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Godwin, Benjamin: Petition, Nansemond County

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To the Honorable the Speakers and members of the Senate and House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia The petition of the subscriber Ben otherwise called Benjamin Godwin most respectfully represents That your petitioner was born the slave of Robert Godwin esquire, formerly of the County of Nansemond, but now deceased and having during his whole life served his said master honestly, faithfully, and in all respects as a truly diligent and dutiful servant ought, the said Robert Godwin esquire by his last will and testament, made sundry bequests in favour of your said petitioner, the object and intent of which were to emancipate him, after he had by his present labors amassed such a sum of principal as would together with its interest, provide for his future subsistence and comfort when he grew old or infirm. That your petitioner hath already provided the sum required as aforesaid by the said will, and the gentlemen therein named as his Trustees, being satisfied not only of this fact, but also of the intent and wishes of his deceased master their Testator towards him, are willing to emancipate him at once absolutely and unconditionally, your petitioner however is informed, that he cannot be permitted to enjoy the benefits of such an emancipation, if he remains in this Commonwealth afterwards. That your petitioner was born in this Commonwealth, has a wife and children residing with him therein, and all the friends, connections, and protectors he has on earth, are also residents of this state, where too the little property he has acquired is also situated. So circumstanced, the blessings of liberty will at his time of life being with them no additional happiness, if they are to be purchased, by the absolute and