Hannah: Freedom Suit, Arlington County (Part 1 of 3)
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in writing or any memorandum or note in writing of any contract or agreement for the sale transfer or manumission of the said complts. or any of them as by their said bill is alleged. And therefore this deft doth assert the said act and matters aforesaid in bar to so much and such part of the said bill as seeks to compel this deft to execute a deed of manumission to the said complts. in specific performance of the said pretended agreement and this deft doth further assert and set up for his defence another act of the Assembly of the State of Maryland made on the twenty first day of November in the year Seventeen hundred and sixty three in which it is enacted "That from and after the end of this session of assembly no negroe or other slave whereof the donor shall retain the use and possession shall pass alter or change or any property thereof be transferred to any [donee?] unless the gift be by writing under the hand and seal of the donor and acknowledged before one provincial Justice or one Justice of the county where the donor shall reside & and recorded in the records of the same county within twenty days from the time of the execution thereof. This last recited act is entitled as being "supplementary to the act for the relief of creditors and to prevent frauds and deceits occasioned by secret sales & mortgages and gifts of goods and chattels." And this Deft doth here repeat in relation to this last recited act his before mentioned averments of fact, concerning the said pretended contract or agreement and this Deft opposes this last mentioned act and matters aforesaid in bar of the relief prayed by the said complt. in their bill. And this Deft avers that by reason of the great length of time that has passed between the making of said pretended agreement or contract, and this institution of the aforesaid suit by the said complts. the said complts. ought to be barred from maintaining the same against this Deft. Without that etc etc that etc etc all which matters and things this Deft is ready to aver etc and humbly prays to be hence dismissed with his reasonable costs and charges in this behalf sustained.
A. P. West
State of Maryland Prince George's County to wit. Be it remembered that on this first day of June in the year eighteen hundred and thirty nine before me the subscriber a Justice of the Peace in and for said County personally appears Arthur P. West of said county (who is known to the subscriber to be the person who signed the above instrument of writing) and makes oath on the Holy Evangel of Almighty God that the matters and things set forth & stated in the above instrument of writing are true. N. T. Rantin, JP.
Maryland Prince Georges County Sct. I hereby certify that N. T. Rankin gentleman before whom the within and foregoing affadavit appears to have been acknowledge and whose name is thereto subscribed was at the time of so doing and still is one of the Maryland Justices of the peace in and for said County duly commissioned and sworn. In Testimony whereof I have