An Early Printing of Belinda Sutton's "Petition of an African Slave"
SUTTON, Belinda. American Museum or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, &c. Prose and Poetical. For June, 1787. Vol. I. Numb. VI. The Second Edition. Philadelphia: Printed by Matthew Caret , 1788.
Second edition of "The American Museum" Vol. I, Number VI, and early printing, possibly second printing in pamphlet form of Belinda Sutton (Royall)'s petition for reparations from slavery. "Petition of an African slave, to the legislature of Massachusetts" found on pages 463-465. This is the first of many petitions that Sutton put out over the course of a few years. Directly following Sutton's petition, is an article "Address to the Heart, on the subject of American Slavery" (pg 465-468). Also included in this pamphlet is an "Extract from colonel Hamilton's speech in a committee of the assembly of New-York, on the 18th of February, 1787, when the import was under consideration" (page 445-454). And an early edition of "Columbia: A Song" (pg 484-485). Octavo (8 1/4 x 4 7/8 inches; 208 x 122 mm). [2], [423]-492 pp. There is no first separate edition of the petition on OCLC.

Pamphlet. Self wrapped, with spine reinforced. Pages lightly toned as usual. Small tear to back final leaf at top of spine, not affecting text. Overall very good.

Belinda Sutton (Royall) was an African-born woman who was enslaved by the Royalls at their home in Massachusetts. "In 1778, the state of Massachusetts confiscated Royall Junior's properties. Several of his slaves were manumitted, including Belinda. Soon after she was freed, at approximately sixty-five years of age, she moved to Boston where she lived in poverty. After Royal Junior's death in 1781, it is assumed that Belinda received the amount determined in his will. But three years later, as expected, the payments stopped. Thus, on February 14, 1783, Belinda petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for the first time. She requested a pension as reparations for the unpaid work she provided the Royalls... The legislature responded positively to her request, and Belinda obtained the annual pension of £15 12s. taken from the revenues generated by Royall's estate... But Belinda's story did not end in 1783. After the first year, the estate suspended her allowances. In 1785, she submitted a second petition to continue the payment authorised two years earlier. In 1787, she again petitioned the legislature and obtained the pension for only one year. Inn 1788, she submitted another petition... Although only partially successful Sutton, was the first known case of a freed person who obtained financial reparations for slavery." (Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade. By Ana Lucia Araujo. Pg 49-51).

"Belinda Sutton’s eloquent petition of 1783 is among the earliest narratives by an African American woman. It has inspired poets and fascinated historians. It has been seen by some commentators as the first call for reparations for American slavery. And it opens a rare window onto the life on an enslaved woman in colonial North America... in addition, Belinda Sutton’s eloquent petition was the inspiration for this poem by Rita Dove, U.S. Poet laureate from 1993 to 1995." (From Royallhouse dot org)

Howes. Streeter.

HBS # 68237 $1,250