Learning Zone Home > schooLMAte > Black and Asian Londoners > Stories > A Transcript of Laurence Sterne’s...
Learning Zone
London Metropolitan Archives The Archives of the City of London
Theatreland Look at London schooLMAte Archive Work Data Online Learning Zone Home
   Black and Asian Londoners  |   French Community  |   Irish Community  |   City Communities  |  Teachers' Notes
   Maps  |   Stories   |   Images  |   Documents   |   Timelines   |   Audio Gallery   |   Related Links
A Transcript of Laurence Sterne’s Letter to Ignatius Sancho
<< Back

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 scarse 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 yours, Sancho! any more than mine? It is by the finest tints, and most insensible gradations, that nature descends from the fairest face at 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 shades 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 & Sisters are there carrying - & could I ease their shoulders from one once of 'em, I declare I would set out this hour upon a pilgrimage to Mecca for their sakes - [which] by the by, sancho, exceeds your Walk of ten miles, in about the same proportion, that a Visit of Humanity, should one, of mere form - however if you meant my Uncle Toby, more - he is [your] Debter,

If I can weave the Tale I have wrote into the Work I'm [about] - tis at the service of the afflicted - and a much greater matter; for in serious truth, it casts a 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 and felicitate You, that by so much laudable diligence you have broke the one - & that by falling into the hands of so good and merciful a family, Providence has rescued You from the other.

And so, good hearted Sancho! adieu! & believe me, I will not forget [your] Letter. [Yours]

L. STERNE.



<< Back
  Black & Asian Londoners: Other things to see and do
 
Maps
Stories
Images
Documents
Timelines
Audio
Gallery
Related
Links
 Site Map    |   Disclaimer    |   Terms and Conditions    |   Privacy Policy    |    Credits