A plea for the repeal of a tax on free colored wives and daughters.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

To the Worshipful the Speaker and Gentlemen of the Assembly.

The petition of Sundry of the Inhabitants of the Counties of Northampton Edgecombe and Granville.

Humbly Sheweth That by one Act of Assembly passed in the year 1723, Intituled “An Act for an Additional Tax on all free Negroes, Mulattoes, Mustees and such Persons Male & Female, as now are or hereafter shall be intermarried with any such Persons resident in this Government.” Amongst other Things it was enacted That all free Negroes &c. that were or shou’d thereafter be Inhabitants of this Province Male & Female being of the Age of twelve Years & upwards shou’d be deemed Tythables and as such should yearly pay the same Levies and Taxes as other Tythable Inhabitants.

That many Inhabitants of the sd Counties who are Free Negroes & Mulattoes and persons of Probity & good Demeanor and chearfully contribute towards the Discharge of every public Duty injoined them by Law. But by reason of being obliged by the sd Act of Assembly to pay Levies for their Wives and Daughters as therein mentioned are greatly Impoverished and many of them rendered unable to support themselves and Families with the common Necessaries of Life.

Wherefore your Petitioners would humbly pray in behalf of the sd Free Negroes &c. That so much of the said recited Act as compels such of them as Intermarry with those of their own complection to pay Taxes for their Wives & Daughters may be repealed or that they may be otherwise relieved as to your Worships in your great Wisdom seem meet.

And your Petitioners as in Duty bound shall pray &c.

Granville County: Will’m Eaton, John Hawkins, Phil. Hawkins, George Jordin, Tho’s Lowe, Jno. Sallis, Patrick Lashley, Phil. Pryor, Fra’s King, Jno. Bowie, Aaron Fassol, John Jones, Tho’s Dulany, John Wade, Zack Bullock, George Cuttlor, John Williams Jun’r, Thomas Woodlief, John Gibbs, William Forkner, And’w Hampton, Marton Dickson, Moses Coppack, Amanwall Forkner, Wm. Johnson, Leopold Fallon, Jonas Parker, James Smith, Rich’d Harris, Wm. Smith, Amos Newsom, Jos. Brantley, Shurley Whatley, James Brantly, Jno. Glover, Edw. Young, John Martin.

Edgcomb County: Jos. Jno. Alston, Wm. Irby, Will’m Anderson, Joseph Strickland, Thos. Wood, Benj’n Sherrod, John Jones, Jacob Strickland, Augustin Curtis, Nathan Joyner, John Noland, Ebenezer Folsom, Benj. Nevill, Wm. Adams, John Cheney, William Richason, John Fish, Richard McKinne, James Brown.

Miscellaneous Records, Office of Secretary of State, North Carolina State Archives, as transcribed in Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, http://www.docsouth.unc.edu