Abby: Freedom Suit, Petersburg City (Part 1 of 2)
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waste before his intermarriage with the said Bradley which took place in May 1791. The said Bradley from the last date to the date of the deed of emancipation in September 1792 and from thence until the date of the Judgement aforsaid [aforesaid] was the real agent of the said Harrison's estate and may fairly be understood to be justly accountable for the greater part if not the whole of all the Assets belonging thirds; the original suit in Chancery was conducted with fairness and without Surprise and also stands [illegible] and not [illegible] appealed from in point of law or equity therefore the Judgement for a [devastavit?] cannot it is presumed be questioned whether the said David Bradley be considered as the author of the [Waste?] or as the husband of her who committed it and was as the date of the said Judgment and still is (8) in life. And these defendants farther answering say that the plaintiffs are not now to receive Judgement according to their personal demerits. In this respect they may be justified as the bill charges but they are to be Judged upon principles of property, well the unfortunately known in our law that since the bill however [propounds?] way questions which may interest the felling these defendants will now proceed to reply to them. 1st The Original Act of emancipation passed in May 1782 with various [provision? and with a saving of all rights politic, corporate or individual as soon as the said Bradley married the said Elizabeth he became liable to be sued for his debts in Law This liability was increased by his own acts before the date of the emancipation without the saving of the Act, the laws against fraudulent alienations would have forbidden or voluntary [deprixaton?] [deprivation] or surrender of the means for the payment of a mans debts 2nd it is enough that the debtor is possessed of property which the debt continues in force and its immaterial whether it originated on the faith of the possession of that property or not in this case David Bradley was possessed of the Slaves when he became a debtor within in his own right or that of his wife 3rd The Answer to the third question is anticipated 4 An Answer to apart of the fourth question is unnecessary because the title set up under the execution is founded upon the right of David Bradley alone to all of the said Slaves and without any unison of right with the representations of Mary Bradley The Claim set up under the act of limitations has [never?] yet been recognized by any law of Virginia No time bars the right to freedom the present moment fixes the right. It would be singular that [illegible] of property should be lost by length of time when the emancipation is voluntary and secret and when the usual period of limitations may run out while a [Auditor?] is delayed by a [baffling?] detor [debtor]. And these defendants farther answering say the said David Bradley [asserted?] until the time of the emancipation aforesaid a full title to the said Slaves of Parsons Bradley and (9) actually sold some of them with the knowledge of the said William Ragsdale. And the defendants denying all combination pray to