Edward; Hamilton; & Adam: Petition, Warren County
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To the General Assembly of Virginia, The Petition of negroes Edward, his wife Henrietta a Henney, and their child Adam free persons. respectfully represent That they were emancipated by the last will and testament of Sarah Rollings decd. on account of their good behavior to her and promises made for their support and maintenance. That they made application to the County Court of Warren for permission to reside within the said county, pursuant to the provisions of the Act of Assembly passed March 22nd 1837. The magistrate was duly summoned to consider of the application a large majority of them attended, the attorney for the Commonwealth being present and [resisting?] the application, witnesses were sworn and examined, and the Court was unanimously of opinion, that your petitioners had proved their character to be in accordance with the requisition of the law yet the leave was not granted, the requisite majority of three fourths not voting for it, because "they believed it to be impolite to grant the leave in any instance in said county, in consequence of the number of free negroes, in the county". Nine magistrates voted in favor of granting the permission and five against it. It does not [harm?] your petitioners to say that the Justices who voted against granting the permission erred in their construction of the law, but they are advised, that it was evidently the intention of the Legislature, that the permission should be granted where the applicants proved that their characters and such as the law required. If the law is so construed as to give the County Courts the same [disention?] which the Legislature has, to refuse altho the applicants may prove that their characters as such, the law requires, the consequences will be, that the same general law will operate differently in the different counties of the Commonwealth can't the privilege held out