Reekes, Thomas: Petition, Mecklenburg County
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From devices of all which circumstances your petitioner thinks it highly reasonable the Commonwealth should make him compensation for his slave, a valuable one to him indeed being the only male one he possessed and his labour being absolutely necessary for the support of your petitioners family, your petitioners cannot on this occasion forbear to state, that among the various rights which appertain to the citizens of this Commonwealth, there is none which the legislature has ever regarded in a more sacred manner than the rights of the personal property, on no occasion ever personally them to be infringed but always guarding them by the several sanctions, that even when the interest of society required that a certain portion of private personal property shall be given up or taken for the General good, an equivalent for the property so taken has always been made to the proprietor, actuated by principles of this nature the legislature of this Country enacted the law making Compensation to masters for slaves, which the good of society required should be executed. Your petitioner humbly concurs that the case which he has submitted for your consideration comes within the reason of those principles which gave birth to the law aforesaid for the slave was the property of your petitioner the law required he should be given up, in order to be tried for those crimes with which he was charged & the general good required it and surely as he was arrested for the purposes your petitioner is entitled to be paid his value by those for whose good he was taken from him. To wit the Community, from all which circumstances & reasons