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Keeling, Ned: Petition, Norfolk City

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To the general Assembly of Virginia, the Petition of Ned Keeling, respectfully sheweth, That more than sixty years ago, he had the misfortune to be born a slave, in the county of Princess Anne and from that time until his fortieth year, he continued a faithful servant in the employment of his Master. That about that time, his master's pecuniary embarrassments, brought his whole fortune to the hammer, and himself to the grave; and your petitioner was only saved from the southern market through the kind interference of his masters former neighbors, who had witnessed the fidelity of your Petitioner, and from that consideration united and loaned him a sum of money which enabled him to purchase himself. This money your Petitioner refunded after several years of hard labour, as a Drayman in the Borough of Norfolk. For these considerations alone, your Petitioner is advised that he may not confidently throw himself upon the indulgence of the Legislature. But there is an incident in his story, which he is recommended to relate as not unworthy of your notice. At the time of his Master's death, he left a widow