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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – May 1

May 7, 2018

Poem of the Week 05/1/18

HERE IS LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE

Mark Fogarty

There is a saying, that we shall doe to all men
like as we will be done ourselves;
making no difference of what generation, descent or colour
they are. And those who steal or robb men,
and those who buy or purchase them,
are they not all alike?

Here is liberty of conscience, wch is right and reasonable;
here ought to be likewise liberty of ye body,
except of evil-doers, wch is an other case.
But to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will,
we stand against.

Pray, what thing in the world
can be done worse towards us,
than if men should rob or steal us away,
and sell us for slaves to strange countries;
separating housbands from their wives and children.
Being now this is not done in the manner
we would be done at
therefore we contradict and are against
this traffic of men-body.

  • from “Germantown Friends’ Protest Against Slavery,” 1688

First protest against slavery in the British colonies, 92 years before the abolition of slavery in Pennsylvania. Signed by Garret henderich, derick up de graeff, Francis daniell Pastorius and Abraham up Den graef.

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