Inhabitants: Petition, Petersburg
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Your petitioners respectfully take the liberty of further remarking, that it is most manifest, that, if the said law, shall be rigidly inforced according to its strict letter, against the said Major Elbeck and wife, its operation will be most cruelly severe & oppressive against him and his family; it will separate and disperse the whole family; it will part the husband from his wife, and the parents from their children; it will send him to Pennsylvania and expel her to the West Indies; while their children infants of most tender years, will be left in this Commonwealth, forlorn, friendless and unprotected; to be supported at the public expense or to perish! That if Major Elbeck had the means of transporting his children with himself but which this law will in effect deprive him of; humanity cannot but be shocked at the idea of putting an eternal separation between the husband and his wife; and between the mother and her children & especially at so early an age. And that all these dreadful evils will be inflicted upon them, for no other crime, than that they were ignorant of a law which had not been for a long time reverted to, even by those who were to administer it. Your petitioners feel the most perfect confidence from the general good character and uniformly prudent, orderly and correct behaviour as conduct of the said Major Elbeck and his wife; that their future residence in this State, cannot in the smallest degree affect or injure the public interests; nor interfere with the general policy which [illegible] the law (the propriety of which is by no means controverted) and that their future conduct will be as correct and unexceptionable as their past. and lastly your petitioners beg leave to add, that the dispersion of this family, and the expulsion from this State, of Major Elbeck and his wife, can produce no possible benefit or advantage to the public, while it will involve them in irretrievable ruin and misery, and produce some inconvenience to those who have been for years in the habit of employing him.