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Modern Voices
Betty Wood on Francis Le Jau's attitude towards the institution of slavery
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Q: What was Francis Le Jau's attitude towards the institution of slavery and his views towards the African. What do you see in his attitude in reading through his journals?
Betty Wood

A: Francis Le Jau was one of the first Anglican missionaries to work in South Carolina. And like some other of his Anglican colleagues in the plantation colonies of the New World, when he arrived to take up his office, he was absolutely shocked by two things: firstly, by the physical maltreatment of enslaved people, and secondly, by what he considered to be their spiritual mistreatment by their supposedly Anglican masters and mistresses. The denial of Christianity to enslaved people was a constant theme in Le Jau's journals and his letters that he wrote back to London. It never seemed to have occurred to Le Jau, though, that West African peoples might prefer their own religious belief systems to the Christianity that he was trying to offer them.
Betty Wood
Professor of History
Oxford University

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