A grievance so oppressive.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina.
Your petitioners coloured persons citizens of this State would approach your Honorable Body with all the defference & respect due to the Character of representatives of the People
They beg leave to state that some of them whose names are assigned to this petition bore an honorable part in the seven years War which established the Liberties of their Common Country: That during that eventful period they were taught to believe that all men are by nature free & equal, and that the enjoyment of life, liberty and property aught to be secured alike to every Citizen without exception & without distinction.
With these views they need not attempt to express to your Honorable Body the deep concern with which they learned of the passage of A Law at the last Session of the Legislature by which their lives & liberties are virtually placed at the mercy of Slaves. They would ask of your Honorable Body whether their situation even before the Revolution was not preferable to one in which their dearest rights are held by so slight a tenure as the favour of Slaves and the will & caprice of their vindictive masters: for it cannot escape the notice of your Honorable Body that persons of this description are bound to a blind obedience, and know no Law, but the will of their masters:
Your petitioners will not believe that your Honorable Body will hesitate to lend a compassionate ear to their well-grounded complaints, and to redress a grievance so oppressive to them, and so wholly incongenial with the spirit of our republican government
They therefore humbly pray your Honorable Body that the Act of the last Session of the Legislature making Slaves competent witnesses against them in Criminal Cases may be repealed.
/s/ Alien Brown, John X Rutniel, William Brown Senr, William Smith, James Smith, John Stafford, Willis W. Leer, William Weaver, Wiley Cotton, Larrance Weaver, Richd Cotton, Elias X Weaver, John X Flood, Whitmill Cavers, Dannel Copland, William Weaver, Micaiah Cotton, Reubin Trumbil, James Runeals, Phillip X Jones, John Manley, Jerra Reed, Thomas Weaver, Benjamon Copeland, Samuel X Flood, David X Boon, William Known Jnr., John Weaver, Isaac C. Hall, David Milton, Deanel Garner, Moses Manly, Dempsy X Flood, John Sears, Briton X Read, Jesse Weaver, James Reynolds, John Bizzell, Alien Hall, Orren Wyott, Kinston Robbins, William Manly, Malichia Neckins, Bryant Manley, William Hirass, William Weaver, John Weaver, Natthanuel Dolby, Jesse Flood, Shadrack Reed, Charles Weaver, Harvy Washington Hall.
[At left edge: Petition of Coloured persons to Legislature]
Appended to this petition is a supporting petition signed by 84 white citizens of Hertford County.
General Assembly Session Records, November-December 1822, Box 4, North Carolina State Archives.