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Oswald, Eleazer, (fl. 1788) The Independent Gazetteer; Or, The Chronicle of Freedom. [Vol. 7, no. 728 (April 12, 1788)]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09728 Author/Creator: Oswald, Eleazer, (fl. 1788) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Newspaper Date: 12 April 1788 Pagination: 4 p. ; 28.7 x 23.7 cm. Order a Copy PDF Download(s): Download PDF

One newspaper published by Eleazer Oswald entitled "The Independent Gazetteer; Or, The Chronicle of Freedom" dated April 12, 1788. The newspaper features advertisements and news on shipping. Of particular note is a petition by Prince Hall against the kidnapping of African American seamen. The petition was presented to the General Court of Massachusetts. It enlightens the court of discontent due to the kidnapping of freed African American sailors who were sold into slavery. It asks that actions be taken to protect the African American sailors in Boston so that they no longer have to live in fear and lose money due to not working. It also notes that some ships that sail from Boston are slave ships that after selling their cargo of enslaved humans return to port "like honest men after having sported with the lives and liberty of their fellow men, and at the same time call themselves Christians." The newspaper also prints a letter from Mr. Lambert to Thomas Jefferson encouraging commerce between France and the United States.

[Draft Created by Crowdsourcing]
NEW-YORK April 8.
The following is a copy of a petition presented to the General Court of Massachusetts, by a free negro in the town of Boston.

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Maffachufetts Bay, in General Court assembled, on the 27th February, 1788

The Petition of a great number of Blacks, Freemen of this Commonwealth,

Humbly Sheweth,
THAT your petitioners are justly alarmed at the inhumane and cruel treatment that three of our brethren, free citizens of the town of Boston, lately received. The captain under pretence that his vessel was in distress on an island below in this harbour, having got them on board, put them in irons, and carried them off from their wives and children, to be fold for slaves; this being the state of these poor men, what can your petitioners expect but to be treated in the same manner by the same sort of men? - What then are our lives and liberties worth, if they may be taken away in such a cruel and unjust manner as this? May it please your honours, we are not insensible, that the good laws of this state forbid all such bad actions: notwithstanding, we can assure your honors, that many of our free blacks, that have entered on board of vessels as seamen, have been sold for slaves, and some of them we have heard from, but know not who carried them away. Hence it is, that many of us, who are good seamen, are obliged to stay at home through fear, and the one half of out time loiter about the streets, for want to employ, whereas if they are protected in that calling, they might get a handsome livelihood for themselves and theirs, which, in the situation they are now in, they cannot. One thing more we would beg leave to hint, that is, that your petitioners have, for some time past, beheld with grief, ships cleared out from this harbour for Africa, and there they either steal, or cause others to steal, our brothers and sisters, and fill their ships holds full of unhappy men and women, crouded together, then set out to find the best market, to sell them there like sheep for the slaughter, and then return here like honest men after having sported with the lives and liberty of their fellow men, and at the same time call themselves Christians. Blush, O Heavens! at this, these our weighty grievances! We chearfully submit to your honors, without dictating in the least, knowing by experience that your honors have, and we trust ever will in your wisdom do us that justice that our present condition requires, as GOD and the good laws of this commonwealth shall ictate you.
And as in duty bound, your petitioners shall ever pray.

Hall, Prince, 1738-1807
Oswald, Eleazer, 1755-1795
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
Lambert, Charles-Guillaume, 1726-1793

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