To the Honorable Counsel & House of [Representa-]
tives for the State of Massachusette Bay in General
Court assembled, Jan 13 1777 --


The petition of A Great Number of Blackes detained in a
State of Slavery in the Bowels of a free & christian Country
Humbly shuwith that your Petitioners Apprehend that
Thay have in Common with all other men a Natural and
Unaliable Right to that freedom which the Grat [Great] -
Parent of the Unavese [Universe] hath Bestowed equalley on
all menkind [mankind] and which they have Never forfuted [forfeited] by
Any Compact or Agreement whatever -- but thay [they] wher [were]
Unjustly Dragged by the hand of cruel Power from their
Derest frinds [friends] and sum of them Even torn from the
Embraces of their tender Parents -- from A popolous [populous]
Plasant [Pleasant] And plentiful cuntry [country] And in Violation of
Laws of Nature and off Nations And in defiance of all
the tender feelings of humanity Brough [Brought] hear [here] Either to
Be sold Like Beast of Burthen & Like them Condemnd
to Slavery for Life -- among A People Profesing the [mild?]
Religion of Jesus A people Not Insensible of the
Secrets of Rationable Being Nor without spirit to
Resent the unjust endeavours of others to Reduce them to
A state of Bondage and Subjection your honouer [honor] Need not
to be informed that A Life of Slavery Like that of your
Petioners Deprived of Every social Priviledge of Every
thing Requiset [Requisite] to Render Life Tolable [Tolerable] is far [ . . . ]
worse then [than] Nonexistance. [In imita ]tion of [the] Lawdable [Laudable] Example of the Good
People of these States your petiononers have Long and
Patiently waited the Evnt [Event] of petition after petition By
them presented to the Legislative Body of this state
And cannot but with Grief Reflect that their Sucess [Success]
hath ben [been] but too similar they Cannot but express their
Astonisments [Astonishments] that It has Never Bin [Been] Consirdered [Considered] that Every
Principle from which Amarica has Acted in the Cours [Course]
Of their unhappy Deficultes [Difficulties] with Great Briton Pleads
Stronger than A thousand arguments in favowrs [favors] of
Your petioners thay [they] therfor [therefore] humble [humbly] Beseech your
Honours to give this petion [petition] its due weight & consider-
ration and cause an act of the Legislatur to be past
Wherby they may Be Restored to the Enjoyments of that
Which is the Naturel [Natural] Right of all men -- and their --
Children who wher [were] Born in this Land of Liberty may
not be heald [held] as Slaves after they arive [arrive] at the age of
Twenty one years so may the Inhabitance [Inhabitants] of thes [this] State
No longer chargeable with the inconsistancey of acting
themselves the part which thay condem and oppose in
Others Be prospered in their present Glorious Struggle
for Liberty and have those Blessing to them &c.


[Endorsement]

Copy of Petition

30.7 cm x 20.5 cm

From the Jeremy Belknap papers