Our new story in this issue is based almost entirely on historical fact and for that reason alone I recommend a little private research!
Putting The Phantom and Christopher (later, like all first Phantom sons, to be known simply as Kit) to one side, the characters Granville Sharp and Jonathon Strong actually existed.
Janne Lundstrom’s gripping account of Sharp using the Jonathon Strong situation as his springboard into the fight against slavery is almost entirely true in every respect.
And….Hans Lindahl’s beautifully rendered graphics of Olde England have been carefully culled from a wide range of historical sources to ensure accuracy.
Granville Sharp, who was born on November 10, 1735, lived for the time, to the remarkable age of almost 78. (That was a period in history when anybody living beyond the mid-50s was considered quite old!)
He was a professional civil servant, scholar, fluent in a number of languages, musician and singer, highly proficient amateur law student, devoutly religious and blessed with boundless energy.
He met Jonathon Strong for the first time in 1765. Sharp’s brother was a physician and was treating Strong for injuries he received at the hands of his brutal master, David Lisle, a London lawyer.
It was that meeting which projected Granville into a lifelong battle against slavery.
As one of the first Englishmen to become involved in the campaign, he masterminded the plan to settle black slaves in Sierra Leone, the founding of the Province of Freedom and later, through his involvement with the establishment of Freetown, was recognised as one of the founding fathers of Sierra Leone.
What of Jonathon Strong? Yes—he was a real person and his sad story, as related in A Strong Case, is almost entirely accurate. Strong, however, enjoyed only five years as a free man, dying at the age of 25.
David Lisle? Yes—he too, was a real person, as was the planter named James Kerr
Author Lundstrom has stretched Lisle’s involvement somewhat, but the story is so important, it is of no serious consequence. (No evidence has been unearthed linking Lisle to the London house invasion and it seems he faded completely out of the scene after losing the initial court case.)
Kerr, on the other hand, pursued Granville Sharp and others through a long series of court battles before finally losing and being ordered to pay massive costs.
Not everything ended all that happily for Sharp, however.
In hindsight, he deserved many more less stressful final years!