when did pennsylvania became a free state
Provided always and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That this Act nor any thing in it contained shall not give any Relief or Shelter to any absconding or Runaway Negroe or Mulatto Slave or Servant, who has absented himself or shall absent himself from his or her Owner, Master or Mistress, residing in any other State or Country, but such Owner, Master or Mistress, shall have like Right and Aid to demand, claim and take away his Slave or Servant, as he might have had in Case this Act had not been made. And that all Negroe and Mulatto Slaves, now owned, and heretofore resident in this State, who have absented themselves, or been clandestinely carried away, or who may be employed abroad as Seamen, and have not returned or been brought back to their Owners, Masters or Mistresses, before the passing of this Act may within five Years be registered as effectually, as is ordered by this Act concerning those who are now within the State, on producing such Slave, before any two Justices of the Peace, and satisfying the said Justices by due Proof, of the former Residence, absconding, taking away, or Absence of such Slave as aforesaid; who thereupon shall direct and order the said Slave to be entered on the Record as aforesaid.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Offences and Crimes of Negroes and Mulattos as well as Slaves and Servants and Freemen, shall be enquired of, adjudged, corrected and punished in like manner as the Offences and Crimes of the other Inhabitants of this State are and shall be enquired of adjudged, corrected and punished, and not otherwise except that a Slave shall not be admitted to bear Witness agaist [sic] a Freeman.
But an international antislavery movement could also take credit. Through the late 18th century, particularly after the American Revolution, abolitionists in Great Britain, France, and the United States engaged in vigorous antislavery pamphlet war and a steady flow of antislavery literature criss-crossed the Atlantic. Philadelphia was a port of call in this exchange, and many of the pamphleteers gave copies of their work to the Library Company.
Shown here are two examples of this transatlantic exchange. Remarks on the Slave Trade was published in 1789 by the Plymouth Committee of the Society for the Suppression of the Slave Trade. This dramatic and shocking cross-section of the slave ship helped mobilize British opinion against the trade. It immediately crossed the Atlantic and was republished the same year by the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.
Flower: Mountain Laurel
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“It is not for us to enquire why, in the creation of mankind, the inhabitants of the several parts of the earth were distinguished by a difference in feature or complexion,” read the abolition act passed that day in Pennsylvania. “It is sufficient to know that all are the work of an Almighty Hand.”
Many indentures stipulated apprenticeships of some sort. Contracts would order training for literacy or a trade. Indentured people were often given two suits as compensation upon release, with the common caveat of “one whereof to be new.”
Okur, Nilgun Anadolu. “Underground Railroad in Philadelphia, 1830-1860.” Journal of Black Studies Vol. 25, No. 5 (May 1995), 537-57.
Despite apparent willingness to aid fugitive slaves, many whites in Philadelphia resented their presence and that of other free black men. In the 1820s, the American Colonization Society purchased a new territory on the Atlantic coast of Africa, which they named Liberia, the Latin word for “freedom.” The national organization sought to encourage and fund the emigration of blacks to Liberia by soliciting member donations, presented as a return to Africa.