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Doxey & Jack: Petition, Princess Anne County

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To the Honourable Speakers and members of both houses of the general assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia. The petition of Jack of the County of Princess Anne Respectfully Sheweth: That he was born in the County of Princess Anne and was the property of Mr. Caleb Ward; that he was put by his master an apprentice to learn the trade of a Blacksmith; and after his apprenticeship was out, his master from the confidence he reposed in his skill, integrity, and good conduct, established a blacksmith-shop under your petitioner's superintendence, and the blacksmith-work for the neighbourhood was done at that shop, your petitioner begs leave to state, as one of his proofs of his good conduct and deportment that his said master placed his nephew Caleb Ward under his superintendence and instruction, in the shop, to learn the trade and after he had instructed him in his trade, the said Caleb Ward Jr. entered into and still continues his business as a blacksmith. About the years 1820 or 1821 his master Caleb Ward being compelled to satisfy debts, reluctantly sold your petitioner to Mr. George R. Corprew at the price of Eight hundred and fifty dollars cash. It was the good fortune of your petitioner to acquire the confidence of his new master, who also established a blacksmith-shop (in which the work of the neighbourhood was done) under the superintendence of your petitioner which he continued to manage till his masters death. This said master died in the latter part of the year 1825, and by his will emancipated your petitioner, and bestowed on him a small legacy. Your petitioner has lately received from the Executor of the said George R. Corprew his assent to the emancipation, and he is now informed that by the Law of the State he is required to leave the place of his nativity, abandon his wife and children (who are slaves) and break all the ties which bind him to his country, or forfeit the freedom which the goodness of his master has bestowed on him, as a reward for many years of toil, devotion and fidelity. Your petitioner is now forty five years of age. He has never been suspected of any crime or misdemeanor and through his life has never been arraigned before any court or Magistrate for any indiscretion or irregularity, but devoting himself industriously and honestly to his business and always observant of all that respect and obedience