'As to her writing, her own curiosity led her to it'
(letter from Phillis Wheatley's Master to her publisher)
Reproduced in The Interesting Narrative of the Life
of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African

(1814 edition), p. 440

The following is a Copy of a LETTER
sent by the Author's Master
to the Publisher.

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 sixteen 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 learnt in so short a Time, that 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 has made some Progress in it. This Relation is given by her Master who bought her, and with whom she now lives.


Boston, Nov. 14, 1772.

back to top back to top