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Stone Collection: Volume 64 - Item 6
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Alfred H. Stone Collection
Volume: 64

6. Massachusetts, House, Committee, Report on the Petition of S. P. Sanford and Others, Concerning Distinctions of Color, no. 74, House Reports (N.p., 1839). (34 p.)

Report of a committee charged with verifying the validity of signatures on a petition seeking the repeal of the State’s miscegenation law. The Committee determined that many of the signatures were obtained fraudulently. In addition, the Committee concluded that the miscegenation law in Massachusetts was fair and just. “The statue forbidding the white from uniting in marriage with the black, or red, or mixed race, forbids the colored from joining in nuptial rites with the white. It deals with all as standing on the same common and level ground of equality. No privilege is bestowed, no prohibition enforced for one, which is not given or restrained for the other. No immunity is provided, and no restriction imposed, which is not balanced by even-handed justice. Where each race is treated alike, the supposed distinction, resting on no real difference, is too shadowy to be grasped by reason. If prejudice has built walls of partition between walks of the members of the same social family, they must be removed by that spirit of liberality already busy at work. The progress of its improvements would be little aided by annulling laws regarded as wholesome through two centuries of experience.”