Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African: To Which Are Prefixed, Memoirs of his Life by Ignatius Sancho
Born a slave, Ignatius Sancho (c.1729-80) became one of the most influential free Africans of his century. Largely self-taught, he was the first black Briton known to have voted in parliamentary elections and to be given an obituary in the British press. He corresponded with many notable figures, including the author Laurence Sterne, whom he urged to write against slavery in the West Indies. The politician Joseph Jekyll (1754-1837) commended Sancho's 'epistolary talent' in a brief biography, praising his 'wild patriotism' and 'universal philanthropy'. This two-volume collection of Sancho's letters was published in 1782 by the hostess Frances Crewe (1748-1818), who upheld Sancho as proof, in an age of dehumanising slavery, that Africans possessed as much natural intelligence as Europeans. Volume 1 contains Jekyll's biography, a list of more than 1,200 subscribers, and letters for the period 1768-78. It includes the famous 1766 letter to Sterne, incorrectly dated 1776.