Carolyn Shuttlesworth
Literature & Culture
Material Type:
Primary Source
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Creative Commons Attribution

18th Century: 1773


African American Literature 1619-1926

1773 Petition to the Boston delegates of the House of Representatives

                                                                                                    Boston, April 20th, 1773


The efforts made by the legislative of this province in their last session to free themselves from slavery, gave us, who are in that deploralve state, a high degree of satisfaction.  We expect great things from men who have made such a noble stand against the designs of their fellow-men to enslave them  We cannot but wish and hope Sir, that you will have the same grand object, we mean civil and religious liberty, in view our next session.  The divine spirit of freedom, seems to fire every humane breast on this continent, except such as are bribed to asist in executig the execerable plan.


     We are very sensible that it would be highly detrimental to our present masters, if we were allowed to demand all that of right belongs to us for past services; this we disclaim.  Even the Spaniards, who have not those sublime ideas of freedom that English men have, are conscious that they have no right to all the services of their fellow-men, we mean the Africans, whom they have purchased with their money; therefore they allow then one day in a week to work for thenselves, to enable them to earn money to purchase the residue of their time, which they have the right to demand in such portions as they are able to pay for ( a due appraizement of their services being first made, which always stands at the purchase money).  We do not pretend to dictate to you Sir, or to the Honorable Assembly, of which you are a member.  We acknowledge our obligations to you for what you have already done, but as the people of this province seem to be actuated by the principles of equity ad justice, we cannot but expect your house will again take our deplorable case into serious consideration, and give us that ample relief from, as men, we have a natural right to.


     But since the wise and righteous governor of the universe, has permitted our fellow men to make us slaves, we bow in submission to hi, and determine to behave in such a manner so that we may have reaso to expect the divine approbation of, and asistance in, our peaceable and lawful attempts to gain our freedom.


     We are willing to submit to such regulations and laws, a may be made relative to us, until we leae the province, which we determine to do as soon as we can, from our joynt labours procure money to transport ourselves to some part of the Coast of Africa, where we propose a settlement.  We are very desirous that you should have innstructions relative to us, from your town, therefore we pray you to communicate this letter to them, and ask this favor for us.

                                                                                                In behalf of our fellow slaves in this provice, 

                                                                                                        and by order of their Committee.

                                                                                                                  Peter Bestes,

                                                                                                                  Sambo Freeman,

                                                                                                                  Felix Holbrook

                                                                                                                  Chester Jolie.

For the Representatives of the town of Thompson