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Martha: Petition, Prince William County

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To the Honble [Honorable] the General Assembly, the House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia. The memorial of Martha, a free woman of color. Your memorialist would beg leave most humbly to represent to your Honble [Honorable] body. that she was born a slave and manumitted or set free by her late & kind mistress Miss Catharine S. Hancock about 3 or 4 years past. that she previous to her Manumission had taken as a husband, a certain slave, called Lewis. The property of Mr. Lane (see her Certificate annexed) to whom she is sincerely attached, and to whose company and intercourse she now humbly and fervently prays your Honble [Honorable] body to restore her by permitting her to return to & reside in, for the residue of her days. Her native neighborhood and state, dear old Virginia. Your memorialist -- would further beg leave respectfully to state that as soon as freed or set at liberty (which was no act of hers, tho. [though] desired, as she doubts not by her late good and indulgent Mistress as a boon and a blessing she, as ordered and directed, and in obedience to [illegible] left the Commonwealth and abode and now abides in a strange land, amongst strangers; that being by nature afflicted and infirm and un[illegible][unfounded?]. She has found herself laboring under great difficulty and embarrassment, as well of mind as in all other respects. To relieve her from most of which she prays humbly that your Honble [Honorable] body will condescend to grant this her simple, and humble request. And she as in duty bound will ever pray. Martha November -- 1809