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To the Honorable the speakers and members of both houses of the General Assembly. The petition of George P. Crump most respectfully sheweth, that for many years your petitioner has had engaged in his employment a free black man by the name of William Thomas who being a native of Virginia, and resided mostly in the City of Richmond, has become generally known to her citizens and was most singularly esteemed for his honest and quiet character; and remarked for his orderly and correct deportment. So very strong was the favorable impressions of this man's character, that there are now many of the first and most estimable [esteemable] citizens of Richmond, who would have confided to him any sum of money & any extent of property. This your petitioner has often done, and yet would do; Sometime however during the last spring, a charge was exhibited against Thomas for malicious stabbing; he was arrested, tried before an examining Court, and remanded for further trial before the Superior Court for Henrico County, Your petitioner undertook as his bail, and at the July term of the said Court, the accused appeared in discharge of his recogninace [recognizance], and the prosecution was continued to the late December term of that Court, and your petitioner [because? became?] as the bail of said Thomas, in the sum of Two hundred and fifty dollars – this he was prompted to do, for two considerations; first, because of the most excellent humble and meek character of the accused, and the belief of his entire innocence -- and secondly – because the charge if sustained, would render the existing harsh and unprecedented statute consign him to perpetual slavery. At the December term of the Court however, Thomas failed to appear, and forfeited his recogninace [recognizance], and steps are now taking in that Court against your petitioner to recover in the name of