Amelia Ward v. Elias B. Caldwell. Circuit Court Report


Negro Amelia v. E. B. Caldwell.

A slave carried from Washington, in the District of Columbia, to Virginia, by her   owner, for a temporary residence only, and brought back to Washington, and there sold to a resident of Washington, does not thereby become entitled to freedom under the Maryland Act of 1796, c. 67.

This cause was submitted to the decision of the Court by Mr. Key for the petitioner, and Mr. Jones, for the defendant, upon the following case agreed.

"In this case it is admitted that the petitioner was born in the State of Maryland, and became, by marriage, the property of one Henry O. Middleton, who resided in Washington county, in this district, until May, 1820, there keeping the said petitioner in his possession, as his slave. That the said Middleton then removed into the State of Virginia, to reside, and left the said slave in Maryland, with her former master. That on the 7th of December, 1820, the said petitioner was carried by the said Henry O. Middleton, to Fredericksburg, in Virginia, where he then resided, and hath resided ever since, with an agreement and understanding between the said Middleton and the said petitioner, that if she did not like to continue in Fredericksburg she should return and get a master, either in Maryland or the district, as she might choose. That after staying some time in Fredericksburg, the said petitioner became dissatisfied, and expressed her desire to return; in consequence of which, the said Middleton, on the 7th of December, 1821, gave her a pass authorizing her to proceed from Fredericksburg to Washington, where the petitioner then was, and sold her to the defendant.

"It is submitted to the Court to determine, upon this statement, whether, by law of Maryland, A. D. 1796, c. 67, the petitioner is or is not entitled to her freedom; with the privilege to either party to except to the judgement of the Court.

F. S. Key, for petitioner.

W. Jones, for defendant.

The court were of opinion that, upon the facts as admitted above, the petitioner is not entitled, by law, to her freedom, and therefore give judgement for the defendant. "From which the petitioner prays an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States."