What is the document in chapter III, page 13, when was it printed, and what does it reveal about slavery?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The document on Page 13 is what we would call a 'want ad' in the classified section.  It is akin to a lost and found posting.  It was printed on May 27, 1776 in a local paper.  This was mere months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  You can tell it is from a newspaper because it states that the subscriber lost the run-away slave and from the obvious citation at the bottom of the bill.

The classified advertisement says a lot about slavery from the colonial time period.  First, it demonstrates the racism inherent in slavery.  The girl, who is only thirteen years old, is described as very black.  It would be unheard of today to describe a girl in this manner in a public newspaper.  While the racism in the post is obvious, the profitability of the slave system is also demonstrated in the advertisement.

The publication describes what a lucrative industry the slave trade was.   Slaves were in high demand in the northern colonies because abolition had become popular in those areas.  Many judicial decisions in Massachusetts ruled in favor of individual slaves.  The fact that the subscriber at 110 Water Street was willing to reward the person that returned this thirteen year old girl a "handsome" sum further indicates what monetary value the slave had. 

The fact that this young girl was viewed as a commodity was a sad commentary to the human rights abuses that naturally occur in the slave trade.