Bess v. Ruth Howard. Judgment Record.


TB Ruth Howard
Negroe Bess

The Justices of his Lordships County Court of Ann Arundell Transmit to the Justices of the Provinciall Court here the following Record on an Appeal made by the said Ruth Howard from the said County Court the Tenr whereof follows in these words vizt

In the Records and Proceedings of Ann Arundell County Court amongst other things is Contained as follows vizt

Ann Arundell County Sst At a County Court of the Rt Honble Charles Absolute Lord and Propry of the Provinces of Maryland and Avalon Lord Baron of Baltimore & held at the City of Annapolis for the County of Ann Arundell the Second Tuesday of June being the thirteenth day of the same Month in the Sixth year of his Lordships Domn &ca

Annoq Dom. 1721

The Worshipfull
Majr. Josias Towgood
Mr. Edmd. Benson
Mr. Caleb Dorsey
Mr. Wm. Chapman
Capt. Philip Jones
Mr. Samuel Smith Gent Justices
Stephen Warman Sherrf.
J B Beale Clk

Negroe Bess
Ruth Howard

On the said Bess's Complaint agt the sd Ruth Howard to the Court here for her fredom the said Ruth Howard being present in Court. And Whereupon all and Singular the allegations assaile[?] of the Negroe Bess as the said Ruth Howard being fully heard in relation to the premisses and Mature Deliberation. Whereupon had for that it Seems to the Court here that it was the Designe of Mrs. Anne Lambert Deced the former Mistress of the said Negroe Bess that She Should be free at the Age of Twenty five years.

It is therefore Considered by the Justices here that the sd Negroe Bess be free at the Age of twenty five years.

Whereupon the said Mrs. Ruth Howard the Mistress of the said Negroe Bess prays an Appeal from the Judgment of the Court to the next Provinciall Court to be held for this Province which is granted and the Record ordered to be Transmitted Accordingly.

(The Seale of Arunll County Court)

In Testimony whereof the Seale of Ann Arundell County is hereunto affixed
J B Beale Cl of Ann Arundell Coy Court


And now here at this day to wit the 10th day of October Anno Dom. 1721 Comes the said Ruth Howard by Thomas Bordley her attorney in to his Lordships Provinciall Court of Maryland before the Justices thereof and Saith that in the Record and Process afd as alsoe in the Rendering the Judgement afd tis Manifestly Err'd to wit in this

Imps. That the Court having taken upon them to make a Negroe which is by Act of Assembly of this Province declared a Slave for Life to become free at Twenty five years of Age Contrary Contrary to the Express words of the same Act and to the great Annoyance of his Majestys Christian Subjects within this province by allowing these Africans the Enjoyment of Liberty & of Previledges Equal to those of Englishmen whereas the Royall Charter of this province granted by his Majestys Progenitors to those of the Lord Propry appears to have been for the planting an Ample Colony of the English Nation in these parts.

Is[?] In this that the Court Declared the reason of Setting her free was because it seemed to them it was the Design of her former Mistress Anne Lambert that She Should be free &t but that it appears not that the said Anne Lambert had Executed these designes whilst it was in her Power to have rendered them Effectuall Nor that Ever she designed to set her free before she Disposed of her to the said Ruth Nor that the said Negroe was set free or designed to be set free by her Mistress for that time being but by her former Mistress whose Power was Determined.

Is[?] In this that the said Court ought to have given Judgment against the said Bess that She Should Continue a Slave and not that She Should be free at twenty five years of Age for all which and many Other Errors in the Record and Process afd the said Ruth Howard prays that that Judgment be reverst and that She to all that She thereby Lost may be restored that the said Bess to the Errors afd may Rejoyn and that the Court will proceed to Examine the same according to Law &t

Whereupon the said Negro Bess in her proper person appears and Says that in the Record and proceedings and also in the rendering Judgement therein it is in no thing Erred and prays that the same Judgment may in all things be affirmed &t and there upon as well the said Negroe Bess as the said Ruth Howard by her attorney afd pray the Court of the Lord Propry here will proceed as well to the Examining of the Record and proceedings afd as of the Matters above for Errors assigned &t.

Whereupon for that the Court here are not advised of their Judgment of and upon the premises day is given to the said parties to hear thereof their Jug Judgment untill next Court for that the said Court as yet are not &t

At which said next Court to wit the 10th day of Anno Dom 1722 Comes again in as well the said Ruth Howard by her attorney afd as the said Negro Bess in her [incomplete image]   And whereupon all and Singular the premises being by the Court now soon heard fully understood and Mature Deliberation whereupon had It is Considered by the Justices here the 10th day of April Anno Dom 1722 afd that the Judgment afd for the Errors afd be reversed Annulled and altogether held for None and that the said Ruth Howard too all things that thereby She hath lost be Restored &t

And it is further Considered that the Said Negroe Bess Continue a Slave to the said Ruth Howard during her life.