Last night lesley and I went to see the best film we have seen this year. Amazing Grace is the story of William Wilberforce and his campaign to abolish the slave trade. There are wonderful performances from Cardiff born Ioan Gruffudd
and Michael Gambon. However, for me the best performance of the movie was from the quite brilliant Albert Finney.
What is astounding is to think of the magnitude of Wilberforces acheivement. At the time of his campaign, sugar was the single most important commodity in the world. This was farmed and refined almost entirely by slaves. Britain earned more from this industry than all the other countries put together. It was therefore unthinkable that is would be from Britain that the demand for the end of slavery should end.
Today the equivelant would be for someone in Saudi Arabia to decide to persuade that oil was causing global warming and that the industry should end. This was the magnitude of the task that William Wilberforce faced.
What was also interesting was that from the beginning of his campaign, many of the working classes were in favour of the end of the barbaric trade. When you consider that the "working man" was showing empathy for people they would never meet, who had a skin colour they were unlikely ever to see on another human being, who were born in a country they would never visit, to be transported to another country they would never see, to work in an industry that produced a product most could not afford and for profits from which they would never benefit, then their support could be seen as a mystery. That is unless the workers of the the UK actually felt they had something in common with the African slave. I think there is maybe something in this. Britain would soon see the rise of the unions and the labour party.
What is clear to me. Is when God gives someone a mission, he equips them for success!