On page 11 of my book, "So Obscure A Person,” I transcribed a petition that was signed in 1785, during the era of the American Revolution, by the STINSONs of Buckingham County. I mentioned another similar petition, pictured above, from Buckingham County, Virginia, on pages 77, 78 of "So Obscure A Person.” Copies of both original petitions are available on-line at the Collection of the Library of Congress. There is much more information as to the relationship between these Virginia petitions and the quest for freedom that birthed a new nation, the United States of America, at the Library of Congress site. I have written more about this petition and the people who signed it at "Patriots of Buckingham County."
Following is a transcript of the 1780 document that was made by Ginger Adams and Edna Barney:
To the Hon’ble the General Assembly of Virginia
The Memorial of the inhabitants of the County of Buckingham Representeth. That they conceived it to be a Fundamental principle of Government that, protection and Allegiance are reciprocal and that however policy and Humanity may induce a Legislator, to yield the protection of the Laws to men who refuse to give some proof of their allegiance to the State, yet Your Memorialists conceive it to be unwise to suffer them to injoy the same Privileges with those Citizens who have given every proof of their attachment which has been required of them. The Exercise of any of the learned pro- fessions gives their Professors an influence which improperly apply’d may prove dangerous to the State. It has been urged in defense of the Indulgences Granted to Nonjurors within their State; that the Test Oath is no proof of Attachment. It is true that the Test Oath may have been taken by artful men as a Cloak for the most infamous designs; but a true Whig can never refuse to take it as it only binds him to do that which his own principles would Naturally lead him to do. Your Memorialists with pain see men professed Enemies to the State, permitted to exercise the holy Function of Preachers of the Gospel; as they apprehend that the influence which that sacred Character gives to its possessor will prove dangerous to the Liberty of the Commonwealth. Your Memorialists actuated by the foregoing Considerations Pray, that proper Laws may pass to Silence all Nonjuring Preachers of every Denomination be deprived of their benefices such as have them; to prohibit such men who refuse to give proof of their attachment to the present Government from the Exercise of either the professions of Law or Physic, and to Levy double taxes upon all Nonjurors, as your Memorialists conceive it to be just, that those who are exempted from rendering personal service as Soldiers: should yield a Larger proportion of their Wealth; their property enjoying the protection of the Laws, Equally with that of the Rest of the Citizens.
E__. ___ Stinson
Joseph Bondurant Sen
Wm. Perkins Junr
The image, Petition of 7 December 1780, is subject to copyright by barneykin. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin.