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Richards, Thomas: Petition, Lee County

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To the Speakers & Members of both houses of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The petition of Thomas Richards, a free man of color living in the County of Lee, humbly represents. That he has lately been emancipated by his late Master Mr. Thomas Blakemore, on account of his faithful services, and uniform good demeanor whilst his slave: And that your petitioner wishes to enjoy his freedom in Virginia, his Native State. Your petitioner states that he is now about forty five years of age. The principal part of which time he has resided in the County of Lee. That he has a wife and several children living in said County all of whom are still slaves, and whom, by leaving the State, he must relinquish: or by remaining with them, forfeit his freedom, without the interference of your Honorable bodies, And he hopes from the Mercy of the Legislature, to be released from both of those dreadful alternatives. Your petitioner hopes to be able from the most respectful proof to satisfy the General Assembly, of the sobriety, Order, & uprightness of his character, during his whole life; not only whilst he was a slave, but since his emancipation also. Your petitioner would also suggest, that in that part of the State where he resides, no danger is apprehended by the Community from suffering people in his situation to remain in the Commonwealth. And so far from any opposition being made to the application of your petitioner for that purpose, he states with confidence, that he fully believes there is not a man in the County who would not sign a petition in his favour, if requested. Your petitioner has several months ago,advertized his intention of applying for this privilege