Petition of David Haig


            The Petition of David Haig respectfully sheweth that in the year of 1822 his Negro slave Harry was convicted and sentenced to death by a Court of Magistrates and Freeholders then sitting in Charleston upon the charge of having been conceived in a projected insurrection of the colored population of the City.  That agreeable with the said sentence, the said slave was to have been executed on the 12th day of July of that year—but that the consequence of his testimony having been used by the court “very efficaciously to the ends of public justice” his sentence of death was reconsidered and commuted to transportation beyond the limits of the United States.  That he was thorough on retained in confinement in the Workhouse of Charleston by order of the aforesaid Court and out of the control and care of your petition.  That the said confinement occasioned the death of the said slave, and your petitioner was thereby deprived of his value and services as effectually as if the original sentence of the court had been carried into execution.

            Your petitioner further sheweth much to your honorable body that he would  been entitled in the event of the execution of the said slave to compensation under an act of  the general assembly of this state.  He cannot therefore consider the subsequent decision of the court, as in any wise impairing his right to that compensation.  The review of its proceedings and the alteration of its sentence were certainly beyond his control and without his concurrence and gave him no advantages whatever.  He remained as deeply affected in his interests as before—and the law under his view applies in its spirit, if not in its letter to his claim, now, with as much force as it could do under the supposition of his slave having suffered capital punishment.

            With regard to the amount of compensation to which he is entitled, he leaves it, under the peculiar circumstances stated, wholly to the liberality and justice of your honorable body to determine.  The court which was organized in the name and under the authority, and whose proceedings have subsequently received the sanction, of the state, divested him of his property, for the purposes—and he therefore cannot be considered upon an inferior footing to that of any other claimant upon the state, for individuals property taken from him for the use and benefit of the public.

            And calling your attention to the annexed certificates—shewing the exclusive control assumed by the court over the said slave, and his having died from the effect of confinement—Your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray.

Charleston 17, Nov 1828

                                                                                                    David Haig