From the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the
Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage.
It is with peculiar satisfaction we assure the friends of humanity, that, in
prosecuting the design of our association, our endeavors have proved successful,
far beyond our most sanguine expectations.
Encouraged by this success, and by the daily progress of that luminous and
benign spirit of liberty, which is diffusing itself throughout the world, and
humbly hoping for the continuance of the divine blessing on our labors, we have
ventured to make an important addition to our original plan, and do therefore
earnestly solicit the support and assistance of all who can feel the tender
emotions of sympathy and compassion, or relish the exalted pleasure of
Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very
extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source
of serious evils.
The unhappy man, who has long been treated as a brute animal, too frequently
sinks beneath the common standard of the human species. The galling chains,
that bind his body, do also fetter his intellectual faculties, and impair the social
affections of his heart. Accustomed to move like a mere machine, by the will of a
master, reflection is suspended; he has not the power of choice; and reason and
conscience have but little influence over his conduct, because he is chiefly
governed by the passion of fear. He is poor and friendless; perhaps worn out by
extreme labor, age, and disease.
Under such circumstances, freedom may often prove a misfortune to himself,
and prejudicial to society.
Attention to emancipated black people, it is therefore to be hoped, will become a
branch of our national policy; but, as far as we contribute to promote this
emancipation, so far that attention is evidently a serious duty incumbent on us,
and which we mean to discharge to the best of our judgement and abilities.
To instruct, to advise, to qualify those, who have been restored to freedom, for
the exercise and enjoyment of civil liberty, to promote in them habits of industry,
to furnish them with employment suited to their age, sex, talents, and other
circumstances, and to procure their children an education calculated for their
future situation in life; these are the great outlines of the annexed plan, which we
have adopted, and which we conceive will essentially promote the public good,
and the happiness of these our hitherto too much neglected fellow-creatures.
A plan so extensive cannot be carried into execution without considerable
pecuniary resources, beyond the present ordinary funds of the Society. We hope
much from the generosity of enlightened and benevolent freemen, and will
gratefully receive any donation or subscriptions for this purpose, which may be
made to our treasurer, James Starr, or to James Pemberton, chairman of our
committee of correspondence.
Signed by order of the Society
B. Franklin, President
Philadelphia, 9th of November, 1789