William v. John Swann. Affidavit of Robert I. Taylor


To the Honorable Judges of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia sitting at Alexandria.

The Subscriber who was assigned as Counsel for negroe William to state and report his claim to freedom and the evidence in support thereof respectfully reports.

That from the evidence of Gerard Plummer & Bryan Hampson, whose affidavits are herewith submitted it appears that the Petitioner had been brought up in Prince Georges County in the State of Maryland as the property of John Plummer, and that on the said Johns death he became the property of his widow by whom he was imported as sent into the County of Alexandria, where he has remained more than one year.

It does not appear that the Importer of the Petitioner has brought himself within any of the exceptions to the Act prohibiting the Importation of Slaves.

The Subscriber is therefore of Opinion that his Importation was in violation of the said Act, and that he is entitled to his freedom & should be permitted to institute Suit in forma pauperis for the recovery thereof against John Swann by whom he is now illegally held.

R. I. Taylor

Decr. 23. 1820


In the Case of Negroe William a pauper

Novem. Term 22d day
R. I. Taylor assigned as Counsel for the Petitioner to state and report his claim to freedom and the evidence in support thereof, this day returned his report, which having been received and considered by the Court, It is thereupon ordered that the Petitioner have leave to Institute Suit in this Court in forma pauperis for the recovery of his freedom against John Swann and that process do issue accordingly. And that in the mean time the marshal do take & Keep the Petitioner into his Custody until the said John Swann shall enter bond & [illegible] before the Clerk of this Court in the penalty of $800 to have the said Petitioner forthcoming to answer the Judgment of the Court

May Term 21st day

Novem. Term 22nd Day
Sarah Plummer owner of the slave produced to the Court a paper writing & moved the Court to have John Swann & Edmonds Hoffman called as on a Recognizance which motion was overruled.

May Term 24th day