Pro-slavery petitions in Virginia


When the British parliament usurped a Right to dispose of our Property without our consent we dissolved the Union with our parent country and established a ...government of our own. We risked our Lives and Fortunes, and waded through Seas of Blood...we understand a very subtle and daring attempt is made to dispossess us of a very important Part of our Property...TO WREST US FROM OUR SLAVES, by and act of Legislature for general emancipation.

It is unsupported by Scripture. For we find in the Old Testament...slavery was permitted by the Deity himself... It is also exceedingly impolitic. For it involves in it, and is productive of Want, Poverty, Distress, and Ruin to FREE citizens, Neglect, Famine and Death to the black Infant...The Horrors of all Rapes, Murders, and Outrages which a vast multitude of unprincipled unpropertied, revengeful and remorseless Banditti are capable of perpetrating...sure and final Ruin to this now flourishing free and happy Country.

We solemnly adjure and humbly pray that you will discountenance and utterly reject every motion and proposal for emancipating our slaves.

And you Petitioners shall ever pray, ...
(submitted in several different counties with almost 300 hundred signatures)


Thus happily possessed of all the rational rights of freedom, this country might have stood the envy of admiring Nations to the end of time...But how far this has, or had not, been our happy lot...we have sealed with our Blood, a Titles to the full free and absolute enjoyment of every species of our property whensoever or howsoever legally acquired...

Some men of considerable weight to wrestle from us, by an Act of the legislature, the most valuable and indispensable Article of our Property, our SLAVES by general emancipation of them....Such a scheme indeed consists very well with the principles and designs of the North, whose Finger is sufficiently visible in it...No language can express our indignation, Contempt and Detestation of the apostate wretches...It therefore cannot be admitted that any man had a divest us of our known rights to property which are so clearly defined...To an unequivocal Construction therefore of this Bill of rights we now appeal and claim the utmost benefits whatever may preserve our to us the Blessings of he free...

We most solemnly adjure and humbly pray that you Gentlemen to whom we have committed the Guardship of our rights of property, utterly reject every Motion and Proposal for emancipating our slaves...and totally repeal the Act for permitting Owners of Slaves to emancipate them;

And we shall ever Pray/ ...

(Lundenburg County 1785 with 161 signatures)

The Library of Virginia


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