November 24, 1789
To the Representatives of the Freemen of the Common-Wealth of Pennsylvania in general Assembly met.
The Petition of the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of Slavery and the Relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in Bondage. Respectfully sheweth—
That deeply impressed with a Truth similar to the Declaration set forth in the Act for the gradual Abolition of Slavery that “it is not for us to enquire why in the Creation of Mankind the Inhabitants of the several Parts of the Earth were distinguished by a difference in Feature or Complexion it is sufficient to know that all are the Work of the Almighty Hand.” And sincerely animated by a Desire “of removing as much as possible the Sorrows of those who have lived in underscribed Bondage” a Number of Citizens associated together and with persevering Diligence have afforded in many Instances the Means of obtaining that Relief which the Legislature humanely intended to dispense.
That your Petitioners in the Course of their Pursuits, have long since discovered the Necessity of a continued Attention to the Situation of those who have been emancipated, in Order to form their Minds to Habits of Virtue and Industry, and to fit them and their Offspring for becoming useful Members of Society. The more effectually to prosecute so necessary and desirable a Work, the Society have united this Branch of civil Duty, with the original Designs of the Institution and have formed a System for improving the Condition of the free Blacks; but a Design so extensive can-not be conducted with success without considerable Funds. These your Petitioners concieve readily may be obtained from the benevolent and the humane, if a permanency and Security Could be given to their donations, and that the Society would then in many instances meet with Requests and Assistance even unsought for.
Your Petitioners therefore request that they may be incorporated, and that you will be pleased to grant them leave to bring in a bill for that purpose.
By order of the Society
B. Franklin Prest.
Labels: Papers of Benjamin Franklin