On January 20, 1790, a petition was presented to the South Carolina House of Representatives from a group of eight individuals who were subjects of the Moroccan emperor and residents of the colony. They desired that if they happened to commit any fault amenable to be brought to justice, that as subjects to a prince allied with the United States through the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, they would be tried as citizens instead of under the Negro Act.
The Free Moors, Francis, Daniel, Hammond and Samuel petitioned on behalf of themselves and their wives Fatima, Flora, Sarah and Clarinda. They explained how some years ago while fighting in defense of their country, they and their wives were captured and made prisoners of war by an African king. After this a certain Captain Clark had them delivered to him, promising they would be redeemed by the Moroccan ambassador residing in England, and returned to their country. Instead, he transported them to South Carolina, and sold them for slaves. Since then, "by the greatest industry," they purchased freedom from their respective masters: They requested that as free born subjects of a Prince in alliance with the U.S., that they should not be considered subject to a State Law (then in force) known as the negro law. If they be found guilty of any crime or misdemeanor, they would receive a fair trial by lawful jury. The matter was referred to a committee consisting of Justice Grimke, General Charles Pinckney and Edward Rutledge.