Description

These are the only surviving manuscript letters of Ignatius Sancho, the most famous Anglo-African in 18th-century Britain. According to Joseph Jekyll’s 1782 biography, Sancho was born on a transatlantic slave ship and brought to England as a child. He managed to secure help from the noble Montagu family and became a shopkeeper, composer and an accomplished writer.

Who are these letters addressed to?

Twelve of these letters are written from Sancho to his friend William Stevenson (1750‒1821), a publisher and painter who trained under Sir Joshua Reynolds. Three letters are addressed to William’s father, the Reverend Seth Ellis Stevenson (d. 1796). The final seven are written by Sancho’s children, William Leach Osborne (or Billy, 1775‒1810) and Elizabeth (1766‒1837), thanking William Stevenson for his financial support after their parents’ death.

Letters in Sancho’s handwriting (ff. 1r‒23v)

Sancho’s 15 manuscript letters (dated 1776‒80) mention friends from all walks of life – his West Indian brother-in-law John Osborne, the aspiring writer John Highmore, the author Laurence Sterne and the Duke of Queensberry. The letters convey Sancho’s literary sophistication, warmth and gentle humour. He quotes Shakespeare but then laughs at himself for trying to flaunt his ‘erudition, and strut like the fabled bird in his borrow’ d plumage’ (f. 1r). Often he uses a playful, unconventional style, influenced by Sterne’s writing. These letters are peppered with dashes, asterisks, interruptions and self-reflexive remarks on letter writing: ‘I hate fine hands ‒ & fine Language. Write plain honest nonsense’ (f. 16v).

Sancho: Political commentator, family man, shopkeeper

At times, the letters demonstrate sharp engagement with current affairs. He condemns English politicians, saying ‘I am Sir an Affrican – with two ffs – if you please - & proud am I to be of a country that knows no politicians – nor lawyers … nor Thieves’ (f. 17r‒v).

We see Sancho at the heart of his large family, showing love and admiration for his West Indian wife, Anne: she is ‘truly [my] best part – without a Single tinge of my defects’. He gives a poignant description of Anne staying up for nearly ‘thirty nights’ as their five-year-old daughter Kitty is dying (f. 16r).

We also catch frequent glimpses of Sancho’s life as a grocer. He sends Reverend Stevenson ‘Scotch Snuff’, sugar lumps, coffee and ‘the best Turkey Berrys’ (f. 14r‒v). But he also receives generous gifts: ‘Black puddings & Sausages & four of the best pork pyes Ever tasted’ (f. 12v).

Letters from Elizabeth (ff. 24r‒28v; 34r‒v) and William Sancho (ff. 29r‒32v)

The letters from Elizabeth, dated 1818‒19, are very rare examples of writing by a black woman in 19th-century England, a time when most people were illiterate. Though Elizabeth’s handwriting is less self-assured than her father’s, she has clearly received an education. For some reason, one note has been written on her behalf by her cousin (f. 27r‒v). In the last of Elizabeth’s letters (f. 28r), she presents William Stevenson with her ‘dear fathers portrait’ painted by Thomas Gainsborough.

An offprint of a pamphlet about Gainsborough’s portrait is bound with this manuscript (ff. 33r‒v; 35r‒36v).

Facsimile of a letter from Laurence Sterne to Sancho (f. 37r‒v)

In 1766 Sancho wrote to Laurence Sterne – one of his favourite authors ‒ asking him to ‘give half an hours attention to slavery’. This is a handwritten copy of Sterne’s reply on 27 July. Sterne reveals that he is already writing ‘a tender tale’ about ‘a friendless poor negro-girl’ and hopes to weave it into the final volume of Tristram Shandy. Revealing his horror of the slave trade, he says it ‘casts a sad shade upon the world that so great a part of it are … bound … in Chains of Misery’. The two men exchanged many letters and eventually met. Their correspondence was published in a posthumous edition of Sterne’s Letters (1775), and it made Sancho famous. As Vincent Carretta has highlighted, they are ‘the first published challenges to slavery and the slave trade by a person of African descent’.

Further information

A summary of each letter is given in the British Library catalogue. Nine of the letters were published posthumously in Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African (1782) with some variations. In places, the manuscript has been marked up with sections to be cut before publication. All 15 of the letters written by Ignatius Sancho (but not those by his children) are published in Vincent Carretta's 2015 edition.

The manuscript collection also includes the fifth edition of Sancho’s Letters (1803), printed for Sancho’s son William, who became the first black publisher in the Western world. This copy has handwritten notes and an index made by William Stevenson and his son Seth.

Transcript

Charles Street Novr: 26th – 1776.
No2.
Young says, ‘A Friend is the Balsam of Life’ – Shakespear
Says – but why should I pester you with quotations
– to shew you the depth of my Erudition – & strut like the
fabled Bird in his borrowed plumage – in good honest truth
my worthy friend – I rejoice to see thy name at the bottom
of the Instructive page & were fancy and invention as
much my familiar Friends as they are thine – I would
write thee an answer – (or try, at least) as Agreeably
Easy – & as Politely Simple – mark that: Simplicity
is the Characteristic of good writing – which I have
learn't among many other good things of your
honor – & for which I am proud to thank you –
in short I would write like you – think like you (of
Course) & do like you – but as that is impossible, I must
Content myself with my old trick – now what that
trick is – thou art Ignorant – & so thou shalt
Remain – till – I congratulate you upon your
Recovery – Apropos – you began your leter – Ill,
as we do many things – in common life – 10 days
Elapsed before you finish'd it – Consequently you
finish'd it – well – My dear Friend – may you

  1. Transcript

    Charles Street Novr: 26th – 1776.
    No2.
    Young says, ‘A Friend is the Balsam of Life’ – Shakespear
    Says – but why should I pester you with quotations
    – to shew you the depth of my Erudition – & strut like the
    fabled Bird in his borrowed plumage – in good honest truth
    my worthy friend – I rejoice to see thy name at the bottom
    of the Instructive page & were fancy and invention as
    much my familiar Friends as they are thine – I would
    write thee an answer – (or try, at least) as Agreeably
    Easy – & as Politely Simple – mark that: Simplicity
    is the Characteristic of good writing – which I have
    learn't among many other good things of your
    honor – & for which I am proud to thank you –
    in short I would write like you – think like you (of
    Course) & do like you – but as that is impossible, I must
    Content myself with my old trick – now what that
    trick is – thou art Ignorant – & so thou shalt
    Remain – till – I congratulate you upon your
    Recovery – Apropos – you began your leter – Ill,
    as we do many things – in common life – 10 days
    Elapsed before you finish'd it – Consequently you
    finish'd it – well – My dear Friend – may you

  2. Transcript

    through gods Blessing – Ever finish hapily – Every
    thing you undertake – however unpromising the
    Beginning may appear to be – I want you much
    in town – for my own sake – thats a stroke of
    Self love! – & do you Mean to bring any Candles
    up with you – that's another! – I do not wonder
    at your making your way amongst the folkes
    of Hull – although – there are four of the same
    profession – we love Variety – I will give them Credit
    for admiring the Artist – but if they – that is –
    two or three of them – have penetration to look
    deeper – & love the Man – then I shall believe that
    there are Souls – in Hull – So my Cramp Epistle
    fell into the hands of thy good & Revd. father – tant
    pis – Why he must think me Blacker – than I am –
    Monsr. Bareallet goes on well – I suppose you
    know – he has Opened an Academy in St. Albans
    Street – at 2 guineas a year – naked figures 3
    Nights a week – Mr Mortimer – & several
    Eminent names – upon his list – & Room left
    for yours – he hops about – with that festevity

  3. Transcript

    of countenance – which denotes ‘peace’ – & good will
    to man – I have added to my felicity – or fortune
    more properly has – three worthy friends – they are
    Admirers & friends of Mortimer & Sterne – but of this – when
    we meet! – you are expected at Burleigh House
    upon your Return – & I hope you will call on them
    if consistent with your time. & agreeable to you.
    My friend Lincoln is in town, & intends trying his
    fortune amongst us – as teacher of Murder – &
    neck – breaking – alias – fencing & Riding – the tartars
    I believe have few fine gentlemen among them – &
    they can ride – tho they have Neither fencing nor
    Riding Masters – & as to genteel Murder – we are
    mere Pedlars & novices – for they can dispatch a whole
    Caravan – or a Hoorde – & eat & drink – wench & laugh –
    & in truth – so far – they can Match our Modern fine
    Gents – they have no Acquaintance with Conscience –
    but whats all this to you – Nothing – it helps to
    fill up the sheet – & looks like moralizing – the
    good natur'd Partiality of thy honest heart – will
    deem it – not absolutely nonsense – alas – thus
    it oft happens, that the Judgment of a good head

  4. Transcript

    is – bumfiddled – & wrong bias'd by the weakness
    of a too Kind heart – under that same weakness
    let me shelter my failings & absurditys – & let me
    Boast at this present writing – that my heart
    is not very deprav'd – & has this proof – of not
    being dead to virtue – it beats stronger at the
    Sound of Friendship – & will be sincerely attach'd to
    Wm Stevenson, Esq – while its pulsations Continue
    to throb in the breast of yr Obligd Ign Sancho

    do pray think about Returning – the
    Captain! – the Girls! – the house –
    the court! – stand all – just where they
    did – when you left them – alas –
    time leaves the marks of his Rough fingers
    upon all things – time shrivels female
    faces – & sours small Beer – gives insignificance
    if not Impotency to trunk hose – & toughness
    to cow beef – alas! – alas! – alas! –

  5. Transcript

    No. 5
    I have seen poor Mr. de Grote but once
    & then could not attend to speak with him –
    as I had Customers in the shop – I waited by
    Appointment upon Mr Comyns – to get yr honors
    address – & then 3 weeks – before I
    Could get the franks – a fortnight since
    for Mr Gideons writing to you – I call
    this a string of Beggarly Appologys –
    I told Meheux you expected a line from
    him – he wanted faith – I made him Read
    yr letter – & what then – truly he was not
    Capable – he had no Classical Education – you
    write with Elegance – Ease propriety –
    tut Quoth I – my Bum in a hatbox – man!
    Prithee – give not the Reins to pride – write as
    I do Just the Effusions of a warm tho foolish
    heart – Friendship will Cast a Veil of Kindness
    over thy Blunders – they will be accepted with a
    complacent smile: & Read with the same Eye of
    Kindness – which Indulges now the Errors of his
    Sincere Friend I Sancho

  6. Transcript

    October 24th 1777
    A true Genius will always Remember
    to Leave a Space – unwritten – to Come in
    Contact with the wax or wafer – by which
    Means – the Reader Escapes – half an hours
    Puzzle to Make out a Sentence – & Ever
    while you live – never Omit – no –
    not – that – what! – what! – dates! – dates! –
    am not I a Grocer? –
    pun the 2d

  7. Transcript

    No. 7 Octbr 22d 1778
    My Dr friend
    have you never – beheld – a Bust with
    double – no! – not double – but with
    two Very diferent profiles – one Crying
    & one Laughing – thats just my
    Situation at Present – for poor
    De Groote – huzza – is Presented to
    the Charter house – by – Bless him –
    the good Arch XXXX Bishop of Canterbry,
    but, by a standing law, he can not be
    admitted till a Fresh Quarter begins –
    & as he says – he may be dead by that
    time – we will hope not – well this is
    the Laughing Side. – The Duke of
    Queensberry died this morning –
    alas – ‘I ne'er shall look upon his like again’

  8. Transcript

    the Clearest Head & Humanest of Hearts
    I have – in common with many –
    many – a Heavy loss – I loved the
    good Duke – & not without Reason –
    he is Gone to Reap a Reward – that
    St Paul could not Conceive – in the
    flesh – & which I will be bold to
    say – they both – Perfectly
    Enjoy – at this moment. God
    of his Mercy Grant – that thee & I,
    & all I love – yea & all I know
    may Enter Eternity with as promising
    hopes – & Realize the Happiness – in store
    for such as the Duke of Queensberry

  9. Transcript

    Lord Lincoln dy'd on
    his passage – the
    News came Last Night
    But he has Left a son
    & daughter –
    Highmore is well – but
    still plagued with his uncouth
    Kinsfolks – adieu yrs &c. &c.
    I Sancho
    Kitty very poorly.
    The Rest all well.

  10. Transcript

    Mr Stevenson

  11. Transcript

    No 11 Saturday Dec 19. 1778.
    Dr Friend
    Yr Last Leter – is a Jewel honey –
    Which has properly puzzled the head
    of my betters – & sufficiently Revenged
    the propestis il maddi tergivisimin – of
    the Complainant – Swift was a Novice
    to thee – all Hail, to Labyrintho Mazeo
    inexplicable Dr Stevano – well but about
    this same Turkey – I sent the 3 –
    as directed by Mungo Curridge –
    you are a Precious deviner – you
    saw at the Inn a Large Basket of
    Prog – heard my Great Brother –
    Crack about the Contents – one spare
    Rib – and that the Conclusion of the
    whole – & so wisely defer'd yr intended
    – pray no more of these Cheating
    Conjectures – but send me the Bird.

  12. Transcript

    I have not time to write a Long
    Leter at present. Saturday is
    a Busy day you know – & so
    God Bless you. dame Sancho
    is well – Kitty Remains so-so.
    The girls – are informed you
    sing a good Song – have form’d
    Great Expectations – & intend to
    draw upon you at sight –
    write me a decent plain &
    intelegible Letter – a Leter that
    a Body may Read with Pleasure
    & improvement – none of your
    Circumroundabouts – you will like
    the smell – of the fag End of friend
    Highmores Leter. – Kiss it –
    Yr && in haste I Sancho

  13. Transcript

    No 8 Novr: 14th 1778
    Dr friend
    yrs by my Brother – Gave me Money
    – & what was More pleasing to me
    a tolerable Account of yr Success –
    the Lateness of the Season Consider'd – Come
    Brighten up – My Brother Priddie has
    Left us – happier than he found us – &
    tho we have not intirely Effected our
    Wishes – we have succeeded beyond our
    Expectation – Humility – is the test of
    Christianity – & Parent of many – if
    not of all the Virtues – But we will talk this
    over – when you Return from Grape
    Stuff Geese – & fine Girls – Highmore
    seems – to be in better favor with her
    Goddesship Lady fortune – his affair will
    do – he will stand a fo. Chance of Rising.
    I wish from my soul – som thing Good.

  14. Transcript

    in the same Line – was destined for
    you – but have Courage – time &
    patience Conquer all things –
    I hope you will Come home soon – &
    Leave a foundation – for better fortune
    next year – at Bury & its friendly
    Neighborhood. – Kitty – is very poorly –
    Gods will be done – I wish the widow
    Joy – her Child is Eas'd – I have a horid
    story to tell you about the – Zounds

    I am interrupted – Adieu God keep
    you
    Yrs &c. &c. I Sancho

    the Corrounna is & was
    unballested – & Every Identical
    [smoro?] squash'd –
    Mrs. Sancho & girls
    & Billy all their Comps. &c.
    & pray all our Respective Loves
    & Best Wishes to the Friendly
    circle at Barton – Every where Else.

  15. Transcript

    Mr Stevenson

  16. Transcript

    Decbr 5th 1778
    Revd. & Honrd. Sir,
    I have just now Receiv'd your too
    Valuable favor – forgive me Good Sir
    if I own I felt hurt – at the Idea of
    the Trouble & Cost – you (from a
    Spirit too Generous) have been put
    to – & for what my Good Sir –
    your son has shew'd me many
    Kindnesses – & his Merits are such
    as will spontaneously Create him
    the Esteem of those who have the
    pleasure of Knowing – him –
    it is honoring me to suppose I Could
    be of Service to him – Accept then good
    Sir of my thanks & Mrs Sanchos – & be
    Assured you have Seven fold Over paid –
    any common Kindness I could Render
    your deserving son & my Friend

  17. Transcript

    I wish he was here to partake of
    yr Bountiful Treat – for well do I
    know his filial heart would Exult
    & his Eyes beam with Love & Respect.
    Mrs Sancho joins me in Respectful
    acknowledgements & thanks, to Mrs
    Stevenson & self. We are Dear Sir
    your Most Obligd Serts
    Ign & A Sancho

    PS by the date Sir – if yrs the
    Carrier has been Neglectful –
    the pyes are Excellent & the Chines
    & Sausages. – not at all hurt but
    Fresh & Sweet – altho I imagine they
    have been unduly Kept – I should not
    have mentioned it but to Exculpate
    my self. From any seeming neglect
    in answering yr Goodness – &&

  18. Transcript

    No.9 Decbr 5th 1778

    What thou art about – is best known
    to thy self – I will only Venture to
    hope thou are doing well – I saw
    Mr Cummings very lately – he talked
    Very Friendly of his Stevenson – Squire
    Highmore – gives me the friendly Call
    & in good sorts – seems ten years younger
    & Carys Content in his face – you owe
    this scrawl to Mr Cottons Leter which
    I suppose is of Consequence as he wishd
    me to send it in a frank – Mrs Sancho
    is tolerable. Kitty but Very Indifferent –
    the Rest & yr humble servt Well Enough.
    Give my Love & Respects to Mr & Mrs Brown
    When you see them – & the same to Mr &
    Mrs Simons – Simons will make you
    a sportsman – but pray Remember – that
    painting is more profitable than shooting.

  19. Transcript

    My love to Brother Osborn &
    Mrs Osborn when you see them
    this is my Busy day – so God
    Bless thee – Where Ever thee art
    & direct thee for the best prayeth
    Thy sincere Friend I Sancho

  20. Transcript

    Mr Stevenson

  21. Transcript

    Decbr 14th 1778
    Sir I Expect
    an answer
    Yrs I S                   No.10
    Our Friend Highmores – Head & Heart
    are fully Occupied – with Schemes! – plans! –
    Resolves! – &c &c. in which, (to his imortal
    Honor) the weal & welfare of his Stevenson
    is Constantly Consider'd . . the proposal – which
    accompanys this Leter – from what little
    Judgment I have – I think promises fair –
    you will However – Give it a fair Examination
    & of Course determine from the Conviction
    of Right Reason – If as a Friend I might
    Presume to offer my weak Opinion – I freely
    Say; I think in Every Light – it seems Eligible
    the Circle of yr Acquaintance is at present
    Rather Circumscribed – I mean in the Artist Line.
    Now in case you connect yr self in a Business
    which Requires Constant daily Perambulation –
    the chances – are on yr side – for forming –
    Acquaintance – perhaps Friendships – with men of
    Genius & abilitys – which may happily Change
    the Colour of yr fortunes – the old proverb –
    is on yr side – “two heads &c.” – & Very fortunately
    in yr Case – where in fact – one has Wit, &
    the other Judgment – the Chair of Interest
    will have its Compleat furniture – in the two
    top Ornaments – & honesty for its Basis.

  22. Transcript

    So much for Monsr Higmore –
    & now I have to Reckon with you – How
    Could you be so preposterously wrong to
    trouble the Repose of your worthy father
    & mother – about me – surely you must
    think me Exceedingly interested – or yr heart
    must be a very proud one – if Either – in the
    first instance you did me a wrong – in the
    Last perhaps I may wrong you – be it
    as it may – I know it gave me Real
    Vexation – your father sent such a Baskit
    as ten times Repaid the trifling Service –
    I had honor as well as pleasure in Rendering
    a man of Merit & my Friend – Believe me
    I never accepted any present with so ill a
    will – with Regard to them, Every thankful
    Acknowledgement was due. I wrote a Very
    Embarrassed leter of thanks – with a Resolution
    to give you a Chastisement for Laying me
    under the necessity – I am still Cross Enough
    to wish to keep you in Ignorance of the Contents
    but as that would be an Injustice to the Generous
    Spirit of yr Parents – I am Obligd in honor to tell.
    two fine chines – two Hocks – Black puddings & Sausages
    & four of the best pork pyes Ever tasted – these
    were sent off – Novbr 25th – but by some Cruel neglect
    never reach'd me till Decbr 5th by which means
    the Chines were spoilt – oh how I Rav'd against
    the Carriers – & you – but you are most to blame

  23. Transcript

    I hear – with pleasure that you have enough
    to do – Highmore declares he is sorry for it –
    as he wants & wishes you in town. pray give
    my best wishes to Messrs Brown & Simons
    & my love to Osborn – if you should
    happen to know a Miss Adams

    a Rich farmers daughter Remember
    me to her – were you not widow witch'd
    She – or some other heavy purs'd Lass
    might be Easily attainable to a man
    of yr – aye! aye! – but that ++++ says ++++++
    will not be xxx I fear – for I Verily believe
    that +++++++++ —for the +++++
    & by the e token do you not ++++++
    but this is matter of mere Speculation –
    God Bless you – Yrs Sincerely – Cordially –
    & sometimes – Offensively – but always
    Friendily – Ign Sancho –

    Poor Kitty Continues Very ill – pray God to
    Release her soon – or she will Kill her poor
    Mother – Night & day – poor soul –
    it is almost too much – but Gods will
    be done.

    Mrs. Sancho, Girls & Billy
    join their Comps apeice

  24. Transcript

    Mr Sevenson

  25. Transcript

    Charles Street – Janry 4th 1779

    Dr & Revd Sir
    I had the honor of Receiving yours – of the
    28th Dec last Wednesday Evening – upon Inquiry
    found the Waggon Which passes thro Retford
    set out on thursday 12 oClock Noon – so Could not
    in any wise be Ready for it – I have with utmost
    Care & attention strove that the Quality of the
    Goods (you so kindly commission'd me to send)
    should be the Very best in kind – the Scotch Snuff
    I got at Mr Arnolds – the Rappee is hardhams
    best – the teas, I hope will meet with Approbation
    – the Sugr I have doubts of – it doth not please
    me – in truth it is a shocking Article at
    present – & will I fear be so for some time
    to Come – there is a Vilainy in that business –
    tamely Suffer'd – too Gross for Patience – I am
    loseing in the Course of the last 12 months –
    above as many Pounds by it – & can not
    please any of my Customers – the Lumps
    I have sent you are at prime Cost –

  26. Transcript

    & Indifferent as they are Sell usually now at
    9d pr pound – the Coffee – is pick'd – & is the
    Very same – as his Majesty (– God Bless him)
    Constantly uses – the best Turkey Berrys –
    you will Pardon this tedious detail – in
    truth your Unbounded Goodness – in Some
    Sort made it necesary for me to say I
    have Endeavourd & wish to please – however
    I may fail in that Respect – I shall Ever
    Remember with Grateful Respect the Notice
    you have so Friendily taken of Revd Sir

    Yr Most Obligd humble Servt
    Ign Sancho

    the Goods were this day put into the Waggon
    Which will stop at Retford on Friday next
    between Eleven & on – fore noon –
    Malaga Raisins – are Exceeding scarce – poor
    & dear – Sun Raisins – are small – & from 56s/to
    58s/ pr hundred

  27. Transcript

    Charles [Street]
    Janry 14th: 1779
    Revrd Sir
    your Bill was duly Accepted this day – Accept my
    thanks – for your – (I must say) uncommon Kindn
    -ess – I mean not to boast – when I declare – I have
    Ever had a Real Veneration – for the Servants of the
    Church – were they all actuated by yr Grand principle
    they would better answer my Idea – of Christian
    profession – & their Example perhaps – would out
    weigh there Preaching – both United – would be of
    much Utility – our hearts would be better'd – & our
    Heads not the worse – I am with Grateful
    Acknowledgments & warm
    thanks – Yr Most Obligd Servt
    Ignatius Sancho –

    Rec'd Janry 14th 1779 of the Revd Mr Seth – E –
    Stevenson the sum of Nine Pound ten shillgs &
    four Pence – by a Bill – of Nine Pound twelve shillg
    & six pence – I say Recd by me – in
    Full of all Demand – Ign Sancho –
    £9 – 12 – 6

    [added in a different hand]
    (addressed to the Rev. Seth Ellis Stevenson, my great
    Grandfather. H. Stevenson. 1878)

  28. Transcript

    [written to left hand side of page]

    Mr Sancho’s
    Letters
    To my dear Father

    [in pencil]

    Autograph

    [written to the right hand side of page]

    6
    30
    31
    30
    31
    120

    365 – 100 – 120
     100
    365 | 12000 | 32
    1095
    950
    730
    128

  29. Transcript

    March 11th 1779

    Dear Friend I Recd yours – about three hours
    since – I Give you due credit for yr Sympathizing
    feelings – on our Recent Very distressful Situation.
    for thirty Nights (save two) Mrs Sancho had no
    Cloaths off – but you know the woman, Nature
    Never form'd a tenderer heart – take her for all
    in all – the Mother! – wife! Friend! – she does Credit
    to her sex – she has the Rare felicity – of possessing
    true Virtue without Arrogance – Softness without
    Weakness – & dignity without Pride – she is
    Osborns – full sister – without his foibles – & to
    my inexpressable happiness – she is my wife
    & truly best part – without a Single tinge of
    my defects – poor Kitty – happy Kitty I should
    say – drew her Rich prize Early – wish her Joy!
    & Joy to Mortimer! – he Left life's table before
    he was Cloy'd or Surfieted with dull Sickly Repetitions.
    in prime of years – in the Meridian of
    Character as an Artist – & Universally Esteem'd
    as a man – he wing'd his Rapid flight to those
    Celestial Mansions – where pope! Hogarth!
    Handel! Chatham! – & Garrick – are Enjoying
    the full Sweets of Beatific Vision – with the Great
    Artists! Worthys – & Poets –of time without
    date – your father – has bin Exceeding
    Kind – this very day – a Mr White of Retford
    Call’d on me – a Goodly looking Gentleman.

  30. Transcript

    he inquir'd after you with the anxious
    Curiosity of a Friend – & gave me an order for
    2ld of tea – paid for it – I should have asked him
    to have walked in – but the time did not
    he told me yr father was well – & by his sute 
    account – thinks, by much too well of me
    Friend Highmore shall produce the things
    you wot of – & Borther Osborn bring them
    in his hand – Highmore is a Very Silly
    fellow – he likes Silly Folkes – & I believe does not
    hate Sancho – tomorrow Night I shall have
    a few Friends to meet Bror Osborn. we intend
    to be merry – were you here you might add
    to a Number Which I think too many for
    our little Room – So I hear the W –
    No. hang me if I say a word about it –
    Well – & how do you like the Company of
    Monsr Le’ Gout – shall I – in Compliance
    with Vulgar Custom wish you Joy –
    pox on it – my hand aches so I can scrawl 
    no Longer – Mrs Sancho is but so’ so –
    the Children are well – do – write Large
    & inteligible when you write to me
    I hate fine hands – & fine Language
    write plain honest nonsence like thy
    True Friend I Sancho –

  31. Transcript

    April day – 1779
    No! – That was your Mistake
    – tho a kind one – I have no
    Irish Snuff – wish I had – but by 
    the folly of our Laying Every Lett 
    in the way of Irish Commerce
    the Duty is so Extravagantly
    high – as to preclude Every Idea
    of National profit – Read the
    Crisis – & Blush for the blunders
    Barbarity, – & madness of thy –
    Country men – Read – the transactions
    of both houses – & then Reply! – I
    am Sir an Affrican – with two ffs –
    if you please – & proud am I

  32. Transcript

    to be of a Country – that knows 
    no Politicians' – nor Lawyers' –
    nor [word deleted] – nor x1x2x3x4x5 nor thieves
    of any Denomination save Natural
    for by the pomposity of Minesterial
    Omnipotence I do Aver! that you
    aye & Highmore – one of the Dowces
    form a Quintetto – Mark – I do not
    mean Trio – [word deleted] for most
    Exquisite – as I know thy feelings
    are. I would not wound them by a
    Designed Blunder – No! not for a tenth
    Aldromedach – but the Macadan
    is fine – & I thank thee – for thy Zeal
    to serve me – tell Osborn to Love
    me – as I do him – Give Highmore

  33. Transcript

    a Drubbing for debauching – thy
    Room – & wronging the Chastity
    of thy Pembroke table – abuse
    him – for his Naughty Poetry –
    & to Conclude Maledict him
    & Every Soul thou meetest with
    – in the salt fish manner
    but beware of Connivances –
    & Remember there is nothing
    Less wholesome than the Spawn
    of Barble – From which – & the
    7 plagues of the hebrew Talmud
    may heaven of his mercy Keep us
    all – Now to &c &c –
    Yrs invariably in explicable
    Ign Sancho
    [D]amn’d High.

  34. Transcript

    I sent you a small ˄parcel by friend Crowders this Night,
    wherein are two Ivory cases with a dozen Saucers in each – I have
    not sent you the book you wanted, because it would cost me an hour's
    search being put away in a trunk – with much rubbish that
    also belongs to you, and as our friend Cotton talks of your being
    in Town about Xtmas I thought it might be as well to let it
    remain 'till you come, but if you must have it before then I'll
    look for it and send it – I find you have been at Cambridge
    to see your Brother which gives me pleasure – I shall be very
    glad to hear from you and still more to see you soon, as I
    have a great deal to chat of with you and several good fellows
    to introduce you to – Adieu JH

    No14 –
    You have miss'd the Truth – by a mile
    – aye – & more – it was not Neglect –
    I am too Proud for that – it was not
    forgetfulness – Sir – I am not so –
    ungrateful – it was not Idleness –
    the Excuse of fools – Nor Muty of
    Business – the Refuge of Knaves –
    it is time to say what it was –
    Why Mrs Dawson was in town from –
    tuesday – till Monday following – & then –
    & not till then – Gave me yr Leter – &
    most Graciously did I receive it – Considering
    that both my feet were in flannels – & are
    so to this luckless minute – Well Sir &
    what have you to say –

  35. Transcript

    Friend Highmore has pay'd for them
    I pay him again – & shall draw
    upon you – toward Christmas –
    Never Poorer since Created – but tis a
    General Case – Receiv'd from your
    Good Revd Parent -(-why not Honrd Father-)-
    a Leter Announcing the Approach of a
    Hamper of Prog – Which I wish you was
    near Enough to Partake – your good father
    feels a Satisfaction – in doing – I think a
    wrong thing – his Motive is Right – & like a
    true Servant of Christ – he follows the
    Spirit – not the Leter – he will be Justify'd
    in a better World – I am satisfy'd in this –
    & thou with – in thy feelings be Gratified –
    Huzza – we are all Right – but your
    father pays the piper – how doth Squire
    Green – odso –& his Pretty daughter –
    Kiss the father for me – & drink a
    Bottle with the fair Lady – I mean as
    I have wrote – so tell them – & do whats
    best in they own – & their Eyes – When
    you see Brother Osborn my Love to him
    & his house hold – I have no Spirits – when
    the Gout seises me. Pox on him – Great News
    From Sir Charles Hardy – Huzzas for

  36. Transcript

    Ever – all mad – Nothing but Illuminations
    out – with yr lights & a Bell Ringing Bon
    fires Blazing – Crackers Bounding
    and all for what! – What! –
    the Girls Open Mothd – Billy stares
    Mrs Sancho Rubs her hands, the
    Night indeed is Cold – but Billy
    must go to bed – the Noisy Rogues
    with the Gazette Extra – stun our
    Ears. Adieu! Yrs, &c. &c. I Sancho

    Nov: 16 1779.
    I should have Enclos’d – a Paper – but twill
    Cost the devil & all – I mean the Receipts
    Monsr Adenergs & J. Dunstans –
    My family all Join in Customary
    Customs.

  37. Transcript

    Mr Stevenson Esqr
    At Mr Green’s
    Bookseller &c
    Bury St Edmunds
    Suffolk

  38. Transcript

    1780 Jan
    4th Day
    My Dear Friend
    You have here – a Kind of medley
    a Heterogeneous – ill spelt –
    Heteroclite – (worse) Excentric –
    sort of a – a – in short it is a
    true Negroe Calibash – of ilsorted
    undigested – chaotic Matter
    What an Excellent Proem – What
    a delightful Sample of the Grand
    absurd – Sir – Dear Sir – as I
    have a Soul to be saved (and why I
    should not – would puzzle a Dr Price,)
    as I have a Soul to be saved –
    I only meant to say about fifteen words
    to you – & the substance Just this –
    to wish you a happy new year

  39. Transcript

    with the usual Appendages –
    & a long Et cetera-of Cardinal –
    & heavenly Blessings – apropos
    Blessings – Never more scanty
    all Begars by Jove – not a shilling
    to be got in London – if you are
    Better off in the Country & Can
    [aff]ord to Remit me yr Little Bill –
    I Enclose it – for that Good
    End – Highmore is – but he can
    better tell you himself what he is
    for in truth – I do think he is
    in Love – Which puts the pretty
    Green into my Head – & she brings
    her father in View – my Love &
    Respects to Each – Mrs Sancho Joins
    me & the Girls, her – & God Keep you
    Yrs Sincerely I Sancho

  40. Transcript

    Mr Stevenson
    Minaturist

  41. Transcript

    Augth 18 N° 19 Ch Street
    1780
    Dear friend
    Were you in town yesterday or was it yr Ghost.
    Mr Fisher Call'd upon me at Nine last Night to ask
    if I had seen you – for he had heard youd been
    been at the Salopian Coffee house inquiring after him.
    So I Rested certain – that some fresh tit bit had
    detaind you in the Perlieus of the Garden –
    & that you would Emerge as this morning –
    & be visible to your friends – I Expected an
    Answer to my Elaborate Epistle – have you
    you wrote Congratulatory to Friend Highmore –
    have you Finished your Game – write!
    write me a deal of Conclusive Wholsom Narrative
    & Oblige yr true Friend I Sancho
    My Love to Brother Osborn & his dame
    & the Good Ladys of Barton – & Mesrs
    Brown & Simons –

  42. Transcript

    May 26
    1818 

    Most worth & respected Sir
    Mr Meheux had informed me sometime
    Ago of your Benevolent intentions towards me
    I did not them know but I should have
    the honour to see you in Town soon
    To thank you and assure you it will be a
    Very great act of charity if my Rent
    Is paid it is Twelve pounds a year
    That settled would make me easy
    her grace gives me fourty
    Mr and Mrs Meleux very good to me
    Without such great and noble friends
    I must have known want as when
    My poor mother died I lost everything
    With respectful wishes for the
    Prosperity of your Family Sir
    I remains your most grateful servant
    Elizabeth Sancho

  43. Transcript

    William Stevenson Esq
    Surry Street
    Norwich

  44. Transcript

    June 1812
    Worthy Sir,
    Your kind offer To me will be
    very acceptable and I Return you
    my most gratefull thanks
    for the Same Mr y Mrs Meheux
    gone out of town for
    a short Time so Could not have
    the pleasure to show them
    your Kind intentions in my favour
    May God Restore to you health
    and Long Continue you to your
    family who I hope will your
    good Lady enjoy health and every
    comfort this World can afford
    them God bless you

  45. Transcript

    I am Sin your obliged
    and grateful servant
    Elizabeth Sancho

    [vertically]

    E. Sancho
    To my grandfather
    in 1818:
    Sancho’s daughter
    H. Stevenson.

  46. Transcript

    Many thanks
    To my worthy Sir for the half
    years annuity which a gentleman
    Did me the honour to being himself
    Last Saturday. I called on Mr and
    Mrs Meheux and informed them
    of your goodness they are both well
    and preparing to travel. I hope
    my good Sir and family are well
    and Remain with respect
    most gratefuly yours
    Elizabeth Sancho

  47. Transcript

    Mr Stevenson Esq
    Norwich

  48. Transcript

    Tothill Street Westminster 9th May 1819
    Worthy Sir
    I am requested by my cousin Elizabeth
    Sancho to return her most gratefull thanks for
    your kind annual present of Five Guineas, which,
    Mr Arnyst did her the favour to advance before
    The time: when she likewise had the honour of seeing
    His Ladys dine family. My cousin Sir thinking it
    will be more comfortable to her, is about to leave
    Tothill Street Westminster to reside with my Brother
    William Priddie Lyon at a small house the direction
    of which is Little Hatcham Kent Road near the
    five Bells; hoping this kind Sir will reach you and
    your family in good health she remains
    worthy Sir
    with all due respect
    your highly obliged
    Elizabeth Sancho

  49. Transcript

    Feb 29 1820

    Little Hatcham
    Near the five
    Bells Old
    Kent Road

    Worthy Sir it is with great
    pleasure I present my Dear
    fathers portrait to so great a
    friend of his Daughter if Sir you
    will be so good to Let me Know
    where To Send it Shall go
    Directly I hear from you and
    if my best Sir will be so good
    to Advance me half a year of the
    income he so Kindly allows me being
    about to move it will greatly add
    to my Comfort I hope your Dear
    Lady is well and that you Enjoy
    your health

  50. Transcript

    I remain Sir with
    all due respect most
    gratefully yours
    Elizabeth Sancho

  51. Transcript

    My Dear Sir

    I have been since the beginning of the
    month with Lord Chichester at Lewes
    therefor could not read over your note
    XXXX Mr XXXX now having only returned
    this morning.
    The XXXX is [deducted?] from your
    Account. I am afraid you will not
    compleat your XXXX. There should
    be five XXXX in all. Perhaps your
    copy is bound up in there which is
    not unusual. – I will enquire if Mr Peyne
    has any Parts of it – if he has not it is
    a lost Case – Hold my copy for &32. –. –
    at Sales it will fetch £40. –. – The first
    Volume is of no Use.
    I have met with no Piranesi, nor have I
    been able to deal with the PXXXX Lady. –
    Your account shall accompany this
    & I feel thankful for your kind XXXX.
    I send forthwirth your Vol. of Tracts
    but the Book of [Coins?] 6 sins I never remember
    to have seen – It shall be searched for
    & sent when found. –

  52. Transcript

    My Kindest respects to Mrs XXXX
    & all the family –
    I remain Dr Sir
    Your most obediently
    Faithfully
    W Sancho

    October 11th 1800. –

    [vertically to left hand side of the page]

    Mr Sancho
    Oct 13 1800 –

  53. Transcript

    Dear Sir
    I have been in a Thousand Perplexities during the last
    Month – I fear my Difficulties will know no End –
    All things are coming upon me at once; & a
    Turn of good Order, without any turn of money
    is as fatal as lack of Employment altogether.
    I have given you Credit for Bees’ XXXX
    I hope to have an Interview with the Proprietor
    of Holborn [or Holbein?] this Week –
    Mr Singleton has my warmest wishes & there is
    nothing within my Power that I will not do
    for him.
    I thank you most sincerely for thinking of me
    in respect to the purchase of Libraries; I will
    endeavour to deserve your kindness –
    And now my Dr Sir with Assurances of a complete
    Reform in my Correspondence I remain with
    Kindest Respects to your family
    Yours most sincerely
    W Sancho.

  54. Transcript

    Mr Stevenson
    Bookseller
    Norwich

  55. Transcript

    A Proof Print of
    The Engraved Portrait of
    Ignatius Sancho
    A man equally invaluable
    for the great indorsements
    of his mind
    As eminent for his
    many – Virtues

    Among the innumerable Comforts &
    Blessings of my Life, I esteem the
    Confidence & Friendship of this great
    & Good man – and I hope this will
    be carefully preserved by those who
    come after me W Stevenson

  56. Transcript

    7 auto. Letters
    Elizabeth Sancho (daughter)

  57. Transcript

    Coxwould near York
    July 27. 1766

    There is a strange coincidence, Sancho,
    in the little events (as well as in the great ones)
    of this world: for I had been writing a tender tale
    of the sorrows of a friendless poor negro-girl, and
    my eyes had scares done smarting with it, when your
    Letter of recommendation in behalf of so many
    of her brethren and sisters, came to me –
    – but why her brethren? Or your’s, Sancho!
    any more than mine? It is by the finest tints,
    and most insensible gradations, that nature descends
    from the fairese face about St. James’s, to the
    sootiest complexion in africa: at which tint of these,
    is it, that the ties of blood are to cease? and
    how many shade must we descend lower still in
    the scale, ‘ere Mercy is to vanish with them? –
    but ‘tis no uncommon thing, my good Sancho, for
    one half of the world to use the other half of it like
    brutes, & then endeavour to make ‘em so. For
    my own part, I never look Westward (when I am in
    a pensive mood at least) but I think of the burdens
    which our Brothers and Sisters are there carrying – &
    could I ease their shoulders from an one ounce of ‘em, I
    declare I would set out this hour upon a pilgrimage
    to Mecca for their sakes – wch by the by, Sancho, exceeds

  58. Transcript

    your walk of ten miles, in about the same
    proportion, that a Visit of Humanity, should
    one, of mere form however if you meant
    the Corporal my Uncle Toby, more – he is yr Debter,
    If I can wave the Tale I have write into
    the Work I’m abt – this at the service of the afflicted
    – and a much greater matter; for in serious
    truth, it cases a melancholy sad Shade upon the
    World, That so great a part of it, are and
    have been so long bound in chains of
    darkness & in Chains of Misery; & I cannot
    but both respect & felicitate You, that by so
    much laudable diligence you have broke
    the one – & by falling into the hands
    of so good and merciful a family, Providence
    has rescused You from the other.
    and so, good hearted Sancho! adieu!
    & believe me, I have always I will not forget
    yr Letter. Yrs
    L Sterne