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Rachel & Rachel, Jr.: Petition, Northumberland County

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[illegible] the said County Begs leave to shew And Explain the true Merits in [illegible] meaning of an [illegible] & And Arrogant Paper Writing lately presented Unto him by George Pitman One of the Constables of the said County, And also In Deference to Every one of the Worshipfull Justices of the Peace for the County of Northumbd. He proposes hereby to answer upon oath the Several Articles and Clauses in the said Writing Containd Reserving Nevertheless to himself All and Every of those Rights and Priviledges Unalterably Belonging to Every Freeman of the CommonWealth of Virginia In the first place the said Zachariah shews that on the day of this Instant He was verbally summonded by the aforesd George Pitman To Appear on the Saturday following before Colbo. Thos Gaskins one of the Justices of the peace for the said County To answer a bill of Complaint Exhibited against him by One Rachael for Detaining the Wearing Clothes and other appurtenances of the said Rachael and her child Rachael, And that the said Pitman at the same time presented to him something like a [illegible] paper Writing (which the said Pitman, Called the Summons) But the same was Rejected with Indignation and Scorn; However, Your Respondent afterwards procured a Copy of the said Summons [illegible] is hereunto Annexed, And which your Respondent prays may be made part of his [illegible] Your Respondent farther sheweth That he Believes himself to be Brother and Heir [illegible] Law to John Barr dec'd [deceased] in the Bill named, and that the said John Barr Died on or about the time in the Bill mentioned, and was at the time of his death possessed of the sd [said] Rachael and her child Rachael as his absolute Property, They being slaves for life according to the Laws of Virginia: But with what Intent, The [illegible] of Rachael's Bill [illegible] That they are not slaves according to the Law of Nature, Your Respondent is left to guess, and probably he is not far Mistaken, When he Conjectures, That to Gain upon your Worships Clemency, Compassion and Civilized good Nature, It was thought proper to Jumble together the Virginia mode of Expressions and from such an Artful Bathos of Confusion, to Exhort from your Worships such Judgment as might best suit the Destructive Tendency of the said Bill. As a Christian And a Member of a free Country your Respondent Believes that his first Ancestor was Created Perfectly Free And That By Nature All the Human Race are equally free and independent. But to exhort this Virginia Law of Nature to the subsequent and necessary laws formed by and between Mankind. Man formed into distinct civil societies, your Respondent apprehends [illegible] Can only proceed from a biassed intention, and will infallibly drag along the most pernicious Consequences. Instance Virginia, shall every [illegible] therein be set free, Because they are so by Nature: -- No. Surely we are told otherwise as well by our Bible, as the experience of all Mankind from the Earliest Ages; Profane History is exuberantly rich in examples to this purpose and the first book of the Bible to wit Genesis furnishes us with something nearly alike to if not absolute slavery in the person of Joseph, but your Respondent having no pretenses to a thourgh understanding of this of Long most and Laboured topic of argumentation cannot say that he understands, that in every Nation of the World, Slavery is in some degree or other put in force, and that particularly in Virginia. He expects to rule and have the same proven over his slaves, which every member thereof are by Law instilled to ______ Your Respondent allows that his Brother John Barr decd. Did in his lifetime make and publish such last Will and Testament as in the Bill is set forth and also annexed the same Codicil. Thereto as in the Bill is Expressed. And that Admon of the estate of his sd. [said] Brother with the Will Annexed was committed to him and the he duly qualified himself according to Law.

Turn to page 2 in the annexed sheets