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To the Publick.
An Electronic Edition

John WheatleyWheatley, John 1703-1778

Original Source: "To the Publick." In Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral London: Archibald Bell, 1773.

Copyright 2004. This text is freely available provided the text is distributed with the header information provided

Full Colophon Information

TO the P U B L I C K. * In the original 1773 edition, this statement is undated. It appeared separately in some London newspapers, however, dated October 27, 1772.

AS it has been repeatedly suggested to the Publisher, by Persons, who have seen the Manuscript, that Numbers would be ready to suspect they were not really the Writings of PHILLIS, he has procured the following Attestation, from the most respectable Characters in Boston, that none might have the least Ground for disputing their Original. 1.


W E whose Names are under-written, do assure the World, that the POEMS specified in the following Page,* were (as we verily believe) written by PHILLIS, a young Negro Girl, who was but a few Years since, brought an uncultivated Barbarian from Africa, and has ever since been, and now is, under the Disadvantage of serving as a Slave in a Family in this Town. She has been examined by some of the best Judges, and is thought qualified to write them. * In the original 1773 edition, the name lines of Thomas Hutchinson and Andrew Oliver appear as below, but the sixteen names that come after them appear in two columns, separated by a vertical line.2.


His Excel’ency THOMAS HUTCHINSON, Governor. * Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780) was governer of Massachusetts from 1771 to 1774. He was a loyalist, and after the Boston Tea Party he left Boston and spent his remaining years in London.3.


The Hon. ANDREW OLIVER, Lieutenant- Governor. * Andrew Oliver (1706-1774) was lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts from 1758-1771.4.


The Hon. Thomas Hubbard, * Thomas Hubbard (1702-1773) was a deacon at Old South Church in Boston. Wheatley later wrote a poem eulogizing the death of his daughter, Thankfull, called "To the Honourable T.H. Esq; on the Death of his Daughter."5.


The Hon. John Erving, * 1728-18166.


The Hon. James Pitts, * 1710-17767.


The Hon. Harrison Gray, * 1712-17948.


The Hon. James Bowdoin, * James Bowdoin (1726-1790) was a friend of Benjamin Franklin. An anti-loyalist, he was a vocal opponent of Governor Hutchinson. He was governor of Massachusetts from 1785 to 1787.9.


John Hancock, Esq; * John Hancock (1737-1793) was the member of a prominent Boston family. He was a patriot and served as the third president of the Continental Congress. He was governor of Massachusetts from 1780 to 1785 and again from 1787 to 1793.10.


Joseph Green, Esq; * Joseph Green (1706-1780) was a merchant and loyalist. He owned one of the largest libraries in Boston.11.


Richard Carey, Esq; * Richard Carey (1717-1790) was from Charlestown. He was a correspondent of the Countess of Huntington.12.


The Rev. Charles Chauncy, D. D. * Charles Chauncy (1705-1787) was a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Boston from 1727 to 1778.13.


The Rev. Mather Byles, D. D. * Mather Byles (1707-1788) was a minister at Hollis Street Congregational Church from 1732 to 1775. He was the grandson of Increase Mather and nephew of Cotton Mather. Because he was a loyalist in his politics, he lost his position at the Hollis Street Congregational Church when Massachusetts rebelled against England.14.


The Rev. Ed. Pemberton, D. D. * Ebenezer Pemberton (1705-1777) was reverand of the North End's New Brick Church.15.


The Rev. Andrew Elliot, D. D. * Andrew Elliot was a pastor at New-North Church in Boston. He was known for his anti-slavery views.16.


The Rev. Samuel Cooper, D. D. * Samuel Cooper (1725-1783) was minsiter of Brattle Street Church from 1747 to 1783. Upon his death, Wheatley wrote a poem eulogizing him, titled "An Elegy Sacred to the Memory of the Rev'd Samuel Cooper, D.D."17.


The Rev. Mr. Saumel Mather, * Samuel Mather (1706-1785) was Thomas Hutchinson's brother-in -law. He was a controversial figure, and in 1741 he was dismissed from his position at the Second Church in Boston. 18.


The Rev. Mr. John Moorhead, * John Moorhead (1703-1774) was pastor of the Scotch Presbyterian Church from 1730 to 1774. His African-American servant, Scipio Moorhead, rendered the portrait of Phillis Wheatley that appears at the beginning of the 1773 edition of Wheatley's work. Upon John Moorhead's death, Wheatley wrote the poem "An Elegy to Miss. Mary Moorhead on the Death of her Father, The Rev. Mr. John Moorhead."19.


Mr. John Wheatley, her Master. * John Wheatley (1703-1778) was a merchant and businessman of Boston. He purchased Phillis Wheatley to be a domestic servant in 1761.20.


N.B. The original Attestation, signed by the above Gentlemen, may be seen by applying to Archibald Bell * Before printing Wheatley's poetry, Archibald Bell was a printer of primarily religious materials in London, England., Bookseller, No. 8, Aldgate-Street.21.


*The Words "following Page," allude to the Contents of the Manuscript Copy, which are wrote at the Back of the above Attestation. * In the original 1773 edition, a horizontal line appears above this statement.22.