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Thomas Peters of Annapolis was a local political leader for the blacks of Brindley Town, a community near Digby. The blacks there nominated him to organize a land petition. He also took responsibility for monitoring the distribution of provisions they received later that year.

Peters traveled to New Brunswick where he thought he might be able to obtain a land grant. He stayed in New Brunswick for a while and found a spot to his liking surveyed near Fredericton, but his grant was denied because the survey infringed on reserved lands. Peters became frustrated and believed that most of the problems the Blacks had securing land were due to the corruption of local authorities. He concluded that he would need to present these problems directly to the king in order to find a remedy.

Peters developed a petition to present to the Secretary of State, William Grenville. Thomas Peters then began to travel back and forth from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia in order to rally support from the Blacks of both settlements. He did well, and ultimately gathered support from 100 Black families of Saint John and 102 Black families in Annapolis County. These families gave Peters the right to represent them in England.

Thomas Peters went to Halifax and from there traveled to England by ship. He worked on board the ship to pay some of his expenses, and received some money from the men and women whom he was representing. Peters was penniless when he arrived in England, and had very few useful contacts to bring his petition forward. Although uncertain, it is probable that Peters had fallen in with the Black Loyalists and freed slaves on the streets of London, and perhaps through them met their charitable sponsor.

In some such manner he first met the famed abolitionist Granville Sharp. Sharp was a man greatly devoted to furthering the cause of Black people. He had helped bring the Mansfield case to court which had ended slavery in England. Granville felt some personal responsibility when many of the newly freed blacks were unable to support themselves. Together with abolitionist allies he formed the Committee for the Black Poor, and served as the main means of support for them in a system where blacks were denied poor relief.

Peters became a celebrated figure in the abolitionist circles of England, strong, tall and regal, born a Prince of Africa and seized into slavery. Apparently he met with his old military commander Henry Clinton, who remembered him fondly and probably assisted him financially. However Clinton was politically out of favour and wouldn't have been able to arrange any sort of official audience.

With Sharp's assistance, Peters did present his petition to the Secretary of State. Sharp and the Committee for the Black Poor had recently concocted a plan to form a settlement of free blacks in Africa, which had not gone as well as they had hoped. Sharp felt that much of the problem was that the settlers he had sent were not Christians, and were thus of inferior moral character. Here was a ready supply of Christian Blacks who had been terribly mistreated; the salvation of his plan to create a promised land for freed slaves.

Sharp's political connections agreed to have the government finance the voyage. They also publicly urged the Nova Scotia government to aid the Blacks in all possible means and investigate the charges brought forward by Thomas Peters. Privately they were less enthusiastic, and certainly Parr was quite defensive about an allegation that his government had systematically mistreated the Black Loyalists. Orders were orders, however, and the Sierra Leone Company had found official backing.

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Image of a black man being received by 'gentlement'.
Peters became something of a celebrity among English Abolitionists.

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