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Summary

Summary

An incomparably rich source of period information, The Southern Debate over Slavery offers a representative sampling of the thousands of petitions about issues of race and slavery that southerners submitted to their state legislatures between the American Revolution and the Civil War.These petitions, filed by slaveholders and nonslaveholders, slaves and free blacks, women and men, abolitionists and staunch defenders of slavery, constitute a uniquely important primary source. Petitioners were compelled to present the most accurate and fully documented case they could, since their claims would be subject to public scrutiny and legal verification. Unlike the many reminiscences and autobiographies of the period, these petitions record with great immediacy and minute detail the dynamics, common understandings, and legal restrictions and parameters that shaped southern society during this period. Arranged chronologically, with their original spelling and idiosyncratic phraseology intact, these documents reveal the grim and brutal nature of human bondage, the fears of whites who lived among large concentrations of blacks, and the workings of the complicated legal system designed to control blacks. They tell about the yearning of bondspeople to gain their freedom, the attitudes of freed blacks who were forced to leave the South, and the efforts of African Americans to overcome harsh and restrictive laws. They also underscore the unique situation of free women of color and the reliance of manumitted (formally freed) blacks on their former owners for protection, travel passes, guardianship papers, and reference letters.Astonishingly intimate and frank, The Southern Debate over Slavery illuminates how slavery penetrated nearly every aspect of southern life and how various groups of southerners responded to the difficulties they confronted as a result of living in a slave society.


Author Notes

Loren Schweninger, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Preface and Editorial Methodp. xxi
Introductionp. xxv
Abbreviationsp. xxxix
1. Archer Payne, Goochland County, to Virginia House of Delegates, 1778p. 3
2. Jacob Alford et al., Bladen County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1779p. 4
3. Anne Bennet to Virginia House of Delegates, 1780p. 4
4. Citizens of Henrico County to Virginia House of Delegates, 1782p. 6
5. Daniel Cannon et al., Charleston, to South Carolina House, 1783p. 6
6. Sarah Greene, Fairfax County, to Virginia House of Delegates, 1784p. 7
7. James, New Kent County, to Virginia Assembly, 1786p. 9
8. James Wimbish, Halifax County, to Virginia Assembly, 1789p. 9
9. Thomas Cole, Peter Bassnett Mathewes, and Matthew Webb to South Carolina Senate, 1791p. 11
10. John Holman to South Carolina House, 1791p. 13
11. Samuel Jasper to North Carolina Assembly, 1792p. 14
12. William Giles, Rowan County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1794p. 16
13. John Carruthers Stanly, Craven County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1798p. 17
14. Inhabitants of Nashville to Tennessee Assembly, 1799p. 17
15. Gurdon Deming, Cumberland County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1800p. 18
16. James Huske et al., Fayetteville, to North Carolina Assembly, 1800p. 19
17. Inhabitants of Davidson County to Tennessee Assembly, ca. 1801p. 20
18. Richard Furman et al., Amelia Township, to South Carolina House, 1801p. 21
19. John Carruthers Stanly, Craven County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1802p. 23
20. William Simmons, Charleston, to South Carolina House, 1802p. 24
21. Petition of the Incorporated Mechanical Society of Wilmington to North Carolina Assembly, 1802p. 25
22. Inhabitants of Stokes County to North Carolina Assembly, 1803p. 27
23. Citizens of Guilford and Stokes Counties to North Carolina Assembly, 1803p. 27
24. Benjamin Duval et al., Richmond, to Virginia Assembly, 1804p. 29
25. William Odom et al., Robeson County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1805p. 31
26. Christian Limbaugh to North Carolina Assembly, 1805p. 33
27. Thomas Reekes, Mecklenburg County, to Virginia House of Delegates, 1805p. 34
28. Charlotte Ball, Culpeper County, to Virginia House of Delegates, 1806p. 36
29. Samuel Kerfott, Frederick County, to Virginia Assembly, 1808p. 38
30. Petition of Quakers, Guilford County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1809p. 39
31. Alexander Smith, Ashe County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1809p. 40
32. Benjamin Edwards Browne, Surry County, to Virginia Assembly, 1809p. 41
33. Samuel Templeman, Westmoreland County, to Virginia Assembly, 1809p. 43
34. Christopher MacPherson, Richmond, to Virginia Assembly, 1810p. 46
35. James Carmichael et al. to South Carolina House, 1812p. 47
36. Citizens of Tennessee to Tennessee Assembly, 1813p. 48
37. Lucinda, King George County, to Virginia Legislature, 1813p. 49
38. Hezekiah Mosby, Powhatan County, to Virginia Assembly, 1815p. 50
39. Richard Dawson Sr. et al., Beaufort District, to South Carolina Assembly, ca. 1816p. 51
40. Robert Wright, Campbell County, to Virginia Assembly, 1816p. 52
41. Harry Jackson Jr., Norfolk Borough, to Virginia Assembly, 1816p. 53
42. Sanders Glover et al., Amelia Township, to South Carolina Assembly, 1816p. 55
43. Harriet Laspeyre, New Hanover County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1816p. 57
44. Jonathan Bacon et al. to Tennessee Assembly, ca. 1817p. 58
45. Joseph Holleman et al., Isle of Wight County, to Virginia Assembly, 1817p. 59
46. William Johnson to Mississippi Assembly, 1820p. 61
47. Micah Jenkins et al., Charleston, to South Carolina Assembly, 1820p. 62
48. John Winston, Pennsylvania, to Virginia Assembly, 1820p. 63
49. Samuel Johnston, Fauquier County, to Virginia Assembly, 1820p. 65
50. Robert Johnston, Davidson County, to Tennessee Assembly, ca. 1821p. 66
51. Catharine Smith, Williamson County, to Tennessee Assembly, 1821p. 69
52. Colored People of Hertford County to North Carolina Assembly, ca. 1822p. 70
53. J. E. Holmes, Charleston, to South Carolina Senate, ca. 1822p. 71
54. John Carmille, Charleston, to South Carolina Senate, ca. 1823p. 73
55. Thomas D. Bailey, Somerset County, to Delaware Assembly, 1823p. 74
56. Free People of Color of St. Augustine to Florida Legislative Council, 1823p. 75
57. Officers of the Edisto Island Auxiliary Association to South Carolina House, 1823p. 76
58. South Carolina Association to Senate, ca. 1823p. 78
59. Inhabitants of Claremont, Clarendon, St. John, St. Stevens, and Richland Districts to South Carolina Senate, ca. 1824p. 83
60. Andrew Barland, Jefferson County, to Mississippi Assembly, ca. 1824p. 86
61. John L. Wilson for Jehu Jones, Charleston, to South Carolina Senate, ca. 1824p. 87
62. Malachi Hagins, Jefferson County, to Mississippi Assembly, ca. 1824p. 88
63. Washington Darden et al., Jefferson County, to Mississippi Assembly, ca. 1824p. 89
64. Charleston Wharf Owners to South Carolina Senate, ca. 1825p. 90
65. Citizens of Rutherford County to Tennessee Assembly, ca. 1825p. 93
66. Gaspar Sinclair, Jefferson County, to Mississippi Assembly, 1825p. 94
67. Basil Chastang, Mobile County, to Alabama Legislature, ca. 1826p. 95
68. Wilmington Union Colonization Society to Delaware Assembly, ca. 1827p. 96
69. Littleton P. Henderson, Accomack County, to Virginia Assembly, 1827p. 100
70. Mechanics of Charleston to South Carolina Assembly, ca. 1828p. 101
71. Charleston City Council to South Carolina Senate, ca. 1828p. 104
72. John Jonah Murrell et al., Christ Church Parish, to South Carolina House, 1829p. 105
73. Elias Naudain, Kent County, to Delaware Assembly, 1829p. 109
74. Martha Smith Green, Williamson County, to Tennessee Assembly, 1829p. 110
75. Joshua Thuman, Hardeman County, to Tennessee Assembly, 1829p. 115
76. Joseph Mickle, Kershaw District, to South Carolina House, 1829p. 116
77. Inhabitants of Sampson, Bladen, New Hanover, and Duplin Counties to North Carolina Assembly, ca. 1830p. 117
78. Samuel Miller to the Mississippi Legislature, ca. 1830sp. 122
79. Jeremiah Gill, Jefferson County, to the Mississippi Assembly, 1830p. 123
80. Austin Grisham, Williamson County, to Tennessee Assembly, ca. 1831p. 124
81. James Spare et al., New Castle County, to Delaware Assembly, 1831p. 126
82. A. P. Upshur et al., Northampton County, to Virginia Legislature, 1831p. 128
83. Inhabitants of New Bern to North Carolina Assembly, 1831p. 131
84. Inhabitants of Craven County to North Carolina Assembly, 1831p. 134
85. Citizens of Charles City and New Kent Counties to Virginia Assembly, 1831p. 136
86. Residents of Maury, Bedford, Giles, Hickman, Williamson, and Lincoln Counties to Tennessee Assembly, ca. 1832p. 137
87. Stephen Lytle, Nashville, to Tennessee Assembly, ca. 1832p. 139
88. Samuel H. Osborne to Mississippi Assembly, ca. 1833p. 142
89. David Harding, Davidson County, to Tennessee Assembly, 1833p. 143
90. Philip Lindsley et al. to Tennessee Assembly, 1833p. 144
91. Ned Hyman and Elizabeth Hagans, Martin County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1833p. 146
92. John Waddell to North Carolina Assembly, 1834p. 148
93. Sally Dabney, Richmond, to Virginia Assembly, 1834p. 150
94. David Hemphill et al. to South Carolina Legislature, 1835p. 152
95. Basil Brawner, Prince William County, to Virginia Assembly, 1835p. 154
96. John Moffett, Rockbridge County, to Virginia Assembly, 1835p. 156
97. John Hawkins, Caroline County, Maryland, to Delaware Assembly, 1837p. 157
98. Greenberry and Caroline Logan, Brazoria, to Texas Legislature, 1837p. 159
99. Samuel Seay, Davidson County, to Tennessee Assembly, 1837p. 161
100. Rebekah, Sullivan County, to Tennessee Assembly, 1837p. 162
101. William W. Dunn, Barnwell District, to South Carolina Assembly, 1837p. 163
102. James Paterson, Richland District, to South Carolina Assembly, 1838p. 164
103. Free Persons of Color of Fredericksburg to Virginia Assembly, 1838p. 165
104. William Goyens, Nacogdoches County, to Texas Legislature, 1838p. 167
105. William Lewis, Tuskaloosa, to Alabama Legislature, 1839p. 168
106. Citizens of Charleston Neck to South Carolina Assembly, ca. 1840p. 169
107. Jehu Jones Jr., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to South Carolina Senate, 1840p. 172
108. Citizens of Brazoria County to Texas Legislature, 1840p. 173
109. Fanny McFarland, Houston, to Texas Legislature, 1840p. 175
110. Peggy Rankin, Montgomery County, to Texas Legislature, 1841p. 176
111. W. H. Merriwether et al., Albemarle County, to Virginia Assembly, 1842p. 177
112. P. N. Nicholas et al., Henrico County, to Virginia Assembly, 1842p. 181
113. Commissioners of Raleigh to North Carolina Assembly, 1842p. 183
114. S. T. Robinson et al. to South Carolina Assembly, ca. 1843p. 186
115. Citizens of Halifax County to North Carolina Assembly, 1844p. 188
116. Jacob et al., Halifax County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1844p. 190
117. Elisha Blackmon to South Carolina Assembly, 1845p. 192
118. James H. Hanson, John W. Hanson, and U. Rasin to Missouri Assembly, 1846p. 194
119. Ambrose Lewis, St. Louis, to Missouri Assembly, 1846p. 195
120. Jonathan Lipps et al., Carter County, to Tennessee Assembly, 1847p. 196
121. Oscar Taliaferro, Richmond, to Virginia Assembly, 1847p. 197
122. Harvey Dean et al., Bedford County, to Tennessee Legislature, 1847p. 198
123. Nicholas N. Nixon, New Hanover County, to North Carolina Assembly, 1848p. 200
124. Nathaniel Brinkley et al. to Delaware Assembly, ca. 1849p. 201
125. J. W. F. Jackson et al. to Delaware Assembly, 1849p. 203
126. Residents of Rutherford County to Tennessee Assembly, 1849p. 204
127. Citizens of Warren County to Mississippi Assembly, ca. 1850sp. 206
128. John Dixon and Sarah Dixon, Alexandria, to Virginia Assembly, 1850p. 207
129. G. Mason, John A. Washington, and Dennis Johnston, Fairfax County, to Virginia Assembly, 1851p. 210
130. Eleanor Vaughan et al., Halifax County, to Virginia Assembly, 1851p. 215
131. Horatio McClenaghan, Marion District, to South Carolina Senate, 1851p. 217
132. T. W. Sweet et al. to Alabama Legislature, 1851p. 218
133. Citizens of Wilkinson County to Mississippi Assembly, ca. 1852p. 219
134. Moses America et al., Kent County, to Delaware Assembly, ca. 1853p. 222
135. Joseph F. McDonald et al., Harrison County, to Texas Legislature, 1853p. 223
136. W. G. Veal et al., Hopkins County, to Texas Legislature, 1854p. 224
137. J. Malachi Ford, Walterboro, to South Carolina House, 1854p. 225
138. Agricultural Society of St. Paul's Parish to South Carolina Assembly, 1854p. 226
139. Hervey Currie et al. to Tennessee Legislature, 1855p. 228
140. Citizens and Mechanics of Smithville to North Carolina Assembly, 1856p. 229
141. Samuel McCulloch Jr., Jackson County, to Congress of Texas, 1857p. 229
142. Citizens of Hardeman County to Tennessee Assembly, 1857p. 231
143. Citizens of Coffee County to Alabama Assembly, 1857p. 232
144. Lucy Andrews to South Carolina Senate and House, 1858p. 233
145. Citizens of Chester District to South Carolina Legislature, ca. 1859p. 234
146. Citizens of McClennan County to Texas Legislature, ca. 1859p. 235
147. Johan Perret, Kemper County, to Mississippi Legislature, ca. 1859p. 236
148. Citizens of Maury County to Tennessee Assembly, 1859p. 237
149. Grand Jury of Hays County to Texas Legislature, 1859p. 238
150. W. E. Price, Walker County, to Texas Legislature, 1859p. 239
151. H. L. Houze et al., Enterprise, to Mississippi Legislature, 1859p. 239
152. James Rose et al., Charleston, to South Carolina Assembly, ca. 1860p. 241
153. Citizens of Currituck County to North Carolina Assembly, ca. 1860p. 242
154. Citizens of Frederick, Jefferson, and Clarke Counties to Virginia Assembly, 1860p. 244
155. P. A. L. Smith et al., Fauquier County, to Virginia Assembly, 1860p. 245
156. Ann Archie, Marshall County, to Mississippi Legislature, 1860p. 246
157. Walker Fitch, Augusta County, to Virginia Assembly, 1861p. 247
158. W. T. Smith et al., Marshall, to Texas Assembly, 1861p. 249
159. John Kelker, Frederick Kelker, and Cecil Kelker, Santa Rosa County, to Florida Assembly, 1861p. 250
160. Citizens of Union County to North Carolina Assembly, 1864p. 252
Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 261

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