Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10385303

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-nine citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385304

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Two hundred twenty-one "free colored citizens of New Castle County" petition the government to repeal two acts passed 5 March 1851 entitled "An act in relation to free negroes and slaves" and "An act to amend the Act entitled 'An act concerning apprentices and servants.’" Finding said laws to be "grievously oppressive," the petitioners point out that they "endeavor to perform the duties of good, orderly citizens, and it bears hard on us not to be allowed the privilege of seeking to do better elsewhere without losing our residence and being subject to arrest, fine, imprisonment and sale, provided we return temporarily to visit our families and friends." They, like their "white brethren," profess the "peace of the christian religion, and not to be permitted to assemble together, as we have been accustomed, to ask counsel of God for the salvation of our souls hereafter, and for making us more upright in this life, works against both our spiritual and temporal interest." They therefore "hope and pray" that the legislature will "deem it meet, to repeal the aforesaid acts."

PAR Number 10385305

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-two citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385306

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-one citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385307

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-three citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385308

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Two hundred and ninety-seven citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385309

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-six "free colored citizens of Kent County" petition the government to repeal two acts passed 5 March 1851 entitled "An act in relation to free negroes and slaves" and "An act to amend the Act entitled 'An act concerning apprentices and servants.’" Finding said laws to be "grievously oppressive," the petitioners point out that they "endeavor to perform the duties of good, orderly citizens, and it bears hard on us not to be allowed the privilege of seeking to do better elsewhere without losing our residence and being subject to arrest, fine, imprisonment and sale, provided we return temporarily to visit our families and friends." They, like their "white brethren," profess the "peace of the christian religion, and not to be permitted to assemble together, as we have been accustomed, to ask counsel of God for the salvation of our souls hereafter, and for making us more upright in this life, works against both our spiritual and temporal interest." They therefore "hope and pray" that the legislature will "deem it meet, to repeal the aforesaid acts."

PAR Number 10385310

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-six citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

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 11279001

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

Abstract: Edmund Blount recounts that his sister Elizabeth married Halifax County merchant Andrew Miller, who fled to Bermuda in 1776 "in a State of Distress." Blount further states that he purchased "five Negro men" held by Miller "for the Sum of Sixteen hundred Pounds the then Currency of this State." He states that he hired three of said slaves "to Gentlemen in Hallifax where they were employed in the Boating Business Being used to it & Prefered it to farming." Blount reveals that, despite his right to the three slaves, a commissioner of confiscated property "took them into his Possession and sold them." Blount "humbly prays that he may Receive such Relief in Regard of the Premises as to the wisdom & Justice of the Legislature shall seem meet."

PAR Number 11279202

State: North Carolina Year: 1792

Abstract: Samuel Jasper seeks to emancipate Jack "for merritorious Services." In a letter to John Hamilton, Jasper recounts that Jack, "a Negro the Property of Henry White," was instrumental in retaking a schooner that had been seized by "a British Privateer." He further states that "after we returned home his master abused him somewhat" and "Jack applyd to us for redress." Jasper states that his brother bought Jack "and in his last Will Sold sd Jack his freedom by his Paying his Exct ₤100. The petitioner attests that "the said fellow behaves himself well. Honest and Industrious is Very Manerly to all and has Comanded a Schooner for me five years."

PAR Number 11281606

State: North Carolina Year: 1816

Abstract: Thirty-two "Owners & Mariners in a portion of the Shiping of this State" seek the repeal of an act passed in 1812 that prohibits slaves from being employed as pilots. They point out that at that time "the probability being much greater that a slave might be reduced to pilot an enemy into port than that a free man should commit such a crime." The petitioners counter, however, that, in a time of peace, "it will be not only safe, but advantageous to permit Slaves to be licensed as pilots," as "the persons of that description employed as pilots being generally well qualified, skillful & hardy" were certified by the Commissioners of Navigation. They therefore pray "that the said act may be repealed."

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 11283101

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: New Hanover Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred fourteen Wilmington residents assert that an 1830 act imposing a quarantine on ships carrying free persons of color is "more injurious to the commercial and mercantile interests of our Town, than the polluting intercourse of the blacks possibly could be to its political safety." They also argue that a tax on goods not grown or manufactured in the state of North Carolina is "oppressive in its nature and partial in its operation." Petitioners further seek protection from peddlers "whose manners, habits and political notions are essentially different from ours," whereby "a thought has rolled across our minds whether the seeds of discord which has manifested itself throughout our state by feeble attempts at insurrection, may not have been partially disseminated by them."

PAR Number 11283107

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-six citizens of Craven County, who "reside upon Neuse river and the adjacent creeks above the town of New Bern," complain about "the large gangs of slaves, who come up from the Town of New Bern ... in boats, with papers from their owners ... to sell, buy, traffick, and fish" in their neighborhoods. The residents argue that by said practice they "are much injured and interrupted both in their vocations, and in the management of their farms and negroes." In addition, they assert that the self-hired blacks "corrupt the slaves of your Petitioners, induce them to run away, and when runaway employ them, in dragging skimming nets for the purpose of catching fish, and pilfering the farms of your Petitioners." They therefore ask that the acts of Assembly be nullified "with regard to Slaves hiring their own time, and likewise the subject of trading with Slaves, and also the indiscriminate permission given to them to fish at large upon the waters of this state."

PAR Number 11283408

State: North Carolina Year: 1834

Abstract: John Waddell recounts that he was transporting twenty-two of his slaves from North Carolina to a plantation along the Red River in Louisiana when his ship "was wrecked on the Coral reefs of Abaco." He discloses that "a small vessel" later "conveyed the passengers & crew, sixty-nine in number to the Town of Nassau," where they were denied any "intercourse with the shore, not even for the purpose of procuring food." Waddell reveals that," after great delay & many petty insults," he and the other passengers "were permitted to land at 8 oclock at night"; the next morning the forty-five slaves belonging to the ship's passengers "were taken on shore by the orders of the Lieutenant Governor of the island & carried before the Officer of the Customs, where they were asked if they desired their freedom," whereupon said slaves "were immediately liberated." He further notes that the Governor stated that if Waddell "presumed to interfere with the manumitted slaves, it would become his duty to hang him & all accessories." Having been "plundered of his property," the petitioner argues that "if it be known that the British Islands so near our coast ... need only be reached to establish the freedom of our slaves & that the power of Great Britain guarantees their safety, it will be holding out a premium to insurrection & the condition of the South would be rendered even more anxious than it has heretofore been." He asks North Carolina to "make common cause with her sisters of the South on this most delicate, but vital subject."

PAR Number 11378309

State: South Carolina Year: 1783
Location: All Saints Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: In May 1779, Samuel Hasford and several other residents of All Saints Waccamaw were "robbed of a number of their negroes, by a party of the British." The British took the slaves aboard a ship bound for a British port, but two American ships from Massachusetts captured the ship and the slaves; the slaves were carried to Boston. Hasford and several other owners fitted out a vessel "at a considerable Expense" and journeyed to the North to retrieve their slaves but were unable to do so because under the laws of Massachusetts the slaves were entitled to their freedom. The petitioner argues "that such Proceedings on the part of the said supreme Court of Massachusetts Bay are contrary to the Spirit, and Subversive of the Intention and meaning of the Articles of the Confederation." Furthermore, such actions "are highly detrimental to the property of the Inhabitants of this State, and if acceded to ... will inevitably tend to the certain ruin and annihilation of the planting-Interest, by holding out a Temptation to the Slaves, to take refuge in the State of Massachusetts Bay, where they will remain secure in their Liberty." Hasford prays for "such relief as to your Honourable House shall seem just, and Expedient."

PAR Number 11378504

State: South Carolina Year: 1785
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Fifteen residents St. James Santee Parish "present as a Grievance, that Patroons of Schooners and other small Craft are allowed (as they pass and repass up down our Rivers) to Trade, Traffick, Barter, and Sell to, and with Negroes, to the great Prejudice of their Owners and a Manifest hurt to the fair Traders in our City." They "therefore wish that all Fines and forfeitures may be Recovered in a Summary way, and paid into the public Treasury of this State to be appropriated in such Manner as our Legislature may see fit."

PAR Number 11379206

State: South Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Christopher Fitzsimons and William Stephens, the "Owners of the Brigantine William," represent that, "in prospect of the prohibition against importing Negroes into this State ceasing on" 1 January 1793, they "fitted out" their vessel "at a very great and heavy Expence" and loaded it with tobacco and rum "in order to proceed to the Windward Coast of Africa for a Cargo of Slaves." They further assert that they "will be materially injured if the Bill now before your Honorable House for further prohibiting the Importation of Negroes should pass into a Law, without any Exceptions." Noting that they "had every reason to suppose they would be permitted to bring them [African slaves] into this State after the first day of January next," the petitioners pray "that, if any Law should pass for further prohibiting the Importation of Slaves into this State, an Exception may be made as to the said Cargo of the said Brigantine William on her present voyage." Fitzsimons submits that his half of the slave cargo is "for his own use and Employment and not for Sale."

PAR Number 11379207

State: South Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Christopher Fitzsimons and William Stephens, the "Owners of the Brigantine William," represent that, "in prospect of the prohibition against importing Negroes into this State ceasing on" 1 January 1793, they "fitted out" their vessel "at a very great and heavy expence" and loaded it with tobacco and rum "in order to proceed to the Windward Coast of Africa for a Cargo of Slaves." They further assert that they "will be materially Injured if the Bill now before your Honorable House for further prohibiting the Importation of Negroes should pass into a Law, without any Exceptions." Noting that they "had every reason to suppose they would be permitted to bring them [African slaves] into this State after the 1st day of January next," the petitioners pray "that, if any Law should pass for further prohibiting the Importation of Slaves into this State, an Exception may be made as to the said Cargo of the said Brigantine William on her present voyage." Fitzsimons submits that his half of the slave cargo is "for his own Use and Employment and not for Sale."

PAR Number 11379208

State: South Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Daniel O'Hara and John Connolly, the "Owners of the Brigantine Kate," represent that, "in prospect of the prohibition against the importation of Negroes ceasing on" 1 January 1793, they "fitted out" their vessel "at a very considerable Expence" and loaded it "with the produce & Manufactures of this State" that "is already on board, and Shipments agreed for with other persons." They further assert that they "will be much injured & sustain a considerable Loss, (particularly your Petitioner Danl. OHara, who has twenty six Negroes, already purchased, in Africa) if the said Vessel is prevented from compleating her intended Voyage by a further Prohibition of the Importation of Negroes." The petitioners pray "that if any Bill should pass for further prohibiting the Importation of Negroes into this State, an Exception may be especially made as to the Said Brigatine Kate, & that she may be permitted to compleat her Cargo & return to the Port of Charleston with a Cargo of Slaves."

PAR Number 11379209

State: South Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Daniel O'Hara and John Connolly, the "Owners of the Brigantine Kate," represent that, "in prospect of the prohibition against the importation of Negroes ceasing on" 1 January 1793, they "fitted out" their vessel "at a very considerable Expence" and loaded it "with the produce and manufactures of this State" that "is already on board, and Shipments agreed for with other persons." They further assert that they "will be much injured and sustain a considerable Loss, (particularly your Petitioner Daniel OHara, who has twenty six negroes, already purchased, in Africa) if the said Vessel is prevented from compleating her intended Voyage by a further Prohibition of the Importation of Negroes." The petitioners pray "that if any Bill should pass for further prohibiting the Importation of Negroes into this State, an Exception may be especially made as to the Said Brigatine Kate, & that she may be permitted to Compleat her Cargo and return to the Port of Charleston with a Cargo of Slaves."

PAR Number 11379704

State: South Carolina Year: 1797
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Ninety-eight inhabitants of Charleston express concern about the "dangerous designs and machinations of certain french West India negroes." They propose several modifications to the laws prohibiting the importation of slaves and to the system of patrols. They are in favor of "the Captains or Mates of all Vessels coming from the West Indies, to report on Oath to some proper officer to be appointed, whether any negroes or other people of color, are imported in said Vessels, and also to make the said Vessels liable to be searched." In addition, they "recommend that all free french negroes and all free french people of Color who have come into this State since 1st January 1790 be required to depart therefrom within a limited time never to return." The petitioners also believe that "the establishing and stationing in the City a permanent and well regulated Guard consisting of fifty Infantry and twenty four Horsemen would be of great public utility."

PAR Number 11379802

State: South Carolina Year: 1798
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Delaire states that his slave, Paul, alias Figaro, was convicted of sedition and sentenced to be transported from the United States to the Dutch Colony of Surinam and sold. Other slaves involved in the plot were hanged, but Paul testified against them and his life was spared. Paul was turned over to Duncan Hill, owner of the brig Aurora, for transport to Surinam. Owing to the "Intense cold the said Figaro had suffered in the Work House at Charleston & the strong pressure of the Irons on his legs very few days after the Sailing of the Aurora he was taken with a swelling about the ankles which turn'd into a sore & that a mortification of the flesh ensuing his toes rotted & one of his feet drop'd of[f] entirely." As a result, Paul sold for only about $20 though he was worth $350. Delaire seeks compensation.

PAR Number 11379803

State: South Carolina Year: 1798
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Delaire states that his slave, Paul, alias Figaro, was convicted of sedition and sentenced to be transported from the United States to the Dutch Colony of Surinam and sold. Other slaves involved in the plot were hanged, but Paul testified against them and his life was spared. Paul was turned over to Duncan Hill, owner of the brig Aurora, for transport to Surinam. Owing to the "Intense cold the said Figaro had suffered in the Work House at Charleston & the strong pressure of the Irons on his legs very few days after the Sailing of the Aurora he was taken with a swelling about the ankles which turn'd into a sore & that a mortification of the flesh ensuing his toes rotted & one of his feet drop'd of[f] entirely." As a result, Paul sold for only about $20 though he was worth $350. Delaire seeks compensation.

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