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Joseph Watson to J. W. Hamilton, February 24,1826

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
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Henderson, John, Joseph Watson, Job Brown, Thomas Bradford, R. L. Kennon, Joshua Boucher, H. V. Somerville, and Eric Ledell Smith. "Notes and Documents: Rescuing African American Kidnapping Victims in Philadelphia as Documented in the Joseph Watson Papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 129, no. 3 (2005): 317-45. Accessed May 15, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20093801.

This letter is in reply to

Joseph Watson followed up to this letter in

Joseph Watson to J. W. Hamilton, February 24, 1826

Mayor's office, Philada. Feby. 24. 1827.

Dear Sir,

I have this moment received your favour of January 27th and hasten to reply to it. I beg you to receive my thanks for the information you have therein given me, and for the humane and noble part you have so promptly taken in the business. I received from Mr. John Henderson of your place, a letter of January 2d. since which I have written to him three times, which communications you have no doubt read. It must afford to both of you sincere pleasure to know that by your generous interference you have snatched these victims from the infamous kidnappers who had them in possession. I shall immediately forward to you and Mr. Henderson, a mass of depositions, and documents, which will instantly turn your suspicions into certainty, as to the infamous thief Johnson and his associates. A grand Jury, enquiring for the City and County of Philadelphia, will sit on the 6th March, before whom a true Bill of Indictment will to a certainty be found against the whole concern mentioned in the letter of Mr. Henderson. After which I shall immediately ask Governor Shultze, to demand Johnson from the Goveror of your state, as a fugitive from the justice of ours, and will endeavour to make some speedy arrangement for the return of these Children to their parents and masters.

I pledge myself to you to leave no stone unturned for the eventual apprehension and conviction of this gang of kidnappers. It is owing to the infamous conduct of such scoundrels as these, that the legal claimants of slaves sometimes meet with difficulty in detecting their runaways. — I regret to say that these attempts at kidnapping, notwithstanding the vigilance of the police, are frequently made, and too often with success. —

I have documents and depositions which will be immediately forwarded, that put the cases of Sam, the Jersey boy — Enos Tilghman, Alexander Manlove, and Cornelius Sinclair, at Tuscaloosa beyond a doubt, as to their being kidnapped free citizens of this State, and that they have been kidnapped by John Smith, the mulatto, Thomas Collins, Joseph Johnson, and Abraham F. Johnson, some of these worthies have already been convicted for Negro stealing, and publickly whipped in the State of Delaware. I trust from the description you have given of Mary Fisher, and which I shall immediately send to James Rogers Esqr. the Attorney General of Delaware, that I shall soon be able to give you satisfactiontory evidence in her case. —

In the case of the murdered sweep boy Joe, I have as yet, but a single link in the chain, but enough however to convince me, that he too was kidnapped. I pray you to hold on to these boys, and to the woman Mary, — every day will make your case stronger, as the proof will continue to accumulate, and justify you in the humane stand you have taken. —

I have the honor to be
Your obedt. sert.
Joseph Watson

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