Ignatius Sancho (c. 1729 – 14 December 1780) was a British composer, actor, and writer. He is the first known Black Briton to vote in a British election. He gained fame in his time as “the extraordinary Negro”, and to eighteenth-century British abolitionists he became a symbol of the humanity of Africans and immorality of the slave trade. The Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African, edited and published two years after his death, is one of the earliest accounts of African slavery written in English by a former slave of Spanish and English families.
“I am more and more convinced of the futility of all our eagerness after worldly riches.”
“Consider slavery — what it is — how bitter a draught, and how many millions are made to drink it.”
Poverty and Genius were coupled by the wisdom of Providence for wise and good ends, no doubt
“We humans know good from evil; and we have powers sufficient to withstand vice, if we choose to exert ourselves.”
“Conscience is the high chancellor of the human breast, whose small still voice speaks terror to the guilty.”
Old folks love to seem wise- and if you are silly enough to correspond with grey hairs, take the consequence.
“There is something so amazingly grand — so stupendously affecting — in contemplating the works of the Divine Architect.”
A wise economy- without avaricious meanness, or dirty rapacity will in a few years render you decently independent.
“Believe me, the more you study the Word of God, your peace and happiness will increase the more with it.’
I am one of those people whom the vulgar and illiberal call “Negurs.”- The first part of my life was rather unlucky, as I was placed in a family who judged ignorance the best and only security for obedience.
“the only intrinsic nett worth, in my possession, is Mrs. Sancho- who I can compare to nothing so properly as to a diamond in the dirt- but, my friend, that is Fortune’s fault, not mine- for, had I power, I would case her in gold.”
“Dame Sancho would be better if she cared less. I am her barometer- if a sigh escapes me, it is answered by a tear in her eye; I oft assume a gaiety to illume her dear sensibility with a smile- which twenty years ago almost bewitched me; and mark! after twenty years enjoyment, constitutes my highest pleasure!”
“We are in great hopes about poor Lydia.- An honest and ingenious motherly woman in our neighbourhood has undertaken the perfect cure of her, and we have every reason to think, with God’s blessing, she will succeed- which is a blessing we shall owe entirely to the comfort of being poor, for had we been rich, the doctors would have had the honor of killing her a twelvemonth ago.”
“Were I as rich in worldly commodity, as in hearty will, I would thank you most princely for your very welcome and agreeable letter;- but, were it so, I should not proportion my gratitude to your wants;- for, blessed be the God of thy hope!- thou wantest nothing- more than, what’s in thy possession, or in thy power to possess:- I would neither give thee Money, nor Territory, Women, nor Horses, nor Camels, nor the height of Asiatic pride, Elephants;- I would give thee Books.”
“Commerce was meant by the goodness of the Deity to diffuse the various goods of the earth into every part, to unite mankind in the blessed chains of brotherly love, society, and mutual dependence: the enlightened Christian should diffuse the riches of the Gospel of peace, with the commodities of his respective land. Commerce attended with strict honesty, and with Religion for its companion, would be a blessing to every shore it touched at. In Africa, the poor wretched natives, blessed with the most fertile and luxuriant soil, are rendered so much the more miserable for what Providence meant as a blessing: the Christians’ abominable traffic for slaves, and the horrid cruelty and treachery of the petty Kings- encouraged by their Christian customers- who carry them strong liquors, to enflame their national madness, and powder, and bad fire-arms, to furnish them with the hellish means of killing and kidnapping. But enough- it is a subject that sours my blood…”