TO BE SOLD
This country born NEGRO WENCH, 24 years old, now pregnant, and bids fair to make more recruits for Lord Dunmore. Any person, or family, where that is esteemed no fault, can make an easy bargain with her present mistress.
Enquire of the PRINTERS
Before the colonies won freedom from Britain, an emancipation proclamation liberated hundreds of slaves. Ads published in The Courant during the Revolution, such as the one above that ran June 1, 1779, and June 8, 1779, testified to its effectiveness.
John Murray, Lord Dunmore, "proclaimed liberty" in April 1775, granting freedom to any slave who managed to escape to the British.
Guocun Yang, a professor at Manchester Community College who has analyzed "for sale" and runaway ads published in three Connecticut newspapers, including The Courant, says scholars are still debating how many slaves responded to the offer. The numbers in Virginia alone ranged from 800 to 2,000 and included slaves belonging to Thomas Jefferson. The proclamation helped to spur George Washington to give permission for African Americans to enlist in the Continental Army.
Slaves in Connecticut responded to Dunmore's call as well. Throughout the war, The Courant published ads seeking runaway slaves believed to have joined the British ranks. One who accepted the royal governor's invitation was the fiddle-playing Tite. He made it behind British lines, only to be "taken from the enemy." He managed to escape from the slave-owning colonists again and on July 27, 1779, Nathaniel Patten of Hartford and James Eliot of Philadelphia offered a $40 reward for Tite's return.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times