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Re: Inquiry: Did Henry Laurens free his slaves after the American Revolution?

Henry Laurens issued orders to free George, a personal servant who attended Laurens while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. See Laurens's letter to David Ramsay, December 7, 1790, as well as an earlier letter to Alexander Hamilton on April 19, 1785, in which Laurens mentioned that he had long considered his servant a free man but that George "is now about my house and says he does not want to be more free than he is." Both of these letters are printed in volume 16 of The Papers of Henry Laurens.

Re: Inquiry: Did Henry Laurens free his slaves after the American Revolution?

Hello Jesse,
In volume sixteen of the Papers of Henry Laurens, editors David R. Chesnutt and C. James Taylor has mentioned how Laurens dealt with his slaves in detail. "At his death," according to the editors, "[Laurens freed but one slave]. His stated policy never to sell a slave for profit and to purchase one only to unite a family appears to be supported by the documents" (xxi).

CFP: Moving Pictures: Images Across Media in American Visual and Material Culture to 1900

CALL FOR PAPERS:

Fall Conference: November 20 & 21, 2015

Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC)

American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts

 

Moving Pictures: Images Across Media in American Visual and Material Culture to 1900

Deadline for proposals: May 15, 2015

 

Inquiry: Did Henry Laurens free his slaves after the American Revolution?

I am running into a conflict with a few sources.  I have ready multiple secondary sources on the life of South Carolina’s Henry Laurens.  Some sources indicate that he manumitted around 260 slaves immediately after the American Revolution.  Other sources argue that he only freed a handful of men, if any.  Could anyone point me to a primary source that could shed light on this conflict?  I have examined many of his journals, but have yet to find a definative answer.  

Jesse Cucksee

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