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Dunmore's Proclamation
A copy of the original printing
A copy of the original printing
Created November 7, 1775
Ratified November 14, 1775
Authors John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
Purpose To declare martial law, and to encourage slaves of rebels in Virginia to leave their masters and support the Loyalist cause

Dunmore's Proclamation is a historical document signed on November 7, 1775 by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, royal governor of the British Colony of Virginia. The proclamation promised freedom for slaves of American revolutionaries who left their owners and joined the royal forces, becoming Black Loyalists. According to historians, the proclamation was designed for practical and militaristic reasons rather than moral reasons or humanitarianism.

Formally proclaimed on November 15, its publication prompted between 800 and 2000 slaves (from both patriot and loyalist owners) to run away and enlist with Dunmore.

It also raised a furor among Virginia's slave-owning elites (again of both political persuasions), to whom the possibility of a slave rebellion was a major fear. The proclamation ultimately failed in meeting Dunmore's objectives; he was forced out of the colony in 1776, taking about 300 former slaves with him.

The 1779 Philipsburg Proclamation applied to all the colonies. During the course of the war, between 80,000 and 100,000 slaves escaped from the plantations.

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