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John N. Hunter vs. John Brooks: Chancery Cause, Augusta County (Part 1 of 3)

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the partner of said Hunter, at the time this respondent purchased the said slave had what is called a gouiter or big neck, but was warranted to be in other respects sound and healthy, not long after this respondent purchased as aforesaid, the said slave was attacked with what are called convulsion fits - and continued to be occasionally afflicted with them untill about two years previous to the sale to Hunter A Alexander, when to all appearances she seemed to have recovered from them, but was occasionaly thereafter and up to within two weeks of the time this respondent sold her, subject to spells of hysterical fits, the guiter which she had when this respondent purchased her, had left her, and she to all appearances was a healthy woman when this respondent sold her, capable as she had been for some years previous of doing all labour of this respondents family such as cooking, working, ironing and milking, she being the only female slave this respondent owned except a small negro girl. This respondent believing that the hysterical fits of the said woman Matilda was not at all times real, but sometimes mere deception, and having objections to the conduct and deportment of said woman, he resolved on selling her, and made known to several persons his wish of doing so. About ten days previous to the date of the contract, this respondent having heard that the said Hunter A Alexander wished to purchase negroes for market or sale again, called at the said Hunter A Alexander's store in the Town of Waynesborough, where he found the said Hunter he asked the said Hunter if he had been correctly informed as to the wish of himself A Alexander to purchase some negroes, he told him he had. This respondent then made known to him his wish to dispose of the woman Matilda & her child, gave him as full and fair a discription of said slaves as he could, informed him of whom he had purchased (his partners Father) how long he had owned her, how and in what manner she had been affected or afflicted, he expressly told him that she had at one period of her life had convulsion fits, that he believed that they had left her, and that the convulsions had been succeeded by hysterical fits, but that he believed the said woman sometimes acted deceitfully in respect to these fits - after this respondent had given a full, fair and honest description of said slaves, to the said Hunter, he promised this respondent he would mention this subject to his partner, and that he expected he would call at this respondents house in the course of some few days and look at the said slaves, that he wished to go for goods, but lacked money, and their plan was to purchase a few negroes and take them off immediately to market, and raise money in that way, and wished this respondent, if they purchased to do with as little money in hand as possible, to which this responded assented . The said Complt accordingly came to this respondents house as he had promised to do, the negroes were called up, he examined them and enquired of the woman as to the state of her health, she stated to him that she was then well, but was subject at times to spells, the said negroes were then dismissed, the said Complt. went and had a private conversation with the said slave Matilda she was called up a second time, he examined her again more carefully. This respondent again repeated to the said Complt. in substance what he had done in Waynesborough as to the health of said slave and the Complt. asked this respt. what he would take for said slaves, this respondent asked $800 for them, $200 in hand, the ballance in March following. The said Complt replied, he thought that two much that he was buying them for sale again, and thought he could not make much on them at that price. This respondent then asked him, what he thought he could afford to give, after studying for some times, he said he