Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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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 10379102

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

Abstract: At least fifty-seven petitioners seek the strengthening and enforcement of acts regulating the transportation of slaves over state lines, the exportation of slaves to other parts of the South, and the enslavement of free blacks.

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.

PAR Number 10382008

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

Abstract: Sixty-one 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.

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 10382901

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: Thirty-three memorialists, believing "that negro slavery originated in the worst species of piracy, and that no lapse of time, or succession of generations, can purge the system from the guilt of its first institution; that neither patriotism nor the higher obligations of christianity can tolerate its existence," do "seriously and earnestly solicit the Legislature to enact a law prescribing that all children who may be born of slaves within this State, at any time hereafter, shall be free, at such ages as the Legislature may judge expedient."

PAR Number 10382906

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: One hundred and thirty-three memorialists, believing "that negro slavery originated in the worst species of piracy, and that no lapse of time, or succession of generations, can purge the system from the guilt of its first institution; that neither patriotism nor the higher obligations of christianity can tolerate its existence," do "seriously and earnestly solicit the Legislature to enact a law prescribing that all children who may be born of slaves within this State, at any time hereafter, shall be free, at such ages as the Legislature may judge expedient."

PAR Number 10382907

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: Thirty-seven memorialists, believing "that negro slavery originated in the worst species of piracy, and that no lapse of time, or succession of generations, can purge the system from the guilt of its first institution; that neither patriotism nor the higher obligations of christianity can tolerate its existence," do "seriously and earnestly solicit the Legislature to enact a law prescribing that all children who may be born of slaves within this State, at any time hereafter, shall be free, at such ages as the Legislature may judge expedient."

PAR Number 10384001

State: Delaware Year: 1840

Abstract: Thomas Clarkson, president of the Convention of the Friends of the Negro, declares that the Convention, "being solemnly impressed with a sense of the National Sin of Slavery and the Slave Trade, and under a settled conviction that the only effectual means to put an end to the Slave Trade is to abolish Slavery does most earnestly and respectfully appeal to the Governor of Delaware to employ all that influence and power with which Divine Providence has entrusted him, to secure immediate and unconditional liberty to the Slave."

PAR Number 11277701

State: North Carolina Year: 1777
Location: New Hanover Location Type: County

Abstract: Alexander Campbell states that he "came to This country in Jany 1775 with his family and a Few Servants" and that his principal fortune lay in St. Vincent, Grenada, and Jamaica. Knowing "that the Non Importation and Non Exportation Act was soon to take place," Campbell reveals that he "applied to his good friend Cornelius Harnett Esq to Procure him Liberty from The Comitee of Wilmington to get in some Negroes of his From St Vincent, and Grenada, and as far as he recollects Mr. Harnett was kind enough to Procure him that favor." He laments, however, that "the troubles Increasing here, soon after, put a stop to his getting them [the slaves] in, which Disappointment has made it Difficult for your Petitioner To Support his Family ever Since." Campbell fears that upon signing “the State Oath now offerd him, he would cut Himself out of every shilling of his Fortune” in the Caribbean. Pleading neutrality to Party politics, “he begs the favor and intreats the Honorable The Members of the Assembly … to allow him to stay here to take care of his weak family, untill there is peace Setled under the Sanction of their Laws, or untill he could get a ship for the Grenadoes, or Jamaica, when & where, he could go with propriety for his Negroes.”

PAR Number 11278702

State: North Carolina Year: 1787

Abstract: Henry Hill and Thomas Fitt represent that on 2 December 1785 they did "undertake and prosecute a voyage to the Coast of Africa for the purpose of importing Slaves into the States, at which time aforesaid they were not prohibited ... by any law in this State." In their absence, however, "a law took place laying a penalty of Five Pounds on each Slave imported into this State from the Coast of Africa." Arguing that "all penal Laws ought to afford a day before they should take effect, which day should be so remote that the parties liable to sustain damage thereby should have it in their power to provide against such penalty," the slave traders ask to be exonerated "from said penalty."

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 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 11282001

State: North Carolina Year: 1819
Location: New Hanover Location Type: County

Abstract: British citizen Mary Ann Sansum, traveling from the West Indies to Florida, was shocked when her two body servants--a black and "mulatto" couple--as well as their four children, were seized at the port of Wilmington; the family was taken up shortly after the boat arrived, as the importation of slaves was prohibited. Sansum asserts that the United States consul in Martinique assured her that she could travel with her slaves without interference. The petitioner therefore prays "such relief as the peculiar embarrassments of her situation require either by arresting the sale or refunding the proceeds" from said sale.

PAR Number 11282405

State: North Carolina Year: 1824
Location: Guilford Location Type: County

Abstract: Richard Mendenhall, president of the Manumission Society of North Carolina, decries the extreme injustice in forcing "men into perpetual servitude" and consigning "their posterity to unconditional & unlimited Slavery,” citing that the principle "of humanity, of Christianity, and all the tender ties of human Nature recoil at such a state of degradation." Mendenhall represents that "this state holds upwards of two hundred thousand Slaves" or "near one third of its population" in "the most abject state of Slavery." He therefore suggests "the propriety of softening" the hardship "of Slavery in our State, with a view to its final extinction." In particular, the petitioner asks "why cannot we fix a time, (it has been done in other States) when there shall be no more slaves born among us." He also reports that "it is ascertained that the Government of Hayti has offered to receive as many of our black population as we are willing to send."

PAR Number 11282503

State: North Carolina Year: 1825
Location: Randolph Location Type: County

Abstract: Members of the Manumission Society seek a law prohibiting the importation of slaves "from any other State or Country, Either to Sell, or retain & use as Slaves." They propose that, before the sale of any slave, the seller should be required to produce a deposition, sworn before a magistrate, stating that the slave had resided in North Carolina for a given number of years. The petitioners also ask that the state make it easier for owners to emancipate their slaves through their wills, noting that "the Slave laws of the State and adjudications made thereon, do operate with serious restraint on the consciences of men by making it Unlawful, for a man to do that in his last moment, which he knows to be his duty." By adopting such "cautious and wise" policies, the petitioners purport that we "may avert from our beloved Country the impending dangers consequent on a State of Slavery" and that "the Children of injured Africa may be restored, to civilize, & Christianize, the land of their Fathers."

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 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 11378602

State: South Carolina Year: 1786
Location: Camden Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Five hundred residents of Camden District contend "That a Sufficient check has not been put to the Importation of Negro Slaves, altho it appears evident that has allways thrown the ballance of Trade against, has drained us of our Cash, and prevented the increase of Population, and growth of Manufactures." The petitioners assert that "This is a grievance which we conceive ought to be speedily remedied."

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