Seven "freemen" protest "An act respecting free Negroes and free Mullatoes" passed in 1811 that they "humbly conceive oppressive and Contrary to the spirit of The free Constitution and power of Government of This State." The Act permitted free people of color convicted of theft to be "disposed of by the sheriff of the County as a servant" for a term of two to seven years. The petitioners argue that this could easily result in free persons of color being sold "to a Southern Negro Trader or his agent for a theft by them committed to the amount of even one cent where the miserable culprits will be carried perhaps from five hundred to one thousand miles, separated from all their connections, and sold by the Trader no doubt for life." Once sold, the petitioners assert, it would be impossible for free blacks "to procure or obtain any evidence that will free them," rendering them slaves for life and their children subject to "the most Cruel Slavery for Many Generations." Citing this as cruel and unusual punishment and thus in contradiction to the state constitution, the petitioners ask that said law be repealed.
Result: House: read, referred to committee.
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Repository: Delaware State Archives, Dover, Delaware