As early as 1688, the Quakers had been expressing their opposition to slavery, which they considered to be sinful. This petition, asking that Congress end the slave trade, was signed by more than five hundred Quakers. Citing the Declaration of Independence, the petition states that the slave trade exists “. . . in opposition to the solemn declaration often repeated in favor of universal liberty.” The petition was read in Congress on October 8 and subsequently tabled.
National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention
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