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Letter from Moses Roper to The Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, May 9, 1844

From: Ripley, C. Peter, et al., eds. The Black Abolitionist Papers, Vol. I: The British Isles, 1830-1865, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1985, 134-6. Used by permission of the publisher. Original held in British Empire Manuscripts, Rhodes House Library, Oxford.

Roper underscored some words in the original letter. They have been rendered here in boldface.

Sheaf Street
Daventry, [England]
May 9, 1844

To the Committee of the British and Foreign
Anti-Slavery Society
27 New Broad Street
London, [England]


I have been in England now rather more than eight years, and have employed myself during that period partly in pursuing my studies and partly lecturing through the country, & by the sale of my book (the only remuneration I received for my lectures), have paid for my education and supported myself, I have addressed meetings in upwards of two thousand towns and villages as I often lectured twice in one day. There are numbers of places that I have not visited, which I do not intend visiting, if I can only obtain the means to leave England for the Cape of Good Hope, which is my object in addressing the committee of the Anti Slavery society. I have about eighty pounds in my possesion all of which it will take, to pay the passage of my Wife, Child, and myself to the Cape, we should then have nothing to begin with. I should feel ever and most grateful if the Committee will render me some assistance. If you will kindly pay my passage out, and I should have something to begin with, the money could be paid to the owner or agent of the ship. I have been working very hard to get the means to leave with, but if I cannot get any assistance, shall have to publish another edition, which will detain me a year or two, or longer in lecturing and disposing of them. Besides twenty five thousand English, and five thousand Welsh copies are now in circulation, many of which have been disposed of through booksellers, which of course I did not realy much try. I have only three hundred now on hand, and hope they will be sold in two or three weeks. I shall then wait your reply before I take any further steps. I sincerely trust Gentlemen, you will kindly assist me. I shall then be able to settle and make myself useful. I have been brought up to Cultivating, Cotton, Tobacco, Indian corn (and to farming) and which I find from a work recently written by Mr. Chase on the Cape, they will grow very well at the Cape of Good Hope, and I am very anxious to settle in some part of Africa, as I have a strong desire to be useful to that race. My Wife has received a good and rather accomplished education, and could teach in a School if required, her Parents resident in Bristol whom I could refer you to, are not now being in years, able to assist us much at present, but I have no fear, if we can only get out, with what we have free, that we shall then get on. We have given up our house some time back, as we intended leaving but could not obtain the means. We have been for the last year and more lodging with a highly respectable Independent Minister to whom I can refer you. Most persons I meet with in different parts of the country, have said after they have heard my address, say they never heard a lecture more calculated to enlighten the public on the subject. Very few places that I lecture in, That near all the people can gain admittance, and I particularly notice, that the appeal on behalf, (Brown), that nearly every Chapel I have lectured in sign the memorial to send to America. Thousand I have addressed in remote places, did not know there was such a curse as Slavery in America. This I have written [unfriended?], and [unassisted] mearly stating the facts of my case. I shall feel extremely grateful for an answer [three words illegible] of the committee, and beg to subscribe myself Gentlemen, Your most Obedient Servant,

Moses Roper