However, the death of Mrs. Wheatley in 1774 (whose illness required Phillis to return prematurely from London) and the Revolutionary war were to change her life drastically. She wrote to her black friend Obour Tanner (who disapproved of the marriage) in 1778 (with her typically restrained style): "The vast variety of scenes that have pass'd before us these 3 years past will to a reasonable mind serve to convince us of the uncertain duration of all things temporal, and the proper result of such a consideration is an ardent desire of, & preparation for, a state and enjoyments which are more suitable to the immortal mind." War, not poetry, became the major concern, and many of her former patrons had dangerous British connections. Wheatley was not alive to see her poetry make a consequential impact on the abolition of slavery. ", Attached to the volume was a statement from 18 prestigious Boston residents, as well as testimony from John Wheatley attesting to its authenticity:"The following is a Copy of a LETTER sent by the Author's Master to the Publisher. She was evidently around 7 years old at the time. At the age of eight, she was kidnapped and brought to Boston on … Born in West Africa, Wheatley was captured and sold into slavery as a child. She was taken to America on a ship named the Phillis and purchased in Boston by a wealthy merchant and his wife, John and Susanna Wheatley. google_ad_client = "pub-4398868599654009"; On the eve of the American Revolution in the fall of 1772, eighteen year old Phillis Wheatley, the household slave of John and Susanna Wheatley was invited to appear before eighteen of Boston’s most prominent men in the Governor’s Council Chamber in Boston to defend the premise that she was the author of a collection of poems. Zuck, Rochelle Raineri. Publication of “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of the Celebrated Divine George Whitefield” in 1770 brought her great notoriety. Phillis Wheatley is the mother of the African American literary tradition and 'the sable muse' of the American Revolution. Phillis Wheatley was a revolutionary intellectual who waged a war for freedom with her words. Although she supported the patriots during the American Revolution, Wheatley’s opposition to slavery heightened. National Women's History Museum, 2015. Upon arrival, she was sold to the Wheatley family in Boston, Massachusetts. Brought to America as a slave in 1761, Wheatley was eventually emancipated by her owners after her pro-revolutionary writings brought her notoriety and success. Wheatley, Phillis. Fill'd with the praise of Him who gives the light,And draws the sable curtains of the night,Let placid slumbers sooth each weary mind,At morn to wake more heav'nly, more refin'd. Date accessed.