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 Petetioners 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 themselves 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
Note: The edits to the text were made by the Massachusetts Historical Society.