Harris, Peggy & Others: Petition, Powhatan County
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we will forfeit that inestimable Liberty given to us by the laws of Virginia, and awarded 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 breake at once asunder their congigal [conjugal], fraternal and parental Love. to part forever, Husband and Wife, parent and child, would be death to your poor Petitioners. Your Petitioners are therefore tremblingly fearful, 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 free people of colour humble pray, that they may remain among their parents, husbands, wives, and children, and that your Honourable Body may please to grant such other relief in the premises as your Wisdom and Goodness may devise. And your Petitioners are in duty bound most humbly pray &c. The petitioners above mentioned will make no 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 merits and demerits. 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 neighbourhood of the above mentioned Petitioners. That we know them and have always understood and believe them to be honest and good [illegible] people, more so perhaps than any other people of their colour and condition. We have never heard of any offence, or charge or criminal proceeding against them or any of them, Indeed we have heard, and believe they or some of them have exhibited extraordinary good conduct and merit. We should therefore feel grateful if the Legislature would grant the relief as asked for by the Petitioners. And we in duty bound &c &c John Maxey Jr. Jeffery T Davis Jos B. Davis Jeffrey H Davis Peter D. Guenant Maurice Mann William Hopkins John J Flournoy Saml Davis John Randolph Claiborne Watkins Daniel Bass Wm [illegible]