Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 85,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World through the end of the twentieth century.

Mifflin, Warner, 1745-1798 to William Smallwood

Order a pdf of this item here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06508.09 Author/Creator: Mifflin, Warner, 1745-1798 Place Written: Kent, Delaware Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 31 [August] 1786 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 33.7 x 21 cm. Order a Copy

Dated as "the 31st of 8 mo." Written by Mifflin as a Quaker abolitionist to Smallwood as Governor of Maryland. Says he remembers Smallwood's treatment toward him during the Revolution with esteem. Extensively explains his Christian anti-war stance, especially denigrating the idea that war in self-defense is sanctioned by Christianity. Says that United States was given its independence by God in displeasure, because of the sin the nation lives in. Condemns the practice of enslavers in Maryland separating families when they sell enslaved people. Wonders what the fate of the United States will be. "I believe if thou remains Indiferent while such things in going forward that it will in the end tend to thy condemnation." Has heard that enslaved people who are separated from their families commit suicide. Also heard that enslavers have violated a Maryland law prohibiting enslaved people to be imported into the state. States that enslaved people in Virginia would be sent to Maryland for years before being brought back to Virginia, effectively bypassing the law. Mentions a flagrant violator, Peter Challie, a magistrate and Maryland Assemblyman whom he is sure Smallwood knows and can intervene in the case. Address leaf indicates it was sent by Richard Bassett. Letter dated in Quaker fashion, avoiding the pagan names for months. Paper has extensive damage that has been repaired. Text loss on all pages.

Mifflin, Warner, 1745-1798
Smallwood, William, 1732-1792
Challie, Peter, fl. 1786

Citation Guidelines for Online Resources