To the Honorable the senit [senate] and House of Riprisentetives [Representatives]
of the comon Welth [Commonwealth] of Massachusetts bay in general court assembled
Februry 27 1788: The Petition of greet [great] Number of Blacks freemen
of this common welth [Commonwealth] Humbly sheweth that your Petetioners [Petitioners] are
justly Allarm'd at the enhuman [inhuman] and cruel Treetment [Treatment] that Three of
our Brethren free citizens of the Town of Boston Lately Receved [Received] ;
The captain under a Pertence [Pretense] that his vessel was in destres [distress] on
a Island belo [below] in this Hearber [Harbor] , haven [haven't] got them on bord [board] put them in Iorns [Irons]
and covred [covered] them of, From their Wives & children to be sold for slaves;
This being the unhappey [unhappy] state of these poor men What can your Peteti=
=oners Expect but to be treeted in the same manner by the same sort
of men; What then are our Lives and Lebeties [Liberties] worth if thay may be taken
away in shuch [such] a cruel & unjust manner as this; May it Pleas [Please] your Honnors [Honors] we
are not encensebel [insensible] that the good Laws of this State forbedes [forbids] all such
Base axones [actions] : Notwithstanding we can aseuer [assure] your Honners [Honors] that maney [many] of
our free blacks that have Entred [Entered] onboard of vessles [vessels] as seamen and have
ben sold for slaves a sum [some] of them we have heard from but no [know] not
Who carred [carried] them away; Hence is it that maney [many] of us who are good seamen
are oblidge [obliged] to stay at home thru fear and the one help of our time lorter [loiter]
about the streets for want of Imploy [Employ] . Wereas [Whereas] if thay were Protected
in that Lallfull [Lawful] calling thay might git [get] a hanceum [handsome] Livelihud [livelihood] for them
=selves and theres [theirs] : Which in the Setturation [Situation] thay are now in thay Cannot.
One thing more we would bege [beg] Leve [Leave] to Hent [Hunt] -- that is that your Petetioners [Petitioners]
have for Sumtime [Some time] past Beheald [Beheld] Whith [With] Greaf [Grief] Ships cleared out from
this Herber [Harbor] for Africa and there thay [they] other [either] steal or case [cause] others to
steal our Brothers & Sisteres [Sisters] fill there [their] Ships holes [holds] full of unhappey [unhappy]
Men & Women crouded [crowded] together, then set out to find the Best market.
Seal [Sell] them there Like Sheep for the Slarter [Slaughter] and then Returne [Return] hear [here]
like Honest men; after haven [having] sported with the Lives and Lebeties [Liberties]
Fello [Fellow] men and at the same time call themselves Christions [Christians] ; Black
O Hevens [Heavens] at thi [s?] These our Wotley [motley?] Greevences [Grievances] we cherfully [cheerfully]
Submeet [Submit] to your Honores [Honors] Without Decttateing [Dictating] in the lest [least] -- knowing
by Experence [Experience] that your Honers [Honors] have and we Trust ever Will
in your Wisdom do us that Justes [Justice] that our Present Condechon [Condition]
Requires, as God and the Good Laws of this Common Welth [Commonwealth] Shall
Decteat [Dictate] you -- as in Deutey [Duty] Bound your Petetioners [Petitioners] Shall Ever
Pray
Sd,

Prince Hall

[Endorsement]

Prince Hall's Petition

33.6 cm x 20.4 cm

From the Jeremy Belknap papers