Making History: Transcribe is made possible in part by federal funding provided through the Library Services and Technology Act program administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Inhabitants: Petition, Petersburg

image 1 of 7

Zoom in to read each word clearly.
Some images may have writing in several directions. To rotate an image, hold down shift-Alt and use your mouse to spin the image so it is readable.

This transcription is complete!

To The Legislative of Virginia The Petition of the Inhabitants of Petersburg humbly sheweth that a [base? bare?] and infamous Scheme was formed, by a White Man named Matthew Murray, to destroy the Town of Petersburg by fire; and that he employed a certain Negro Man Slave Emanuel the Property of the representitve of Lin Stone decd. [deceased] as an instrument to carry into Execution this horrid Plot. That this Negro immediately gave Information of it , and Particularly to the Tenant of the House which was to be set on fire. That a Watch was kept during the night that had been fixed on, to carry this fell design into effort; That between the Hours, of one and Two O'Clock in the Morning on the 20th day of November. The said Matthew Murray and the Negro Emmanuel Arrived at the destined Spot and Plased [placed] a large quantity of Light Wood against the House, and was Preparing to apply the match. That the Persons who had assembled for the Purpose of Detection, Instantly Apprehended the Said Murray. They considered that it would have been an act of the highest Imprudence to permit the fire to be applied to such a Large quantity of Wood which had been Prepared & dryed; & also dipped in Spirits of Turpentine, when too, it was known that the House was filled with Combustible Matter, which if a spark had been communicated to it would have Prevented an extinguishment of the fire and Many Houses would have been consumed without the remotest Possibility of the Preserving them. Your Petitioners humbly represent to your Honorable body that they have voluntarily raised a sum of money to purchase this Negro man Emanuel and give him his freedom as a reward for conduct so highly praise worthy & exemplary. Your Petitioners feel the firmest conviction, that their Application is a reasonable one, and they hope your honourable body will concur, They sincerely approve of the Policy of the Law which prohibits an indiscriminate emancipation of Slaves, but they are equally certain that when