Lucinda: Freedom Suit, Fauquier County (Part 3 of 4)
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(Statement of the case by Counsel) We the undersigned attorneys practising in the Circuit Court of Fauquier County who by the Court have been assigned as counsel for Lucinda and Mariah slaves petitioning to sue for their freedom in forma pauperis in said court do in performance in part of the duty assigned us, submit to the Court the following statement of the facts of the said case as the same now appears to us We have ascertained & state that the late Genl. Jno: R. Wallace died in the County of Alexandria in the state of Virga. [Virginia] on the [blank] day of [blank month] 1851 lawfully possessed as of his own property of the said two slaves. We have not heard that at the time of his death his interest in the said slaves was encumbered with any deed of trust or other special lien and do not believe that any such encumbrance existed. We state further that the above named Jno: R. Wallace the owner as before stated of the said slaves, left his will duly executed and since his death fully proved & duly recorded in the Court of Alexa. County whereby he manumits and sets free the said slaves to take effect at his death. A duly authenticated copy of said will is herewith submitted to the Court. We further state that Christopher Neale of the said County of Alexa. duly qualified in the Court of said county and is now the sole admor with the will annexed of the said John R. Wallace and as such claims to hold the said slaves as assets of the estate of said Jno: R. Wallace, and refuses to liberate the said slaves according to the direction of the will aforesaid because he says that they are necessary assets wherewith to pay the debts of the said Jno: R. Wallace lawfully chargeable upon his estate. The subscribers assigned for counsel to the said slaves, are not able to state with any certainty the pecuniary condition of the estate of Genl. Wallace. But thus far they think they may state with safety to the Court that up to the time of his death in 1851, Genl. Wallace was regarded as entirely solvent by the community at large without exception as far as the subscribers know & believe that the action of cautious men in such affairs in their dealings with him indicated this opinion and the subscribers with these signs (generally tho not always unerring) with what they know added to that which they have heard & believe would express the opinion that the estate of Genl. Wallace if fairly & judiciously administered will be amply sufficient to pay all its liabilities without impinging upon the value of the slaves in question. and that the benevolent intentions of their former master may be effectuated in their behalf without loss or wrong to any creditor. But while the undersigned are unable to state their belief as above with positive certainty, they are very certain that any affirmation of its opposite, must be subject to greater doubt and uncertainty. While all on every side must concur that no certainty upon the subject of the solvency or otherwise of the estate in question can be now ascertained upon which to predicate any final action on the petition of sd. slaves. The undersigned deem the language of the Court of Appeals in 1st Hen: & Mum page 528 not unappropriate to conclude their statement & views of the case in hand. Thos. L. Moore, Edwd. M. Spilman } Counsel as signed by the Court