|Created||June 30, 1779|
|Author(s)||General Sir Henry Clinton|
|Purpose||To encourage slaves to run away and enlist in the British Armed Forces|
The proclamation extended the scope of Dunmore's Proclamation, issued four years earlier by Virginia's last Royal governor, Lord Dunmore, granting freedom to slaves in Virginia willing to serve the Royal forces. The new document, issued from Clinton's temporary headquarters at the Philipsburg Manor House in Westchester County, New York, proclaimed all slaves in the newly established United States belonging to American Patriots free, regardless of their willingness to fight for the Crown. It further promised protection, freedom and land to any slaves who left their master.
The move was one of desperation on the part of the British, who realized that the Revolution was not going in their favor. In a way it was too successful: so many slaves escaped (over 5,000 from Georgia alone), that Clinton ordered many to return to their masters. Following the war, about 3,000 former slaves were relocated to Nova Scotia, where they were known as Black Loyalists. Many continued on to Sierra Leone, where they established Freetown, its capital.
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