Home London Ignatius Sancho, a poem

Ignatius Sancho, a poem

by Vic Keegan
Sancho, slavery,

Poem Sancho’s shop in Westminster in the 1760s

In Charles Street there used to be a shop
Where many a celebrity was won’t to stop
To buy sugar, baccy and stuff like that
Or maybe just to stop by for a chat
As did the Whig Charles Fox and David Garrick
And Lawrence Stern, the sage, just take your pick
Of such distinguished people so long ago
Who came to say Hi to Charles Sancho
Or Ignatius to use his baptised name
Who rose from a slave ship to literary fame
From father’s fetters to Man of Letters
More learned than his so-called betters.

The shop bestowed property connections
For the first black man to vote in elections.

When his letters were sold on his demise
Sales broke records for his widow’s prize
Leaders of the aristocracy came forth
To buy the book led by Prime Minister Lord North
Which scaled fresh heights for a book of its sort
And anti-slavery gained fresh support.

There is no distance a man can go
Once freedom from shackles makes it so.

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