The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 113
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The Free Negro in the Republic of Texas
these requests were refused, although six petitions involving the
manumission of fourteen slaves were favorably acted upon by one
house of Congress without the concurrence of the other.
Only two slaves were manumitted with the right to remain in
Texas.102 Both favorable actions were taken by the same Congress,
the Fourth, but this same session refused three other petitions
and only granted the first, Peter's, after a long struggle. The
two manumitted slaves, Peter and Cary, were the property of
Wiley Martin and Thomas F. McKinney, respectively, both promi-
nent in the public affairs of Texas. Thomas F. McKinney, during
the Revolution, was an agent of the provisional government, and
had purchased the first vessels for the navy. The firm of McKinney
& Williams, of which he was a partner, transacted nearly all the
financial business of the Government and later McKinney repre-
sented Travis county in the state legislature. Wiley Martin had
been an Alcalde in Austin's colony, had raised a company of sol-
diers and acted as its Captain in the Revolutionary Army, and
had served a term as Chief Justice of Fort Bend county. Subse-
quent to Peter's manumission he was elected a member of
Both Peter and Cary had demonstrated their ability to govern
themselves, and had accumulated considerable sums of money.
Both of them had been of assistance to the State during the
Revolution, and both were owned by prominent Texans, who rec-
ommended their manumission.
Which of these three qualifications played the greatest part in
their manumission, it is difficult to determine, but no other slaves
for whom manumission was asked were the property of promi-
nent men, had accumulated fortunes, or been of assistance to the
State during the Revolution. Probably all of these facts had some
weight in the deliberations of Congress, and apparently Peter and
Cary had a better claim and were better qualified to receive their
freedom than other candidates.
02Slaves who were manumitted and sent out of Texas, for the most part,
would leave no records behind them, if indeed, there were any. Some
rejected petitioners may have arranged for the transportation of manu-
mitted slaves who were denied residence in Texas, but because of the obvious
difficulties this was not likely. Monroe Edwards, the slave trader, pub-
lished a statement in the Northern papers that he had manumitted all
his slaves in Texas. No evidence exists that he owned a single slave in
Texas at the time, but if his statement was true, he had necessarily re-
moved the slaves from Texas shortly after manumission. Telegraph and
Texas Register, July 8, 1840.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937, periodical, 1937; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/m1/127/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.