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To the Honourable Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Burgesses. The Petition of a Number of Pres= byterians, Members of a Presbyterian Church or Congregation in the County of Bedford, known by the Name of the Peaks of Otter, humbly sheweth, That you Petitioners have in time past and are still willing to contribute their Quota in Support of the Church of England as by Law established in this Colony of Virginia; which they do with the more Cheerfulness, as they have hitherto enjoyed their Rights and Privileges and the free Exercise of their Religion as Presbyteri an Dissenters unmolested: nor have they any Fears or Doubts of being disturbed therein by this Honourable House, while your Petiti= oners duly obey the Laws of their Country, continue good Subjects to their most gracious Sovereign, and are useful Members of the Communitiy. And as they look upon Obedience to the Laws and protection from the Legislature to be reciprocal, they therefore pray the Protection of this Honourable House in future, in the [free exercise] of their Religion, which they humbly concieve is well calcula ted to make Men wise here [missing] due [missing] due -nce to their [lawful] Sovereign, and to live in proper Subjection to the Laws. While they thus implore your Protection and favorable Notice, they beg Leave to inform this Honourable House that they find is very inconvenient to support Clergy of their Denomination by the usual Method of Subscription; therefore a Number of well disposed Persons in said Presbyterian Church or Congregation have made Contributions to purchase therewith Lands and Slaves for the support of a stated Minister of the said Congregation: but not believing their Elders or Church Session a Body sufficiently corporated by any express Law of this Colony, in which to vest the Freehold of the Land and Slaves in Trust for the Purpose of raising a salery, and the [same] being in Obeyance would be liable to various Trespasses with= out Redress, for Remedy whereof your Petitioners farther pray, that this Honourable House would pass a Law impowering the Elders of said Congregation to dispose of the Benefactions that now are or hereafter maybe given for the support of a Minister of the Presbyterian Profession in the Purchase of Land and Slaves, or to place the same or any Part thereof to Interest as shall seem most for the Benefit of the Congregation, and vest in the said Elders and their Successors the Freehold of the said Land and Slaves to [the] Use of the said Minister, as long as her continues in the Doctrine and subject to the Disci= pline of the Presbyterian Church as held and exercised by their [-ssions] Presbyteries and synods; with Power to withhold the Profits of the said Lands and [Slaves] and the Interest of the Money whenever the Minister shall deviate from the Doctrine or Discipline according to [the] Judgement of the said [Judicial acres]: and if the Profits of the said Lands Slaves and Money should at any [time] exceed the Salery agreed [upon] with the said Minister, the Elders are to dispose of the Overplus, as also the Profits arising from the Land Slaves and Money between the Death or Removal of a Minister and the Admission of [the] Successor, according to the Rules of the Presbyterian Church, as shall be directed by a Majority of the Congregation: that the Elders shall have Power to sell any Lands or Slaves that may be thought less useful and [without] Money arising from such Sale to purchase other Lands or Slaves of more Value to the same [Uses]: that the said Elders and their Successors shall be regular Members of the Presbyterian Church according to the Doctrine and Discipline thereof, and that they shall be annually accountable to the Mi= nister for his Salery, or [missing] -h thereof as shall arise from the Profits of the Land and Slaves and the Interest of the Money: that the sa- [missing] -loers keep a fair Book of all their Transactions in the said Trust, and render a just Account thereof so [such Persons] as shall be chosen by a Majority of the Congregation when thereunto demand= ed; and on Refusal or [missing] to be liable to the [illegible] of the said Persons so chosen with the Consent of the said Majority. This our Petition being solely intended for promoting Religion and Virtue amongst the Presbyterians in this Part [of the Colony] is humbly left to the various Consideration of this Honourable House to con [missing] and Amendment [missing] in [missing] Wisdom [missing] shall [missing] expedient and your Petitioners as in Duty bound shall ever pray