Fifty-three residents of Abbeville District seek legislation to prevent the activities of several Sunday schools "wherein a Number of Negroes are Instructed to read," for "the purpose of enabling them to read the Scriptures for themselves." The petitioners argue that such practices are unnecessary "as almost every Owner of Slaves in this country allows them the liberty of attending preaching by those who are much abler to instruct them than they would be to instruct themselves." They further fear that slaves learning to read "places them in a Situation (Ultimately) to Sap the foundation of the peace and tranquillity of this & all the Slave holding States, as they will learn to write (in Spite of all the efforts of those who oppose them) and by that means convey to each other throughout the different States all their plots and designs and place us (or our posterity) Under all the horrors of a General Insurrection." They therefore pray that a law be passed "as will entirely prohibit every thing of the kind."
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Repository: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina