Primary Resource

Letter from Fielding Lewis to Rev. John Waring (February 1, 1772)

In a letter to the Reverend John Waring, dated February 1, 1772, Fielding Lewis reports on the closing of a school in Fredericksburg for the children of enslaved African Americans. Waring was the secretary of the Associates of Dr. Bray, the English philanthropic group that had funded the school.

Transcription from Original

Virginia February the 1st. 1772

Revd. Sir

Your last favour I received by the Betsy Capt. Cuzzins in the Summer 1769 and agreeable to directions there given I endavour'd all in my power to procure the Number of Negro Children to be educated [as] You directed, but without effect; The Revd. Mr. James Marye [Sr.] gave an excellent discourse in our Church on the occasion yet the purpose was not answer'd. I therefore at the expiration of the year discontinued the School which had subsisted five years, the expence of One Hunred pounds STerline which leaves a Balance due to me of Thirty Pounds, which please to pay to Anthy. Bacon Esqr. for my Acct. having sent him an Order for it. It gives me the greatest concern that so much Money should have been expended to so little purpose, and am of Opinion that a School will never succeed in a small Town with us, as the Numbers of Negro's are few and many believe that the learning them to read is rather a disadvantage to the owners, we having had some examples of that sort. I have many Books remaining which were sent for the use of the School, pelase direct me in what manner you will have them disposed off.

I am Revd. Sir with the greatest respect Your most Obedient Humble Servant

Fielding Lewis