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Watkins, Mary: Petition, Powhatan County

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we will forfeit that inestimable liberty given to us by the laws of Virginia and accorded to us by all the courts and which is so highly appreciated by your Honorable body on all occasions. Your petitioners are but poor people of colour but they have their predilections and like the rest of all mankind the place of their nativity is dear to them and to break at once a sunder their conjugal fraternal and parental love to part forever Husband and wife parent and child would be death to your poor petitioner. Your petitioners are therefore trembling fearfull that the liberty the highest and best boon that can be offered to man on this earth will be of no avail to your petitioners under their present unfortunate situation without the friendly interposition of your Honourable body the Legislature of Virginia whose ear is ever open and whose heart is always touched by the cry of the unfortunate. We your petitioners poor people of colour humbly pray that we may remain among our husband and child and that your honourable body may please to grant such other relief in the premises as your wisdom and goodness may advise and your petitioners as in duty bound

most Humbly pray &c [etc.]. The petitioners above mentioned will make no particular declaration of character, but we humbly beg leave to refer your Honourable body to what you shall hear from gentlemen of Powhatan who reside around us and therefore the best Judges of our merit or demerit. We the undersigned citizens of Powhatan County beg leave most respectfully to represent to the Honourable Legislature of Virginia that we have resided during our lives in the County of Powhatan and the greatest number of us in the neighbourhood of the petitioners. that we or the greater part of us were well acquainted with George Radford decd [deceased] the master of the petitioners and know that Mary (now Mary Watkins) waited in the house on her master that he lived with no other white person on the land except himself and was very old and infirm and very often required assistance that the above named Mary would and did pay strict attention to her master day & night and was a faithfull honest & attentive servant of such an extraordinary merit which few excel and since her master's death she have conducted