Matilda Derrick v. George Mason & Alexander Moore. Defendants' Bill of Exceptions


Matilda & children
Moore Mason &c

April Term 1823.

In this case the Petitioner to support the issue on their part joined offer evidence to prove that and it is admitted that some time in the year 1782 1792, and before the month of December in that year, James Craik removed from the state of Maryland into the County of Fairfax; in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with intent to settle in said county, and become a citizen of said Commonwealth; and did then so settle and become such citizen, and continue to reside as such in said county till his death; which happened some time in the year 1814: that said Craik at the time of his said removal brought the petitioner Matilda with him for Maryland aforesaid into the county aforesaid; she being then a negro slave belonging to sd Craik; and continually held the said petitioner & her children then in said county as slaves, till his death: and at his death devised then as slaves to his widow: who some time in the year 1814, removed from said county of Fairfax into the town & county of Alexandria in this District, bringing with her the said petitioners, and living[?] then as slaves in said town of Alexandria till her death which happened some time in the year 1815: and   at her death devised the said Petitioner to Ann the late wife of the deft Moore, and to Louisa the late wife of the deft Mason: by her last will, hereto annexed: That the said Ann & Louisa were at the time of such devise, for a longtime before and ever after till their respective deaths, inhabitants of the District of Columbia, the said Ann of Alexandria aforesaid and the said Louisa, of Georgetown in the County of Washington: that the said defts Mason & Moore were at the time of their respective intermarriages with said Ann & Louisa for a long time before & ever since inhabitants & citizens of said District: the said Moore of Alexandria aforesaid, the said Mason of Georgetown aforesaid: that the said Petitioners were kept in Alexandria aforesaid for the space of 18 months after the death of the said widow Craik; and were then brought from Alexandria aforesaid to Georgetown aforesaid, and then held by the said Louisa as slave till her intermarriage with the deft. Mason, in the month of October 1821:   and against since have been held in Georgetown aforesaid by the said Mason, as the joint property of himself & said Moore: that the petitioners Matilda, the younger Lucy & Louisa are the children of said Matilda, born after her removal from Maryland as aforesaid; and whilst she was held by said James Craik as a slave as aforesaid: and within the last twenty years. and it is admitted that at the time of the said removal of the said Craik from Maryland into Fairfax as aforesaid, and during all the year 1792, there were only nineteen magistrates in commission as Justices of the said County of Fairfax; all of whom have since departed this life; the last survivor of them having died about four five years ago.

That the said James Craik at the to did not remove as aforesaid with any intent of evades the laws for preventing the further importation of slaves, and did not bring the said petitioner with an intention of selling her: and that the said petitioner was had not been imported from Africa or any of the West India Islands. and was the slave & property of said James at the time of such his removal; and always before.


The above admitted as the evidence in the case.

April Term 1823.

B. L. Lear for Defts
W. Jones for defts.
Augst Taney for Petitioner.

7 Cr. 298 Queen vs Hepburn
2 W. & M [illegible] 226

1 Philips, 111.

5 Hen. & Munfd. 542 6. Samet[?] vs. Saml. & Phillis. [illegible] Munford's Index

Negro Rose vs. Kennedy - M. S. Rep. 1801 - [illegible]

Jack Garretson vs Lingan M. S. Ref. 1821 - Washn. 166


and upon the facts so given in Evidence & admitted as aforesaid, the petitioners prayed the opinion of the court and of an instruction to the Jury. That if the Deft. wishes to avail himself to avail himself of the benefit of the provision in the 5th Sect of the Act of 1785 ch. 77 it is incumbent on him to produce competent testimony to prove that he the said         Craig[?] had complied with the terms & conditions of the said proviso, and that in the absence of all testimony no presumptions can arise from lapse of time or other facts in the case agreed to supply the defect of such testimony. Which opinion & instruction was accordingly given by the Court to the Jury: to testify opinion & instruction the defts by their counsel except and therefor

The defts insisted & contended before the Jury, 1st. that the facts given in Evidence as aforesaid do not impose upon the defts the necessity of proving by substantive evidence that the said James Craik had taken the oath prescribed by the act of the Genl. Assembly of Virginia passed in the year 1785. ch. 77, within the time prescribed by that act: and that the jury, upon the said state of facts, ought not to find for the petitioners, for the want of such substantive process on the part of the defts.

2dly. That the Jury, under the circumstances so given in Evidence, may presume that the said James Craik had taken the said oath in the prescribed time.

But the court, upon the motion of the   petitioners decided and so instructed the Jury overruled all the points so insisted upon & contended for by the defts: and instructed the Jury that the said state of facts did impose upon the defts the necessity of proving by substantive evidence that the said James Craik had taken the prescribed oath within the prescribed time: in default of which proof the Jury upon the said state of facts, ought to find for the petitioners; and could not, under the circumstances so given in Evidence, presume that the said J. Craik had taken the said oath in the manner & time prescribed by said Act.

To which decision & instruction of the Court the defts except &

And stopped the deft's counsel from proceeding to maintain the [illegible] or any of the points so insisted upon & contended for before the Jury by the defts. being of opinion and so instructing the jury that the law was contrary said points were in all effects contrary to the law of in the case.

To which opinion Instruction &c. the defts by their counsel except &c & pray the Court to sign & seal this their Bill of Exceptions wh: is accordingly done this thirteenth day of June A.D. 1823.

B. Thruston (seal)
Jas S. Morsell (s)