Hannah More was a popular British writer for children whose works were reprinted well into the nineteenth century. “The Noble Negro” wasn’t the only piece extolling men of color to appear in the Youth’s Magazine in 1837. The man’s last words are in keeping with the self-effacing characters—black and white—that More tended to create. This story of self sacrifice also appeared in the first issue of The Slave’s Friend in 1836.

“The Noble Negro,” by Hannah More (from Youth’s Magazine, September 1837; p. 319)

There was once a vessel sailing on the ocean, in which there was a colored man with two little boys in his care. They were sons of the captain, who was then on board another ship. The wind blew very hard, and raised such a tempest, that the vessel was broken in pieces. The sailors got into a boat to save their lives. The black man put the children in the boat, and was going to get in himself, but the sailors told him, that if he and the children all came in, the boat would sink. He did not take out the children, that he might save his own life, but stepped back into the sinking ship, and said, “Give my respects to my master, and tell him I am sorry for all my faults.”—The captain received his children safe, but he will never see the generous man who gave up his life to save theirs.

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