First Protest Against Slavery in the New World, Germantown, PA, 1688.
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This is to ye monthly meeting hold at Rigert Warrells. these are the reasons why we are Against the traffik of men-body, as followeth: Is there any that would be done or handled at this manner? viz., to be sold or made a slave for all the time of his life? How fearful & fainthearted are many on sea when they see a strange vassel. being afraid it should be a Turck, and they should be tacken, and sold for slaves into Turckey. Now what is this better done, as Turcks doe? yea, rather is it worse for them wch say they are Christians, for we hear that ye most part of such negers are brought heither Against their will & consent and that many of them are stollen. Now tho they are black, we can not conceive there is more liberty to have them slaves, as it is to have other white ones. there is a saying that we shall doe to all men licke as we will be done ourselves; macking no difference of what generation, descent or Colour they are. and those who steal or robb men, and those who buy or purchase them, are they not all alicke? Here is liberty of conscience wch. is right and reasonable; here ought to be likewise liberty of ye body, except of evildoers, wch is an other case. But to bring men hither, or to robb and sell them Against their will, we stand Against. in Europe there are many oppressed for Conscience sacke; and here there are those oppressed wch are of a Black Colour. and we who know that men must not comitt adultery, some doe comitt adultery in others, separating wifes from their housbands, and giving them to others. and some sell the children of those poor Creatures to other men. Ah! doe consider well this things, you who doe it, if you would be done at this manner? and if it is done according Christianity? You surpass Holland and Germany in this thing. This mackes an ill report in all those Countries of Europe, where they hear off, that ye Quackers doe here handel men licke they handel there ye Cattle. and for that reason some have no mind or inclination to come hither. And who shall maintaine this your cause, or plaid for it? Truely we can not do so, except you shall inform us better hereoff, viz: that christians have liberty to practise this things. Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, then if men should robb or steal us away, & sell us for slaves to strange Countries, separating housband from their wife and children. Being now this is not done at that manner we will be done at, therefore we contradict & are Against this traffic of men body. And we who profess

Credit: Haverford College Library, Haverford, PA, Quaker Collection, Coll. no. 990 B-R

Composed and signed by four German Quakers in 1688, this document is the first organized protest against slavery in the Americas. By the early 1700s the document was forgotten. It reappeared and was published in 1844 as the abolition movement was gaining momentum, then was lost again until rediscovered in 2005 at the Arch Street Meeting House in Philadelphia. It is now at Haverford College Special Collections.

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