Hope, Judith: Petition, Richmond City
Zoom in to read each word clearly.
Some images may have writing in several directions. To rotate an image, hold down shift-Alt and use your mouse to spin the image so it is readable.
year 1806 supervened requiring the removal from this commonwealth of all persons who should be emancipated after the 1st day of May next succeeding the date of that act under the penalty of an absolute forfeiture of freedom. Your Petitioner is not insensible to the blessings of liberty, but to be driven even for this great possession to a separation from every friend and natural connection upon earth, to sunder every habit and association which years have fostered and matured, she regards as a condition for which even life or freedom can scarcely constitute an equivalent: and when she considers the multiplied difficulties every where presented to the reception of persons in her situation, she can view that freedom which is tendered to her subject to those difficulties as little better than a cruel mockery. In no respect whatever is the situation of your Petitioner ameliorated by the act of assembly of 18 granting the privilege of remaining in this state to such emancipated people of color who in the opinion of the County Courts shall have rendered some distinguished public service. She trusts that from the documents presented herewith, she will not be regarded as a vicious or even as an unprofitable member of the community, but to render distinguished services to the Republic, is what her hopes can hardly aspire to: this is a happiness which falls to the lot of very few, and is an occurrence which is witnessed perhaps at the intervals of centuries, so that a long life of humble usefulness would under the provisions of the statute just cited, place her in no degree whatever, nearer the attainment of her ardent wishes (to live and die in the land of her nativity],) than if her life had been worse than useless, and positively and highly detrimental. Under this view of your Petitioners situation she humbly prays that Tenar Hope her mother
who in obedience to the will and with a portion of the affects of the late Caeser Hope has purchased your petitioner, may be permitted to manumit and make her free, exempt from the hard condition of perpetual exile; and that as a free woman your petitioner, may be permitted to remain within this commonwealth. Judith Hope