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The Boston Globe

Metro

N.H. moves to symbolically free Colonial slaves

Lawmakers set petition aside in 1779

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — As ­cannons and mortars roared, 20 ­Africans, in the grip of the Revolutionary War, made an impassioned plea to their state government to abolish slavery for the sake of justice and humanity.

“Enact such laws,’’ they pleaded, “whereby we may regain our liberty and be ranked in the class of free agents and that the name of slave may not be heard in a land gloriously contending for the sweets of freedom.”

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