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Ben: Petition, Pocahontas County

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To the Honorable the Speakers and Members of both Houses of the Legislature of Virginia. The Petition of Ben (a free man of Colour) respectively represents. That after having served his late Master Jacob Warwick of Pocahontas until the period of his death, he was by the last will and Testament of his said master emancipated together with his daughter a girl of seven years of age [illegible]. To a person of the age of your petitioner this [boon?] would have been a curse had he been sent forth into the world dependent on his daily labour for his support. But the provident care of a benevolent master relieved him from all apprehensions on this score by a legacy of a tract of 300 acres of land in the County of Pocahontas furnished with whatever was necessary for cultivating it and enabling him to live with care and independence. Under these circumstances your Petitioner was flattered with the Hopes that the [evening?] of his days would be spent in ease in the country where he was born and raised and under the protecting care and patronage of the relatives of his deceased Master to whom he is tenderly attached. But this dream of happiness did not last long[.] Your Petitioner has been informed that the same act which emancipated him and his daughter from bondage banished them from the land of their nativity and from all that was dear to them. It is at this time when within a short time of the law taking effect against them. When your Petitioner would be obliged to dispose at a great sacrifice of the property bequeathed to him that he has [then turned?], appealing to the sympathies of honorable men, to lay his case