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 10379101

State: Delaware Year: 1791

Abstract: Warner Mifflin, feeling "both sorry and ashamed for" his country, asks the legislature to end slavery on Christian and moral grounds. He upholds "the Necessity of your recommending to the convention the inserting a clause in the constitution, declaring that no more slaves shall be born in this State." Mifflin firmly believes that "without some such clause, it is my judgment, that the Constitution will be disgraced as long as it remains, without this it will be repugnant to the pretended spirit of the Revolution, to say nothing about Christianity." Mifflin also asks the body "to devise some more effectual means to prevent the Salutary Laws already made, from being trampled upon and evaded;" in particular he notes that, in some parts of the state, "free Born, and others entitled to their Liberty by Law, have been thus carry'd away."

PAR Number 10384109

State: Delaware Year: 1841
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-eight citizens complain about the difficulty "of obtaining efficient and responsible hirelings and laborers, in the occupations of the field and household affairs." They attribute this condition to "the great number of lazy, irresponsible, lawless, and miserable free negroes and mulattoes, upon whom our citizens have mainly to depend for assistance in the cultivation of their fields, and their domestic concerns." They assert that free blacks "constitute a migratory tribe, without fixed abode; alternately roving from city to country, as whim or necessity may drive them in their erratic and wayward course," with the consequence being that "our farmers are deserted by the laborers they have employed in the cultivation of their crops, at the busiest season of the year." The petitioners ask the legislature to enact laws that "will be more efficient in correcting and restraining the idle and roving habits of the negroes and mulattoes, by putting it in the power of our farmers and housekeepers to compel such as would otherwise be idle and worthless, to enter into engagements for the month or year, at the customary wages."

PAR Number 11280304

State: North Carolina Year: 1803
Location: Stokes Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirteen inhabitants of Stokes County petition to "freely assist" the owners of a slave named Aaron in their prayer that the said Aaron be manumitted. They certify that Aaron, who lives in Salem, is "Submissive, humble, faithful, Industrious, sober and devout in his conduct" and that he is "worthy of a better Fate than to be for life a Slave." "Rare as it is," they declare, "yet there are Men of Black colour who deserve to be free," and they believe that "If therefore your honorable body ever intend to give Liberty to any human being your memorialists humbly conceive that the said Aaron is an Object deserving it."

PAR Number 11281803

State: North Carolina Year: 1818
Location: Iredell Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-five residents of Iredell County complain that "they view as a grievance the Numerous quantity of Negroes which generally assemble at Regimental or Batalion Musters in our said County of Iredell which is productive of much vice & immorallity." They therefore pray that it be taken into consideration "the Numerous evils which proceed from said assemblages of Negroes & have a law pasd. either to prevent Negroes from assembling at musters or to punish them for so doing."

PAR Number 11282701

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

Abstract: Fifty-five Montgomery County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282702

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

Abstract: Fifty-two Stokes County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282703

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

Abstract: Thirty-seven Perquimans County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282704

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

Abstract: Eighty Surry County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282705

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

Abstract: Thirty-seven Davidson County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282706

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

Abstract: Eighty-one Randolph County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282710

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

Abstract: The petition "of the Female Benevolent Associations of JamesTown, Springfield, and Kennet" calls the legislature's attention to the evil of slavery "which was brought upon us by our forefathers, and is growing with a rapidity which must put at hazard everything that is near and dear to us." The women particularly object to the practices which "degrade the Female Slaves, and render them unacquainted with the honours due to Chastity, both in speech and behaviour." The petitioners pose that "is it not degrading to humanity to see the back of the matron exposed to public view, (although a Slave) and severely lacerated by the whip for trivial offences?”; they find it "still more shocking to see the mother and her infant offspring separated by a Sale." The petitioners therefore "earnestly entreat" the legislature "to meliorate the condition of this unhappy people as much as possible; by prohibiting the separation of the mothers from their tender infants; and restricting Masters in the administration of corporal punishments from the shameful practice of stripping the black matron's back -- it is a sight too shocking to behold in any Country, and much more in this civilized land of boasted Liberty."

PAR Number 11282711

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

Abstract: Seven hundred twenty Guilford County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

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 11282714

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

Abstract: Eighty-nine Davidson County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282715

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

Abstract: Sixty-two Davidson County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282716

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

Abstract: Fifteen Davidson County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282717

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

Abstract: Eighty-five Randolph County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282718

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

Abstract: Forty-three Randolph County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

PAR Number 11282719

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

Abstract: Thirty-one Randolph County citizens, "convinced of the pernicious consequences of slave-dealers and others bringing into this State, slaves, many of whom are the most vicious characters that can be selected from farms, and from the gaols of the country," ask that a law be passed "to prevent the further introduction of slaves into this State, under any pretence whatsoever." The residents insist that the continued importation of slaves leads to the "great demoralization and corruption of other slaves, and to the detriment of the citizens."

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."

PAR Number 11285202

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

Abstract: William Gore and others ask to free Gore's slave Rachel because she "is very white and So little distinguishable from white persons, that it would Shock our feelings, that she Should be compelled to remain in bondage." In addition, three-year-old Rachel is "humble and obedient and of good character."

PAR Number 11379303

State: South Carolina Year: 1793
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: "In behalf of the Whole," eight members of "The Society of Master Coopers of Charleston" express frustration at the "inattention" given by authorities to the law passed 10 May 1740 and revived 12 March 1783 regarding the management of slaves within the state. "[A]t present as well as for considerable Time past," they observe, "the Slaves of Charleston have been privileged (although illegally) to sell traffick and barter, as well as to carry on different Trades and Occupations (free from the Direction or Superintendence of any white Person whatever." They further declare that the black mechanics and tradesmen work "to their own Emolument and the great and manifest Injury of the mechanical part of the Community, selling their Commodities and working at their Trades much lower and at much cheaper Rates, than those persons who are privileged by their Citizenship." The petitioners believe such "Privileges encourage Negroes in Stealing as well as destroy that Subordination which the Situation of this State requires from the Slave towards his master and all other Citizens." The white coopers ask for an act of incorporation, with "Privileges and Rights as are usually granted in such Cases."

PAR Number 11379309

State: South Carolina Year: 1793
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: "In behalf of the whole," eight members of "The Society of Master Coopers of Charleston" express frustration at the "inattention" given by authorities to the law passed 10 May 1740 and revived 12 March 1783 regarding the management of slaves within the state. "[A]t present as well as for considerable Time past," they observe, "the Slaves of Charleston have been privileged (although illegally) to sell traffick and barter, as well as to carry on different Trades and Occupations (free from the Direction or Superintendance of any white Person whatever." They further declare that the black mechanics and tradesmen work "to their own Emolument, and the great and manifest Injury of the mechanical Part of the Community, selling their commodities and working at their Trades much lower, and at much cheaper Rates, than those Persons who are privileged by their Citizenship." The petitioners believe such "privileges encourage Negroes in Stealing as well as destroy that Subordination which the Situation of this State requires from the Slave towards his master and all other Citizens." The white coopers ask for an act of incorporation, with "privileges and Rights as are usually granted in such Cases."

PAR Number 11381608

State: South Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Orangeburgh Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Eleven citizens of Amelia Township, Orangeburg District, seek the passage of a law prohibiting slave owners from allowing their slaves to raise their own livestock or cotton. They argue that "every measure that may lessen the dependance of a slave on his master ought to be opposed, as tending to dangerous consequences. The more priviledges a slave obtains the less depending he is on his master & the greater nuisance he is likely to be to the public." They further insist that "of all their privileges that of their making cotton is the most objectionable." The petitioners purport that "Cotton is subject to the depredations of the night-walking thief and when lost it would be the height of folly to attempt to find it among negroes who all have cotton of their own ... to authorise a slave to make cotton for himself is incouraging him to be a thief by putting him in the way of secreting what he steals." They declare that “a master may make what improvements he pleases in the lodging cloathing and food of his slave, in short there are many ways to encourage their industry without granting them privileges that would enable them to steal with impunity.” The petitioners therefore pray "that it is highly necessary a law should be enacted this Session prohibiting negroes making cotton for themselves."

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