That your petitioners are justly alarmed at the inhuman and crue
treatment that three of our brethren, free citizens of the town of Boston,
lately received. The Captain, under pretence that his vessel was in dis¬
tress on an Island below in this harbor, having got them on board, put
them in irons, and carried them off from their wives and children, to be
sold for slaves. This being the unhappy state of these poor men, what
can vour petitioners expect but to be treated to the same manner by the
same sort of men ? What then are our lives and liberties worth, if they
may be taken away in such a cruel and unjust manner as this ? May it
please your Honors, we are not insensible that the good laws of this
State forbid all such bad actions ; notwithstanding we can assure your
Honors, that many of our free Blacks that have entered on board of
vessels as seamen, have been sold as slaves, and some of them we have
heard from, but know not who carried them away. Hence it is, that
many of us, who are good seamen, are obliged to stay at home through
fear, and the one-half of our time, loiter about the streets, for want of
employ; whereas, if they were protected in that lawful calling, they might
get a handsome livelihood for themselves and theirs, which in the situa¬
tion they are now in, they cannot. One thing more we would beg leave
to hint, that is, that your petitioners have for some time past, beheld with
grief, ships cleared out from this harbor for Africa, and they either steal
our brothers and sisters, fill their ship-holds full of unhappy men and
women, crowded together, then set out for the best market to sell them
there, like sheep for slaughter, and then return here like honest men, after
having sported with the lives and liberty of their fellow-men, and at the
same time call themselves Christians. Blush, O Heavens, at this ! These,
our weighty grievances, we cheerfully submit to your Honors, without
dictating in the least, knowing by experience that your Honors have, and
we trust ever will, in your wisdom, do us that justice that our present
condition requires, as God and the good laws of this Commonwealth shall
dictate to you.
As in duty bound, your petitioners shall ever pray.
PRIMUS HALL. JOHN COOPER.
BRITTON BALCH. JOSEPH HICKS.
CYRUS FORBES. JAMES HICKS.
THOMAS SANDERSON. GEORGE MILLER.
LANCASTER HILL. JAMES HOOKER.
CATO UNDERWOOD. MATHEW COX.
SHARPEA GARDNER. CATO GRAY.
JUBA PULL. ROBERT JACKSON.
RICHARD POLLARD. JOHN KING.
WILLIAM SMITH. BOSTON BULLARD.
JAMES BALL. JOHN MATLOCK.