Birch, John & Bond: Petition, New Kent County
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of the laws of this commonwealth which subjects them as they are informed to be sold as slaves for having ignorantly overstayed the time allowed for persons emancipated to remain in the state. Your petitioner John is a single man, & could easily comply with the law, & leave the state but in doing so he must leave his aged father now fast sliding down the stick of time, to want & probably to be thrown in the evening of his life on the charity of his country; A father who appropriated the caring of a long & continuous life to friends his wife & children gratitude forbids it. Your petitioners bond in addition to this is linked to the soil of Virginia by a wife & child; for should he to avoid a return to slavery quit the state then also must he abandon for they are slaves, and must abide where their master wills your petitioner represent that they are sober, quiet & industrious. were regularly brought out by their father to the house joiners trade, and trust that in the various counties of King William, New Kent, Hanover, the city of Richmond wherein at different periods of their lives they have lived & laboured [labored] they have born fair [illegible]. If it shall pleas[e] you in your wisdom to grant to your petitioners the privilege of spending their life in the land of their nativity, releave [relieve] them from the dreaded necessity of abandoning their gray headed father in his old age,
a father to whom they owe not merely life but liberty which makes life incalculating more valuable, and a wife & child your petitioners flat[t]er themselves they shall not be found the least deserving, among those who have cause to [keep? help?] you for favors received. Your petitioners will ever pray &c [etc.] . John Birch Bond Birch