Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11483207

State: Tennessee Year: 1832
Location: Davidson Location Type: County

Abstract: Seven Davidson County residents represent "that the 2d Section of the 34 Chapter of the act of 1832 requiring house & Grocery keepers to take an oath not to retail spirits to slaves without a permit in writing is inconvenient in many instances to the people generally and in our opinion an unnecessary rigor in restraining the sale of Liquors." They therefore "pray the repeal of the 2d section of sd act."

PAR Number 11483707

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Shelby Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-one citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483708

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Shelby Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-seven citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483709

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Williamson Location Type: County

Abstract: Four hundred nineteen citizens “beg leave to call your attention to and request your honorable body to pass a law to put a stop to Tipling houses which evil is daily increasing in our State since an act of the Legislature of 1831 was passed which authorizes the Issuing licence to keep Tipling houses.” They believe that tipling houses in the neighborhoods are a great evil in that they “are at once in the reach of the aged the young ... and last the slaves who could not otherwise have access to them and in their turn drown their cares in the flowing and Intoxicating Bowl.” The petitioners therefore pray that “your honourable Body repeal the act of the Genl assembly for 1831 ... and suppress such evil as far as in your power.”

PAR Number 11483710

State: Tennessee Year: 1838
Location: Williamson Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-four citzens of Williamson County complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483711

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Hardeman Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-two citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483712

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Wilson Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred six citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483713

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Sumner Location Type: County

Abstract: Eighty-eight citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483714

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Sumner Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred ten citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483715

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Sumner Location Type: County

Abstract: Ninety-five citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483716

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Madison Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred thirteen citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483717

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Robertson Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483718

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Franklin Location Type: County

Abstract: Ninety-one citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483720

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Davidson Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-two citizens complain about the “increased number of Dram Shops” in the state. They point out that “in every city, town and hamlet, throughout the State, they are to be found, in numbers greatly disproportionate to the wants of any sober community -- And in many instances they are intolerable nuisances.” Declaring that “the injury done to the slaves, who resort thither to expend their little earnings, is incalculable,” they further believe that “nearly every crime and misdemeanor can be traced directly or indirectly to some one of these low haunts of dissipation and idleness.” The petitioners therefore state that “all they ask for at present, is, that a Joint Committee of both Houses may be raised, to give the matter a thorough investigation, and report accordingly.”

PAR Number 11483721

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Sumner Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-four citizens of Sumner County complain about the evils of tippling houses.

PAR Number 11483724

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Williamson Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred twenty-one residents of Williamson County seek the repeal of the 1835 act granting licenses to retailers of "ardent Spirits."

PAR Number 11484904

State: Tennessee Year: 1849
Location: Rutherford Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred six petitioners "beseech [the Legislature] ... to repeal all laws legalising the sale of ardent Spirits in tippling houses or elsewhere." Among other arguments, they assert that "there is a class, a race of population amongst, but not of us: a class that Providence has permitted the Caucasian to hold in subjection, a subjection now rendered necessary by our relative positions, for the ending of which the most sagacious political economist can see no time." They further espouse "the theory has been adopted and is now acted upon; that the ignorance of that class is necessary to its degradation, and its degradation to our security -- And this class having no intellectual and but little moral culture to restrain and direct them" and that "the excess in use of ardent spirits is becoming the pervading passion of their class we know; but we cannot see, and cannot know how or when or where the poison is dealt out to them." The petitioners "tremble at the consequences to which this may lead -- The white man has cultivated intellect and strong endearments to subdue or restrain him in his madness; yet when his passions are inflamed by drink his desperate hand breaks the dearest ties, and spills the most cherished blood. But what is to restrain besotted slavery from filling the land with blood and conflagration? The details might be imagined but they are too horrible for reflection."

PAR Number 11485120

State: Tennessee Year: 1851
Location: Fayette Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred twenty-one citizens of Fayette County assert "the fact that by far the largest portion of ... crime, privation, and suffering, with which our Country is afflicted are produced by the use of intoxicating liquors in the community." The petitioners point out that legalizing liquor operates "very injuriously on our slave population by making the access to intoxicating liquors too easy to them & increases the temptation to steal for the purpose of procuring liquor." They therefore propose "the entire prohibition of the sale of intoxicating Liquors making provision for medical & chemical purposes and wine for communion occasions in churches." They suggest "penalties to be fines, imprisonment in the County jails, & state penitentiary & disfranchisement."

PAR Number 11485121

State: Tennessee Year: 1851
Location: Lewis Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-four citizens of Lewis County represent "that the community is suffering very much under the present Tippling laws and the trafficking in spiritous liquors to slaves and free persons of color." The petitioners assert that "the laws in relation to trafficking in intoxicating drinks with slaves and free persons of color are now very imperfect." They point out that "an unprincipled liquor vender may now by closing his doors, ruin a whole neighborhood of slaves because no white man may see him sell." They therefore propose "that the duty and responsibility of giving liquors to slaves shall be confined to their owners alone" and that “your Honorable body ... repeal the whole law.”

PAR Number 11485901

State: Tennessee Year: 1859
Location: Maury Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred eight residents of Maury County deplore "a fearful evil and difficulty fastening upon our body politic, that if not arrested and a stop put to, will be obliged to end in fatal consequences"; said evil, they point out, is "the traffic & sale of Ardent spirits to the slaves." Citing "no other vice or dissipation in our Community half so ruinous as this liquor traffic with slaves," the petitioners propose that "any one found guilty" of supplying slaves with liquor "be confined in the Jail & penitentiary house for a term not less than 1 & not more than 2 years." They are "fully of opinion the passage of the above law would put a stop to the liquor traffic with the slaves."

PAR Number 11683612

State: Virginia Year: 1836
Location: Northumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-five residents of Northumberland County assert that they "labour under the most serious disadvantages from the free negro population among them." They further declare that "this class of people as is well known to your honourable body is every thing that is the very opposite of honesty and industry." The petitioners aver that "their intercourse with the slaves is of the most corrupting character and renders many of the laws passed for the protection of the citizens of the commonwealth perfectly inoperative"; in particular, they oppose the sale of ardent spirits to free blacks and they suggest that "free negroes and mulattoes be prevented from selling grain or other agricultural productions without being licensed in some way." They therefore pray that "further enactments as in the Judgment of your honourable body will correct the evils complained of."

PAR Number 11683707

State: Virginia Year: 1837
Location: Westmoreland Location Type: County

Abstract: The laws prohibiting persons from retailing liquor without a license are ineffective, four residents of Westmoreland County explain. Few cases are brought before grand juries, while many persons of "abandoned character are engaged in this illegal traffick." This was detrimental to the morals of slaves, who plunder from their masters to buy "ardent spirits." Residents argue for harsher penalties.

PAR Number 11683906

State: Virginia Year: 1839
Location: Prince Edward Location Type: County

Abstract: Two hundred fifty-five citizens of Farmville ask that the legislature "to put a stop to the traffick" of liquor. They state that, in their vicinity, there is a large population of people of color "who give way to the temptation to drunkenness whenever it is presented." The residents further suggest that halting the trade should not be done by taxation--"to impose a tax however small on the vending of intoxicating liquors, implies the right to impose one, however large, amounting even to a total interdiction"--but rather through legislation as had been done in Tennessee and Massachusetts. The petitioners purport that such legislation will free Virginia's "sons from the deadly influence of this common enemy to freedom, to religion, to morality, and happiness."

PAR Number 11684101

State: Virginia Year: 1841
Location: Prince Edward Location Type: County

Abstract: Residents in and around Farmville complain about the unlawful sale of liquor to slaves. They believe it is one of the great evils of society. They ask that prior to applying for a license from the county court retailers be required to obtain a recommendation from town trustees in order to retail liquor.

PAR Number 11684404

State: Virginia Year: 1844
Location: Hanover Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty citizens of Hanover County seek to punish owners of tippling houses and grocery stores who permit slaves to enter their businesses on the Sabbath. They submit that the penalties "now imposed by Law, for trafficing with slaves on the Sabbath are inefficient." Noting that "assemblies of slaves in and around the doors of groceries on Sundays may be witnessed at any time," the petitioners propose that such assemblies "of slaves, of any number at tippling house or groceries, on Sunday, shall be made an offence punishable, on the owner of the premises where they occur." The petitioners "believe that the welfare of the slave and the interest of the master alike call for a change in the Law."

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