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A Brief To Free A Slave

Publication Date: October 9, 2012

Chapter: English Literature During The Restoration And The Eighteenth Century

Samuel Johnson, in addition to writing THE DICTIONARY, was a hardcore abolitionist. He detested both the practice of slavery and the owners of said slaves. He was no doubt pleased, therefore, when - in 1772 - slavery was officially abolished in England. This, of course, didn't abolish it elsewhere in the world, and Johnson had some strong words for American and Scotland, among other nations. The quote in the first panel of the comic is from 1775, just prior to the American Revolution. The rest was from his short brief on the subject of slavery from 1777, in response to a particular case in Scotland.

Anyway, the point is that - had it been commonplace for people to get served in the 18th Century, then I think you could safely say that America totally got served by Johnson.

This isn't to say that England was faultless at the time. They were still careening around the world planting flags everywhere. But, at least in the area of slavery, they were about a century ahead of the curve compared to America.

On an entirely different note, I just skipped a portion of the Norton covering Frances Burney's vivid and somewhat captivating journal. Normally, if I skip one or two works, I don't bother to mention it, but in this case, I have to force you all to share in my terror. There is a famous few pages in her journal in which we, the audience, are treated to a terrifying first-person account of having a mastectomy in 1811. That link quotes what is only the culmination of several pages of suspense and horror, the likes of which many writers only wish they could conjure. The way she so vividly captures the feeling of having a pre-anesthetic mastectomy is probably going to give me nightmares tonight.

Needless to say, I couldn't think of a suitable comic for the topic I just wanted you to join me in collective horror.

Author: Samuel Johnson • Year: 1777 • Info: Wikipedia

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