1792 seemed to be a defining year in the Bahamas. It was a year which saw new pieces of legislation being enacted to calm the storm created by an increasing number of runaway slaves. The arrival of the Loyalists from America, with their slaves, ballooned the population of the islands. This expanding populace was never more apparent than on the capital island of New Providence, where many settled. With much of the area still not cultivated, it provided cover for slaves to vanish into the dense brush and forests which covered the island.
And so we see Governor Dunmore offering amnesty to any negro who would willingly turn themselves in to the local Justice of the Peace.
By His Excellency the Right Honourable John, Earl of Dunmore, his Majesty’s Lieutenant, and Governor General of the said Islands, etc. etc. etc. Chancellor, Vice Admiral and Ordinary of the Same
WHEREAS it has been represented to me, that a considerable Body of Negroes are collected together in the interior Parts of this island, who have, for some time past, absented themselves from their Owners or Employees, and have committed Felonies and other Crimes, to the great Detriment of the Community: And Whereas it is found expedient to extend His Majesty’s Mercy towards the said Delinquents, I Do, THEREFORE, HEREBY OFFER His Majesty’s most gracious and free Pardon to each and every of the said Negroes, under the above Description, who shall surrender themselves to any of His Justices of the Peace, in the said Island, on or before the fifteen Day of February next: And I do hereby require each and every of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, to who such Surrender shall be made, forthwith to transmit to me aa Certificate thereof,under his Hand and Seal, with the Name or Names of such Negro or Negroes, and a Description of their Owners or Employers, in Order that they may receive the full Benefit of this Proclamation.
GIVEN under my Hand and the Seal of the said Islands at Nassau, the second Day of January, in the Year of Our Lord 1792, and in the Thirty Second year of HIs Majesty’s Reign.