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August The Forth 1723
to the Right Raverrand father in god my Lord arch Bishop of
Lonnd . . .
this coms to sattesfie your honour that there is in this Land of
verJennia a Sort of people that is Calld molatters which are Baptised
and brouaht up in the way of the Christian faith and followes the
ways and Rulles of the Chrch of England and sum of them has white
fathars and sum white mothers and there is in this Land a Law or act
which keeps and makes them and there seed Slaves forever . . .
wee your humbell and poore partishinners doo begg Sir your aid
and assisttancce in this one thing . . . which is that your honour will
by the help of our Sufvering [i.e., sovereign] Lord King George and
the Rest of the Rullers will Releese us out of this Cruell Bondegg . . .
/and here it is to bee notd that one brother is a Slave to another and
one Sister to an othe which is quite out of the way and as for mee
my selfe I am my brothers Slave but my name is Secrett/
wee are commandded to keep holey the Sabbath day and wee doo
hardly know when it comes for our task mastrs are has hard with
us as the Egypttions was with the Chilldann of Issarall . . . wee are
kept out of the Church and matrimony is deenied us and to be plain
they doo Look no more upon us then if wee ware dogs which I hope
when these Strange lines comes to your Lord Ships hands will be
Looket in to . . .
And Sir wee your humble perticners do humblly beg . . . that our
childarn may be broatt up in the way of the Christtian faith and our
desire is that they may be Larnd the Lords prayer the creed and the
ten commandements and that they may appeare Every Lord’s day
att Church before the Curatt to bee Exammond for our desire is
that godllines Shoulld abbound amongs us and wee desire that our
Childarn be putt to Scool and Larnd to Reed through the Bybell
My Riting is vary bad . . . I am but a poore Slave that writt itt and
has no other time butt Sunday and hardly that att Sumtimes . . . wee
dare nott Subscribe any mans name to this for feare of our masters
for if they knew that wee have Sent home to your honour wee
Should goo neare to Swing upon the gallass tree.
Thomas N. Ingersoll, "Releese Us out of This Cruell Bondegg: An Appeal from
Virginia in 1723" William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series,
51 (october 1994): 776-82.
||Several North American
||Slavery was spreading
across North America.
||Edmund Gibson the
Bishop of London
||To attain freedom
Southern slave owners tried to make
slavery a complete institution, one
that kidnapped Africans and their
descendants could not hope to escape.
Yet, these slaves desired and
sometimes pursued freedom, although
only a small proportion could read and
write. This letter was written in
1723 by several mixed-race Christian
slaves to the bishop of London, who
had oversight over Anglican parishes
in America. Bishop Gibson did not
respond to the letter.