Friday, 16 May 2008


The following quotation about a donation to a school does not have much to do with Classics - except that William Wilberforce quoted Vergil's Eclogues in one of his most protracted pleas for the abolition of the slave trade, that his reference to Providence sounds a little Stoic to me, and that I read this letter while thinking about one of my favourite Greek words: χρησότης 'goodness', 'kindness'.

If you are in occasional want of a little more at present I could supply it, which I tell you frankly, meaning, of course, that you should treat me frankly. I well know how considerate you are for me; but, somehow, Providence is very kind to me, and I find myself better off in this world's goods than I thought I was, although all is too little for the misery that abounds.

William Wilberforce to Mrs Hannah More, 21 February, 1804

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