Quotes from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Black beauty by Anna Sewell

Anna Sewell (1820 – 1878) inherited her talent from her mother, Mary Wright Sewell, who was a writer of poetry and novels. Anna’s inspiration for her only novel, Black Beauty (1877) came from personal experience. She fell while walking home from school and broke both of her ankles at the age of fourteen.

Never having fully recovered, Anna was  unable to stand or walk for very long for the rest of her life. Having to get around with horse-drawn carriages gave her a great empathy for the beautiful animals.

Anna grew to love horses, and was distressed by the abuse and neglect with which they were treated. Black Beauty was not only a plea for more humane treatment of horses, but a great story. Here are quotes from Black Beauty, one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, reflecting the author’s belief in the inherent rights and dignity of all animals.

. . . . . . . . . .

“We have no right to distress any of God’s creatures without a very good reason; we call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“Do you know why this world is as bad as it is?… It is because people think only about their own business, and won’t trouble themselves to stand up for the oppressed, nor bring the wrong-doers to light … My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”

. . . . . . . . . .

Black Beauty still life

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

. . . . . . . . . .

“While I was young I lived upon my mother’s milk, as I could not eat grass. In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees, and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the grove.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“If a thing is right it can be done, and if it is wrong it can be done without; and a good man will find a way.”

. . . . . . . . . .

 “I was quite happy in my new place, and if there was one thing that I missed, it must not be thought I was discontented; all who had to do with me were good, and I had a light airy stable and the best of food. What more could I want? Why, liberty!” 

. . . . . . . . . .

“Now I say that with cruelty and oppression it is everybody’s business to interfere when they see it.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“He said cruelty was the devil’s own trade-mark, and if we saw any one who took pleasure in cruelty we might know who he belonged to, for the devil was a murderer from the beginning, and a tormentor to the end. On the other hand, where we saw people who loved their neighbors, and were kind to man and beast, we might know that was God’s mark.”

. . . . . . . . . .

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty on Amazon

. . . . . . . . . .

“I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“Only ignorance! only ignorance! how can you talk about only ignorance? Don’t you know that it is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness? — and which does the most mischief heaven only knows. If people can say, `Oh! I did not know, I did not mean any harm,’ they think it is all right.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“If we could act a little more according to common sense, and a good deal less according to fashion, we should find many things work easier.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“God had given men reason, by which they could find out things for themselves; but he had given animals knowledge which did not depend on reason, and which was much more prompt and perfect in its way, and by which they had often saved the lives of men.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“I felt from the first that what he wanted was to wear all the spirit out of me, and just make me into a quiet, humble, obedient piece of horseflesh. `Horseflesh! Yes, that is all that he thought about,’ and Ginger stamped her foot as if the very thought of him made her angry.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“We shall all have to be judged according to our works, whether they be towards man or towards beast.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“Oh! if people knew what a comfort to a horse a light hand is…”

. . . . . . . . . .

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through, Literary Ladies Guide receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to The Literary Ladies Guide weekly newsletter

Celebrating women’s voices
with inspiration for readers and writers

  • Find your next great read
  • Get writing advice from authors you love
  • Enjoy fascinating facts and quotes
  • Discover women’s literary history

... and lots more (look for a bonus in your welcome letter!)
Email address
Secure and Spam free...