Browne, James: Petition, Norfolk County
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executed the same on the said Whiting who refusing to give the bond required as aforesaid, your petitioner took into possession twenty six of the said plaintiffs. This suit being one for the establishment of freedom was entitled to priority of decision over any other cause on the docket, and therefore your petitioner confidently relied that nothing could prevent a speedy trial of the cause. He believes the Court were under the same impression, or they never would have required and directed your petitioner to take said plaintiffs and support them at the hazard of his own ruin, altho' it should justly rescue them from Slavery. Yet has the cause lain on the docket from that day to this, no step having been taken in it, during all which time your petitioner has supported the said plaintiffs. Your petitioner cannot imagine why the Court did not order him to hire out such of them as were worth any thing and make Some other provision for the others, unless indeed they apprehended that the said Whiting would get hold of them and remove them out of the State, and that they believed the cause would be tried at every Court. Thus situated what course should your petitioner have pursued? He had taken possession of them under the peremptory order of the Court whose officer he was, and he could not divest himself of this possession but by the order of his own or some superior Court. He could not hire out such of them as would have produced any thing (and of this description there were and are but very few) because they would have been in imminent danger of being seized by the said Whiting or his agents and carried off into Slavery, in which event he should himself have been responsible for their value should they on the trial of the cause be deemed slaves, and for the consequences which he is unable to estimate should