Posted by: Democratic Thinker | August 27, 2014

The Virginia Petition

American Papers

 
 
In 1772, just prior to the American Revolution, Virginia petitions George III to allow them to halt the slave trade to the colony.




 

The VIRGINIA PETITION.

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MR Harrison reported from the Committee appointed* upon Friday, the twentieth Day of last Month, to draw up an Address to be presented to his Majesty, that the Committee had drawn up an Address accordingly, which they had directed him to report to the House; and he read the same in his Place, and afterwards delivered it in at the Clerk’s Table; where the same was read, and is as followeth, viz.

Most Gracious Sovereign,

We, your Majesty’s dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Burgesses of Virginia, now met in General Assembly, beg Leave, with all Humility, to approach your Royal Presence.

The many Instances of your Majesty’s benevolent Intentions and most gracious Disposition to promote the Prosperity and Happiness of your Subjects in the Colonies, encourage us to look up to the Throne, and implore your Majesty’s paternal Assistance in averting a Calamity of a most alarming Nature.

The Importation of Slaves into the Colonies from the Coast of Africa hath long been considered as a Trade of great Inhumanity, and, under its present Encouragement, we have too much Reason to fear will endanger the very Existance of your Majesty’s American Dominions.

We are sensible that some of your Majesty’s Subjects in Great-Britain may reap Emoluments from this Sort of Traffic, but when we consider that it greatly retards the Settlement of the Colonies, with more useful Inhabitants, and may, in Time, have the most destructive Influence, we presume to hope that the Interest of a few will be disregarded when placed in Competition with the Security and Happiness of such Numbers of your Majesty’s dutiful and loyal Subjects.

Deeply impressed with these Sentiments, we most humbly beseech your Majesty to remove all those Restraints on your Majesty’s Governors of this Colony, which inhibit their assenting to such Laws as might check so very pernicious a Commerce.

Your Majesty’s antient Colony and Dominion of Virginia hath, at all Times, and upon every Occasion, been entirely devoted to your Majesty’s sacred Person and Government, and we cannot forego this Opportunity of renewing those Assurances of the truest Loyalty, and warmest Affedion, which we have so often, with the greatest Sincerity, given to the best of Kings, whose Wisdom and Goodness we esteem the surest Pledges of the Happiness of all his People.

The said Address being read a second Time;

Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Address, to be presented to his Majesty.

Resolved, That an Address be presented to his Excellency the Governor, to desire that he will be pleased to transmit the Address to his Majesty, and to support it in such Manner as he shall think most likely to promote the desirable End proposed.

Ordered, That the said Address be presented to the Governor by the Gentlemen who drew up the Address to his Majesty.

Journal of the House of Burgesses of Virginia (April 1, 1772).


* Resolved, That an humble Address be prepared to be presented to his Majesty to express the high Opinion we entertain of his benevolent Intentions towards his Subjects in the Colonies, and that we are thereby induced to ask his paternal Assistance in averting a Calamity of a most alarming Nature; that the Importation of Negroes from Africa has long been considered as a Trade of great Inhumanity, and, under its present Encouragement, may endanger the Existence of his American Dominions; that Self-Preservation therefore urges us to implore him to remove all Restraints on his Governors from passing Acts of Assembly, which are intended to check this pernicious Commerce; and that we presume to hope the Interests of a few of his Subjects in Great-Britain will be disregarded, when such a Number of his People look up to him for Protection in a Point so essential; that, when our Duty calls upon us to make Application for his Attention to the Welfare of this his antient Colony, we cannot refrain from renewing those Proffessions of Loyalty and Affection we have so often, with great Sincerity, made, or from assuring him, that we regard his Wisdom and Virtue as the surest Pledges of the Happiness of his People.

Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw up an Address to be presented to his Majesty upon the said Resolution.

And a Committee was appointed of Mr Harrison, Mr Cary, Mr Edmund Pendleton, Mr Richard Henry Lee, Mr Treasurer, and Mr Bland.

Journal of the House of Burgesses of Virginia (March 20, 1772).

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