He was the first person of colour to vote in England.
Ignatius was born on slave ship, his mother died not long after, his father took his own life rather than live as a slave. His father’s owner bought the two-year-old Ignatius to England, where he gave him to three unmarried sisters in Greenwich.
He met John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu, which led to his becoming butler to the Duchess of Montagu. Here he flourished as he immersed himself in music, poetry, reading, and writing. Gainsborough even painted this picture of him!
In 1774, with Montagu’s help he opened a greengrocery shop in Mayfair. As he was a financially independent male householder living in Westminster, he qualified to vote the parliamentary elections of both 1774 and 1780.
These stories make History Fun!