Memorial from Friends Who Manumitted Slaves to the North Carolina General Assembly
In 1779, the yearly meeting responded to the legislature's libel about the Quakers' motives in freeing their slaves by drafting a petition that explained that they had acted on their convictions that freedom was a natural right that blacks had not forfeited and that slaveholding was unchristian. The fifteen Friends who had freed their slaves in 1777, including Thomas Newby and George Walton, signed on behalf of the meeting. The minutes of the meeting asserted that the ‘Act for “apprehending & Selling Certain Slaves set free contrary to Law, and to distract the publick peace, & for Confirming the Sales of others,” referring to the act to prevent Domestick Insurrections.’
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