Slavery in pennsylvania-Slavery in Pennsylvania - Jack H. Schick

Footnotes were numbered consecutively with the exception of note 37a, likely an interpolation during printing , beginning anew with each chapter. They have been renumbered here in a single sequence to facilitate searches. The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain. There were negroes in the region around the Delaware river before Pennsylvania was founded, in the days of the Dutch and the Swedes. As early as mention is made of a convict sentenced to be taken to South River to serve among the blacks there.

Slavery in pennsylvania

Slavery in pennsylvania

Slavery in pennsylvania

Slavery in pennsylvania

Votes Slavery in pennsylvania ProceedingsII, On a relatively small farm, it was cheaper than owning slaves. Home - - - - The Naughty car games was accomplished in Massachusetts inand in New Hampshire inby construction of the constitution. This protest, faint in the beginning and taken up only by a few idealists, was never stopped afterwards, but, growing continually in strength, was, Slavery in pennsylvania the events of after years showed, from the first fraught with foreboding of doom to the institution. Their feeling about the slave-trade and their desire to stop it are revealed again and again in the meeting minutes. On several occasions during war negro slaves were captured from the enemy and brought to Pennsylvania, where they were sold as ordinary prize-goods—things. Miscellaneous Papers, Sept. Early Pennsylvania was not immune to the tragedy of slavery.

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Anti-slavery pamphlets and writings were rare in the South, but widely distributed in pennsylvznia state of Pennsylvania. They were inspired by revolutionary ideals as Busty christy gallery as continued appeals by Quaker and Methodist clergy for manumission of slaves. Post was pensnylvania sent - check your email addresses! Here is a local TV station account of the event. It required that they and children of African-descended indentured servants be registered at birth. He wrote that he preferred them to white indentured servants, "for then a man has them while they live. To verify pennsylvana no additional slaves were imported, the Act SSlavery a registry of all slaves in the state. Slaves were to be registered Slavery in pennsylvania those not recorded were to be free. Throughout the Pennsylvania Colony, the children of free blacks, without exception, were bound out by the Slavery in pennsylvania justices of the peace until age 24 if male or 21 if female. By all Pennsylvanian African Americans were free unless they were fugitives from the South. Beyond those facts, though, Slavery in pennsylvania know nothing else. Home - - - -

When the Dutch and Swedes established colonies in the Delaware Valley of what is now Pennsylvania, in North America, they quickly imported African slaves for workers; the Dutch also transported them south from their colony of New Netherland.

  • It was the first act abolishing slavery in the course of human history to be adopted by a democracy.
  • As well as directly using slave labour, the American colonies, including Pennsylvania, were economically dependent on trade with the slave economies of the West Indies.

Though Pennsylvania initially worked to sustain slavery in the U. Pennsylvania was a slaveholding colony from its inception, but it was not as deeply invested in slavery as other Mid-Atlantic colonies. Though the institution remained small, it faced significant moral opposition, especially from the Society of Friends commonly called Quakers.

In , a meeting of Friends in Germantown denounced slavery and exhorted fellow Friends to treat all people according to the Golden Rule. Pacifist Quakers worried that slavery encouraged violence, both by masters and rebellious slaves. The first abolition society in colonial America, the PAS successfully lobbied for the passage of a Gradual Emancipation Law in Pennsylvania , which took effect in March Despite these conservative provisions, many owners emancipated slaves unaffected by the law, usually on the condition that these former slaves would sign contracts for long periods of indenture.

Other slaves simply ran away and claimed freedom for themselves. By , only slaves remained in the state, but those black Pennsylvanians who were now indentured servants still did not enjoy complete freedom throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

After providing for gradual emancipation, Pennsylvania subsequently sought to keep slavery out of the state entirely. In , the Commonwealth passed a law forbidding people from forcibly carrying Pennsylvania citizens out of state.

The act was aimed at keeping violent slave catchers out of the state and preserving the liberty of black Pennsylvanians. The Supreme Court nullified the law as a violation of the federal Fugitive Slave Act in the landmark case of Prigg v. Pennsylvania in Yet this had unintended consequences as the proliferation of such laws was a factor in the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of , which gave the federal government vast powers to hunt, examine and return alleged fugitive slaves in every state in the Union, effectively nationalizing slavery.

While Commonwealth authorities sought to keep slavery out of the state, a new radical organization, the American Anti-Slavery Society AAS began to call for the immediate abolition of slavery throughout the country. They flooded the slaveholding South with thousands of abolition pamphlets, petitioned government to end slavery and harbored fugitive slaves who had escaped to the free states.

The committee coordinated the Underground Railroad in the region, helping fugitive slaves escape through the North to Canada, where they would be beyond the reach of federal slave catchers. CWPA welcomes your feedback. To share your comments or Civil War stories, please e-mail editor pacivilwar Open Calendar.

Get personal with the Civil War. Hear the Gettysburg Address, see Civil War artifacts and navigate the timeline and map. The PA Civil War commemoration has concluded. You are viewing a static, archived version of the PA Civil War website which will not be updated. It is a snapshot of the website with minor modifications as it appeared on July 16, Slavery and Freedom in Pennsylvania. History Of Slavery In Pennsylvania Pennsylvania was a slaveholding colony from its inception, but it was not as deeply invested in slavery as other Mid-Atlantic colonies.

Clashes With Federal Law After providing for gradual emancipation, Pennsylvania subsequently sought to keep slavery out of the state entirely. Radicals Organize To End Slavery While Commonwealth authorities sought to keep slavery out of the state, a new radical organization, the American Anti-Slavery Society AAS began to call for the immediate abolition of slavery throughout the country.

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Watson's two-volume "Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in the Olden Time," published in several editions in the s and '50s, was a widely read popular history of the state. 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. And Whereas Attempts may be made to evade this Act, by introducing into this State, Negroes and Mulattos, bound by Covenant to serve for long and unreasonable Terms of Years, if the same be not prevented. Wars in the s disrupted immigration patterns and cut down on the indentured servant pool. The conference went better than expected and a large majority of the guests went back to Peter Wentz Farmstead to continue further discussions over dinner. Beginning that year, the colony passed laws to try slaves and free blacks in non-jury courts, rather than under the same terms as other residents of the colony. The Act specifically exempted members of the U.

Slavery in pennsylvania

Slavery in pennsylvania

Slavery in pennsylvania

Slavery in pennsylvania

Slavery in pennsylvania

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Several, such as Benjamin Rush, Thomas Paine, and Richard Wells noted the hypocrisy of Americans "who condemned the tyranny of England's colonial pollicies…while holding one-fifth of the colonial population in chains. Expressing similar sentiments is the "Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery" passed by the Pennsylvania Assembly in It was the first such legislative enactment in America.

Drafted by a committee of Revolutionary Pennsylvania's new political leaders and probably guided through the Assembly by George Bryan, the act begins with an expression of gratitude for deliverance from the "tyranny of Great Britain" and for the opportunity to "extend a portion of that freedom to others. When released from slavery, they were to receive the same freedom dues and other privileges "such as tools of their trade," as servants bound by indenture for four years.

Slaves were to be registered and those not recorded were to be free. The bill passed by a vote of 34 to Probably, they feared that emancipation of slaves would affect their social status in Pennsylvania. Episcopal and Presbyterian representatives split on the issue.

The law freed few slaves immediately. Although Pennsylvanians could no longer legally import slaves; they could buy and sell those who had been registered.

Indeed, some pro-slavery residents of counties along the Delaware and Maryland borders violated the law and continued to buy slaves from those states until the law was tightened in l In , conservative assemblymen attempted to extend the registration dead line and to re-enslave those whom courts had declared free because their owners had failed to register them in time.

Simultaneously, they attempted also to repeal the Gradual Abolition Act. Only with great effort were slavery's opponents able to defeat these attempted revisions. Despite such resistance to change, slavery declined after the passage of the act.

In addition to emphasizing slavery's inconsistency with religious beliefs and philosophical principles, opponents pointed to its increasingly evident economic impracticality. Some owners freed their slaves during their lifetimes, while others provided for freedom in their wills.

The Pennsylvania Abolition Society purchased a significant number of slaves and promptly set them free. Between and , the number of slaves dropped from 3, to 1, and by to In , there still were 64 slaves in the state, but by there were none. The act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in Pennsylvania had achieved its sponsors' objectives - very gradually. When we contemplate our Abhorence of that Condition to which the Arms and Tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us, when we look back on the Variety of Dangers to which we have been exposed, and how miraculously our Wants in many Instances have been supplied and our Deliverances wrought, when even Hope and human fortitude have become unequal to the Conflict; we are unavoidably led to a serious and grateful Sense of the manifold Blessings which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being from whom every good and perfect Gift cometh.

Impressed with these Ideas we conceive that it is our duty, and we rejoice that it is in our Power, to extend a Portion of that freedom to others, which hath been extended to us; and a Release from that State of Thraldom, to which we ourselves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every Prospect of being delivered. 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.

Weaned by a long Course of Experience from those narrow Prejudices and Partialities we had imbibed, we find our Hearts enlarged with Kindness and Benevolence towards Men of all Conditions and Nations; and we conceive ourselves at this particular Period extraordinarily called upon by the Blessings which we have received, to manifest the Sincerity of our Profession and to give a substantial Proof of our Gratitude.

And whereas, the Condition of those Persons who have heretofore been denominated Negroe and Mulatto Slaves, has been attended with Circumstances which not only deprived them of the common Blessings that they were by Nature entitled to, but has cast them into the deepest Afflictions by an unnatural Separation and Sale of Husband and Wife from each other, and from their Children; an Injury the greatness of which can only be conceived, by supposing that we were in the same unhappy Case.

In Justice therefore to Persons so unhappily circumstanced and who, having no Prospect before them whereon they may rest their Sorrows and their hopes have no reasonable Inducement to render that Service to Society, which they otherwise might; and also ingrateful Commemoration of our own happy Deliverance, from that State of unconditional Submission, to which we were doomed by the Tyranny of Britain. Be it enacted and it is hereby enacted by the Representatives of the Freemen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in General Assembly met and by the Authority of the same, That all Persons, as well Negroes, and Mulattos, as others, who shall be born within this State, from and after the Passing of this Act, shall not be deemed and considered as Servants for Life or Slaves; and that all Servitude for Life or Slavery of Children in Consequence of the Slavery of their Mothers, in the Case of all Children born within this State from and after the passing of this Act as aforesaid, shall be, an hereby is, utterly taken away, extinguished and for ever abolished.

We would sleep in a barn. My first time sleeping in a barn was in Simpsonville , SC. A runaway ad for an enslaved man named Jack is written proof that the owners of the property were enslavers.

Sarah Biehl is the curator there and she is ensuring that the story of Adam is told. There are historic sites in some northern states that are doing what is necessary to change the narrative and tell the stories of those people who were enslaved there.

The Slave Dwelling Project continues to work with many of these sites. The Slave Dwelling Project will always be here to assist in that effort. Black boys like her son, Kemp said, have no such protection. But what of its less celebratory past? To the question of whether and where enslaved people were auctioned in downtown Lancaster, Randy had no answer.

Ditto the matter of where enslaved people lived. Many were sent back into slavery. I also found newspaper accounts of the thriving cotton mills Lancaster opened in the s—mills that helped perpetuate Southern slavery, and whose existence Thaddeus Stevens praised.

The weekend visit by the Slave Dwelling Project was a welcome reminder that like the slave dwellings Joe McGill is working to preserve, this part of the story needs our attention. Our hosts and guides wanted to be sure we knew that Pennsylvania abolished slavery in Freedom-seeking enslaved people needed to get out of the states where slavery remained legal to have a chance of achieving their goal.

But they also had to get beyond the reach of the slave-catchers before they could have a moment to catch their breath. The mighty river was a deterrent.

Once across it, they might find help and continue their journey out of the country. Columbia and Lancaster, old cities along the river in Lancaster County, are proud of their history of supporting fleeing African Americans by hiding them, passing them along in various clever ways to other hiding places, and sending them northwest by train or by river, toward Canada.

The next day, we took a walking tour of places associated with African American history in Lancaster, including the home and offices of Thaddeus Stevens.

Yes, slavery was abolished in , but not all at once, on a date certain. It was a gradual emancipation program. People enslaved in remained enslaved. The law also stated that no additional enslaved people could be imported into the state, but a variety of records and oral histories make it clear there was little enforcement. Abolitionists and Underground Railroad operators lived side by side with slave owners and communities of free African Americans. There are no portraits of either Wentz or of their children, so we do not know what they looked like.

But we do know what Jack looked like. Jack was an enslaved person, probably one of two people held in slavery by the Wentz family. Because Jack tried to gain his freedom, not once but twice, we know what he looked like and how he was dressed. He was described in runaway notices posted both times he made a break for liberty.

We know he had one leg that was larger around than the other, and that he wore buckskin breeches. Beyond those facts, though, we know nothing else. Nonetheless, the current staff of the Peter Wentz Farmstead have not been discouraged from interpreting Jack and bringing him as much to life as possible.

They tell his story as they talk about the main house; they have decided to set up an unheated, airless loft room as a possible living space for Jack because in other farm buildings in the area, such lofts were used to house enslaved people. We held our overnight in the barn, with the possibility that Jack, or another enslaved person, might have slept closer to his work in the barn with the hay and the farm animals, as was also customary.

Based on the runaway notices, replicas of the clothing Jack wore are being created, to be displayed in the loft. Cooking demonstrations take place in the back kitchen, and the Farmstead is still an active agricultural enterprise. He might have cooked or done domestic trades.

He might have taken care of cattle, sheep or goats. And once we can visualize Jack and imagine what his life might have been like, we have a deeper understanding of what slavery in northern states looked like. What has been invisible has been made visible; what was undiscussable is now up for daily conversation. Well done, Peter Wentz Farmstead! We began compiling information for the interpretation and realized this was unchartered waters for us.

One thing that we knew is that we wanted to do it right and consult respected professionals in the field. Interestingly enough, only a few weeks after this decision was made, we learned that the Slave Dwelling Project was making a trip up north, and knew we had to have them. Parker discussed how to interpret the topic, McKnight informed the audience of the harsh realities for African American reenactors, and McGill spoke about northern slave dwellings.

The conference went better than expected and a large majority of the guests went back to Peter Wentz Farmstead to continue further discussions over dinner. The conversations were friendly, knowledgeable, and left many of us feeling hopeful that maybe someday soon museums could finally get interpreting slavery right. Spending the night in the Columbia Bridge Bank in Columbia, Pennsylvania certainly offered innovative ways to face history. It allowed me to imagine how it must have felt to be hiding from slave catchers in the bank, waiting for instructions from African American abolitionists such as Stephen Smith and William Whipper, and then hiding in the African American neighborhood of Tow Hill.

It allowed me to learn about these two African American abolitionists and about the African American neighborhood of Tow Hill whose residents sheltered hundreds of people who were trying to escape from enslavement. Before this overnight, I had not heard about these two African American abolitionists and about the African American neighborhood of Tow Hill. I believe this is because I learned about the contributions of the European American abolitionists not the African American ones in school.

Learning this reinforced the myth that the European Americans were the saviors and the African Americans were the victims. This could not be further from the truth.

Slavery in Pennsylvania – History of American Women

Footnotes were numbered consecutively with the exception of note 37a, likely an interpolation during printing , beginning anew with each chapter. They have been renumbered here in a single sequence to facilitate searches.

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain. There were negroes in the region around the Delaware river before Pennsylvania was founded, in the days of the Dutch and the Swedes.

As early as mention is made of a convict sentenced to be taken to South River to serve among the blacks there. Five years later Vice-director Beekman desired Governor Stuyvesant to send him a company of blacks. In negroes were wanted to work on the lowlands along the Delaware.

A contract was to be made for fifty, which the West India Company would furnish. From Peter Alricks several were taken; of these eleven were restored to him. Thus negroes had been brought into the country before Pennsylvania was founded. They were certainly present in Philadelphia County in , and in Chester in In they were spoken of as numerous.

This is evident from the fact that during the colonial period the Assembly of Pennsylvania passed a long series of acts imposing restrictions upon the traffic. In a maximum duty of twenty shillings was imposed on each negro imported.

Five years later this duty was doubled. Meanwhile an act to continue this duty had been passed in —, but apparently it was not submitted to the Crown. In — the five pound duty was again imposed, this act also not being submitted.

Up to this time restrictive legislation had been largely frustrated. It had encountered not only the disapproval of certain classes in Pennsylvania, but the powerful opposition of the African Company, which could count on the decisive interposition of the Lords of Trade.

The Assembly resolved that such a law would be injurious to the public and unjust to those who owned negroes and hired them out, but the restrictions on importing them were maintained. This became law by lapse of time. In the duty was reduced to two pounds.

Referring to this fact a message from the Assembly to the governor says that while the King has seemed to desire the importation of servants rather than of negroes, yet the enlistment acts make such property so precarious, that it seems to depend on the will of the servant and the pleasure of the officer. By importation had nearly ceased. A few years later the great efforts made in the last French and Indian War caused loud complaints again about enlisting servants.

This is probably just what occurred, for the increase of negroes is said to have been alarming. The law was carried only after considerable effort. While the bill was in the hands of the governor a petition was sent to him, signed by twenty-four merchants of Philadelphia, who set forth the scarcity and high price of labor, and their need of slaves. One provision of the act was that a new settler need not pay the duty if he did not sell his slave within eighteen months.

In it was made perpetual, the former law having been found to be of great public utility; but the duty was raised to twenty pounds. The act of was the last one which the Assembly passed to limit the importation of negroes. Not only was the duty sufficiently high, now, but its presence was hardly needed.

Shortly thereafter, in , the state did what England had never permitted while she held authority: forbade the importation of slaves entirely. The real reason for the passage of these laws is not always clear. They may have been passed either to keep negroes out, [28] or to raise revenue for the govern ment.

It may be added that Pennsylvania always held, both in colonial times and afterwards, that England forced slavery upon her. That there was much justice in this complaint the failure of the earlier legislation goes far to sustain. When so brought, however, they were found to be unable to endure the winter cold in Pennsylvania, so that it was considered preferable to buy the second generation in the West Indies, after they had become acclimated.

At times Pennsylvania herself exported a few to other places. The usual price for an adult seems to have been somewhere near forty pounds. Not only are there few official reports, but these reports, in the absence of any definite census, are of little value. In these estimates no attempt was made to distinguish the free from the slaves. The number of slaves, it is true, was very near the total at both these periods, but after the middle of the century it began dwindling as the number of negro servants and free men increased.

In a careful estimate placed the slaves at 6, Of these negroes the great majority throughout the slavery period were located in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, in and around Philadelphia.

There were negroes near the site of Columbia by John Harris had slaves by the Susquehanna as early as In Hugh Mercer wrote from the vicinity of Pittsburg asking for two negro girls and a boy. The tax-lists and local accounts reveal their presence in many other places.

In general it may be said that they were owned in the English, Welsh, and Scotch-Irish communities. The Germans as a rule held no slaves. In rare instances a considerable number is recorded as belonging to one man, and the iron-masters generally had several. The tax-lists, however, indicate that the average holding was one or two, except in Philadelphia among the wealthier classes where it was double that number. The character of slavery in Pennsylvania was in many respects unique, but in no way was this so true as in connection with the number of negroes held.

Thus there were fewer in New England than in the middle colonies; there were fewer there than in the South. But to this rule Pennsylvania was an exception, for it had fewer negroes than New Jersey, and not half so many as New York. The first of these are easily understood. They resulted from the character of many of the people who settled Pennsylvania, their dislike for slavery, and their refusal to hold slaves.

During the whole of the eighteenth century the activities of the colony developed along two lines not favorable to negro labor: small farming, and manufacturing and commerce. In commerce no large number of negroes was ever employed, while manufacturing demanded a higher grade of labor than slaves could give. It is true that in some cases where there was an approach to the factory system, and where the work was rough and needed little skill, slaves could answer every purpose.

For this reason at the old ironworks negroes were in demand. It was because of its industrial character that Pennsylvania was peculiarly the colony of indentured white servants. Barring all other considerations, the cost of a slave was a considerable item, not to be afforded by a struggling settler; hence slavery never attained magnitude on the frontier.

Before Pennsylvania was all frontier; hence it had very few negroes. In the period from to about the country between the Delaware and the Susquehanna was filled up, and the early conditions largely disappeared. It was then that the greatest number of negroes was introduced. In the period between the middle of the century and the Revolution this older country became well developed and prosperous; farms became larger and better cultivated; there were numerous respectable manufacturers and wealthy merchants.

These men could easily afford to have slaves, and large importations might have been expected; but there was no great influx of negroes. Economic conditions were favorable, but ethical influences worked strongly against it. In this eastern half of Pennsylvania two racial elements predominated: the Germans and the English Quakers.

The Germans had abstained from slave-holding from the first; [49] the Quakers were now coming to abhor it. Here the settlers were largely Scotch-Irish, and had no dislike for slavery, but as yet the conditions of their life did not favor it.

The legal origin of slavery [52] in Pennsylvania is not easy to discover, for the statute of , which seems to have recognized slavery there, is, like similar statutes in some of the other American colonies, very indirect and uncertain in its wording.

Before this time, it is true, there occur instances where negroes were held for life, so that undoubtedly there was de facto slavery; but by what authority it existed, or how it began, is not clear. It may have grown up to meet the necessities of a new country. It may have been an inheritance from earlier colonists. It is probable that slavery existed among the Dutch of New Netherland, and possibly among the Swedes along the Delaware.

Meanwhile around the estuary of the Delaware English colonists were settling with their negroes. In them it is also ordained that no Christian shall be held in bond slavery or villenage.

In the years following at first no act was passed recognizing slavery, but that some slaves were held there is apparent. Numerous little pieces of evidence may be accumulated indicating that there were negroes who were not being held as servants for a term of years, nor does anything appear to indicate that this was looked upon as illegal. It is not until that a statute was passed bearing upon the subject.

If such be the case, this law may be said to contain the formal recognition of slavery in the colony. The legal development of this slavery was rapid and brief. The Assembly of Pennsylvania, unlike that of Virginia, never seems to have thought it necessary to define the status of the slave as property, the consequences of slave baptism, or the line of servile descent.

Accordingly the steps in the development are neither obvious nor distinct. They rest not so much upon statute as upon court decisions interpreting usage, and in many cases the decisions do not come until the end of the slavery period. Notwithstanding all this there was a development, which may be said to fall into three periods. During the earliest years slavery in Pennsylvania differed from servitude in but little, save that servitude was for a term of years and slavery was for life.

It may be questioned whether at first all men recognized even this difference. Accordingly at first there may have been some negroes who were held as servants for a term of years, and who were discharged when they had served their time.

In the growth of the colony, however, this feeling did not continue strong enough to be decisive. Economic adjustment, an influx of men of different standards, and motives of expediency, perhaps of necessity, made the legal recognition of an inferior status inevitable. Against this the upholders of the idea that negroes should be held only as servants, for a term of years, waged a losing fight.

It is true they did not desist, and in the course of one hundred years their view won a complete triumph; but their success came in abolition, and in overthrowing a system established, long after they had utterly failed to prevent the swift growth and the statutory recognition of legal slavery for life and in perpetuity.

Aside from this one fundamental difference the incidents of each status were nearly the same. The negro held for life was subject to the same restrictions, tried in the same courts, and punished with the same punishments as the white servant. So far as either class was subject to special regulation at this time it was because of the laws for the management of servants, passed in and , which concerned white servants equally with black slaves.

Slavery in pennsylvania

Slavery in pennsylvania