Letter form John Wheatley to Publisher

The following is a copy of the Letter sent by the Author’s Mater to the Publisher and included in “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral”.


Phillis was brought from Africa to America in the year 1761, between seven and eight years of age. Without any assistance from school education, and by only what she was taught in the family, she, in eighteen months’ time from her arrival, attained the English language, to which she was an utter stranger before, to such a degree as to read any, the most difficult parts of the Sacred Writings, to the great astonishment of all who heard her.

As to her writing, her own curiosity led her to it; and this she learned in so short a time, thatt in the year 1765 she wrote a letter to the Rev. Mr. Occum, the Indian minister, while in England.

She has a great inclination to learn the Latin Tongue, and had made some progress in it.

This relation is given by her Master, who bought her, and with whom she now lives.

John Wheatley.

Boston, Nov. 14, 1772.


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