Harlan, Emor: Petition, Petersburg
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four years and six months; that the said slave was a very valuable wagoner, and was extremely useful to your petitioner:- Your petitioner further states that in the year 1818 the said Sharper was guilty of the crime of grand larceny, in stealing a watch: That instead of being tried as a slave for said crime, as your petitioner was humbly of opinion, at that time he ought to have been, he was examined under the laws relative to free persons of colour [color], because he was at a future day to be free, and was sent on to the Superior Court for further trial; instead of being punished immediately as a slave. That he was indicted and tried at the Septr. term 1818, of the Superior Court, and being still tried as a free person was found guilty, and was sentenced to the penitentiary for three years. That he has just been discharged from thence, but your petitioner has not been enabled to get possession of him so as to compel him to serve the balance of his term; and in fact he expects the said Sharper
Sharper has departed from this Commonwealth: That by the course pursued by the courts of law in this case, the proceedings of which your petitioner could not possibly controul [control], he was in the first place deprived of the services of his said slave for more than three years; and the consequence has been the total loss of his services for the balance of the term; Your petitioner humbly conceives under the circumstances of this case, that he is as much entitled, according to the strictest principles of justice, to a pro rata compensation from the public for the value of his said slave, or servant, thus wrested from him by the public & for public purposes as the owner of a slave has for the value of a slave executed under the law of the land; But as there is no general law on this subject, your petitioner submits the matter to the justice