Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 11383807 Details

State:South Carolina
Location:Abbeville
Location Type:District/Parish
Salutation:To the honourable, the Senate and house of Representatives of the State of South Carolina in Legislature assembled
Filing Date:circa 1838

General Petition Information

Abstract:Sixty-one citizens of Abbeville District seek the repeal of an 1834 law forbidding people to teach slaves to read. They request "the liberty, if we think proper, to teach our Servants to read, with so much fluency and Correctness, that they will be able to peruse the word of God and other religious books with pleasure and profit to their Souls." The petitioners purport that the law forbidding slaves to read is an "infringement of the right of conscience"; in addition, the law is unconstitutional as it negates the Eighth Section of the South Carolina Constitution establishing freedom of religion. They declare that "by this article all mankind within the limits of the State, are allowed the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship,” and since slaves are a part of mankind, they have immortal souls and the right to exercise religious worship. The petitioners lastly assert that servants who live in religious families and have been taught to read and understand the word of God are "much more trusty in every respect" than those who did not know nor understand the Bible.
Result:referred to Committee on Colored Population
# of Petition Pages:6
Related Documents:Sponsor: John Alfred Calhoun, House, Abbeville (1838-1839)
Pages of Related Documents:0

People Associated with Petition 11383807

Slaves:0
Free Persons of Color:0
Defendants:0
Petitioners:10
Other People:0

Citation Information

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

  • Records of the General Assembly
  • Document Number ND #2822
  • Page: frames 18-23
  • Microfilm: Reel #2, frames 0018-23

Processing Information

Record Created:10/29/1997
Record Final Edited:4/1/1998
Record Last Updated on:11/14/2008 5:47:00 PM