Dunmore’s Proclamation – The Promise, Significance & Impact


On November 7, 1775, John Murray, fourth Earl of Dunmore and governor of the British colony of Virginia, wrote the document known as Dunmore’s Proclamation. It promised freedom to any indentured servants, enslaved African Americans, or others held in bondage by American revolutionaries, so long as they were willing to bear arms for British troops fighting against American forces during the Revolutionary War. A week after drafting the proclamation, Dunmore had it published on November 14.

“I do hereby further declare all indentured Servants, Negroes, or others, (appertaining to Rebels,) free that are able and willing to bear Arms, they joining His MAJESTY’S Troops as soon as may be,” he wrote.


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