Tuesday, February 11, 2020

History from the Bottom Up: Clementina Grierson Rind (1740?-1774) & James Hamlet (1822-?)

“History from the Bottom Up”

Clementina Grierson Rind (1740?-1774)


James Hamlet (1822-?)


Edward C. Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist, Retired

My first real job after graduate school was as a very junior editor of a historical journal. One of my assigned tasks was to be the recording secretary of a committee of the association that published the journal, a committee that was devoted to the academic celebration of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution. That was how I came to meet Jesse Lemisch (1936-2018). Professor Lemisch believed that too much attention had been paid to the white male leaders of the Revolution and not enough to the women and men who actually lived through it, shaping its course and affected by its consequences. His primary interest was in the sailors, “Jack Tar in the Streets,” who in his opinion, gave voice to a radical theory of political behavior that remains a thread of American politics today. Whether or not you agree with Professor Lemisch’s interpretation, he had a point about listening to voices in American history other than those of the great white fathers, if we really wanted to understand what actually happened in the past and, perhaps, even learn from it. The problem, of course, for Professor Lemisch and for anyone interested in hearing those voices is how you find them, and how much of what they might have to say in words and deeds has survived.

My particular interest over the past sixty years has been in documenting the lives of those who serve the public in some official or private capacity, whether it be a member of the legislature, a printer or bookseller, or simply a domestic slave or servant to the more affluent in society. I even tried to coin a word for it, “profilography,” but it did not catch on. “Collective Biography” will do in its stead, meaning that through collectively evoking the individual voices of the past, it is possible to better understand ourselves, and our own place in the torrent of history. We may even learn something from the exercise, possibly altering our own views and behavior in the process, but for me it is at base more the challenge of ferreting out enough evidence to give voice to individuals who are the substance of history, to understand their hopes and aspirations in the context of their times and the limitations of time and place that they faced.

My focus in this essay are the lives of two of the individuals that have peaked my interest over many years as an archivist and historian.

One was the daughter of a convict servant who died on his way to exile in Annapolis in 1756. The other was the first fugitive slave recaptured under the infamous Fugitive Slave Law who was pursued and claimed by a resident of Baltimore. What they have in common is their struggle for Freedom and economic security in a country that offered both in vastly differing degrees of opportunity and compensation.

My interest in the first began as a result of working with a wonderful group of under-employed highly educated women who, because of a successful grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities, I was able to hire for a biographical research project on the history of Annapolis and its citizens during the American Revolutionary Era. Inspired by Jesse Lemisch, our goal was not only to identify who was living in Annapolis in 1784, and where they lived, but also to compile as much biographical information about them as we could find. As a result we prepared the first comprehensive geographical analysis of lot ownership and leasing in town as well as biographical files on every known resident for the year in which Annapolis was the capital of the United States.

Some of the researchers on the Annapolis/NEH project went on to distinguished careers. One wrote an exceptionally fine history of Annapolis. Another decided to go to law school and became a judge. Others simply enjoyed the work and even continued to contribute without salary.

In the course of our research, the wife of a St. John’s tutor had to leave us to accompany her husband to London on his sabbatical. She volunteered to look for records that might have some bearing on our project and she diligently obliged, tracking down a list of possible sources in London that I compiled from the archival research of Charles McClean Andrews. The result was not only some unpublished letters of a loyalist government functionary written from Annapolis on the eve of the Revolution, but also the contents of a mailbag from Annapolis from the 1750s that had been part of the evidence in a court case. In 1993, after I became State Archivist, I began a series of document packets for use in the classroom that included one of the letters in the mailbag, but did not have the time or the resources to pursue a biographical investigation of the writer. That had to wait until retirement.

The same was true of the second individual who drew me back to another biographical project I initiated at the Archives, The Legacy of Slavery in Maryland. I ran across him while trying to assist researchers at the Baltimore City Archives in their efforts to document the lives of Free Blacks and Slaves in Baltimore before the Civil War. His case was well known in the historical literature and contemporary accounts, but while the Legacy project had discovered his manumission record, no one yet had tried to find the voice of his years in slavery in Maryland.

Clementina Grierson (1740?-1774)

The quest for the voice of Clementina Grierson (1740?-1774) begins with the two letters that Emily Kutler tracked down at the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane, London, in the early 1970s, a copy of the first of which I placed on line in the 1990s. When I could not get better copies from the British National Archives (the successor to the PRO) because they could not locate them, I traveled there myself, found them, and with my trusty iphone captured excellent images.[1]

A close reading of the letters provided a number of clues to what would prove to be a profound passion for independence, religious freedom, and professional achievement that would be the hallmark of her life and of her son William, who I would soon learn was born in Annapolis.

The letters are clearly of a well-educated individual grieving over the loss of her father who had died on the voyage to Annapolis. But before the content, what clues to her identity are contained in the letters? Both were written on the 31st of October 1756 to women friends in London, one on Half Moon Street, Piccadilly, the other on Mortimer Street, near Oxford Street, Cavendish Square, places that would prove easy to locate on a map contemporary to her departure, but not the recipients who remain obscured by time.

The signature is clear and carefully written:

Even the most careful of scholars, Charles McClean Andrews, distinguished Professor of History at Yale, misread it as Clementina Van Grierson. Instead it is Clementina Vane Grierson. Clementina was the name of the Polish mother of the Pretender to the throne of Great Britain, Charles Stuart, who was defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, while the middle name “Vane” was not her middle name at all, but rather her defiant reference to Sir Harry Vane, a member of Parliament who was known for his defence of religious freedom, served for a brief time as the governor of Massachusetts and was executed in 1662 for signing the death warrant of Charles the First.[2] As I subsequently learned, Clementina’s father was a supporter of religious freedom as a prominent nonconformist minister and follower of John Wesley. He strongly opposed the rule of the Hanoverians and by the time of his conviction for violating Chancellor Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753, had already suffered imprisonment for his beliefs by George II’s not so secret police known as “the King’s Messengers,” whose badge of service was a greyhound.

From the content of the letters it is clear that sixteen year old Clementina could write well and passionately in a style that exhibited a large vocabulary, excellent grammar, and few, if any, spelling errors. Her heartfelt descriptions of her father’s ordeal and death are especially moving in the context of the future she saw before her:

You undoubtedly are by this informed of the fatal reason of not receiving a letter from my Father, and it is needless for me to tell you that that dear Tender parent, that friend whom you so much esteemed, is now no more.

Long had he withstood the cruelty of capricious fortune, but in vain, his constitution was broke by the persecutions of his enemies, and Nature unable to support so many repeated shocks, yielded at last to the dreadful blow, and took from me an indulgent Father, a tender friend, and almost every hope of happiness.

Oh Just Heaven what crime had I committed to deserve so great a punishment. Where can I find words that can express the greatness of my anguish. The most eloquent description of distress will fall short of the distraction I was in.

No fortune, no friend, and going to a part of the world where I was an intire stranger, nothing but wretchedness and misery before me, and not the least idea of redress. In short I cannot tell you what I suffered in that distracting fatal moment. Let it suffice to say that my resolution already almost lost by so long sa series of misfortunes, was incapable of resisting so severe a stroke, but with my senses quite foresook me and I remained in a manner ignorant of my loss for almost two days, oh that I still was void of that thought which only returned to make me the more sensible of wretchedness. m<y spirits were so oppresst at leaving england that I fell into a violent fever of which I was but just recovered when my dear father died and the affliction and perplexity that involved me in with the dreadful idea of approaching distress, sunk me again into a worse condition than it it was in before, and my illness continued til I arrive in maryland which was the twenty-eighth of April [1756] …[3]

The next step in seeking Clementina’s voice was to see what could be found about the arrival of ship into the port of Annapolis on the 28th of April, 1756. Because the images of the Maryland Gazette are readily available at no cost on the Maryland State Archives web site, it was relatively easy to discover that the only ship that arrived in Annapolis on the 28th of April, 1756 was the “Ship Greyhound, Captain Alexander Stewart, after a passage of nine Weeks, with about Ninety of the King’s Seven Year Passengers. A Clergyman, who was banish’d for marrying contrary to that late Act of Parliament, died on the Passage.”[4]

courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust[5]

While I did not yet know for certain, it was probable that the clergyman was Clementina’s father. I needed to find the manifest of the Greyhound, which fortunately Peter Coldham has conveniently transcribed and published in The King's Passengers to Maryland and Virginia.[6] A Reverend John Grierson who had been sentenced to fourteen years was on the manifest and did die on the voyage. Clementina was not, but she had been a paid passenger as her father’s companion, and the Captain by law only had to report the convicts on board.

Because the court proceedings of the Old Bailey are on line, it was an easy matter to find the trial of Reverend Grierson and the testimony against him. It would take a research trip to London however, to sort out his career as a non-conformist minister whose origins were in the north of England (not Scotland), and who earned his living marrying couples at his chapel in London outside the rules of the established church.

Reverend Grierson openly advertised what were called “Clandestine Marriages”:

When the Parliamentary marriage law of 1753 made such marriages illegal, Reverend Grierson would be arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced, but not before he had already been detained by the King’s Messengers for preaching a sermon supporting the Pretender and having in his possession what was determined to be seditious literature. The King’s Messengers were the secret police of the King, who in addition to delivering the diplomatic pouch to his ambassadors, also were charged with investigating and rooting out sedition.

At the age of seven or thereabouts Clementina would have been present when the Kings Messengers, headed by Nathaniel Carrington, and wearing their badges with a silver greyhound dependent, arrived at the door of Reverend Grierson’s on Curzon Street.

1765 map showing a Chapel and Curzon Street[7]

Badge worn by the King’s Messengers during the reign of George III[8]

He was taken under guard to the home of one of the Messengers where he was interrogated on January 15, 1747. In part he explained:

The Examination of

John Grierson living in

Curzon Street near Hyde

Park Corner--

Who saith that he was born at Kirkby Stephen

in Westmoreland: that, he was brought up in

Non juring Principles: that, he was about 7 years

ago ordained a Deacon by the Honble Archibald Campbell

a Nonjuring Bishop at the said Campbell’s House in

Westminster: & since that time the Exam[ed] hath

upon occasions acted and officiated as a nonjuring Deacon,

but never had any Chappell at all …

He saith, that during the time of the

Rebellion … had not any Correspondence with

any people concerned in the Rebellion or… the

Rebels either by Message or Letter: That, he never

was in any Shape concerned for them:

That he never was in his whole life--

engaged in, or privy to any Scheme against the--

present Government: that, it is true [he]

hath read most of the Things published against it,

but in any of his actions he cannot recollect--

that he hath given offence, or that his --

conversation was ever intended or could encourage


Reverend Grierson was let go without charge, and by 1751 did have his own Chapel, while the King’s Messengers went on to notoriety when in 1765, they broke into the home of an opposition writer, John Entick, and were successfully sued for damages, establishing a legal precedent that became the basis of the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution.[9]

It was at his own chapel that Reverend Grierson married two actors from David Garricks company, one of whom was best known for her role in “All’s Well That Ends Well.” Garrick was not happy. He was instrumental in having Reverend Grierson charged in violation of the 1753 marriage act that required a license, banns posted, and marriage by an Anglican priest. It did not end well for pastor Grierson.

The trial of Reverend Grierson at the Old Bailey ended in his conviction and 14 year sentence that required transportation to America and banishment for 14 years.. Before he left on the ship ironically named Greyhound, Reverend Grierson defended himself in the press:[10]

London Daily Advertiser, 1755/12/24, indexed and available on http://newspaperarchive.com

What then can be learned about Clementina’s life in Annapolis and the future she made for herself there? She did not arrive at an auspicious time, at least according to one writer to the Gazette not long after she dispatched her undelivered letters home:

Maryland Gazette, November 6, 1756

Despite the fear of a native uprising and its consequences, Clementina remained in Annapolis for nearly a decade. In the summer of 1762 she ran three ads in the Maryland Gazette, in which she advertised goods and toys for sale at the dwelling house of Mr. William Clajon.[11]

Maryland Gazette, July 22, 1762

Apart from importing goods for sale it is also probable that she also had taught in William Clajon’s school in Annapolis. In 1761 Clajon had moved his school to New York and Clementina, by 1762, was operating a store out of his house.[12]

Rind’s Virginia Gazette, May 30, 1766

(note there were two Virginia Gazettes and both sold editions of Dulany’s pamphlet)

In 1763 or 1764 Clementina gave birth to a son, William Alexander Rind, in Annapolis.[13] The father was William Rind, an Annapolis Bookseller and partner of Jonas Green in the printing of the Maryland Gazette, who before he moved his family to Williamsburg in 1765 or early 1766, assisted Jonas Green in the publication of Daniel Dulany’s pamphlet opposing taxation of the colonies, Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes in the British Colonies. In 1766 Rind would offer Dulany’s pamphlet for sale in Williamsburg as its publisher at his new printing office near the capitol.[14] It is not improbable that Clementina may have been the copy editor in both Annapolis and Williamsburg, and may even have assisted in setting type for the Williamsburg edition.

The story of the Rinds in Williamsburg has been ably documented and is well known. Today an actor portrays Clementina for visitors.[15] Last year, the former director of the Maryland Historical Society, and noted author published an accurate and perceptive summary of Clementina’s years in Williamsburg.[16] She explains that Thomas Jefferson was instrumental in bringing William and Clementina Rind to Williamsburg and quotes a letter Jefferson wrote in 1809 to William W. Hening:

Until the beginning of our revolutionary disputes, we had but one press, & that having the whole business of the government, & no competitor for public favor, nothing disagreeable to the governor could be got into it. We procured Rind to come from Maryland to publish a free paper.[17]

Barbara Sarudy notes that the first issue of Rind’s Virginia Gazette appeared May 16, 1766, under the motto: “Open to ALL PARTIES, but Influenced by NONE,” and relates that

The press, the paper & the printer quickly established a good reputation. The fall assembly chose Rind as public printer, & in spite of rising costs of paper & other supplies the business prospered.

When the editor died in August 1773, his family was living on the Main street in the present Ludwell-Paradise House & the printing shop was operated in the same handsome brick building. His widow Clementina immediately took over the editorship & business management of the press for her “dear infants”- William, John, Charles, James, & Maria. The household included also John Pinkney; an apprentice, Isaac Collins; & a Negro slave, Dick who probably worked as a semiskilled artisan.


As editor Mrs. Rind was careful to preserve the integrity of the newspaper’s motto & purpose. Reports of foreign & domestic occurrences, shipping news, & advertisements were supplemented by essays, articles, & poems accepted from contributors or selected from her “general correspondence” & from London magazines & newspapers. During her short tenure as publisher, Rind's periodical highlighted new scientific research, debates on education, & philanthropic causes, as well as plans for improving educational opportunities-especially those relating to the College of William & Mary.


Clementina Rind Rind was not hesitant to express her own voice in the Virginia Gazette. She wrote articles that expressed her patriotic ideals, which supported rights of the American colonies & denounced British authority. During her tenure, the Virginia Gazette carried an unusual number of poetic tributes to ladies in acrostic or rebus form, literary conceits, & news reports with a feminine slant. As conventional fillers she used sprightly vignettes of life in European high society, in rural England, & in other colonies.

Source: https://classroom.monticello.org/media-item/a-summary-view-of-the-rights-of-british-america/

In early 1774, she printed Thomas Jefferson's A Summary View of the Rights of British America just after Peyton Randolph read it aloud in his home to a gathering of Virginia patriots. George Washington was among the first to purchase a copy, writing in his diary that it cost him 3 shillings and ninepence. The pamphlet was reprinted in Philadelphia and London, and its importance has been described as "second only to the Declaration of Independence." It was a document Jefferson had drafted at Monticello for the guidance of Virginia's delegates to the Continental Congress. The colony's House of Burgesses considered the composition too radical for official endorsement, but a group of Jefferson's friends persuaded the Widow Rind to issue it as a pamphlet. Thus A Summary View of the Rights of British America appeared in August 1774. The future author of the Declaration of Independence later wrote: "If it had any merit, it was that of first taking our true ground, and that which was afterwards assumed and maintained." [18]

Clementina did not live long after the printing of Jefferson’s pamphlet. She became deathly ill in September perhaps of a recurrence of the fever that she had contracted aboard the Greyhound. The paper continued for the benefit of her grieving family, and funds were raised to pay her debts and educate her children.

When Clementina died, her eldest, William Alexander Rind was helped by the Free Masons to become a printer in his own right. He clearly proved to be his parent's child, although he was in politics a Federalist, not a Jeffersonian, and was not averse to working for the Loyalist printer James Robertson who had been strongly opposed to separating from the Crown. William became printer to the Colony of Prince Edward Island, succeeding Robertson, returned to Richmond, Virginia, where his advocacy of Federalist policies forced his departure, and ended his long career as a publisher and printer in Washington D.C. with his death in 1842. Along the way he published a newspaper in Georgetown called the Washington Federalist not to be confused with Alexander Contee Hanson’s paper which was the center of the 1812 riots in Baltimore.[19]

To understand and hear Clementina’s voice, it is important to understand her family background, especially the role of her father in shaping her world view, and the nearly ten years she spent in Annapolis before moving to Williamsburg. She was as much a product of London and Annapolis as she was of Williamsburg, and should be accounted among those distinguished women of the Revolutionary era who Cokie Roberts refers to as the Founding Mothers.[20]

James Hamlet (1822?-)

The sources for finding the voice of James Hamlet, escaped slave, are not as plentiful nor as literary as they are for Clementina Grierson Rind. None of the letters he may have written have survived, only the fragments of the public and private records that document his enslavement, his purchased freedom, and the published accounts of his ordeal that appeared in pamphlets and newspapers.

My first encounter with James Hamlet was in a course I taught in the Master of Liberal Arts program at Johns Hopkins University. It was entitled “Follow the North Star,” and was focused on learning about those African Americans like Frederick Douglass who left Baltimore in search of their freedom. One source we used was a tract by Samuel J. May (1797-1871), a Unitarian Minister, entitled The Fugitive Slave Law and Its Victims (two editions, 1856 and 1861).[21] The assignment was to determine how many of May’s examples were from Baltimore or has at one time resided there. In all there were eighteen including a James Hamlet, the first case to be tried under the new law. May provided a short summary:

James Hamlet, of New York, September, 1850, was the first

victim. He was surrendered by United States Commissioner

Gardiner to the agent of one Mary Brown, of Baltimore, who

claimed him as her slave. He was taken to Baltimore. An effort

was immediately made to purchase his freedom, and in the existing

state of the public feeling, the sum demanded by his mistress,

$800, was quickly raised. Hamlet was brought back to New York

with great rejoicings.[22]

A standard Google search turned up a number of recent secondary sources that mentioned James Hamlet’s case and provided clues to the surviving primary sources.[23]

Fortunately on line services such as http://genealogybank.com and http://newspaperarchive.com make the search for contemporary newspaper accounts of James Hamlet’s case simple and direct. In addition, http://archive.org provides a pamphlet account of Hamlet’s ordeal which was published immediately after his freedom was secured through public subscription.[24]

(available on line from Google Books)

Because of the intense opposition to the Federal Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 in the North, the story of his capture and return received considerable press. In 1848 he had gone to New York from Baltimore, settling in Brooklyn and working two jobs in New York City, one in a fashionable store and the other as an employee, possibly a man servant, to the most celebrated developer of his day, Silas Wood, who built what was to become one of the most notorious tenement slums in the city. [25]

While working at the store in New York James Hamlet was recognized by a family member of his owner who was workikng in New York, and was hauled before one of the new commissioners appointed under the Fugitive Slave Law. He was the very first person under the new law determined to be a fugitive slave, placed in irons and sent back by ship to Baltimore accompanied by a Federal Marshall. His friends in New York raised the $800 demanded for his freedom (approximately four times the value of a prime field hand in the South) and he was “manumitted", the legal term for releasing a slave permanently from bondage. Back in New York a rally was held in celebration of his release and his voice, as reported by the white press, was heard for the first time accompanied by a cartoon of his appearance before the crowd at City Hall.

While James Hamlet was always depicted in print as a black man in chains clothed only in a loincloth, even when appearing before the Fugitive Slave Law Commissioner:

New York Atlas, 20 October 1850, Rare Books Division,

The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations[26]

he actually appeared dressed as a laborer and declined to speak to the crowd. He was described as a good Methodist family man, soft spoken and shy,who tearfully declined speaking to the crowd who greeted him on his return to New York. Mention was made of his wife and children in Brooklyn (later accounts had him living not far from the present St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, a church whose minister at the time was Francis Peck from Baltimore).[27]

While much is known about the trial of James Hamlet, what of his life in Baltimore before he left for Brooklyn? The place to begin is with the newspaper and pamphlet accounts of his trial for clues as to what prompted him at the age of 28 to run and who may have helped him along the way. One of the best ways to do this is to subscribe to http://newspaperarchive.com searching for James Hamlet both in the name and exact phrase boxes.

The newspaper accounts are numerous and widespread from New York to Australia, although most of the detail is derived from the New York press. For example, this February 11, 1851 article from the Sidney Australia Morning Herald taken from the New York Times, reports on the reception James Hamlet received at the City Hall rally welcoming him home:

The principal source of information about the hearing before the Fugitive Slave law Commissioner, was the New York Journal of Commerce as reported in James Hamlet’s local newspaper, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on September 28, 1850, and the New-York Express as reported in the Albany Evening Journal of September 30, 1850.

It is important that all the published newspaper accounts be reviewed. Significant details of what was said and what was produced in evidence vary from one account to another. For example only one account notes that an excerpt of the will of James Hamlet’s original owner, Mary Brown’s husband, was placed in evidence. This is a clue that leads to a search for the probate records of Mr Brown including the inventory of his estate where indeed the earliest known record of James Hamlet’s existence is to be found:

excerpt from the inventory of James G. Brown, May 13, 1831[28]

In addition to the age of James Hamlet in 1831 established by this entry (which coincides with the testimony before the Commissioner) the estate records for James G. Brown establishes the location of the residence on Hanover street where James Hamlet would reside from at least 1831 until 1848 when he left for New York. There he would grow up with Gustavus Brown, a son of James G. and Mary Brown, who was three years his junior. Gustavus would testify at the hearing that James was a slave in the household, and that when he moved to a clerk’s job in New York, he had encountered James several times.

The other witness who testified that James was indeed the slave of Mary Brown was Thomas J. Clare, who married Gustavus’s sister, operated the shot tower that is still in evidence today, and was also the principal secretary and treasurer of the Maryland Institute, overseeing the opening of their palatial new exhibit hall in 1851.[29]

A former Baltimore Lawyer, Asa Child, appeared on behalf of his friend, Silas Wood the developer, who had employed James, in an effort to ensure any rights James had were protected. He too concluded that the evidence establishing James as a fugitive slave was in order.

That James Hamlet was the property of Mary Brown according to Maryland law was clearly established. James could not produce the required Certificate of Freedom that would have allowed him to come to Brooklyn. He was despatched back to Baltimore in Chains where he remained incarcerated in a private slave jail awaiting word that his friends in New York had raised the $800 that Thomas J. Clare demanded for his freedom. The money was raised including $35 from a Kentucky planter in favor of sending all Free Blacks to Africa. The 9 year old Mulatto boy who was worth $150 in 1831, now 28, was given his Certificate of Freedom for approximately four times what he would have brought on the New Orleans market.

That original certificate of freedom, necessary for James’s travel back home to Brooklyn is at the Maryland State Archives (the deed of Manumission was destroyed in a general cleanout of the Baltimore City Court House in the late 1970s). It has been indexed by the Legacy of Slavery project, but without explanation about James and his ordeal.

In seeking to define James Hamlet’s life and give voice to his fight for Freedom, there remains a nagging question as to why he chose to leave in 1848 and not earlier or later.

from the Illustrated London News, 6 April 1861

It is plausible that until 1848 he had a safe and possibly comfortable existence as a servant to Mrs. Mary Brown, perhaps not unlike that which was depicted in the Illustrated London News on April 6, 1861, just 13 days before slavery in the city began to unravel and Baltimore was occupied by anti-slavery Union troops. But in 1848, son-in-law moved out of the Hanover Street House, perhaps taking James to labor in the Shot Tower, a place of extraordinary hard work, and deadly working conditions.

The heavy lead had to be pulled up to higher and higher platforms depending on the size of lead shot desired and the deadly lead fumes were poorly ventilated. In addition the platforms on which the lead was melted before being dropped through holes in the floor was unsafe, so much so that three years after James left, much of the whole interior woodwork of the tower collapsed.

Another plausible theory for why James left in 1848 was that in resisting working at the Shot Tower for Clare, he was permitted to go to New York to seek employment on condition that he would transmit a significant portion of his wages back to the Brown family. He may even have gone with Gustavus Brown with whom he grew up and who with his brother-in-law saw a way to make more money out of James under the new Fugitive Slave law by having him held for ransom by his friends. That would account for why no runaway advertisement was placed in the newspapers offering a reward for his capture and return in 1848, at a time when there were such ads as the one calling for the return of Wills who was about the same age as James.

Baltimore Sun, May 2, 1848.

It is also not known what happened to James after he returned to Brooklyn, although it is possible that the James Hamlet who appears on the New York Census of 1892 is the James Hamlet of Fugitive Law fame. The age is about right and he does live in Brooklyn.

How much you can learn about history from the bottom up is very much dependent upon the survival and access to a wide and diverse range of historical records. Thanks to the emergence of the internet, an increasing amount of useful, if fragmentary, data is available through carefully crafted Google searches and knowing where to look within specialized databases that are costly, but are accessible through subscription or a library card.

In addition the virtual world such as Google Drive, allows a safe and helpful playground off and online where you can organize notes and images, and compose the stories that intrigue for whatever reason (as long as you remember to back up your work). In my case, I wanted to know more about Clementina and James and to explore, as much as the sources and time would permit, the story of their lives. I only hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have, and find within it, hints useful to yourself.

[1] British National Archives, High Court of Admiralty, Mailbag of the Ship Enterprize, HCA 30/258/2

[3] British National Archives, High Court of Admiralty, Mailbag of the Ship Enterprize, HCA 30/258/2

[4] Maryland Gazette for April 29, 1756

[5] Rev. John Grierson; transported in 1756 for marrying in the Savoy Chapel. Etching | 15.5 x 12.3 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 655499. An etching of Revd John Grierson, shown head and shoulders, full face, in wig, gown and bands. Inscribed beneath image 'The Revd Mr Grierson who was Transported for Marrying at the Savoy Contrary to Act of Parliament 1756'. The print is trimmed within the platemark, and the lower part of the date has been cut off. No artist was recorded by Henry Bromley in his 1793 Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits (p.277), which suggests that there was no information on printmaker included at the bottom of the print. Perhaps the impression purchased by George IV when Prince Regent from Colnaghi and Co., 11 July 1811 (RA GEO/MAIN/27635, 'Revd Mr Grierson 5s'). https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/655499/rev-john-grierson-transported-in-1756-for-marrying-in-the-savoy-chapel

[6] Coldham, Peter Wilson. The King's Passengers to Maryland and Virginia. Westminster, Md: Heritage Books, 2006.

[7] https://www.locatinglondon.org/index.html as of 2018/09/08 had interactive maps showing today and the area of Curzon street in 1746 (John Roques map) from which this excerpt is drawn.

[8] advertised for sale at $10,500 at https://www.emedals.com/an-exceedingly-rare-king-george-iii-messenger-s-badge-gb4101, (accessed 1020/02/10).

[10] London Daily Advertiser, 1755/12/24, indexed and available on http://newspaperarchive.com

[11] Maryland Gazette, July 22, 1762, July 29, 1762, and August 5, 1762, found through the index to the Maryland Gazette on http://newspaperarchive.com.

[12] New-York Mercury, February 23, 1761.

[13] there is no official record of the birth of William Alexander Rind, nor of the marriage of William Rind the printer and bookseller to Clementina, but the circumstantial evidence is irrefutable with regard to William Alexander Rind’s birth in Annapolis, and it is more than likely that William Rind and Clementina Grierson were married by an itinerant dissenting minister, possibly Robert Strawbridge (see: http://www.gcah.org/research/travelers-guide/robert-strawbridge-house; Strawbridge is buried in Baltimore. GIven Clementina’s strident support of her dissenting minister father and his persecution by the Anglican Church, it is highly unlikely that she would have been married by other than a dissenting minister. Her son William died in his 79th year in March of 1842 (National Intelligencer, Monday, March 21, 1842), and was buried in a Methodist cemetery. Depending upon how you calculate the meaning of being in his 79th year, William was born in 1763 or 1764. Clementina did not move to Williamsburg until late 1765 or early 1766. While under the official Marriage Act of 1753, Jonas Green, William Rind’s partner in the Maryland Gazette, was supposed to be the recorder of all marriages in Annapolis. Noone can find evidence that he recorded a marriage between Clementina and William who was born and raised in Annapolis.

[14] Maryland Gazette, October 10, 1765 and Virginia Gazette, May 30, 1766. The printing history of the Considerations is complex. Rind’s advertisement implies that he was the publisher in Williamsburg and perhaps printed it as a “North American” in competition with another edition offered for sale by his rival, the other Virginia Gazette published by Alexander Purdie.

[19] My quest for information on William took me to Prince Edward Island and a delightful day at the Provincial Archives. For the Washington Federalist see: https://www.loc.gov/item/sn82016417/ which William Rind published from 1800 to 1809. For Alexander Contee Hanson’s paper see: Cutler, Josh S., and Dr. Edward Papenfuse. Mobtown Massacre: Alexander Hanson and the Baltimore Newspaper War of 1812. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing Inc, 2019. <https://public.ebookcentral.proquest.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=5672722>.

[20] Roberts, Cokie. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. 2005.

[21] available online from Google Books and Archive.org.

[22] May, Fugitive Slave Law, 1856 edition, p. 7, and 1861, p. 11. In 1850 there were 25,442 Free Blacks and 2,946 slaves out of a total population of !69,054 making Baltimore the second largest city in America. In the neighborhood where James Hamlet lived, there were few Free Blacks (934) and fewer slaves (168). Women outnumbered males two to one among slaves, and were a third larger population among Free Blacks. (Joseph C. G. Kennedy, Historical Account of Maryland, p. 26; U. s. Bureau of the Census, Seventh Census of the U. S., 1850, Population, I. p. 21.) Black women in Baltimore washed the laundry, cleaned the houses, and cooked the food of the more affluent as "Domestic Servants". They deserve a history of their own that does more than treat them as a statistic.

[23]see for example, Papson, Don, and Tom Calarco. Secret Lives of the Underground Railroad in New York City: Sydney Howard Gay, Louis Napoleon and the Record of Fugitives. 2015.

[24] the fullest newspaper accounts of James Hamlet appearance before the Fugitive Law commissioner are

[26] from Jeannine Marie DeLombard. Slavery on Trial: Law, Abolitionism, and Print Culture. University of North Carolina Press, 2007, p. 37. DeLombard is one of many scholars recent and contemporary to James Hamlet, who discuss his trial and the imagery surrounding it.

[27] https://episcopalchurch.org/parish/st-marks-episcopal-church-brooklyn-ny. One of the best known ministers of this church of James Hamlet’s era was a street corner preacher from Baltimore, Francis Peck, who also was the priest at the Church of the Ascension, at Lexington Street beyond Pearl, the cornerstone of which was laid in 1840. Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser, June 17, 1840, and the Baltimore Sun, Saturday, June 14, 1845. Reverend Peck was the first minister of St. Marks and served there from 1850 until 1859. St. Mark's sixtieth anniversary 1850-1910, by Spencer Summerfield Roche, Brooklyn, 1911.

[28] Maryland State Archives, BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Inventories) 1830/31, CM155-39

[29] In 1851 the Maryland Institute would exclude any Black person from exhibiting at their annual fairs. See: https://www.rememberingbaltimore.net/2019/11/obituaries-for-laurel-charity-govans.html