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Rebel's statement from Gabriel's Conspiracy


9th Month, 25th. I pursued my way to Richmond in the mail stage, through a beautiful country, but clouded and debased by Negro slavery. At the house here I breakfasted, which is called the Bowling-green, I was told that the owner had in his passession [sic] 200 slaves. In one field near the house, planted with tobacco, I counted nearly 20 women and children, employed in picking grubs from the plant. In the afternoon I passed by a field in which several poor slaves had lately been executed, on the charge of having an intention to rise against their masters. A lawyer who was present at their trials at Richmond, informed me that on one of them being asked, what he had to say to the court on his defence, he replied, in a manly tone of voice: "I have nothing more to offer than what General Washington would have had to offer, had he been taken by the British and put to trial by them. I have adventured my life in endeavouring to obtain the liberty of my countrymen, and am a willing sacrifice in their cause: and I beg, as a favour, that I may be immediately led to execution. I know that you have pre-determined to shed my blood, why then all this mockery of a trial?"
Travels in some parts of North America in the years 1804, 1805, & 1806, by Robert Sutcliff, published by B. & T. Kite, Philadelphia, 1812





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