Samuel Bias v. John Rose. Circuit Court Report


Negro Samuel Bias v. John Rose.

A slave brought into the county of Washington from Maryland, by his owner, and within three years thereafter mortgaged for his full value, does not thereby acquire a right to his freedom.

This was a petition for freedom, submitted to the Court by Mr. Key, for the petitioner, and Mr. Jones, for the defendant, upon a case in which it was stated that the petitioner was brought into this county from Maryland, by one Richards, his owner, and within three years thereafter was mortgaged by Richards to W. Bowie, who assigned the mortgage to the defendant, who holds the petitioner under the mortgage. That Richards became insolvent, and was discharged under the insolvent act of the District of Columbia.

The petitioner claims his freedom under the Act of Maryland, of 1796, c. 67, §§ 1, 2, and 3. The first section is general, and prohibits the importation of slaves to reside, or for sale, and declares that if so imported they shall be free. The second section excepts slaves brought in by citizens of the United States, coming with a bonâ fide intention of settling in the State; but the third section says that nothing in the act-contained shall be construed to enable any person, so removing, to sell or dispose of any slave so imported, unless such person shall have resided within the State three whole years next preceding such sale.

The Court (Thruston, J., not sitting,) was of opinion that the law was against the petitioner, and rendered judgment for the defendant.