The website Breakpoint is promoting a recent biography of Hannah More. Her grave is just up the road from where I live. Breakpoint think she is much forgotten. “You see,” says Eric Metaxas, “Hannah More is one of those people whom history has most unfairly overlooked. To say she was a friend of Wilberforce gives only the smallest inkling of who she was, and of the major role that she played in England’s abolition movement and various other reform movements.”
“Beyond any doubt, Hannah More was the most influential female member of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the African Slave Trade. She was educated at Bristol, an important slave-trading town, and began to publish her writing in the 1760s, while she was still a teenager.”
“for much of the 1780s, she spent time in London and made the acquaintance of many important political and society figures, including Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, and Elizabeth Montagu.
“More and Clarkson met again in Bristol in 1787, while he was on his fact-finding mission to the city, but they did not become close. However, in the same year More met Wilberforce, and their friendship was to become a deep and lasting one. More contributed much to the running of the newly-founded Abolition Society including, in February 1788, her publication of Slavery, a Poem which has been recognised as one of the more important slavery poems of the abolition period.”
“It was in 1789, during a visit that Wilberforce made to Hannah More at her home near Wrington, that they visited the village of Cheddar and were deeply shocked by the terrible poverty they found.
“Wilberforce encouraged More to set up a school in Cheddar where poor children could be taught to read, and soon she and her sisters had established similar schools throughout the Mendip villages. Her efforts met fierce opposition, but her will to succeed was stronger.”
“Christianity,” she maintained— “is not a religion of forms, and modes, and decencies. It is being transformed into the image of God. It is being like-minded with Christ. It is considering Him as our sanctification, as well as our redemption. It is endeavouring to live to Him here, that we may live with Him hereafter. It is desiring earnestly to surrender our will to His, our heart to the conduct of His Spirit, our life to the guidance of His word.”
“Both Hannah More and William Wilberforce died in 1833, surviving just long enough to know that the act finally abolishing slavery in the British empire had been passed.
“She was buried next to her four sisters in the churchyard at Wrington, not far from their old home at Barley Wood, and a great procession of Mendip children followed her to her grave.”