Boston April 9th 1795


I have had the pleasure
of reading your dissertation on the
origin and abolition of slavery in
this state and conceive that you
have traced the history of those transactions
with great accuracy -- I have an
idea however that in the 16 pages
your expression as to the education
of Negros is too strong --

The first causes brot
by Negros against their Masters
were conducted by Judge Lowell
who can give you an account of
that business --

There is an act in
Thomas s Law book page 355 agt
the slave trade passed in 1788
Another in the same year and
in the same book p 349 respecting
foreign Negros; perhaps you have
seen these --

In the year 1781 an
Indictment was found in the County of Worcester against
Nathaniel Jennison of Barre yeoman
for assaulting beating and imprison
-ing Quock Walker. he was
tried at the Supreme Judicial
Court in April 1783 The defence

was that the said Quock was a slave
brought from Affrica and sold to
some person who many years
before had sold him to the Defendt.
and that the assaulting beating
and imprisonment was done
by the defendt as the restraint
and necessary corres correction
of the master on the servt
This was answered by the
Declaration of rights declaring
all men free equal &c The
Judges & Jury were of opinion
that Jennison has not right
to beat or imprison the Negro
he was found guilty & fined 40 /
This decision put an end to the
idea of slavery in this State --

Where Negros have
taken their freedom agt the
consent of their masters and
have since become paupers
there is yet a question respecting
their support -- Some say that
their former masters ought

ought to be at the expense. Others say that
that as the public opinion emancipated
them, they ought to come within the
description of State paupers -- others say
that they are properly town charges.
But to this it is said that they are
within no description of town
Inhabitants -- that towns could
never warn them to depart and
that they could never gain a
legal settlement -- this dispute is
not known in Boston but
it exists in many places in
the country -- suits are pending on
the question but the Judges do
not seem to have formed any
system of opinions on the
subject, and though a bill has
been long before the legislature
nothing is yet agreed upon
respecting it

I am respectfully
yours &c
Ja Sullivan

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Revd Doctor Belknap


Judge Sullivan

31.0 cm x 19.5 cm

From the Jeremy Belknap papers
Image number 4820