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To the honorable the speaker and house of burgesses. The petition of John Durrett of the county of Spotsylvania Humbly sheweth That Jacob a negro man slave belonging to your petitioner about the 9th of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy two, having broken open a house belonging to Colo. John Thornton of the county of Caroline at a place called long branch in the said county of Spotsylvania, and having stolen thereout sundry wearing apparel of the value of twenty shillings in the possession of negro Plato belonging to the said Thornton, was by a warrant under the hand of Charles Dick gent one of his majestys justices of the peace for the said county of Spotsylvania, committed to the goal of the said county, in order that he might be try’d and punish’d as the law in such case directs. That the said Jacob intending to enlarge himself and thereby escape the punishment that would have been inflicted on him for the felony aforesaid, in the night of the 18th of the said month of November, attempted to burn a hole through the said goal, thro’ which he might pass, but having set fire to it, the flames suddenly increas’d to such a hight, that the said goal was in a little time consum’d, and the said Jacob punish’d in the flames, so that he was lost to your petitioner. Your petitioner therefore prays that this house will take his case under consideration, and that they will give him such relief in the premisses, as to them shall seem [meet?] and right. And your petitioner as in duty bound will pray etc John Durrett