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The Fortunes of Francis Barber: The True Story of the Jamaican Slave Who Became Samuel Johnson's Heir

Michael Bundock


This compelling book chronicles a young boy’s journey from the horrors of Jamaican slavery to the heart of London’s literary world, and reveals the unlikely friendship that changed his life. Francis Barber, born in Jamaica, was brought to London by his owner in 1750 and became a servant in the household of the renowned Dr. Samuel Johnson. Although Barber left London for a time and served in the British navy during the Seven Years’ War, he later returned to Johnson’s employ. A fascinating reversal took place in the relationship between the two men as Johnson’s health declined and the older man ... More

Keywords: servant, Jamaica, slavery, Francis Barber, London, Samuel Johnson, Seven Years’ War, legacy, slaves, freedom

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780300207101
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300207101.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Bundock, author
Dr. Johnson's House Trust