Peter Morris v. George Miller. Petition for Habeas Corpus and Freedom


To the Honourable the Judges of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia for the County of Washington the Petition of Morris otherwise called Peter Morris otherwise called Peer Morris humbly sheweth that the said Morris is a free person of colour formerly resident of the state of New York and was is now unlawfully held and detained in close confinement & imprisonment by one George Miller of the city of Washington as the property & slave of certain persons whose names are not known & to whom the said Morris was unlawfully sold by one Haley. He therefore prays that the United States writ of Habeas Corpus may be issued to the said George Miller directed commanding him forthwith to have the body of your petitioner before your honors or one of you together with the cause of his imprisonment & detention to do & receive &c. in due form of law according to Law & to the statute in such case made & provided that he may be discharged from his unlawful imprisonment, and that such other relief may be given to the said Morris in the premises at the nature of his case may require &c. And also that a subpoena may be issued to the said George Miller directed commanding him to appear & answer to yr. Petitioners claim of freedom & that such other relief may be extended as the nature of the case requires &..

(J. Wiley for Petr.)

J. Wiley for Petr.


District of Columbia Washington County

On this fifteenth day of May A.D. 1816 before the subscriber an United States Justice of the peace in & for Washington County personally appeared William A. Scott and made one of the people commonly called Quakers or Friends and made his solemn affirmation that he hath been informed by several persons & believes that the coloured person called Morris named in the within petition is now was brought to Washington City by one Daley Haley who said that he had bought the said Morris but that Morris thought that he was only hired to him & he did not wish Morris to know it: that said Morris claimed to be free & said he had hired himself to said Haley; that said Haley afterwards sold said Morris clandestinely & immediately went away from Washington: that the said Morris was thereupon committed to the custody of said George Miller by whom he is now kept in close confinement in his house, notwithstanding his claim of freedom.

Jno. Peter



Negro Morris
Geo: Miller


Let the Hab. Corp issue as prayd. Make it returnable on Friday night at 11 OClock at the Clerks Office
J. S. Morsell

W. Brent Esq.
May 15. 1816

fild. 15 May 1816.