Philipsburg Proclamation

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Philipsburg Proclamation
CreatedJune 30, 1779
Author(s)General Sir Henry Clinton
PurposeTo encourage slaves to run away and enlist in the British Armed Forces

The Philipsburg Proclamation is a historical document issued by British Army General Sir Henry Clinton on June 30, 1779 intended to encourage slaves to run away and enlist in the Royal Forces.[1][2]

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.[3] It further promised protection, freedom and land to any slaves who left their master.[4]

The move was one of desperation on the part of the British, who realized that the Revolution was not going in their favor.[5] 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.[6][7][8] Following the war, about 3,000 former slaves were relocated to Nova Scotia,[9] where they were known as Black Loyalists. Many continued on to Sierra Leone, where they established Freetown, its capital.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carnahan, Burrus M. (2007). Act of Justice: Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War. University Press of Kentucky. p. 18. ISBN 0-8131-2463-8.
  2. ^ "REVOLUTIONARY WAR3/Sir Henry Clinton's Philipsburg Proclamation, June 30, 1779.jpg". Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  3. ^ "The Philipsburg Proclamation". Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  4. ^ Hilvers, Julie. "Freedom Bound: Black Loyalists". Archived from the original on November 23, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  5. ^ "Who were the Black Loyalists?". Archived from the original on 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  6. ^ Poplack, Shana (2001). African American English in the Diaspora. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-631-21266-3.
  7. ^ Davis, David Brion (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. Oxford University Press. p. 150. ISBN 0-19-514073-7.
  8. ^ Brown, Christopher Leslie (2006). Arming Slaves: From Classical Times to the Modern Age. Yale University Press. p. 190. ISBN 0-300-10900-8.
  9. ^ Brooks, Joanna (2002). Face Zion Forward: First Writers of the Black Atlantic, 1785–1798. UPNE. p. 6. ISBN 1-55553-540-2.