E. Sutton to Governor John Floyd, 21 September 1831.
Bowling Green Sept 21st 1831
Honorable John Floyd
Sir It is now certain that the slaves in this county was apprised of the insurrection which developed itself in South Hampton. Some Gentleman have enquired of these slaves as to this fact, (Mr. Campbels) in this immediate neighbourhood all admitted that they had receved information of the intended insurrection but that it commenced two soon by eight days Yesterday a faithfull servant of Mr. Wm P Taylors gave him information that large meetings of slave were held in his neighbourhood for the purpose of concerting and effecting the best cours they should pursue to get clere of the whits Much excitment and much alarm has prevailed in the couty especally with the slaves of the county and it is now so obvious that the slaves design an attempt between this and the 1st of October I have concluded to suggest to you the proprity of furnishg the malitia with arms at least to some extent For one until the information in relation to Mr Taylors slaves was receved I had not even had my gun in my room Because I did not apprehend any danger and I was certain it was calculatd to create a greater degree of alarm with my wife and I thought two it was giving an importance which might induce the negros in this neighborhood to immagine that I was alarmd I hope sir you will arm the Troop and a part of the companies in this county if not all I am as perfectly satisfied that those travling preachers and Pedlers have been instrumental to a great degree in producing the present state of things as that I am now addressng this letter to you And I do hope that the Legislature will at the next session at least pass a law which shall have for its object This That no man particularly a strangr shall preach in any County or Town untill he shall have produced sufficnt evidence that he has been regularly ordained and of his moral worth and standing when he was receved on his last place of residence I hope I shall be excused for suggestg other civils slaves should not be permitted to have preachng at any time nor should they be permitted to go about contracting for themselves I would make the Law in relation in relation to These matters more penal and I would make it the duty of every officer to arrest such slaves as are permitted to goe at large and sell him forthwith the result to be applied to the use of the County Again Sir it is now the practice at every Court House to see large numbrs of Carts some white and some black vending and trad in various things there Sir although I have used my exertions to arrest the civil practice of court nights frequently the exhibition of whites and blacks mingling together Beggars description They have no law imposed upon them They are composed of the very dregs of the different Counties and what I ask is to be expected but disorder and consequences of the most dangerous and alarming results Last October or November Mr Blak had a valuable slave killd at these Carts white and black all engaged in the [encounter?] late at night I hope you will incur(?) these suggestions repectivly yours & c
Norborne E Sutton
P.S. I would suggest the propriety of arming the four companys immedially about this place wher information must be receve first on sight to be fully armed say Capt John Bellah Capt John Washington Captain Washington Carter and Capt W. Wrights these I think should be armed fully
N. E Sutton
Governor's Office, Letters Received, John Floyd, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.