Moses Roper to The Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society 9 May 1844
The lecture experiences of former slaves Moses Roper, Moses Grandy, and Frederick Douglass refined the definition of a British black abolitionist tour by shaping the expectations of British audiences. The British reform public continued to be fascinated by any black speaker from America, but after listening to Roper, Grandy, and Douglass, they displayed an increasing appetite for firsthand accounts of plantation life by former slaves. To some degree, the success of Roper's pointed presentation of his life story suggests this newfound hunger. His 9 May 1844 letter to The Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society briefly reviewed his antislavery activities during eight years in Britain and gave notice of his intention of abandoning antislavery lecturing to settle at the Cape of Good Hope, then a British colony in southern Africa. Roper, Narrative, vi, 74-75.
May 9, 1844
To the Committee of the British and Foreign
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 1 (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, 2 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