Collins, Rachel: Petition, Norfolk City
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good & Reputable character. That during the last year she resided in the neighbourhood of Armisteads Rosewalk in said Borough near to which was stationed nearly all of the Militia Troops which had been collected for the defence of the Town and by her means of Cooking for them & finding accommodations for many of the Soldiers and More particularly by waiting upon the sick she was Enabled to render herself very useful and to acquire a very good character among those Militia Soldiers of our Country--for her acts of kindness & Attention to them. She had been satisfied to continue to reside amongst her old Friends & associates in the Borough of Norfolk during all the active & useful part of her Life and Expected to End her few remain[in]g days there with the respect & approbation which will necessarily attend a well spent Life. But within the Last year she has been presented by the Grand Jury of the Superior Court of Law for the Borough of Norfolk amongst a great Many Other Free persons of Colour as Living here Contary to Law and thereupon she has been ordered to Leave the state of Virginia. Now however wise and Prudent may be the Provisions of that Law which Compells [compels] free persons of Colour to depart from the Commonwealth Yet in her Case the
Enforcement of that Law would operate a hardship & Distress which she is Sure it never was the Design or the Wish of the Legislature to Inflict. she is now about Sixty years of age somewhat afflicted & infirm and cannot with reason have a Right to Expect to live but a few years longer. She has never had any children & has now no near Relatives to feel for her Misfortunes or to Sympathise [sympathize] in her Distress. and knows not where she could possibly go to out of the Commonwealth of Virginia to spend these few declining years with any Hopes of Comfort - Under all these circumstances as she is a poor old Harmless & inoffensive Female she most humbly Begs & Petitions that your Honorable Body would pass a Law to authorise [authorize] her to spend the sad Remainder of her days in the Commonwealth amongs those who have known her in her days of usefulness and that she may not be driven away in her Helplessness to Beg her Bread amongst strangers And your Petitioner as in Duty Bound will Ever pray &c [etc.].