Lewis: Freedom Suit, Arlington County (Part 2 of 2)
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Mr. Anthony Addison of this co'y. [county] sold a Negro woman in 1797 to the rev'd. Walter D Addison also of this county for 12 years service, without any restriction as to her issue, Mr. Walter Addison transferred his right to this woman to Mr. Savary my late father in law, on whose farm and in whose service she had seven children, among whom are Peter and Lewis; By an express statute of law of Maryland such children are born slaves, for the woman was a slave and her offspring belonged to her owner until her term expired which was in 1809 when this deed of manumission was given to her by Mr. A. Addison. At the same time this Gentleman, benevolently, but unadvisedly fixed a term of service for her then existing issue of seven children born at Mr. Savary's place, this never was known to me until some years after Mr. Savary's death, when the unruly conduct of some of them compelled me, to make further inquiry into a report that was prevalent
among them, that they were entitled to freedom at some future period. The instrument in question was found upon record, but the opinion of some gentlemen of our bar soon decided that it was of no avail. My negroes appeared satisfied with their condition until last winter, one of them, a House girl, instigated by her father and mother who is a woman of a notoriously bad character, poisoned me with an immense dose of Arsenic, and soon after a second attempt was made, which was discovered, and the Girl to whose administering it was entrusted confessed before our grand jury, that her father had given it to her for which crime he stands now indicted. Lewis and Peter were persuaded to elope from me during my absence to the Circuit court at Baltimore to try prematurely to sue for their freedom, I stated the same facts, I now state to you, to the Gentlemen who were called on to defend them, and Peter, who