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Williams, Frederick: Petition, Lynchburg

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To the General Assembly of Virginia. The memorial of Frederick Williams a free man of color respectfully represents: that he is now about forty years of age, that he has lived in the town of Lynchburg more than twenty years, the slave of a certain Joseph E. Royall, during the whole of which time, as well as the former part of his life, he has endeavored so to demean himself as to [illegible] and obtain the good opinion of his master and all others to whom he is known. Such has been the general good conduct of your memorialist, that by [illegible], industry, and the kind benevolence of a most indulgent master, he has been enabled to purchase his freedom, and is now in possession of the evidences of his emancipation. Many years ago your memorialist married a wife, to whom he is attached by the strongest of earthly ties, & by whom he has had four children, who are all still living: Thus it is not in his power to purchase, and he is advised, that under the laws of the land as they now exist, he has but two alternatives, either to remain in his native state & subject himself to be sold & again become a slave or forever banish himself from his country, his friends, his wife & his children! Your memorialist therefore humbly prays your Honorable Body to take his case into consideration, and that a law may pass authorising him to remain in his native state, upon such terms & conditions as