Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 11383804 Details

State:South Carolina
Location Type:District/Parish
Salutation:To the Honourable, the Legislature of South Carolina
Filing Date:1838-December

General Petition Information

Abstract:Thirty-six citizens of Chester District seek the repeal of an 1834 law preventing the practice of teaching slaves to read the scriptures and other religious books. The petitioners argue that "in very many places sd. law could not be enforced"; that "multitudes of citizens ... believe the law in question to invade the rights of conscience"; and that this law cannot be defended because "the ability to read which the Legislature seems to dread, now exists in probably every plantation in the State, yea, hundreds of slaves can now read all over the state & it is utterly impossible even for the masters to prevent this -- as is apparent from the cases where negros learn to write by stealth, altho the master is very watchful to prevent this." The petitioners aver that the state has less to fear from intelligent than ignorant slaves; the latter condition “make our servants the fit dupes of every Nat Turner who might chance to pass along." They further surmise that "if Imperial Rome could manage even a classic slavery, & their slaves ... the best trained soldiers in the world, the Romans excepted, does chivalrous South Carolina quail before gangs of cowardly Africans with a Bible in their hands? Let it not be said!!" The petitioners therefore “hope your Hon. body will duly weigh our petition & pass a repeal for relief.”
Result:No recorded result
# of Petition Pages:3
Related Documents:Sponsor: Thomas Wade Moore, House, Chester District (1837-1838, 1848-1851, 1854-55)
Pages of Related Documents:0

People Associated with Petition 11383804

Free Persons of Color:0
Other People:0

Citation Information

Repository: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina

  • Records of the General Assembly
  • Document Number 1838 #27
  • Page: frames 397-99
  • Microfilm: Reel #1, frames 397-99

Processing Information

Record Created:10/13/1995
Record Final Edited:4/1/1998
Record Last Updated on:11/15/2008 12:41:00 PM