legislative career by efforts for emancipation.
Chap. XLVII.} 1772.
mind of Patrick Henry
, the thought of slavery darkened the picture of the future, even while he cherished faith in the ultimate abolition of an evil, which, though the law sanctioned, religion opposed.1
To have approached Parliament with a Petition against the Slave-Trade might have seemed a recognition of its supreme legislative power; Virginia
, therefore, resolved to address the King
himself, who in Council had cruelly compelled the toleration of the nefarious traffic.
They pleaded with him for leave to protect themselves against the crimes of commercial avarice, and these were their words:
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 existence 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