God grant Deliverance in his own Way and Time

Because of the Phillis Wheatley’s poor health and obvious intelligence, her mistress Susannah treated her like a member of the family and encouraged her studies. Here is what John Wheatley wrote in 1772 about his talented young slave to the London publisher who had agreed to publish her Poems on Various Subjects. Phillis’s letter to Reverend Samson Occum, to which John Wheatley alludes, included these words: ” … in every human breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance … I will assert, that the same Principle lives in us. God grant Deliverance in his own Way and Time … ”

The Wheatleys freed Phillis in 1773. She wrote to David Wooster: “Since my return to America my Master, has at the desire of my friends in England given me my freedom.” The likeness of Phillis Wheatley that appeared in the Frontispiece of her book of poems was done by Scipio Moorhead, a slave of the Reverend John Moorhead.

The Occum letter was published in The Connecticut Gazette, March 11, 1774. The image and other information about Phillis Wheatley can be found HERE.

posted April 25th, 2013 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Education, Slaves/slavery


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