1774: Anonymous, London Lord Mayors’ Court.

“A young woman with a child in her arms, and big with another, applied to Alderman Wilkes, who sat at the Mansion-house for the Lord-Mayor, for a pass to the parish to which she belonged, saying that she was married to a Black, who was a slave to a merchant in Lothbury, but that having no wages he was not able to support her. The Alderman granted a warrant to bring her husband before the Lord-Mayor; accordingly he was brought, when the poor fellow declared, that he was born in Guadaloupe, of Negro parents, that he had served his master in England fourteen years, but was never allowed any wages; that when his wife lay in, he applied to his master for a little money for her support, but without success; and in the course of his examination he expressed such tender feelings for the distress of his wife and child, that it drew compassion from all present. Upon which his Lordship discharged him from his master, telling him that he was not a slave, according to the laws of this free country, and that if he should be molested in getting bread for himself and family, on applying to him, he would see justice done. His Lordship then gave him a guinea, and the gentlemen present subscribed another towards his support, till he could get employ, and recommended him to an attorney in the mayor’s court, to bring an action against the master for the recovery of his wages for the fourteen years he had served him in England.”

Source: Gentleman’s Magazine, xliv (February 1774), p.89, under date of January 29.