Charleston bricklayer Thomas Cole and butchers Peter Bassnett Mathewes and Matthew Webb represent that they "are deprived of the Rights and Privileges of Citizens" due to the an act passed in 1740 "commonly called The Negroe Act." They state that they do not have "it in their power to give Testimony on Oath in prosecutions on behalf of the State"; they "are debarred of the Rights of Free Citizens of being subject to a Trial without the benefit of a Jury"; and they "are subject to Prosecution by Testimony of Slaves without Oath by which they are placed on the same footing." The petitioners report that "they have at all times since the Independence of the United States contributed and do now contribute to the support of Government by chearfully paying their Taxes." In addition, they "are ready and willing take and subscribe to such Oath of Allegiance to the States as shall be presented." While they "do not presume to hope that they shall be put on an equal footing with the Free White Citizens of this State," they do "humbly solicit such indulgence as the Wisdom and Humanity of this Honorable House shall dictate in their favor by repealing" the such clauses in the said Act that "will efectually Redress the grievances which your Memorialists humbly submit."
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Repository: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina