How Did Virginia’s Governor Lord Dunmore Intensify The Crisis In The Colonies In 1775?
|Quick Answer: He Intensified The Problem Via Encouraging Black Slaves To Join British Royal Forces For Achieving Freedom From Their Masters And Fight Against American Patriots.
Read The Following To Learn More…
Virginia’s Governor John Murray, also known as Lord Dunmore, signed in a historical document on the 7th of November 1775.
Present-day, this historical document is known as ‘Dunmore’s Proclamation’.
So, what was in that proclamation? What he declared through this?
Let’s find it out…
Via the proclamation, he declared two very important but controversial things.
The first one was the declaration of Martial law in Virginia and the second one was the declaration of freedom for the Black Slaves owned by the American revolutionaries.
He declared freedom for those Slaves who were able and willing to bear up arms for the British crown against colonists (Revolutionaries).
Dunmore hoped that the proclamation would make his forces much more robust and would create a fear among the colonists of a slave rebellion; these two things would make colonists oblige to abandon the revolution.
However, his assumptions proved wrong, though many Black Slaves joined the British forces and became black loyalists.
Colonists went further furious with the British Crown due to these kinds of declarations.
They responded on December 14th, 1775, at the Virginia Convention.
Here, Convention leaders responded with their proclamation that the Slaves who had joined the British Royal army would have to come back to their masters within ten days.
Those who would return in 10 days would be pardoned, but those slaves, who would not return, are to be hanged without any benefit of clergy.
How Many Slaves Freed Because of This Proclamation?
Though Dunmore’s Proclamation had only practical and militaristic reasons, but it caused a massive change in many Black Slaves’ lives.
During the whole revolution, 80,000 to 100,000 slaves ran away from their masters and joined British forces.
After the revolution, these black people became independent, and most of them migrated to British North America, Canada.
You can learn here – why they had to migrate to British North America or Canada.
Interesting Facts About Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation
1. While declaring independence for the slaves, British authority intended to show it as a humanitarian initiative to the Black people.
But according to experts, the English authority had no noble intention of freeing the Blacks.
They did all these to make the British Royal forces strong and create fear among colonists (or patriots).
However, the proclamation brought some excellent changes to the lives of Black people.
2. After the declaration of the proclamation, slaves not only ran away from the owners, who were patriots; but also many slaves ran away from the loyalist owners too (loyal towards Britain).
3. Dunmore’s proclamation was quite realistic, but in the end, it failed to fulfill his main objectives.
The slaves who were freed, not that skilled or ready for involvement in military combat against patriots.
4. In 1776, when Dunmore had left Virginia, he took 300 slaves with him, who left their masters and came for serving the British crown.
What Happened To Those Black Slaves After The Revolutionary War?
During the Revolutionary War, around 80,000 to 100,000 Black slaves ran away from their masters.
Once the Revolutionary War ended, those people became free; but the problem was, living in the newborn United States of America was quite risky for them.
Patriots began aggressive campaigns against loyalists (including Blacks and Whites).
Therefore, after the war, most of them migrated to British Canada’s Nova Scotia province.