To the Publick.
An Electronic Edition
"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
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
young Negro Girl, who was but a few Years since, brought an uncultivated
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
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.
Andrew Oliver (1706-1774) was
lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts from 1758-1771.4.
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
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 (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 (1706-1780) was a merchant and
loyalist. He owned one of the largest libraries in Boston.11.
Richard Carey (1717-1790) was from Charlestown.
He was a correspondent of the Countess of Huntington.12.
Chauncy, D. D.
Charles Chauncy (1705-1787) was a pastor at the
First Baptist Church of Boston from 1727 to 1778.13.
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.
Ed. Pemberton, D. D.
Ebenezer Pemberton (1705-1777) was reverand of
the North End's New Brick Church.15.
Elliot, D. D.
Andrew Elliot was a pastor at New-North Church
in Boston. He was known for his anti-slavery views.16.
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
The Rev. Mr.
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 (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.
John Wheatley (1703-1778) was a merchant and
businessman of Boston. He purchased Phillis Wheatley to be a domestic servant
N.B. The original Attestation,
signed by the above Gentlemen, may be seen by applying to
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.