Lucy v. Clement Smith. Petition for Freedom


To the Honorable The Judges of The Circuit Court of The District of Columbia for the County of Washington

The petition of Lucy, and her infant son, James, both a woman of color in behalf of herself and her infant son James humbly sheweth. That they are both entitled to their freedom but are unlawfully held in slavery, by a certain Clement Smith, of George Town in the District of Columbia. Your Petitioner humbly states, that herself and infant and herself are now confined in George Town aforesaid, at the instance and by the directions of the said Clement Smith, who as your petioner petitioner has been informed and believes, is endeavouring to find a purchaser for them, who will immediately remove them to a great distance from the District of Columbia and out of the District of Columbia jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. As the whole proof, which your petitioner relies upon to establish the freedom of her son and herself, is to be obtained in the District of Columbia, and in one of the neighboring Counties in the State of Maryland, your petitioner, humbly states that she would will be out of the reach of this testimony and consequently for the remainder of their lives held in slavery if they are suffered to be sold and carried a great assistance from the District aforesaid. She therefore prays[?] that the said Clement Smith may be summoned to appear before this Honorable Court, at the ensuing Term thereof, to answer unto your Petitioner, and to shew cause, if any be hath, why your petitioner and her son, should not be released from slavery



Negro Lucy and her infant son James
Clement Smith


Mr Brent
please file this petition & issue summons
Forrest for Petitioner

Filed 23 July 1823

please send the summons by the bearer if the Marshal is not at the office