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‘Supposed to Be a Runaway’
The Intrinsic Injustice of Plantation America

January 19, 1769

The Pennsylvania Gazette

Burlington, January 9, 1769.

WAS committed to the goal of the county of Burlington, on the 5th day of this instant January, a certain man, supposed to be a runaway, [1] a Cooper by trade, about 29 or 30 years of age, [2] says he was born in the county of Derry, in Ireland, and came to this country with Captain Corwell, 7 years ago; [3]

he goes by the name of JOSEPH BENNIN, alias BENNETT, very much pockmarked, with short black hair; has on an old brown nap jacket, with a blue under ditto, black velvet breeches, and black stockings, and check shirt. [4]

His master, if any he has, [5] is hereby desired to come, pay charges, and take him away, in five weeks from the date hereof, otherwise he will be sold for the same, [6] by me EPHRAIM PHILIPS, Goaler.


The following are the glaring contradictions implicit in this document when set against the fanciful historical “record.”

1. The only evidence required to be judged a runaway was that a person not have freedom papers.

2. Typically white slaves were sold for the first time between ages 14-18.

3. According to establishment historians, white slaves were all indentured servants doing 7 year terms.

4. Joseph has no shoes and was found at large in the coldest month of one of the coldest centuries on record. When runaways and convicts had shoes this was always noted and in detail.

5. It is not known if this man was a slave, but assumed by a local jailer, with that assumption immediately becoming uncontested legal fact.

6. No matter whether this man was an escaped slave or not, he will be sold as one.

So His Master May Have Him Again

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