[VIRGINIA18TH CENTURY STATE POLITICS.]
Manuscript Document Signed by various citizens of Cumberland County, 1 p, folio, 1778, addressed to the Speaker and Gentlemen of the house of Delegates of Virginia, complaining about the deleterious influence of "dissenters" in the county, with 19th century docket at lower left corner, leaf creased horizontally and vertically, moderate separation at folds with three sections at upper left separated but present, amateur repair to verso of center vertical fold, some toning and fading overall.
In 1776 Virginia was the first American colony to pass legislation declaring its citizens who did not worship at the Church of England were exempt from the levies and taxes collected for the support of the church and its ministers. In the years to follow there was a tremendous amount of discussion and outcry among C of E members, including this petition sent to the Assembly (entered into their records on November 6, 1778): "That your petitioners are greatly alarmed at the progress which some of the Disenters [sic] from the Church by Law established are daily making in various parts of this county by seducing the ignorant and unwary to embrace their erroneous tenets ... tending to alienate the affection of Slaves from their Masters ... [creating] great discontent made between Husbands & Wives. We or some of us have seen meetings in the night of our Slaves to receive the inductions of those teachers without our consent which we apprehend could produce nothing but deeds of darkness and which have already produced their proper fruits of disobedience and insolence to Masters...." The document features 56 signatures of Cumberland County citizens, including WILLIAM ANGLEA, SAMUEL MCGEHEE, JAMES COLEMAN, BERNARD GUTHREY, NATHANIEL WADE, STEPHEN COOKE,WILLIAM LANGHORNE, FREEMAN LEWELLING, JULIUS DAVENPORT, and others.