"God made me a man—not a slave."
Anthony Burns to Baptist Church at Union, Fauquier County, Virginia, 1855, printed in Charles Emery Stevens, Anthony Burns: A History (Boston, 1856), 281–283. Collections of the Library of Virginia.
Anthony Burns escaped from slavery in 1854 but was captured in Boston and returned to Virginia in accordance with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Later freed, he resided in the North before moving to Upper Canada. In 1855 he learned that his former church had excommunicated him and wrote to explain his actions. In one eloquent passage in his letter, Burns wrote, "God made me a man—not a slave; and gave me the same right to myself that he gave the man who stole me to himself."