Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10382701

State: Delaware Year: 1827
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: The chairman of the Wilmington Union Colonization Society expresses concern about the expanding free black population. Robert Porter argues that free people of color do not and cannot enjoy the most important civil privileges (voting and office holding), cannot associate with whites, and will not be accepted on a basis of equality. Porter defends the legally sanctioned separation by declaring that "our separation from these people is the effect of moral causes, the foundations of which we could not safely remove; amalgamation would demoralize society; the consequence of breaking up the present distinctions would be not to raise the free coloured people, but to sink all to a state of degradation yet unknown.” He therefore suggests "the removal of these people" to the west “coast of Africa” as the solution to what he describes "people by their very condition our enemies." In Porter's opinion, the American Colonization Society is deserving of more "of the resources of the National Government" and if the Society were able to make "this removal general and common, there can be no doubt, that this whole population would flow in a current in that direction."

PAR Number 10382702

State: Delaware Year: 1827

Abstract: One hundred and five citizens of Delaware "respectfully beg leave to express their assent to the positions contained in the Memorial of the Wilmington Union Colonization Society and their conviction of the great importance of the subject." The petitioners are "confident, that there are few subjects in which the present generation has a deeper interest, or which more urgently demands the attention of our statesmen."

PAR Number 10384501

State: Delaware Year: 1845
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Andrew Gray states that his twenty-one-year-old slave Charles was arrested and jailed for theft in 1809. He further reveals that said Charles "after he was arrested and committed did with other prisoners break gaol and escape, and has never since been heard of." The petitioner, thirty-six years later, now seeks compensation for the loss of the slave Charles, as he "has, as he thinks a claim on the state for indemnification." Gray offers certain "observations in support of my petition to allow me a compensation for the loss of my negro slave Charles," in which he states that he is "and always have been friendly to the gradual liberation of negro slaves, and the colonization of them after their liberation." He goes on to recount that he "inherited a family of slaves, all of whom have been long since liberated," estimating the value of the freed male slaves to be $400 at the time. This, he proclaims, "was a sacrifice which abolitionists, who never owned a negro, have not incurred, and consequently have not given the proof of their zeal in the cause of emancipation."

PAR Number 11280107

State: North Carolina Year: 1801
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Capt. James Deane "took the Oath of Allegiance and Abjuration" in 1786 and then returned to the Bahama Islands "with an intention of settling his affairs there and removing his Family and property from thence to this State." He admits, however, that "a number of intervening accidents" delayed his arrival and the resettlement of his property in North Carolina. Deane reports that part of said property consists "of Negroe Slaves over the Age of Fifteen Years" and that he is "advised that he cannot bring them in without subjecting himself to very heavy and severe penalties." The petitioner represents that he feels a "great reluctance in parting from them could he even do it to advantage but the great difference between the value of that kind of property in the Bahamas and this Country would render the sale of them there a Sacrifice of Interest." Avowing that said slaves "are solely intended for their Use Service Benefit and Behoof," Deane prays that he may be authorized and empowered "to bring into this State from the said Bahama Islands the Negroe Slaves aforesaid."

PAR Number 11281709

State: North Carolina Year: 1817
Location: Guilford Location Type: County

Abstract: Jeremiah Hubbard, clerk of "the Religious Society of Friends in their yearly Meeting," suggests a means to effect "a reform of this evil" of slavery, whereby "the descendents of Africa are held & doomed to perpetual & Involuntary servitude." The Quakers propose enacting measures that might gradually result in an "amelioration of their condition." They purport that "perhaps by acing in concert with the plan of the General Government for Colonizing ... and by prohibiting the introduction of Slaves into the State," this "unrighteous trafic (in some measure) in our section of the Union" might be discouraged. They believe said measures "would be aiding the cause of humanity, and politically beneficial to the moral Interest of the Community."

PAR Number 11281901

State: North Carolina Year: 1819
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: "The Raleigh Auxiliary Society for Colonizing the free people of Colour of the United States" states that agents of its parent society, the American Colonization Society, have ascertained that "Sherbro is the most desirable Country for the colony" as it is "in all respects suited to the purposes of the Society" and interior land in great abundance "can be obtained for a mere trifle." In addition, the agents report that the numbers of free people of color in this country that "are willing & even anxious to go & make the experiment, are far greater than the Society, with their limited means, can accommodate." Even with this promising outlook and the support of the President of the United States, the petitioner puts forth that said society "needs more patronage & resources ... than can be drawn from individual benevolence." He therefore solicits "the patronage of your Honorable body, to the 'American Society for colonizing the free people of colour of the United States' and asks that "you request our Senators & Representatives in Congress, to use their influence & exertions to obtain from the General Government, the aid necessary for the Society to effect its great object."

PAR Number 11282713

State: North Carolina Year: 1827

Abstract: The Manumission Society of North Carolina petitions to prevent the further "introduction of slaves from any other state into this [state] in any way whatsoever." They submit that "the slaves brought by Speculators" to North Carolina, "where they find a ready market for them," generally consist of "the most desperate, vicious characters that can be selected from their Masters farms, and the Goals of the Country, and consequently cannot with Safety be admitted into this State lest they corrupt the morals of others." Fearing the inevitable confrontation between slaveholding and nonslaveholding states, the petitioners "hope that the time will arrive when our National Government and State Legislatures will come to an understanding upon this important National subject, and adopt some plan by which slavery will be abolished in the Country." The Society, however, believes "that to emancipate our Slaves and permit them to remain amongst us would be impolitic, and would neither secure our safety or materially better their condition." They instead propose freed blacks be "removed beyond the limits of our Government."

PAR Number 11282720

State: North Carolina Year: 1827
Location: Pasquotank Location Type: County

Abstract: The Pasquotank Auxiliary of the American Colonization Society, whose "sole object is to remove, with their own consent, to the Coast of Africa, the free coloured population, now existing in the United State, and such as hereafter may become free," submits a printed petition from the parent organization. The petition states that a "Colony of free coloured persons from the United States, amounting to several hundred, has been planted on one of the most eligible situations upon the coast of Africa." The Society seeks support from the state of North Carolina and its representatives in Congress for the continuation of its program.

PAR Number 11283104

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Guilford Location Type: County

Abstract: Jeremiah Hubbard, "on behalf of the yearly Meeting of the Society of friends held at New gardin in Guilford County," applauds the efforts of the colonization society and views said organization "well worthy the continuance and encouragement of the Legislature of this state." Hubbard discloses that the Quakers "as a Religious society own'd many slaves in North Carolina to the number of about twelve hundred they long since have been impres'd with the belief that the good of society in this state would be promoted and their aforesaid slaves essenseally benifitted by ther removal to Liberia or else where beyond the limits of this state." With "annual donations or other pecuniary aid," the Quakers believe that "it would be entirely practicable for the Citizens of the state through you their representatives to effect the intire removal of the free persons of colour from this state in a few years." Hubbard and the Society of Friends "sincerely believe that the peace harmony and good order of society would be greatly promoted & this portion of our population Esenseally benifitted." He therefore submits "the subject to your deliberate consideration."

PAR Number 11283805

State: North Carolina Year: 1838
Location: Davie Location Type: County

Abstract: Six Davie County residents ask "that a certain man of colour ... by the name of Roger aged about fifty years" be emancipated. They submit that the said Roger "by honest industry acquired money sufficient to purchase his freedom from his late master Isham P Ellis." The petitioners conceive that the said slave is "well entitled to his freedom for which he has paid" and that "he is now advanced in years and therefore not a proper subject to be sent to Africa." They assert that Roger "should not be compelled to seek the enjoyment of liberty in a foreign clime far away from the land of his birth, for even to a black man 'home is sweet'." They therefore pray that a bill be passed "extending to the said Roger the rights and privileges of a free man ... and that in said Act the said Roger be known by the name of Roger Brown."

PAR Number 11284201

State: North Carolina Year: 1842

Abstract: The "Convention of the friends of African Colonization" asks the North Carolina General Assembly for monetary support for settlements in Liberia. The members represent that "the Colony of Liberia rose into existence as a home for the re-captured Africans restored by the humanity of our Government to their own country, and as a well-organized community of free colored men, prepared and disposed to extend their useful arts, laws, civilization and Christianity, far abroad among the native population of Africa." They cite in particular the Colony of Cape Palmas as "conclusive evidence of what a single state, and by an appropriation of a few thousand dollars annually can accomplish in this cause. A prosperous Colony of about six hundred emigrants has risen, with all the order and institutions of a well organized Society, under the fostering care of the Legislature of Maryland, and citizens of this state, at the cost of less than the establishment of a single plantation of the South." They therefore propose that "an annual appropriation for the present, of even ten thousand dollars, from the Legislature of each State ... would throw a new light of hope and cheerfulness over the settlements of Liberia, and give assurance that Africa herself must rise from ruin, to stand in honor and power among the nations of the world."

PAR Number 11284202

State: North Carolina Year: 1842

Abstract: Thomas Kennedy requests passage of an act appropriating annual contributions to the American Colonization Society. Kennedy argues that "Liberia is the best and surest Assylum for our free people of Colour" as "there they will be entitled to all the immunities and priviledges appertaining to a Republican form of Government." He further sees Liberia soon becoming "of immense importance to the United States in a commercial point of view” and its residents “will act as an Effective barrier against the slave trade, that desolating scourge of Africa, which has deprived her of Millions of her children, and consigned them to excruciating deaths, on the passage and servile bondage in Strange Lands." He therefore "Respectfully, but earnestly entreats the present Legislature to pass an act making annual appropriations to the American Colonization Society at the City of Washington of some specific sum to enable the society to transport and colonize such free people of colour in our state as may desire to be colonized in Liberia, and that you extend your act so as to provide that owners of slaves may bequeath transfer or convey his, her, or their slaves to the A. C. S. for the express purpose of having them colonized in Liberia, and that such bequests, Transfers, or conveyances of such slaves, for such purposes shall be lawful." Kennedy believes "such an act ... would have a salutary effect and influence throughout the State."

PAR Number 11284807

State: North Carolina Year: 1848
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-two "citizens and mechanics of the town of Fayetteville" complain about the "consequence of the competition of free negro mechanics." They therefore pray that a law be passed "requiring every free negro in the State, to register his or her name, and the names of their children, in the county clerk's office, every year, under heavy penalties; and that besides the poll tax, a capitation tax be levied, for the purpose of aiding to emigrate to Liberia, such free negroes as are willing to go." The petitioners also request "your honorable body not to pass any more special acts emancipating slaves; and also to take into serious consideration the propriety of furnishing aid from the State treasury, to such free negroes as desire to emigrate to Liberia, or some other country, and have not the means to do so." In closing, they "suggest to your honorable body the propriety of levying a separate tax on all investments in merchandise the manufacture of such non-slaveholding States as refuse to comply with the provisions of the fugitive slave law."

PAR Number 11285001

State: North Carolina Year: 1850
Location: Duplin Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-seven Duplin County residents insist "that we should exert every effort in our power to establish and preserve tranquility and decorum among our slaves,” and they are “fully convinced of the fact that the residence of free persons of color in their vicinity has a tendency to foster a spirit of discontent in their midst." They therefore pray "that the Legislature may devise some means by which their removal may be effected." The petitioners suggest a suitable appropriation be authorized "to transport these said free persons of Colour to Liberia, and that all of them be compeled to go except those who prefer to be sold and become slaves." They further "suggest that it be left to their own option either to be transported or remain among us and be sold into slavery."

PAR Number 11285003

State: North Carolina Year: 1850
Location: Beaufort Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred seventy-six citizens of Beaufort County complain that the "White Mechanics of our State are laboring under a serious injury, inflicted upon them by the competition they experience from negro mechanics." They believe that this is "not only an injury to them, but to every portion of the community, because it places a check against the advancement of Agriculture, and forbids genius and talent from entering its employment on account of degradation it may experience, by being brought down side by side with negro labor." They further declare that "the free negro population ... has increased to an alarming extent." The petitioners therefore pray "the General Assembly to pass an act, laying a tax upon free negroes which shall be applied for the purpose of colonizing them in Liberia, and if necessary, an additional sum from the State Treasury."

PAR Number 11285101

State: North Carolina Year: 1851

Abstract: Fourteen free people of color ask the General Assembly to petition Congress for land in the "western Territory" for the establishment of a colony for free blacks. Considering "themselves Americans-- knowing no other clime nor soil" makes it difficult for them to seek a separation, but "your petitioners are well aware of the importance of this petition." They point out that many of them "are the off springs of those who yielded their all in the Revolutionary struggle but the blessings of which from political policy are withheld from them." They therefore are compelled "in the spirit of peace to ask for a separation in the name and meaning of a Colony."

PAR Number 11285206

State: North Carolina Year: 1852
Location: Sampson Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-one Sampson County residents condemn free blacks as a "perfect Nuisance, to civilized Society." They decry that "the free Negroes, and mulatoes living amongst us ... hold themselves a grade above the slave population and attempt in divers ways to equalize themselves with the white population." They further charge that said "course of procedures, and their communications with the slave population, renders them (the slaves) disposed to be disobedient and turbulent." The petitioners therefore propose that the legislature pass "such caustic laws as to compel them to emigrate, or by rasing a fund by taxing them, to be appropriated to their collonization in Africa, or by petition to the general Government for a location for them in the far West."

PAR Number 11379802

State: South Carolina Year: 1798
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Delaire states that his slave, Paul, alias Figaro, was convicted of sedition and sentenced to be transported from the United States to the Dutch Colony of Surinam and sold. Other slaves involved in the plot were hanged, but Paul testified against them and his life was spared. Paul was turned over to Duncan Hill, owner of the brig Aurora, for transport to Surinam. Owing to the "Intense cold the said Figaro had suffered in the Work House at Charleston & the strong pressure of the Irons on his legs very few days after the Sailing of the Aurora he was taken with a swelling about the ankles which turn'd into a sore & that a mortification of the flesh ensuing his toes rotted & one of his feet drop'd of[f] entirely." As a result, Paul sold for only about $20 though he was worth $350. Delaire seeks compensation.

PAR Number 11379803

State: South Carolina Year: 1798
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Delaire states that his slave, Paul, alias Figaro, was convicted of sedition and sentenced to be transported from the United States to the Dutch Colony of Surinam and sold. Other slaves involved in the plot were hanged, but Paul testified against them and his life was spared. Paul was turned over to Duncan Hill, owner of the brig Aurora, for transport to Surinam. Owing to the "Intense cold the said Figaro had suffered in the Work House at Charleston & the strong pressure of the Irons on his legs very few days after the Sailing of the Aurora he was taken with a swelling about the ankles which turn'd into a sore & that a mortification of the flesh ensuing his toes rotted & one of his feet drop'd of[f] entirely." As a result, Paul sold for only about $20 though he was worth $350. Delaire seeks compensation.

PAR Number 11383901

State: South Carolina Year: 1839
Location: Lancaster Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Elisha Blackmon, executor of the estate of the late Samuel McCorkle, seeks to emancipate an enslaved family consisting of Lydia and her six children. Blackmon rpresents that the said McCorkle directed that said slaves be freed. The petitioner therefore prays "that the Legislators of this State will grant the request of the Testator." McCorkle's will also directed that Lydia and her family be transported "to the nearest nonholding slave state in the United States, or the Free colony in Africa if they choose to go there to live" if his executors "should fail to procure the emancipation of them in this state."

PAR Number 11384007

State: South Carolina Year: 1840
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Jehu Jones, a free person of color, admits that he was induced to leave his "Happy Home" in South Carolina in 1832 "by promises of great Remuneration in money & valuable Lands, made by the Friends of the American Colonization Society to Engage my Services for Liberia." Forty-five-year-old Jones states that he was promised land, the assistant editorship of a newspaper, and a teaching position if he were “to Emigrate to Africa.” He laments, however, that upon his arrival in the North he discovered said promises were "merely a delusion" and that the Society "abandoned me to my fate, among Strangers Jealous of new commers, without friends, without funds & without Employment." Jones confides that he "should have returned home immediately in disgust with the Erroneous Philantrophy held up to me, But knowing The Laws of my Native State, which I Ever Respect forbid me, return," he instead stayed eight years in "diligent Search" for "a place that I can Reconcile myself to Live in." Now living in Philadelphia with his wife, who is also unhappy, Jones expresses "an ardent desire to visit the grave of my Father, the spot where I was Born, grew up & lived respectably for Nearly half a century." He therefore respectfully begs “the Legislature of my Native State to permit my Return to South Carolina."

PAR Number 11384205

State: South Carolina Year: 1842
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Strohecker and other South Carolina slave owners seek compensation for "the loss of Seventy or Eighty negro slaves on Board the Schooner Enterprize." He reports that said vessel, "through the stress of weather, was compelled to make a harbour on the Island of Bermuda, from a voyage from the District of Columbia in the United States, to the port of Charleston South Carolina, sometime in the year 1835." He further relates that "the vessel had but barely anchored in the harbour before she was boarded by the constituted authorities of the place, and the slaves, were forcibly seized, detained or set at liberty from their owners, in opposition to the determined efforts of the master and crew of the vessel." Strohecker argues that many of the owners are "Widows and orphans, who feel the loss very severely." Noting that said property had been insured by the Marine and Fire Insurance Company of Charleston, the petitioners "urge upon your honorable body, the justice and equity of your remunerating them for their severe losses."

PAR Number 11384502

State: South Carolina Year: 1845
Location: Lancaster Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Elisha Blackmon, executor of the estate of the late Samuel McCorkle, seeks to emancipate an enslaved family consisting of Lydia and her six children. Blackmon represents that the said McCorkle directed that said slaves be freed. The petitioner therefore prays "that the Legislators of this State will grant the request of the Testator." McCorkle's will also directed that Lydia and her family be transported "to the nearest nonholding slave state in the United States, or the Free colony in Africa if they choose to go there to live" if his executors "should fail to procure the emancipation of them in this state."

PAR Number 11385909

State: South Carolina Year: 1859
Location: Abbeville Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: One hundred thirteen Abbeville District residents decry "the deplorable condition of the Free Negroes of the State" and ask that the legislature "take some action in their behalf." The petitioners "consider them the most degraded people that live in a civilized community." They further declare that "we of the South understand the Negroe character," and "we know that naturally they are indelent, Lazy, improvident, destitute of forethought, & totally incapable of self government." In addition, the residents argue that free blacks "are incapable of supporting themselves, & should have someone to arouse their dormant energies & direct their labour." The petitioners also point out that free people of color "have decidedly a demoralizing effect upon our slave population" and "their indolence & impudence are dilleterious to the young & inexperienced slaves; & their Shanties are the ready receptacles for stolen property, or a place of rendezvous for bad disposed slaves where they meet to drink gamble or plot mischief." They therefore pray that the legislature "would enact some law for their relief, by placing them in a happy State of bondage; the place where God designed the African race to be." If the legislature "is not disposed to grant this boon to these unfortunate people," then they "pray you to appropriate a fund & have them removed to Liberia, & thus relieve the State of their contaminating influence."

PAR Number 11481734

State: Tennessee Year: 1817
Location: Knox Location Type: County

Abstract: Ninety-five residents of Knoxville are deeply concerned about the "inconsistency of Slavery with republican principles and the natural rights of man." They therefore "lay before you their Sentiments on the Same interesting subject.” They propose that slaves be prevented from entering the state; that slaveholders be permitted to free their slaves by wills without putting up a security bond, while slave traders and others be prohibited from selling family members away from one another; and that "the removal of people of colour, as they become free from our own to a distant continent would be productive of great advantage to the colonists, as well as to the United States."

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