Mary Butler v. Adam Craig. Defendant's Bill of Exceptions


Wm Lazarus Mary Butler agt Wm [strikethrough] Adam Craig.

Petition for Freedom, October Term 1787.

The Counsel for the Petitioner produced and read in Evidence to the Court sundry Deposition taken in a former cause then depending between William and Mary Butler the Father and Mother of the present Petitioners against Richard Boarman on a Petition for Freedom on a final Hearing on which Petition in the Court of Appeals the said William and Mary Butler were adjudged to be Slaves to the said Richard Boarman. The said Depositions were read by the present Petitioner's Counsel to prove that the present Petitioner was a Descendant from a free white woman named Irish Nell and therefore entitled to his Freedom. The Counsel for the Defendant [strikethrough] offered to read in Evidence all the Depositions taken in the same former cause which are as follows (here insert them) to prove that the said Irish Nell was married to a Negro Slave during the Evidence of the Act passed in 1663/4 entitled An Act concerning Negroes and other slaves, and to prove that after the said Marriage the said Irish Nell was held as a slave, and that all the Issue and Descendants from the said Marriage have been constantly held and considered as Slaves, and that the present petitioner one of the Descendants aforesaid, has been always held and considered as a slave by the Defendant. To which Evidence so offered by the Defendant the present petitioner's Counsel objected; alleging that a Record of the Conviction of the said Irish Nell for having intermarried with the said slave should be produced, and that without such Conviction neither the said Irish Nell nor any of her Descendants could legally be slaves, whereupon the Court gave the following Opinion. That without a Conviction in a Court of Record of Irish Nell's having intermarried with a slave, she could not become a slave, nor could her Issue become slaves by virtue of such Intermarriage.

That no presumption of such Conviction arises from the Petitioner and her [illegible] being held having been always held in Slavery.

That the Court being satisfied that the Records of Saint Mary's County have been lost since the period at which such Conviction is supposed to have taken place; it is not necessary to show the Record of the said Conviction; but that Hearsay Evidence being the best which can reasonably be expected in this Case, may be admitted to prove that such Conviction did take   take place.

That no Length of possession of the said Irish Nell, and her Descendants from the said Marriage as Slaves, nor any of the Facts related in any of the Depositions taken in the said former Cause, are sufficient to satisfy the Court of such Conviction. To which Opinion the Descendant's Counsel prayed Leave to except, and Appeal therefrom to the Court of Appeals, which is granted &c.

A C Hanson
P Goldsborough[?]

4 3/4


No 1


filed 10th Novr 1787