Yancey, William: Petition, Richmond City
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To the Honb'le the Speaker of the House of Delegates and Members of the General Assembly of Virginia The Petition of William, alias William Yancey most respectfully sheweth That he is advised of the general and prohibitory Law, respecting the Emancipation of Slaves, within this Commonwealth: that he is also advised of the practices of individual holders of Slaves, which led to that prohibition - that those practices were grounded upon an indiscriminate Emancipation of the unworthy, as well as the Worthy, arising from Scruples of conscience as to the holders of that kind of property, and to restrain the evils incident to Society, upon such unlimited exercise of the power of Emancipation, the Rights of the Emancipated, were Limited & circumscribed, so as to preclude the Emancipated, the Free. and unrestrained rights of Citizenship, within the Commonwealth. That the Law before referred to, has, and inculcates a principle of policy too just to be Denied, your Memorialist will unhesitatingly admit: But he hopes to be pardoned, when he presumes further to explore the policy of the said Law, by surmising, that its primary object was to free Society from those who were worthless and whose Freedom was not predicated, exclusively upon Merit, but who could alone Claim it, as the pure result of Fanaticism, at the hand of one, who paid no reguard [regard] to merit - and here it may be affirmed how easy it is, to draw the line of discrimination between the Worthy & Unworthy, and yet preserve in purity, the general Policy of the Law, so as to avoid confounding