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Aaron: Freedom Suit, Prince Edward County (Part 1 of 2)

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The separate answer of Andrew Baker one of the Exors: of Andrew Baker to a bill in Chy: exhibited vs him & others in P. Edward court by a negro man Aaron the property of C. Baker. This respondant does not believe that the court hath chancery jurisdiction of the case, and hopes the court will first consider this point [illegible] which he [illegible] with confidence. Some three or four years before the death of this respondants testator, he was this respondant [illegible] was told the said Aaron, that if he would be hired out for 4 years & bring him in 1200 lbs of crop tobacco per year that at the expiration of the fourth year he would liberate him. Before the 4 years had expired, the said testator found that as the said Aaron was moore than 45 years old he could not liberate him without subjecting himself to pay the charges necessary for the maintenance of of Aaron if he came upon the parish. This circumstance induced the said Andrew Baker to refuse to liberate said Aaron as can be shown by undoubted authority. Your respondant is advised that such an agreement as the said Aaron states in his bill, even if true, is not obligatory upon the testator or any other person & that the court cannot [form?] principal of law or equity, or [form?] sound ideas of policy now [inform?] a complyance with them. As to the said testator telling Aaron he was a freeman, it is false, as many other partes of this bill are. Having answered