Twenty-three citizens, "much disturbed by rumours of intended insurrectionary movements among the black portion of our population," ask that several measures be taken "to quiet the excitement." In particular they target "meetings, held under the pretence of religious worship" and the "black preachers, who come into this State, from other States," who are "regular and constant preachers of sedition, to our slaves and free blacks at their night meetings, where no whites are present." They also "believe, that the public safety and peace require, that it should be declared unlawful, for slaves, or free blacks, to own or possess fire arms and other military weapons." Acknowledging that they wish in no way "to abridge any privileges, which they think, can be granted, or continued to that unfortunate class of people," the petitioners nonetheless purport that "they cannot shut their eyes to the fact, that a deep and growing discontent, pervades the blacks, not only in this State, but throughout the Union, which they fear, is assuming a most dangerous aspect." They therefore believe "the time has fully arrived, when it has become the part of prudence, to take such precautionary measures, as may appear best calculated to avert the threatened danger."
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Repository: Delaware State Archives, Dover, Delaware