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[415] which inhibit their assenting to such laws, as might
Chap. XLVII.} 1772. May.
check so very pernicious a commerce.

In this manner Virginia led the host, who alike condemned slavery and opposed the Slave-Trade. Thousands in Maryland and in New Jersey, were ready to adopt a similar Petition; so were the Legislatures of North Carolina, of Pennsylvania, of New-York. Massachusetts, in its towns and in its Legislature, unceasingly combated the condition as well as the sale of slaves. There was no jealousy among one another in the strife against the crying evil; Virginia harmonized all opinions, and represented the moral sentiment and policy of them all. When her Prayer reached England, Franklin through the Press called to it the sympathy of the people; again and again it was pressed upon the attention of the Ministers. But the Government of that day was less liberal than the tribunals; and while a question respecting a negro from Virginia led the courts of law to an axiom, that, as soon as any slave sets his foot on English ground, he becomes free, the King of England stood in the path of humanity, and made himself the pillar of the colonial Slave-Trade. Wherever in the Colonies a disposition was shown for its restraint, his servants were peremptorily ordered to maintain it without abatement. But he blushed to reject the solemn appeal of Virginia personally to himself, and evaded a reply.1

For the last five years there had been no contested election in Boston. Deceived by the apparent tranquillity, the friends of Government attempted to

1 Hillsborough to Dunmore, 1 July, 1772.

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