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Manumissions for negroes London and Luce, 1773, 1774. : [manuscript]

Identifier: RG0918

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of two (2) handwritten leaves, respectively dating from 1773 and 1774. Collection is in good condition and has been housed in an acid free folder.

Manumissions legalize the emancipation of two slaves, London and Luce, in Dartmouth, MA.


  • 1773, 1774

Historical Note

Slavery in colonial Massachusetts was markedly different than in other British colonies. The plantation operations that characterized the social and economic conditions of the South were largely absent from New England colonies, as the harsh climate made such endeavors impractical. Due to the lack of large-scale agricultural operations, the slave population in Massachusetts was considerably smaller than that of its southerly neighbors.

Despite the discrepancy in the slave population between the North and the South, the legal practice of freeing slaves was the same throughout both regions. Prior to 1783 (when the institution of slavery was abolished in Massachusetts), slave-owners had manumissions (the legal act of freeing a slave) drawn up by a legal representative. Writs of manumission date back to the Roman Empire, and in colonial Massachusetts were all that was required to free a slave.

The manumissions in this collection are notable because they were drawn up during the course of the respective slave-owners’ lifetimes. More often than not, slaves were granted freedom when legal arrangements had been incorporated into a slave-holder’s will.

Those interested in learning more about slavery and the manumission of slaves in the late eighteenth-century will find a variety of circulating and non-circulating volumes available in the Library. Additionally, there are several fascinating printed sermons and addresses regarding the emancipation and anti-slavery politics in the Library’s archive.


.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials


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Repository Details

Part of the Congregational Library & Archives Repository

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