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Thweatt, John: Petition, Prince George County

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Pickett - and although your petitioner saw his slave in Aitkens possession & demanded him both from him and from the Abolition Society, he could obtain his property from neither. Reduced to this mortifying situation, your petitioner was fain to prosecute the said Andrew Aitken for damages on account of the detention of his negro, every ray of hope that the slave himself could be recovered, being extinguished. And on the trial of the cause, after your petitioner had proved his property, had demonstrated the value of the slave who was an excellent waterman, and had shewn that before his elopement he had been invariably hired for upwards of twenty pounds per annum, the jury found a verdict in your petitioners favor for forty five pounds Maryland money which, after deducting your petitioners expenses incurred in his fruitless attempt to regain possession of his slave, and in prosecuting his suit, leaves him the sum of nine pounds ten shillings, Virginia currency, as the price of a negro for whom your petitioner had refused the sum of one hundred guineas. Your petitioner conceiving his case to be one which in its consequences affects every individual of the commonwealth prays that your honorable body will take his case into serious consideration, and as by the social compact the government is bound to vindicate the rights of every citizen in return for his obedience to the laws, he requests that the difference between the real value of his slave, and what was allowed him by a Baltimore jury, may be paid to him out of the treasury of this commonwealth, and that a demand may be made from our sister state of Maryland for the reimbursement of that sum, with an earnest request that similar proceedings outraging at once every principle of justice and good neighborhood, and expressly violating the law of congress in such case made and provided, may be no longer tolerated in that state. And your petitioner, as in duty bound will pray &c.