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Petition of sundry Inhabitants of Norfolk and Princess- Anne Counties


Saturday, January 13, 1776,

A Petition of sundry Inhabitants of the Counties of Norfolk and Princess Anne was presented to the Convention and read; setting forth, that from the commencement of the present unhappy disputes between the British Parliament and the Colonies, they have been uniformly active in promoting the measures recommended by the General Congress and Convention, for the preservation and defence of their rights and liberties; that, in consequence of this conduct, many of them had been reduced to the cruel necessity of abandoning their aged parents, their wives and children, and leaving them to the mercy of a lawless, plundering soldiery, and the more savage slave; that their plantations had been ravaged, their wives and children stripped almost to nakedness, their very bed-chambers invaded at the silent hour of midnight by ruffians with drawn daggers; their houses not only robbed of plate, money, and every thing valuable, but wantonly reduced by fire to ashes; their persons treated with every indignity that elated insolence and cruelty could suggest; some of their friends dragged into confinement, and now languishing under the hands of oppression; that they lamented the tardy and equivocal conduct of some of their luke-warm friends, by which Lord Dunmore had been encouraged to begin these depredations, which, with some concealed as well as open and avowed enemies, he continued to commit so long with impunity; that whilst our troops keep possession of Norfolk, they enjoy a state of safety, but the possibility of their being dislodged presents a dreadful prospect of the renewal or the exercise of greater cruelties; that they can but endeavour to guard against such calamities in future; that they apprehend the friendship their country are much inferior to its enemies, among the leaders of the people in the two Counties; that they have every thing to fear from those who have thereby been induced to bear arms against their country, should they have it in their power; that many of their friends have been obliged to abandon their homes, which has put it out of their power to bear testimony against many who had been apprehended and justly deserved punishment; and praying that a strict inquiry might be made into the conduct of those who had appeared inimical to this Country, and that they might be removed to some distant part of the Colony, or so disposed of as to prevent their doing further mischief, and earnestly recommending that the slaves who had borne arms should be transported to the West-India


Ordered, That the said Petition be referred to the Committee of Safety.