, but he never sought office and maintained an independent stance. In 1785 Wilberforce had an evangelical conversion experience and, following advice he sought from John Newton and others, determined to devote his life and political career to the service of God. It was only in 1787 ...