Hester Piozzi, from a letter to Penelope Pennington, June 19, 1802

Though many artists and writers supported the abolitionist movement, some felt threatened by its attack on slavery. Hester Lynch Thrale Piozzi (1741–1821), who had been a close friend of Samuel Johnson, protested the breakdown of social order that she ascribed to the new emphasis on equality and human rights.


Well! I am really haunted by black shadows. Men of colour in the rank of gentlemen; a black Lady, cover'd with finery, in the Pit at the Opera, and tawny children playing in the Squares, — the gardens of the Squares I mean, — with their Nurses, afford ample proofs of Hannah More and Mr. Wilberforce's success towards breaking down the wall of separation. Oh! how it falls on every side! and spreads its tumbling ruins on the world! leaving all ranks, all customs, all colours, all religions jumbled together, till like the old craters of an exhausted volcano, Time closes and covers with fallacious green each ancient breach of distinction; preparing us for the moment when we shall be made one fold under one Shepherd, fulfilling the voice of prophecy.

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