Francis Bowling & Clarissa Gardiner v. David Atkins. Jury Instructions



That if the Jury believe from the evidence aforesaid, that the woman Matilda only claimed her freedom by virtue of the letter from Plaintiffs intestate dated in 1827, then no presumption of a deed of manumission cannot be founded on such letter although followed up by her going at large for from the year 1827 to intestates death unless the said intestate was made aware of the fact of her going at large as free during said time

Decr. 17. 1841

refusd. by the Court

(W.C. doubting)



Bowling & Gardner


2nd (A)

Even,[?] If the Jury believe from the evidence aforesaid, that the woman Matilda passed as free from the year 1827 to the death of said R. B. Gardiner then such passing as free during such time is not sufficient evidence of her freedom during that time unless the Jury farther find that such passing as free was with the knowledge or assent of said Gardiner.

( — agreed to —)

(Admitted No. 2)


No. 2



That If the Jury believe that the said woman Matilda passed as free from 1833 to the bringing of this suit & that the Plaintiffs acquiesced in the same because they were informed by said Sims that he had manumitted her according to the letter of R. B. Gardiner dated in 1827, whereas which he showed where as the said Sims had not in fact so manumitted her & that the Plaintiffs brought this suit shortly within a few months after discovering that she had not been so manumitted then no presumption can be founded on such acquiescence, as against the Plaintiffs.

refused 17. Decr. 1841





That it is competent for the Jury to find from all the circumstances in the case that no deed of manumission was at any time executed by said Sims or said Gardner, & if they find that no such deed was executed then the Jury cannot find the issue joined for the Defendant on the Plea of freedom.

refused. 17. Decr. 1841



That to presume a deed of manumission of the woman Matilda, the Jury must be satisfied that she acted & passed as free in a manner different from other slaves in Washington City aforesaid then & there held as slaves

Refused. 17. Decr. 1841





Should the Jury be satisfied from the Evidence, that in 1827 Richard B. Gardiner wrote the letter of the 20th Febry. directing Edward Simms, to manumit the negro woman Matilda, and that neither that said Simms or the said Richard B. Gardiner, ever did execute any instrument of writing giving to her said Matilda her freedom and that the said Richard B. Gardiner died in the year 1832 before any [illegible] that no such deed of manumission was executed before his death they may infer therefore, that the power given in said letter, was had been revoked by the said Richard B. Gardiner, before his death. And further that if said the power given in said letter, was not executed before the death of said Richard B. Gardner, that the same[?] was revoked by his death in the year 1832.

refused 17 Decr. 1841.

(W.C. doubting)


6th 7th

That from the evidence aforesaid the Jury may find that the defendant purchased the woman Matilda from Edward Sims as & for a slave in the year 1836, & if they farther find that during the whole time of her passing as free as claimed by the Defendant, she was living with the Defendant as his wife previously to & that it was previous to said purchase by said Defendant of said Sims, then the Jury may infer from the whole evidence aforesaid, that during all the time of her passing as free as alledged the said woman was held &kept by the Defendant as the slave of said Sims   from whom he afterwards purchased & that she did not pass as free but was kept by Deft as a slave until the date of his deed of manumission aforesaid.

Refused 17. Decr. 1841




That if the Jury find that the Defendant executed the deed of manumission stated in the evidence then it is competent for the Jury for the Jury to find from the whole evidence that the Defendant has always kept boy George named in the declaration did not pass as free but is now held in servitude by the Defendant as a slave until 21 years of age.

Refused. 17. Decr. 1841. (W. Cr. contra)




8th 9th

That notwithstanding the Jury may be satisfied from the evidence aforesaid that the letter of the 20th feby 1827 was written by Richard B. Gardner in his lifetime, yet it is was not sufficient in Law, to authorize the said Edward Simms to manumit the said negro woman, Matilda and that the said Matilda and her children who claim freedom in this suit can claim no claim legal claim to their freedom under said letter.

refused 17. 1841.

W. C. doubting





That no presumption of a deed of manumission made by the administrator plaintiffs, can be made in as much as no law authorises administrators to manumit slaves & no la there is no presumption that the plaintiffs as administrators have done an illegal or unauthorised act or committed a devastavit

Refused 17. Decr. 1841




11 admitted (a) (B)

That the Jury are not found from the evidence aforesaid to presume a deed of manumission as claimed by the Defendant by the said Gardiner or the plaintiffs or the said Sims of the woman named Matilda.

(admitted.) The Court adding thereto on application of Deft's Counsel that it is competent for the Jury to presume such deed of manumission from the whole evidence aforesaid.

(admitted No. 11.)


A. & B.
No. 11




That should the Jury find for be satisfied from the evidence aforesaid, that upon the 23rd day of May, 1836, the Defendant manumitted by legal Instrument of writing the said Matilda and her children then born, as his slaves, they may infer therefrom that, the said Defendant did not consider them as going at large as free persons, so as to entitle them to their freedom and that he considered them as slaves, upon the said 23rd of May 1836.

Refused 17. Dec. 1841.
W.C. contra. doubting


Gardner v. Atkins
No. 106 Trials. Nv 23d 1841

Prayers 1. 3. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10 and 12.



If the Jury believe from the whole evidence aforesaid that R. B. Gardiner, the owner of Matilda, wrote the letter of 20 Feby. 1827 to Edd Sims. & that shortly after rec:g said letter & in the same year the said Sims allowed the said Matilda to marry the Deft & to go at large as a free person with him. & that she did thereupon go at large & live with her said husband as his wife and as a free woman from that time to the year 1840. And that during that period she bore the children named in the declaration, which children were nurtured & raised by her & her husband, & at their expense. And that the fact of her so going at large as free, & bearing & maintaining her said children was known to said Sims & the said Gardiner. And was also made known to the said Pltfs in the year 1833, after the death of said Gardiner, who upon that information being given did not omitted to include said negroes in the Inventory of said R B Gardiner's estate & never claimed the said negroes till the bringing this suit. Then it is competent that for the Jury to presume a deed of manumission in favor of said Matilda. And further then such going at large for said period as free under the circumstances above stated if believed by the Jury, with such knowledge of said Sims, Gardiner & Pltfs, constitutes a right to freedom.

granted. 17 Decr 1841. W.C. contra

Plf excepts