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 10378802

State: Delaware Year: 1788

Abstract: Eight petitioners, members of "the Delaware Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the relief and protection of free Negroes and mulattoes unlawfully held in bondage or otherwise oppressed" and others, seek enforcement of the law prohibiting the slave trade. In addition, they ask "that untill the happy day arrives when it [slavery] may be totally abolished some measures may be adopted to restrain the punishment of Slaves, at the mere will and pleasure of their Masters, which is often very tyrannically and cruelly exercised, and which may legally extend to every thing but Murder."

PAR Number 10378803

State: Delaware Year: 1788

Abstract: Forty-two petitioners, members of "the Delaware Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the relief and protection of free Negroes and mulattoes unlawfully held in bondage or otherwise oppressed" and others, seek enforcement of the law prohibiting the slave trade. In addition, they ask "that untill the happy day arrives when it [slavery] may be totally abolished some measures may be adopted to restrain the punishment of Slaves, at the mere will and pleasure of their Masters, which is often very tyrannically and cruelly exercised, and which may legally extend to every thing but murder."

PAR Number 10378804

State: Delaware Year: 1788

Abstract: Forty-three petitioners, members of "the Delaware Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and for the relief and protection of free Negroes and Mulattoes unlawfully held in bondage or otherwise oppressed" and others, seek enforcement of the law prohibiting the slave trade. In addition, they ask "that (untill the happy day arrives when it [slavery] may be totally abolished) some measures may be adopted to restrain the punishment of slaves, at the mere will and pleasure of their Masters, which is often very tyrannically and cruelly exercised, and which may legally extend to every thing but murder."

PAR Number 10378806

State: Delaware Year: 1788

Abstract: Fifty-seven petitioners, members of "the Delaware Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the relief and protection of free Negroes and mulattoes unlawfully held in bondage or otherwise oppressed" and others, seek enforcement of the law prohibiting the slave trade. In addition, they ask "that untill the happy day arrives when it [slavery] may be totally abolished some measures may be adopted to restrain the punishment of Slaves, at the mere will and pleasure of their Masters, which is often very tyrannically and cruelly exercised, and which may legally extend to every thing but murder."

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 10379105

State: Delaware Year: 1791

Abstract: Thirteen petitioners seek the abolition of slavery. Motivated by their Christian duty, they purport that the "Toleration of Slavery is totally repugnant to the spirit of the American Revolution." They "therefore pray that the General Assembly will take the premises into Consideration and in their Wisdom pass a Law for extending the Benefits of Freedom to the posterity of such Africans or others who are now held in bondage in this State."

PAR Number 10379106

State: Delaware Year: 1791

Abstract: Fifty-three petitioners seek the abolition of slavery. Motivated by their Christian duty, they purport that the "toleration of Slavery is totally repugnant to the spirit of the American Revolution." They "therefore pray that the General Assembly will take the premises into consideration, and in their Wisdom pass a Law for extending the benefits of freedom to the posterity of such Africans or others who are now held in Bondage."

PAR Number 10379107

State: Delaware Year: 1791
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-nine petitioners seek the abolition of slavery. Motivated by their Christian duty, they purport that the "toleration of slavery is totally repugnant to the spirit of the American Revolution." They "therefore pray that the General Assembly will take the premises into consideration; and grant them leave to bring in a bill for extending the benefits of freedom to the posterity of such Africans or others who are now held in bondage when such posterity shall arrive to the age of Twenty one Years, or to such other age as the General Assembly in their Wisdom shall deem necessary."

PAR Number 10379108

State: Delaware Year: 1791

Abstract: Thirty-one petitioners seek the abolition of slavery. Motivated by their Christian duty, they purport that the "Toleration of Slavery is totally repugnant to the Spirit of the American Revolution." They "therefore pray that the General Assembly will take the premises into consideration and in their Wisdom pass a Law for extending the Benefits of Freedom to the posterity of Such Africans or others who are now held in Bondage in this State."

PAR Number 10379401

State: Delaware Year: 1794

Abstract: Delegates from a convention of the Abolition Society, having met in Philadelphia on 1 January 1794, petition the Delaware legislature to abolish slavery and to expand the rights of the "African Citizen." In their "Memorial and Petition," two officers of said society "take the liberty of specifying" some of the "principal evils … incident to the practice of Slavery" which “are still permitted to continue."

PAR Number 10379402

State: Delaware Year: 1794
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-nine residents of New Castle County petition for stricter enforcement of the laws prohibiting the enslavement of free people of color and for the gradual abolition of slavery. "We ask not of your honorable body to put an end at once to slavery, but we desire, that a method may be fallen upon which shall make it gradually disappear."

PAR Number 10379406

State: Delaware Year: 1794
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-three residents of New Castle County petition for stricter enforcement of the laws prohibiting the enslavement of free people of color and for the gradual abolition of slavery. "We ask not of your honorable body to put an end at once to slavery, but we desire, that a method may be fallen upon which shall make it gradually disappear." [The copy of the petition in the Project's collection bears thirty-three signatures; however, a notation on the petition cites "61 signers."]

PAR Number 10380101

State: Delaware Year: 1801

Abstract: Three hundred and sixty-six residents of Delaware demand the abolition of slavery in their state as, they believe, "that freedom is the natural and inalienable right of man and that, to deprive him of it, is highly unjust, immoral, anti-christian." They argue that Delaware would benefit economically and morally from abolition citing that the end of slavery in New York brought improvements of every kind and a permanent rise in the value of real property, while slavery in Virginia "has cast Virginia down from her proud pre-eminence -- Slaves have devoured her strengths." They further believe that abolition would also end “that most detestable of all crimes, so common among us, the crime of man-stealing." The petitioners therefore "confidently solicit you, as the guardians of the publick welfare, to designate a day, after which all coloured children born in our state shall be free."

PAR Number 10380102

State: Delaware Year: 1801

Abstract: Eighty citizens of Delaware "solicit your serious attention to the degraded vassallage in which many of the Black people and others of Colour are held in this State." They assert that they "approve the language held forth in the preamble to the Constitution of this State that declares That 'Through divine goodness all men have by nature the rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty.' " They therefore request that the legislature "will be pleased to pass such a law for the gradual abolition of Slavery, as you shall deem proper and expedient."

PAR Number 10380103

State: Delaware Year: 1801

Abstract: Five citizens of Delaware "solicit your serious attention to the degraded vassallage in which many of the Black people, and others of colour, are held in this State." They assert that they "revere the language held forth in the preamble to the Constitution of this State that declares that 'Through divine goodness all men have by nature the Rights of enjoying and defending life & liberty.' " They therefore request that the legislature "will be pleased to pass such a law, for the gradual abolition of slavery as you shall deem proper and expedient."

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 10380303

State: Delaware Year: 1803

Abstract: Sixty-six 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 10380704

State: Delaware Year: 1807

Abstract: Nineteen citizens of Delaware demand the abolition of slavery in their state as, they believe, "that freedom is the natural and inalienable right of man; and that, to deprive him of it, is highly unjust, immoral, anti-christian." They argue that Delaware would benefit economically and morally from abolition citing that the end of slavery in New York brought improvements of every kind and a permanent rise in the value of real property, while slavery in Virginia "has cast Virginia down from her proud pre-eminence -- Slaves have devoured her strength." They further believe that abolition would also end “that most detestable of all crimes, so common among us, the crime of man-stealing." The petitioners therefore "confidently, yet respectfully solicit you, as the guardians of the publick welfare, to designate a day, after which all coloured children born in our State shall be free."

PAR Number 10380705

State: Delaware Year: 1807
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred and six inhabitants of Kent County seek the gradual emancipation of Delaware slaves, asking that a law be passed "fixing a period after which, all children born of slaves, shall be free at the age of 21, 28, or whatever age you, in your wisdom may deem best."

PAR Number 10380706

State: Delaware Year: 1807
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-three inhabitants of New Castle County petition for the gradual abolition of slavery. They state that "we ask not of your honourable body to put an end at once to slavery, but we desire, that a method may be fallen upon which shall make it gradually disappear." The petitioners also pray that a law be enacted “that no indented black servant within this state, shall by reason of his indentures be taken or carried out of this state, to any other state or place whatsoever, until the master of the said servant shall cause his said indentures to be recorded in the Recorder’s office of the county where he resides, and shall obtain the consent of such indented black servant” so as “to establish the right of such indented black servant, after the term of his service therein expressed is expired, to the full enjoyment of complete and perfect liberty and freedom.”

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 10381506

State: Delaware Year: 1815
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-seven "women of the city of Wilmington county of New Castle, state of Delaware" declare their opposition to slavery. They believe that "Slavery is inconsistent with the Sentiments ... in the Declaration of Independence which Secures unto all men the unalienable rights, with which they are endowed by their Creator." They further feel that "continuing to hold men in bondage" is "in direct opposition to the Divine Covenant 'Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you.'" They therefore pray that the Legislature "take into consideration the propriety of adopting resolutions, which, by abolishing slavery throughout this State, shall forever relieve it from a burden oppressive both to master and slave."

PAR Number 10382001

State: Delaware Year: 1820
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifteen Delaware residents view the proposed expansion of slavery into Missouri and the territory of Arkansas "with anxious foreboding." The petitioners thus urge the legislature to instruct the state's senators and representatives "to give their voice and influence to restrict slavery in the territory of Arkansaw, and proposed new State of Missouri." The petitioners cite the federal law of 1787 prohibiting slavery from "all territory then appertaining to the United States" and the Delaware declaration of rights of 1776. Furthermore, they argue, the Constitution authorizes the Congress to administer the territories and to review applications for statehood and approve or reject them as it may deem "most conducive to the interests of the Union." Finally, the Constitution outlawed the importation of slaves after 1808. Thus, they argue, the Constitution permits Congress, which has proved itself willing, to regulate slavery in the territories.

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