Walter Thomas & Dennis Thomas v. Alexander Scott. Affidavit of John Law


Washington County District of Columbia sct.

On this 16th day of June in the year 1810 personally appeared in open court John Law & being duly sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God deposed & said, that some time during the later part of the month of December last, he was applied to by two black persons named Dennis Thomas & Walter Thomas to file a petition for them for their freedom against Alexander Scott. That they informed this deponent, that they had also spoken to Elias B Caldwell to engage in their cause, & that they had left with the said Elias B Caldwell their records & papers. That about the having convened with Mr Caldwell & examined the records & papers in his possession the deponent consented to undertake the cause of the said Petitioners & filed a petition for their pet freedom on the first day of the court in Decr. term 1809. but the said petition having been in the hurry of business mislaid, he filed another petition for their freedom on the 4th of January. That about the same time he gave a paper signed with his name to each of the petitioners Dennis & Walter, stating that the said Dennis & Walter had thro him filed a petition for their freedom with the Washington county court of this district, which was then depending for trial. That about the time he was applied to by the said Walter & Dennis to act as their attorney, he received a letter from the said Alexander Scott which is herewith filed, dated on the 23d day of December 1809. Which letter to the best of this deponent's recollection was delivered to him by Mr. Henry Suttle. That this deponent about the time he received the letter aforesaid, informed Mr. Henry Suttle, that he had filed a petition for the freedom of   said Dennis & Walter as their attorney against the said Alexander Scott, & requested the said Henry Suttle to inform the said Alexander of the same, to the best of this deponent's recollection That shortly afterwards this deponent wrote an answer to Mr. Scott's letter, which he believes he gave to Mr. Suttle to deliver to said Alexander Scott in which this deponent stated he had filed a petition of freedom for the said Dennis & Walter against him. & [illegible] his readiness to afford Mr. Scott every facility in his power, to expedite the trial & accommodate the said Scott. That sometime about the beginning of the month of February one of the petitioners came to this deponent's office in the night, & informed him, that his associate in the petition his fellow petitioner had been seized by Mr. Scott & sent out of the district, & that several agents of the said Scott were then trying to seize him also to remove him from the district. That the said petitioner had at that time the paper given him by this deponent, at about the time he filed their petition as aforesaid. That this deponent the night aforesaid wrote a second letter to Mr. Scott again informing the said Scott of the petition of freedom filed by this deponent as petitioners' attorney as aforesaid; [illegible] his surprise at hearing that the said Scott had sent out of the district one of the petitioners & forewarning him from selling them or sending them away. That this deponent did not keep a copy of said letter, but states the substance of them from memory. That he delivered the letter last mentioned to the petitioner, to deliver it to the said Scott or to leave it at his house. That from that time to this this deponent has never seen the said Dennis or Walter Thomas, but has been informed that the said   Alexander has since sold the said Dennis & Walter to some person whom name this deponent hath never heard, & who has carried them out of this district & the state of Maryland. And this deponent further saith, that he has been informed by John A Wilson, the deputy Marshal, (who is ready to testify the ensuing facts if required by the court so to do). that, before the said Dennis & Walter Thomas were carried out of the said district he called four or five times at the house of Mr. Scott to serve on him a subpoena issued by the clerk of the Washington county on the petition of the said Dennis & Walter. That he the said John A Wilson was sometimes informed when he called by the said Alexander Scott's servant that the said Alexander was out of town & at other times that the said Alexander was in Virginia, & on once asking for Mr. Scott the wife of the said Alexander, was informed she was sick & that the sd said Wilson had once good reason to believe that the said Alexander was in his house, when he called, when the said Alexander denied being there And this deponent further saith, that he was informed by John M. Wighte, deputy Marshall that the said Wighte also called twice at said Alexander's house, without being able to see him, before the slaves were removed out of the district, to the best of this deponent's recollection And this deponent further saith That the said subpoena was not served until the 5th April last. That there several persons in this district to wit Henry Suttle, George W. Lindsay, Jonathan H George Gloyd Joseph   Hurler, Geor Elisha Hall & James Thompson, & George Ross, as this deponent is informed, who can testify to many material facts, connected with the statement of facts above mentioned.

Wm Brent Clk

W. & D. Thomas
Alex Scott

affs &c.

Jno Law.