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Amazing Grace (2006) Poster

(2006)

Quotes

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John Newton: Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly. I'm a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.

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John Newton: God sometimes does His work with gentle drizzle, not storms. Drip. Drip. Drip.

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William Wilberforce: It's God. I have 10,000 engagements of state today but I would prefer to spend the day out here getting a wet arse, studying dandelions and marveling at... bloody spider's webs.

Richard the Butler: You found God, sir?

William Wilberforce: I think He found me. You have any idea how inconvenient that is? How idiotic it will sound? I have a political career glittering ahead of me, and in my heart I want spider's webs.

Richard the Butler: [sitting down next to WW] "It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else and still unknown to himself." Francis Bacon. I don't just dust your books, sir.

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Lord Charles Fox: When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon - men of violence. Rarely do they think of peaceful men. But contrast the reception they will receive when they return home from their battles. Napoleon will arrive in pomp and in power, a man who's achieved the very summit of earthly ambition. And yet his dreams will be haunted by the oppressions of war. William Wilberforce, however, will return to his family, lay his head on his pillow and remember: the slave trade is no more.

[Wilberforce receives a standing ovation from the entire House and the Gallery]

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John Newton: I wish I could remember all their names. My 20,000 ghosts, they all had names, beautiful African names. We'd call them with just grunts, noises. We were apes, they were human.

[tears up]

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Pitt the Younger: Why is it you only feel the thorns in your feet when you stop running?

William Wilberforce: Is that some sort of heavy-handed metaphorical advice for me, Mr. Pitt?

Pitt the Younger: Yes, I suppose it is. You must keep going. Keep going fast.

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John Newton: Though I have lost my memory, two things I know. I am a great sinner and Christ is a great savior.

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William Wilberforce: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a slave ship. The Madagascar. It has just returned from the Indies where it delivered 200 men, women and children to Jamaica. When it left Africa, there were 600 on board. The rest died of disease or despair. That smell - is the smell of death. Slow, painful death. Breath it in. Breath it deeply. Take those handkerchiefs away from your noses! There, now. Remember that smell. Remember the Madagascar! Remember, that God made men equal.

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John Newton: [reciting his song] "I once was blind but now I see". Didn't I write that?

William Wilberforce: Yes, you did.

John Newton: Now at last it's true.

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Pitt the Younger: As your Prime Minister, I urge you caution

William Wilberforce: And as my friend?

Pitt the Younger: To hell with caution.

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Barbara Spooner: It seems to me, that if there is a bad taste in your mouth, you spit it out. You don't constantly swallow it back.

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William Wilberforce: No one of our age has ever taken power.

Pitt the Younger: Which is why we're too young to realize certain things are impossible. So, we will do them anyway.

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Oloudaqh Equiano: Your life is a thread. It breaks, or it doesn't break.

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Duke of Clarence: Revolution is like the pox. It spreads from person to person.

William Wilberforce: I bow to my honorable friend's superior knowledge and experience in all matters regarding the pox.

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Richard the Butler: Great changes are easier than small ones. Sir Francis Bacon.

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William Wilberforce: You wake me up to give me medicine to help me sleep?

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William Wilberforce: I thought time might have changed you.

John Newton: It has. I'm older.

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Pitt the Younger: It's your wedding day - I agree with everything you say.

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Henry Thornton: Come, we're late.

William Wilberforce: The water has been here a million years, how can we be late?

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William Wilberforce: No matter how loud you shout, you will not drown out the voice of the people!

Lord Tarleton: People?

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William Wilberforce: [Fox walks in unexpectedly] Dear God.

Lord Charles Fox: Well, almost. I spent eighteen months being torn apart by you in the House, Mr. Wilberforce. I thought I'd find out what it feels like to be on your side. I see you've got plenty of food. Any of you saints drink?

Thomas Clarkson: Well, this one bloody does!

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Thomas Clarkson: [to the baby in his arms] "Strange treasures in this fair world appear, strange all, and new to me." That is a poem by Thomas Traherne and I have absolutely no idea what it's about. But, when I was small I was made to learn it by heart so I don't see why you shouldn't suffer too.

William Wilberforce: [calling] Clarkson! Clarkson!

Thomas Clarkson: Good God, he's got his voice back.

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Pitt the Younger: Trouble is, Doctor, he doesn't believe he has a body. Utterly careless of it.

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Pitt the Younger: Barbara. You have my deepest condolescences.

Barbara Wilberforce: [feigning seriousness] Thank you.

Pitt the Younger: But do me a favour. Make him eat some of his pets.

Barbara Wilberforce: [picking up rabbit] I rather like them.

Pitt the Younger: I like them, too - in brandy sauce.

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Pitt the Younger: I don't care how important this is. I'll finish my shot.

Pitt the Younger: [aims with club]

Pitt the Younger: [exasperated] Oh, for God's sake, what is it?

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Lord Tarleton: I can hardly believe my ears!

Heckler: And we can hardly believe your mouth!

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Marianne Thornton: What time did Barbara leave?

William Wilberforce: Late. I mean early.

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Barbara Wilberforce: You're discussing politics with your eyes. You might as well do it with your mouths.

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William Wilberforce: They only told me your sight was fading.

John Newton: Well, now it's faded altogether. I never do things by halves. God decided I'd seen enough.

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Thomas Clarkson: We don't want any fuss. We just need somebody who is... really, really boring.

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Pitt the Younger: [on his deathbed] No more excuses, Wilber. Finish them off.

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Thomas Clarkson: [at Equiano's grave] As you know, Equiano, I rarely drink.

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Lord Tarleton: [walks into what looks like an empty room] Where the hell is everyone?

Lord Charles Fox: Everybody's at the races in Epsom. They were given free tickets. I saved one for you.

[holds up ticket]

Lord Charles Fox: A free gift from William Wilburforce.

[smiles]

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Marianne Thornton: The Romans believed this water would restore the dead to life.

Barbara Spooner: [looking at it, unimpressed] Most pump water I've investigated works in the opposite direction.

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John Newton: Besides, people like you too much to let you live a life of solitude.

William Wilberforce: Haven't you chosen solitude?

John Newton: You of all people should know I can never be alone.

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Pitt the Younger: I need an answer, Wilber. Do you intend to use your beautiful voice to praise the lord - or change the world?

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Duke of Clarence: Noblesse oblige.

Lord Tarleton: What the bloody hell does that mean?

Duke of Clarence: It means: my nobility obliges me to recognize the virtue of an exceptional commoner

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Thomas Clarkson: Beautiful house. Sweet, little... rabbit.

William Wilberforce: It's a hare actually.

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William Wilberforce: I'm against flowers in church. What have you to say?

Barbara Spooner: I am *for* them.

William Wilberforce: [both pause]

William Wilberforce: [resignedly] As am I.

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William Wilberforce: Oh, if the House of Lords could hear the idiotic way we carry on, they'd ban anyone under the age of 30 from holding high office again.

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William Wilberforce: Also, Barbara and I have discovered that we're both impatient and prone to rash decisions. But she wants to tell you about it herself.

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Thomas Clarkson: Why did you wait until your butler had left before you got out of the box?

William Wilberforce: They already think I'm mad.

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William Wilberforce: [after Pitt beats him running] It's my ministerial duty to let you win.

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William Wilberforce: We just have to have faith in his integrity.

Lord Charles Fox: Integrity?

William Wilberforce: Where are you going?

Lord Charles Fox: To look up the word integrity in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary.

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Pitt the Younger: [to Lord Fox] You always look more at home when you're doing something devious.

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William Wilberforce: Mr. Wilberforce, I understand that you have an interest in botany.

William Wilberforce: Botany, Miss Spooner? What makes you think I would have interest in something as tedious as botany?

[pause, then snorts. Both Barbara and Wilberforce choke with laughter]

William Wilberforce: [to the concerned people at the table] Sorry, it's a private joke.

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William Wilberforce: An imperfect order is better than no order at all.

Thomas Clarkson: No! We must fight for a perfect order!

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Pitt the Younger: We cracked crowns, didn't we?

William Wilberforce: We left the heads intact.

Pitt the Younger: Because we're so pathetically English.

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Pitt the Younger: You act like you've never seen slavery before.

William Wilberforce: For me, it's like arsenic. Each new tiny dose doubles the effect.

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John Newton: I can't help you. But do it, Wilber. Do it. Take them on. Blow their dirty, filthy ships out of the water. The planters, sugar barons, Alderman "Sugar Cane", the Lord Mayor of London. Liverpool, Boston, Bristol, New York. All their streets running with blood, dysentery, puke! You won't come away from those streets clean, Wilber. You'll get filthy with it, you'll dream it, see it in broad daylight. But do it. For God's sake.

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William Wilberforce: [Quoting Olaudah Equiano] Am I not a man - whose soul is drawn to heaven like water from the dark well of Africa?

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William Wilberforce: Remember that God made men equal.

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William Wilberforce: So the people have their compassion back.

Barbara Spooner: And you still have passion! That matters more!

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Richard the Butler: When I was 15 I almost run away with the circus. They said I could have been an acrobat.

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MP Abolition supporter: I sent a note of thanks to those who voted for us.

Thomas Clarkson: [sarcastically] Oh, how sweet of you.

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Pitt the Younger: Is that the main course?

William Wilberforce: No. It's the Duke of Clarence.

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Pitt the Younger: I find that the older I get, the more tender I become.

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William Wilberforce: You're dressing very simply these days.

John Newton: I'm a simple man.

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Henry Thornton: [to Wilber] There's creeping ivy or something like that. You really should see it.

Marianne Thornton: [matter-of-factly] Barbara, you really must go and see it, too.

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William Wilberforce: This is why I really shouldn't talk about it.

Barbara Spooner: I think you should.

[pause]

Barbara Spooner: There, we found something we don't agree on.

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Richard the Butler: He's an optimist. Bloody incurable.

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William Wilberforce: Perhaps we should begin this journey with a first step.

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William Wilberforce: God has set before me two great objects.

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Barbara Spooner: Because after night comes day.

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Marianne Thornton: [at Barbara's wedding reception] Have you forgiven us, yet?

Barbara Wilberforce: Never.

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William Wilberforce: I never change.

Pitt the Younger: Well, hurrah for you.

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John Newton: [through tears] I'm weeping. I couldn't weep till I wrote this.

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Barbara Spooner: Well I would have been bored by botany.

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James Stephen: Don't I get to wash or sleep?

William Wilberforce: Sleep?

James Stephen: You haven't changed at all, William!

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James Stephen: On every island now there are rebellions. Haiti is in the hands of slaves. The slaves are anxious, they're impatient for their freedom. They hear about your work here. I saw a woman and her child being beaten in a coffee field. And afterwards, I heard the woman tell her daughter that someone was coming across the sea to save them. She said it was King Wilberforce. So, this time, gentlemen, we must not fail them.

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James Stephen: I've had an idea. In my law books, I think I might have stumbled across something and I want to propose it as a strategy. Nosus Decipio, It's Latin. Loosely translated, it means: we cheat.

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Thomas Clarkson: Part of the war effort, patriotism, and all that.

Pitt the Younger: Since when have you been interested in the war effort, patriotism, and - all that?

Thomas Clarkson: I'm not.

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William Wilberforce: It's only painful to talk about because we haven't changed anything.

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Barbara Spooner: The people aren't so afraid, now the war in France is being won. And when they stop being afraid they rediscover their compassion.

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Pitt the Younger: As Prime Minister, idle gossip collects around you like scum in slack water.

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[first lines]

William Wilberforce: Stop a moment!

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Henry Thornton: It is almost a scientific fact that marriage and health are twins - inseparable. Single men whither away and die in rooms that smell of feet and armpits.

William Wilberforce: Henry, what are you babbling on about?

Henry Thornton: Love, Wilberforce.

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William Wilberforce: I do not need you or anyone else to find a wife for me!

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William Wilberforce: I'll never forgive him.

Barbara Spooner: I'll never forgive her.

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Duke of Clarence: Tarleton, fetch my nigger. My coach driver. Go and wake him up and bring him in, now!

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Duke of Clarence: I bought a nigger in Port of Spain. He eats better than I do; so, he's as strong as an ox. He'd fetch at least 25 guineas at the West India dock.

William Wilberforce: The game is over.

Duke of Clarence: What's wrong Wilberforce? If I hadn't brought the boy to London, he'd been worked to death in a sugarcane field by now. I saved his miserable life!

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Pitt the Younger: So, they want bloody noses and cracked crowns.

William Wilberforce: Shakespeare. Henry the IV.

Pitt the Younger: A play about England changing.

William Wilberforce: As it will soon change.

Pitt the Younger: Only if we change it. You don't believe you and I could change things?

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Pitt the Younger: Silence. Silence! You sound like a chorus of bloody tomcats. Now, let me introduce you to somebody who does it - properly.

William Wilberforce: I would like to dedicate this song to my honorable friend, his Grace, the Duke of Clarence. It was written by my old preacher. He was Captain of a slave ship for 20 years. He repented his sins and then he wrote this song.

[singing]

William Wilberforce: Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I'm found, Was blind, but now I see.

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Pitt the Younger: I urgently need to know where your heart lies, Wilber.

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Thomas Clarkson: When the slaves leave port in Africa, they're locked into a space four foot by eighteen inches. They have no sanitation. Very little food. Stagnant water. Their waste and blood fills the holds within three days and is never emptied. These irons and chains are to keep them from throwing themselves overboard.

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Thomas Clarkson: Mr. Wilberforce, we understand you're having problems choosing whether to do the work of God or the work of a political activist.

Hannah More: We humbly suggest - that you can do both.

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William Wilberforce: I know the affects of opium, Henry. This isn't the medication.

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William Wilberforce: Well, I'm definitely alone in my opinions about the treatment of animals.

Barbara Spooner: No. I joined your Society for the Prevention of Cruelty.

William Wilberforce: Well, I'm extreme. I have a pet fox, a pet rat and a crow that can't fly. I once had a pet hare, but, it died of kindness.

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Barbara Spooner: I remember when Mr. Pitt first became Prime Minister. The two of you were like meteorites shooting through our imaginations.

William Wilberforce: Whose imaginations?

Barbara Spooner: [laughs] Girls my age.

William Wilberforce: You are one of those who stopped taking sugar in your tea.

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William Wilberforce: Sometimes I get giddy.

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William Wilberforce: We had a year to collect enough evidence to convince Parliament of our case. The planters and the ship-owners began to spread rumors about us. They called us seditious - secretly working to bring down the government. Clarkson sat on a coach to Birmingham and overheard someone claim that I'd secretly married a slave woman.

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Barbara Spooner: My poor father almost went mad when I'd told him I'd stopped taking sugar in my tea. I was 14, reading your name in the papers, willing you to win! I told my friends there was actual slave blood in every lump of sugar.

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William Wilberforce: It's only painful to talk about because we haven't changed anything. But, unlike the slaves, I have opium for my pain.

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Maid: [enters the room] Beggin' your pardon, sir. I thought everyone was in bed.

[exits]

William Wilberforce: She brings the breakfast. What time is it?

Barbara Spooner: Does it matter?

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Thomas Clarkson: The Americans pulled the cork out of the bottle, Wilberforce. Now, the French share the wine.

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Thomas Clarkson: It's a natural wave that's flowing, Wilber. First, Boston. Then, Paris. Next, London.

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Pitt the Younger: They say in the cafes that Clarkson is a French spy. And Equiano, they say he was born in Carolina and as an American; therefore, must be a revolutionary. Others say they've seen with their own eyes letters addressed to you - from Thomas Jefferson.

William Wilberforce: All matters to do with abolition!

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John Newton: Oh, she feeds you well then, this wife of yours?

William Wilberforce: She's given me an appetite.

John Newton: An appetite to change things.

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James Stephen: You look fine. Fine.

William Wilberforce: Oh, I look wet and feeble. You, however, look disgustingly like a lusty adventurer from a storybook.

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Lord Tarleton: Mr. Speaker, I do believe the abolitionists are coming at us at a side wind.

Speaker of the House: Side wind? What kind of a side wind?

Lord Tarleton: I'm not sure what kind of side wind, I just know that there's something going on. The Jacobites are in.

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