Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Sinclair, Chancery Docket Record Book, 1825-1827, at 181-82. This petition was entered on April 24, 1826. Id. at 183. The bond was accepted on April 29, 1826. Id. at 184.
Crump, J. E., & Brophy, A. L. (2017). Twenty-One Months a Slave: Cornelius Sinclair's Odyssey. Mississippi Law Journal, 86(3), 457–512. https://blurblawg.typepad.com/files/cornelius-sinclair.pdf
Cornelius Sinclair's Petition
Your petitioner Cornelius Sinclair, by his next friend, Joshua Boucher, respectfully represents to Your Honor that on or about the tenth day of August in the Year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred twenty five the said Cornelius then a resident of Philadelphia Pa was decoyed by a mulatto man by the name of John Smith on board of a vessel there being in the river near the navy Yard of that city. That the said John Smith applied to your petitioner Cornelius to go on board of said Vessel and aid him in bringing away some Water Mellons & peaches. After being on board a short time the Captn of the Vessel forcibly seized upon him the said Cornelius and by the aid of two others forcibly thrust him him [sic] down in the Hold, where he was beat & ironed & where Your petitioner found three other boys ironed. That in a very short another Boy was brought and treated in like manner & then the vessel Sailed. They were afterwards landed this petitioner knows not where but was taken to the House of one Joseph Johnston who was an active participator in the whole business & afterwards Ebenezer F. Johnston, a brother of the said Joseph, brought all of them off & about the month of October last sold your petitioner Cornelius to one James Paul of the County of Tuskaloosa [sic] & State of Alabama and your petitioner Cornelius further represents that he has lately been taken out of the possession of the said Paul & is remaining with a friend—being apprehensive—that he might have been again removed & sold into slavery. Your Petitioner alledges [sic] that he is free—was born free[,] that his parents obtained their freedom previous to his being born, that they at this time reside in the City of Philadelphia, all of which your petitioner can amply prove in such manner that your Honor may require from the consideration of all of which your Petitioner prays your Honor that he your petitioner my be decreed free and released from Slavery. That he may be decreed wages for the time he has been held as a slave by said Paul and that said Paul & all other Persons may be restrained by such process & in such penalties as to your honor shall deem meet—From Removing or otherwise intermeddling with Your Petitioner during the pendency [sic] of this suit &c. And may it please Your Honor to grant unto your petitioner Cornelius such other processes & such other relief as is applicable to his case and as to Your Honor may seem proper and consonant with Justice and your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray &c
James Paul's Answer
The defendant answereth and saith he does not know the facts stated in said Petition are true or false other than those stated relative to this defendant Purchasing said Boy from one Ebenezer Johnston for the sum of three hundred Dollars from which purchase this defendant claims said Boy as his Slave, and prays that he may be returned back to his possession out of which he has been taken not without there is any other matter or thing necessary &c