Weston Feby 26th, 1795.
Samuel Dexter to the reverend Dr Belknap.
I am almost ready to ascribe it to my being advanced in
life that I should have no recollection, at the time of writing my letter
of the 23d instt, of what engaged my attention so much in the years
73 and 74. After the bearer had been gone a few hours, I took up a
pamphlet which I had not looked into for several years, and found I had
noted upon the outside leaf, 5 that it was given to me by Mr Newton Prince,
lemon merchant, in the name, and at the desire of a number of negroes,
then petitioners to the General Court. At the head of these was Felix
Holbrook. While the petition remained undecided upon I was called out of
the Council Chamber, and very politely presented with the pamphlet by Newton,
who, after making his best bow, said, that the negroes had been informed
I was against the slave trade, and was their friend. He had several more,
to give to particular members of the house of Representatives. Upon my
returning into the chamber I boasted, as I have since, that I was distin-
guished from all the other members of Council, by this mark of respect.
Their petition was read
June 25th, 1773, and committed to a committee
who reported, the 28th, that the further consideration of it should be deferred to
the next session.
1774, it was read again, together with a memorial of the same
petitioners, and committed to a committee of seven. They reported a bill,
intitled "An Act to prevent the importation of negroes, and others, as slaves,
into this Province." It was read a first time March 2d, a second time
March 3d, AM, a third time the same day, P.M. and passed to be engrossed, and
was sent up. March 4th, it was sent down, with proposed amendments,
which were concurred in by the house, Mar. 5th. On the 8th the engrossed
bill was read, and passed to be enacted.
It was, probably, laid before Govr
Hutchinson, for his consent; but,
had read a morose message from the governour, between whom
and the two houses there had been no good agreement, either in that,
or the preceding session.
I am, with great respect, Sir, Your most
P. S. The Secretary, previous to the proroga-
tion, said, His Excelly has not had time to consider
the other bills that have been laid before him.
(after reading the titles of those the government had
[Subscription (recipient's name at foot of page)] The reverend Doctor Belknap.
To be left at the Office of
Mr Joseph Belknap, Printer,
No 8, DockSquare.