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Betsy & John: Petition, Richmond City

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To the Honorable the Speakers & members of both Houses of the General Assembly of Virginia. The Petition of Betsey & John, free persons of color most respectfully represents. that by the will of their deceased & late master B. W. Coleman, they are emancipated & set free, & ample provision made for their support; so as to prevent their becoming a charge to the community; & to leave them free from the temptation, of committing any act of moral turpitude; or any violation of any of the Laws of the country. Your petitioners, further represent, that this act of kindness on the part of Mr Coleman, was dictated, by a deep sense, of the good character of your petitioners, & gratitude for their fidelity to him, throughout his life; & devotion to him in his last long & painfull illness. These circumstances however strong in favor of your Petitioners; would not entitle them, to the right under the existing Laws, to remain in the Commonwealth; upon an application to any of the courts. But they humbly hope, that before the Legislators of the State, good moral conduct, & uniform fidelity to their deceased master, would present such a case, as would justly entitle your Petitioners, to the poor indulgence of remaining as citizens of the state. Your Petitioner Betsey is now about forty five years of age; & your Petitioner John; the son of the said Betsey is now about twenty years of age. They therefore respectfully pray your Honorable bodies, to