Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Mayor's Proclamation, January 22, 1827
- Weekly Natchez Courier, March 2, 1827, Page 5.
Mayor’s Office, Philadelphia, 22d, January, 1827.
The annexed extracts, are from a letter and its enclosures, which I have just received from the honorable David Holmes, and J. E. Davis, Esq. of Natchez — they disclose another most cruel and outrageous aggression committed on the rights of sixteen free coloured persons, principally from this city, but a few of them as I believe from Delaware and Maryland. From the Examinations and depositions had before me in relation to the five blacks who were kidnapped in this city, in August, 1825, who were stopped at Rocky Spring, in the state of Mississippi, in the beginning of 1826, and who were eventually returned to their friends here, through the instrumentality and noble conduct of Messrs. J. W. Hamilton and John Henderson, of that place, I became fully convinced that a number of coloured children, and some men, had been previously stolen from the city and its suburbs, but a few months before, who were not at all connected with those stopped by Messrs. Hamilton and Henderson; but as to their means or manner of abducation, it was then completely a mystery. — The narrative of Peter Hook, as taken by Duncan S. Walker, Esq. at Natchez, throws much light upon the matter, and I trust we shall now be able to elicit such evidence as may produce the return of some of the sufferers. The boys stolen in August, 1825, were carried on board a small schooner, at anchor in the Delaware, below the lower rope walk. It will be perceived that Hook, and some of his fellows, were taken on board a schooner, near Arch-street wharf, in June, 1825. The certainty now is, that the thieves are the same in both instances, and that the same vessel made three or four voyages, between the first of April and the first of September, 1825, and carried away at least twenty free coloured persons, principally children. Attempts have heretofore occasionally been made to carry off individuals from our city— but instances of such high handed and atrocious villainy, are entirely unprecedented, and the complete success of their plan, the mysterious and silent manner in which it was carried into effect— demands the most watchful attention of all classes of the community to prevent its repetition. The offenders are now well know, and it is hoped that justice will yet be executed upon them. The bond and the free have been equally the subject of their rapacity; a number of slaves have been stolen from Maryland and Virginia, by means of this gang.
I am induced thus to address my fellow citizens, as well to apprize them of this gross outrage on their peace and sovereignty, as with a view to the production of any information or legal evidence at present unknown to me, that is connected with this case or any other case, of unpushished kidnapping or man stealing, that has occurred in our neighborhood, within the last three years. Individuals possessing information that is important, will please to reduce it to writing and address it to the Mayor’s Office as speedily as possible.
- Yours, very respectfully,
- Joseph Watson, Mayor.
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