William Whipple, one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, freed his slave after signing it because he believed one cannot simultaneously fight for freedom and hold another person in bondage.

William Whipple

For the United States Army general, see William Whipple Jr.

The Moffatt-Ladd House, home of William Whipple in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

William Whipple Jr. (January 25, 1731 NS [January 14, 1730 OS] – November 28, 1785) was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Hampshire and a member of the Continental Congress from 1776 through 1779. He worked as both a ship’s captain and a merchant, and he studied in college to become a judge. He died of heart complications in 1785, aged 55.

Early life and education

Whipple was born in Kittery, Maine in the William Whipple House to Captain William Whipple Sr. and his wife Mary (née Cutt), and educated at a common school until he went off t… Continue Reading (4 minute read)

11 thoughts on “William Whipple, one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, freed his slave after signing it because he believed one cannot simultaneously fight for freedom and hold another person in bondage.”

  1. Yeti-lover

    This is the person who was his former slave:

    >Prince Whipple was born in Ambou [sic], in Ghana, of comparatively wealthy parents. When about ten years of age, he was sent by them, in company with a cousin, to America to be educated. An elder brother had returned four years before, and his parents were anxious that their child should receive the same benefits. The captain who brought the two boys over proved to be a treacherous villain, and carried them to Baltimore, where he exposed them for sale, they were both purchased by Portsmouth, New Hampshire men, Prince falling to General William Whipple. He was emancipated during the [Revolutionary] War, was much esteemed, and was once entrusted by the General with a large sum of money to carry from Salem to Portsmouth. He was attacked on the road, near Newburyport, by two ruffians; one was struck with a loaded whip, the other one he shot … Prince was beloved by all who knew him. He was also known as “Caleb Quotom” of Portsmouth, where he died leaving a widow, Dinah, a freeperson and two children.


  2. PolarBearClanGaming

    The last name “whipple” isn’t a good look for a slave owner

  3. Taco_Bill

    And that’s how you go from hard to soft Whipples

  4. gruey

    His slave, Prince Whipple, was not freed until 1781 unofficially and 1784 officially after completing his military service in the revolutionary war.

    Side note: Prince is rumored to be in two famous paintings of Washington during the war, the crossing of the delaware and the passage of the delaware. He probably isn’t in the former, but may be in the latter as he actually did gain some fame during the war.

  5. widowdogood

    Even less known were mainstream Southerners admitting slavery was evil. See the Federalist Papers which explained the thinking behind the Constitution and responding to criticisms.

  6. quantizedself

    There should be statues of this guy

  7. yophozy

    I misread it as singers ….

  8. dman2316

    This is a message i wish more people would understand about life in general. It’s not about never doing bad things. Sure, it’s better to try to avoid doing bad things in the first place, but the fact of the matter is is that is entirely unavoidable. You will be the villain at some point. What’s more important than being perfect to begin with, is holding the ability to honestly self evaluate your past and current actions, assess if they are morally just or not and if not then take measures to correct them like the man in this post, he took an honest look at himself, saw the wrong in his actions and did what was within his power to correct it even though nothing was forcing him to. It’s called growth and we have lost site of that in this day and age. If someone does something that is wrong or has a serious character flaw, more often than not that’s it, they are labeled by their wrong doings and forever tainted by it in the eyes of society and no matter how much good effort they put in to fixing that flaw they can never escape it.

    As a side note, no i’m not saying people shouldn’t be punished for crimes they commit or anything like that.

    Edit: thanks for the platinum, it’s the first one I have ever gotten, and i’m glad it was on this comment.

  9. -Dr-Fill-

    I’m related to some Whipple’s

    Crazy drug addicts

  10. VergeThySinus

    How rare, a man of character who keeps his words and actions consistent. Unlike Thomas Jefferson.

  11. Tvearl

    My last names Whipple, my brother named his son William so he can look this up one day and be proud.

    But we’re descendants of his brother(or cousin can’t remember) who kept his slave trade ship going long after the war. Which isn’t as nice to find.

Leave a Comment