Carrington, Paul; Selden, Miles; & Carrington, Joseph: Petition, Powhatan County
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To the General Assembly of Virginia The Petition of Paul Carrington, Miles Selden & Joseph Carrington, administrators of the Estate of Joseph Mayo dec'd [deceased] with his Will Annex'd [annexed] on behalf of Fortune, Sue, and divers others to the number of upwards of One hundred and eighty negroe & mulatto slaves belonging to the said Joseph Mayo[']s Estate. Humbly Sheweth. That altho a petition similar to the present was presented to the last Session of Assembly on which a Bill pass'd [passed] the House of Delegates in favour of the said Slaves, but fail'd in the Senate, Your Petitioners urged by the pressing request of their Testator, feel themselves bound again to approach the General Assembly on the same subject, trusting that on a reconsideration of that matter, they will extend to those unhappy people the benefit of the humane intention of their late master. Your Petitioners therefore beg leave again to represent that the said Joseph Mayo on the 27th day of May 1780 made and executed his last Will and Testament, went to urope [Europe] and on the 28th of May 1785 died on his passage to Virginia, that his Will aforesaid has been duly proved and recorded in the General Court and Letters of Administration with the Will annex'd granted to your petitioners: That the said Will exhibits the following Clause: "It is my most earnest request that the Gentlemen who shall be named and appointed Executors to this my last Will, petition the General Assembly for leave to set free all & every one of the Slaves of which I may die possessed on account of their Services to me whilst alive, and I entreat my said Executors to leave nothing undone which may be requisite for obtaining the manumission of the said Slaves of which I may die possessed" But in case the freedom of the said Slaves Cannot be obtain'd, the Will goes on to distribute them amongst sundry Legattees of which number are two of your Petitioners. Your Petitioners beg leave further to represent, that altho they are anxiously desirous to fulfil [fulfill] the humane bequest and intention of the Testator in respect to his Slaves, obstructions occur so as to put it out of the power of your Petitioners without the aid of the General Assembly. For [that?] the said Joseph Mayo died largely indebted, far beyond the value of his personal Estate, the whole of which has been sold, the slaves have been hired two years to raise a fund for payment of the Debts and there still remains a surplus to be raised, which surplus cannot be accurately ascertained, as there are several unliquidated demands on which suits are now depending and undetermined. That a great number of the slaves are aged, infirm & infants unable to support themselves, no Estate remaining for their support, and therefore cannot be emancipated as directed by the Act to authorize the manumission of slaves. That some of the Legattees, upon the fate of the Bill last Session, have demanded their proportions of the said Slaves, proposing to pay their proportion of the remaining Debts, and to give Bonds & Security for payment of their proportion of all debts which may in future appear. It is however the ardent wish of your petitioners to carry their Testators will into Execution in all its parts, but more particularly in respect to his Slaves so soon as just creditors can be satisfied. Your petitioners therefore humbly pray, that an Act may pass, so as to effect the humane intention of the said Joseph Mayo in such manner as may [secure? seem?] to Creditors their just demands, and under such restrictions as to the General Assembly in their wisdom may deem just & proper. And your Petitioners will ever pray publish'd three times in the Virg'a [Virginia] Gazette & written notice to all parties interested }