Petition #11381608


Eleven citizens of Amelia Township, Orangeburg District, seek the passage of a law prohibiting slave owners from allowing their slaves to raise their own livestock or cotton. They argue that "every measure that may lessen the dependance of a slave on his master ought to be opposed, as tending to dangerous consequences. The more priviledges a slave obtains the less depending he is on his master & the greater nuisance he is likely to be to the public." They further insist that "of all their privileges that of their making cotton is the most objectionable." The petitioners purport that "Cotton is subject to the depredations of the night-walking thief and when lost it would be the height of folly to attempt to find it among negroes who all have cotton of their own ... to authorise a slave to make cotton for himself is incouraging him to be a thief by putting him in the way of secreting what he steals." They declare that “a master may make what improvements he pleases in the lodging cloathing and food of his slave, in short there are many ways to encourage their industry without granting them privileges that would enable them to steal with impunity.” The petitioners therefore pray "that it is highly necessary a law should be enacted this Session prohibiting negroes making cotton for themselves."

Result: Referred to judiciary committee.

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Citation information

Repository: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina