Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10378501

State: Delaware Year: 1785

Abstract: Two hundred and three Quaker petitioners espouse the evil of slaveholding and entreat the legislature "to take the afflicted Case of the oppressed Negroes in this State under your mature Consideration and grant them such Relief as Justice, Humanity, the common natural Rights of Mankind, and above all the precepts, and Injunctions of the christian Religion require desiring your Minds may be influenced by divine Wisdom for your Direction."

PAR Number 10378801

State: Delaware Year: 1788

Abstract: Seventy-three Quaker petitioners commiserate "the depressed Condition of great numbers of the Human Race, who on the Principles of impartial Justice are equally entitled to the same natural Rights and Privileges with those who enjoy them” and deplore “the cruel means used to bring them into bondage, thro an inhuman Traffic to Africa carried on by Men professing Christianity." They therefore "earnestly request you will be pleased to make such provision as may be effectual for suppressing the Slave Trade or the Equipment of Ships for that purpose within this State, & also to make such supplementary additions & amendments to the late Act of Assembly to put a Stop to the importation of Slaves".

PAR Number 10379301

State: Delaware Year: 1793

Abstract: Thirty-seven petitioners, some of whom are Quakers, ask that laws prohibiting the "exportation of Slaves under certain restrictions, and the illegal carrying off free Black or coloured people" be strengthened and enforced.

PAR Number 10380302

State: Delaware Year: 1803

Abstract: Fourteen residents of Delaware "conceive it to be our duty to call the attention of our Representatives once more to the situation of the People of Colour among us." They uphold that "the recent calamities in the West-Indies" and "the alarms which have disquieted the minds of our brethren in the Southern States and rendered property less secure, are motives we believe sufficiently strong to induce such steps as may lead to a gradual Abolition of Slavery."

PAR Number 10381201

State: Delaware Year: 1812

Abstract: Quakers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the eastern part of Maryland request that special attention be given to laws restricting the freedom of free people of color. They "apprehend on a view of them it may readily be perceived by the Legislature, that they are not only partial in their nature, but in their practical operation, calculated to produce in many instances grievous suffering; and in some cases too, where the Individuals whom they affect, have not been charged with the commission of any crime." They respectfully request "your renewed serious consideration on the subject."

PAR Number 10382602

State: Delaware Year: 1826
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: The Wilmington Society of Friends, at their monthly meeting, urge the legislature to immediately abolish slavery. Arguing that slavery is evil, unjust, and oppressive, the petitioners put forth that "we believe it to be a truth, that in oppression, cruel suffering, and degradation, negro Slavery remains without a parallel in the known world."

PAR Number 10384601

State: Delaware Year: 1846

Abstract: Launcelot English prays that "All persons of all grades and colors who retain humen men as Bond men" be required to refrain from working them on Sundays and days "Ordained as Holy days by the Holy Catholic and Apostolick church."

PAR Number 10682001

State: Georgia Year: 1820
Location: Richmond Location Type: County

Abstract: The wardens and vestrymen of St. Paul's Church in Augusta complain that the costs of establishing a new burial ground farther from the city have exceeded expectations. To obtain additional funds, they ask to dispose of a portion of the northern end of the lot where St. Paul's is situated, originally granted by an act of the General Assembly. Part of the northern section, until about 1818, had been used as a burial place for people of color. With the opening of Bay Street and the building of the wharf, most of the blacks interred there had been moved elsewhere.

PAR Number 11000024

State: Mississippi
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: A dozen residents of Jefferson County verify that Malachi Hagins, a widower, was married to a white woman. The couple had ten children. On all occasions Hagins conducted himself "with great propriety" as an "honest and upright man." He had long been a member of the Baptist church. The petitioners ask the legislature to extend to Hagins and his children the right to sue and be sued and "all the rights privileges and immunities of a free white persons of this state." A related petition reveals that Malachi Hagins was born of free parents and that his grandmother was a white woman.

PAR Number 11083006

State: Mississippi Year: 1830
Location: Wilkinson Location Type: County

Abstract: As executor of Patrick Foley's estate, Francis Evans asks for the emancipation of "a certain negro Slave named Burwell." In his will Foley had stipulated that, five years after his death, the slave should be freed. Evans is complying with this stipulation.

PAR Number 11278203

State: North Carolina Year: 1782

Abstract: Four members of "the standing Committee of the People called Quakers (for the Eastern Quarter)" declare that "it is from deliberate consideration and the Conviction of our own minds that we are brought to believe that no Law, moral or Divine, hath given us any Right or absolute Prerogative over our fellow Creatures, so as to deprive them of Liberty and freedom for Life." They therefore "earnestly desire you will take these things in solid Consideration, and Repeal the acts which now prevent Freedom, tolerating such as may receive Liberty, to enjoy it, without danger of being again Reduced to Bondage, but be Deem'd as free People protected by Law."

PAR Number 11279003

State: North Carolina Year: 1790
Location: Perquimans Location Type: County

Abstract: Three petitioners, speaking "in behalf of the Inhabitants of Perquimans County," complain that "great numbers of free Negroes have been taken up in the County and sold and the monies arising from such Sales have been paid into the Treasury." The petitioners "humbly pray that you will pass a Law authorizing the Sheriff to pay to the Wardens of the Poor of this County such a sum of money arising from the Sales of such liberated negroes for the purpose of building a House for the reception of the poor." The attached Committee report notes that "a number of the People call'd Quakers who reside in County of Perquimans have at sundry times liberated their slaves, and that many of the said slaves have been seized and sold."

PAR Number 11279110

State: North Carolina Year: 1791
Location: Guilford Location Type: County

Abstract: "The Petition of the people called Quakers" point out that "Several Acts of the General Assembly now exist in this State prohibiting the freedom of Slaves, which we conceive are Inconsistent with those Truths respecting the Unalienable Rights of Mankind asserted in the Declaration of Independance of the united States of America, and beleiving the Sovereignty of Conscience to be the prerogative of Almighty God." They therefore "ardently Desire that you may please to give your attention to this Important matter, and grant an Act of toleration to such as are, or may be Emancipated, under Such Restrictions as to you, in Wisdom, may appear Just & reasonable."

PAR Number 11279214

State: North Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Pasquotank Location Type: County

Abstract: “The Remonstrance and Petition of the People called Quakers” seeks “once more to remind this House of a subject so interesting, and which to them appear loudly to call the Attention, and require the interposition of the Legislature, as the professed Guardians of every description of Men within the State.” The Quakers “lament that any State within the American Union, where those unalienable rights of human nature to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, have been so clearly defined, and happily enjoyed, should be so far insensible from whence all blessings flow, as to suffer a repetition of those cruelties which were exercised towards that unhappy people in their removal from their own Country and every Connexion and enjoyment in life, esteemed the most valuable, and again reduce them to a state of abject Slavery, at a time too when the benign spirit of Liberty is diffusing itself in various parts of the World.” The petitioners therefore “earnestly intreat and request, that every Law in this State now in existence, which deprives the free Citizens of the liberty of Emancipating their Slaves, may be repealed, and never again disgrace the annals of a Christian people.”

PAR Number 11279301

State: North Carolina Year: 1793
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: The "Standing Committee of the People of Quakers from the Eastern Quarter" react to the "Petition from a number of the Inhabitants of Pasquotank County, and a Presentiment from the Grand Jury of Edenton District" that purports "that we as People, by Emancipating our Negroes, have Rendered that Species of Property of Small Value, the Lives of the Citizens unsafe, that Risings of the Negroes have been frequently threatened." The petitioners counter that said assertions appear "Groundless, both by the Sale and hire of Slaves being higher than they were twenty years ago" and that the threatened "Risings of the Negroes" resulting in "the Lives of the Citizens thereby becoming Unsafe, we have no Reason to believe." Citing the Declaration of Independence, they therefore pray that "any person who from a Conscientious Scruple may be Induced to Emancipate their Slaves, that they enjoy their Liberty, and be protected by the Laws of the Land."

PAR Number 11279401

State: North Carolina Year: 1794
Location: Pasquotank Location Type: County

Abstract: “The Remonstrance & Petition of the People called Quakers” seeks “once more to remind this House of a subject so interesting and which to them appears Loudly to call the attention, and require the interposition of the Legislature, as the professed Guardian of every description of Men within the State.” The Quakers “Lament that any State within the american Union where those unalienable rights of Human nature to life Liberty and the persuite of happiness have been so clearly defined and happily enjoyed should be so far Insensible from whence all blessings flow, as to suffer a repetition of those Cruelties which were exercised towards that unhappy people in their removal from their own Country and every connexion and enjoyment in life esteemed the most Valuable, and again reduce them to a state of Abject slavery at a time too when the benign spirit of Liberty is diffusing itself in various parts of the world.” The petitioners therefore “earnestly intreat and request that every Law in this State now in Existance which deprives the free Citizens of the Liberty of Emancipating their slaves may be repealed and never again disgrace the annals of a Christian people.”

PAR Number 11279507

State: North Carolina Year: 1795
Location: Perquimans Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Jordan, on behalf of "the people called Quakers from their yearly Meetings Standing Committee," represents that a belief "that it is our duty to endeavour to keep a Conscience Void of Offence both towards [God] and man" has motivated "divers of the members of our Religious Society to Emancipate their Negroes." He reports, however, that "many so Liberated (in this particular State) have since been taken, and reduced to abject Slavery under Sanction of Several Acts of Assembly." He further laments that this results in (beside other distressing Circumstances) the cruel and Unnatural parting of man and wife, and Parents and Children." The Quakers "conceive it to be inconsistent with the rights of free Citizens and repugnant to the Constitution, for any Law to remain in force which deprives us of the privilege of disposing of what the law declares to be our property in such a manner, as we in Conscience believe to be our duty." They therefore "earnestly intreat and request" that a law be passed "whereby such who are Conscientiously Scrupulous of holding their fellow Creatures in a State of Slavery may have liberty to emancipate them, and that those who are or may be liberated, be protected under Law."

PAR Number 11279809

State: North Carolina Year: 1798
Location: Perquimans Location Type: County

Abstract: Levi Munden reports that, at their yearly meeting, "the people called Quakers" once again discussed "the Suffering case of the African race of people in this State." Citing existing laws as contrary to "the nature of a republican Government" and believing slavery is "repugnant to the Spirit of Christianity," the petitioners "earnestly entreat you to take this Important Subject into Serious Consideration, and pass an Act whereby the free Citizens of the State, who are Conscientiously Scrupulous of holding mankind in Slavery may legally Emancipate them." They hasten to add that they "do not solicit you for a Law to compel any to liberate their Slaves, but only that reasonable liberty, which is a natural right, may be tolerated."

PAR Number 11280904

State: North Carolina Year: 1809
Location: Guilford Location Type: County

Abstract: Barnabas Coffin, clerk for the yearly meeting of Friends, reports that Quakers "desire not to weary your attention by repeated solicitation" but the General Assembly's response to "our former applications ... encourages us again to take the liberty of addressing you on the interesting and important subject of Slavery." Avowing that they do not favor "an immediate emancipation," they do believe, however, "that every Principle of Justice, and humanity, calls for the gradual extension of the inestimable blessing of Liberty to the unhappy, and long-injured African race in our Land, as far, and as fully, as may be consistent, with the Peace, and conservation of the State." They therefore "earnestly desire that some wiser Provision may take place in such as to extend the Privileges, and immunities of freedom to those who have been, or may, hereafter be liberated by those who are conscientiously scrupulous of Perpetuating their Slavery."

PAR Number 11281002

State: North Carolina Year: 1810
Location: Perquimans Location Type: County

Abstract: The "Petition of the Society of Friends ... from their Yearly Meeting" represents that "Liberty is one of the Natural and unalienable rights of all mankind; and that a violation of that right is not only Repugnant to the precepts of the Gospel, but also inconsistant with the principles of Republican Government." The Quakers further lament that "any Law should still exist in this State, whereby many of the African race of People ... are deprived of their personal Liberty, and the Citizens prevented from disposing of what by Law is deemed their property in such manner as they Reasonably believe to be their Duty, and in no wise injurous to their fellow Citizens." The petitioners therefore pray that a law be enacted "Allowing that such Citizens who are Consienciously scrupulous of holding their fellow Creatures as Slaves, may Legally emancipate them."

PAR Number 11281302

State: North Carolina Year: 1813
Location: Camden Location Type: County

Abstract: Sarah Bell, a widow "far advanced in years and mother of Ten Children," seeks a divorce from Samuel Bell. Sarah states that, at the time of her marriage to Samuel, "she was possessed of a handsome property in Lands, negroes, Stock &c" and that she "had experienced a life of ease and affluence in the life time of her former husband." The petitioner confesses, however, that the said Samuel has "not only wasted her personal property by selling her negroes Stock &c but treated her person in a very harsh unmanly and Cruel manner, descending to Blows with Cruel and Barbarous Weapons on the Body of your Orator." Having taken refuge at the house of her married daughter, Sarah prays that a law be passed to divorce her from the said Samuel.

PAR Number 11281603

State: North Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Mecklenburg Location Type: County

Abstract: The executors of the will of the late Reese Price represent that the said Price "Bequeathed the Moneys arising from the annual Labour of three Negro men to the use & benefit of the Presbyterian Church." They recount, however, that they have had "great Difficulty in Conforming with that particular Clause of Sd. Will" as they "Consider that those Slaves are placed in very Disagreeable Circumstances By Changing their Masters annually." John and Elijah Harris therefore pray that a law be passed authorising them "to sell Said Slaves putting the neat proceeds to intrest & Disposing of Sd Intrest to the use of the church agreeable to the Will of the testator Making a parmanent fund of the principle," thereby releasing them "from the arduous task of Hiring Sd. Slaves at Publick Auction."

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 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 11283203

State: North Carolina Year: 1832
Location: Orange Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-two citizens of Orange County complain about slaves being present during muster calls and at elections. They purport that "the unavoidable tendency of Musters and Elections to produce [a] distraction in the mind of slave, is a matter of general observation" and "they make him obstinate and sulky, sometimes indignant, and very frequently full of melancholy reflections upon that hard destiny which deprives him of the privileges of a free man, and obliges him to labour for an other"; moreover, slaves have opportunities to discuss plots of rebellion on such occasions. "Such a class of people your Petitioners would say are a Cancer on the breast of the body Politick and a Millstone hung around the necks of Masters.” They therefore seek a law "to prohibit for the future the attendance of negro slaves at any Muster or Election ground."

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