William J. Isabell vs. Elisha Peters, etc.: Chancery Cause, Amherst County (Part 1 of 3)
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That Halsey represented the slave as sound and healthy, so far as he knew or believed, is highly probable: this respondant had placed him in the hands of Halsey as such, so far as he knew or believed. Indeed this respondant would not have sold him had he thought him otherwise.
The respondant has already stated that he had owned the slave in question from a small boy, and he thinks he did never own a slave of better health. If he laboured under a disease of any sort at the time of the sale (which is not admitted, it was neither known nor suspected by this respondant. On the contrary he was at the time, and had been for a long time before, as above is stated, a healthy and sound slave. So far as this respondant knew or believed. Indeed this respondant verily believes that he had not had a single days sickness for ten years preceding his sale.
This respondant further answering denies that he placed the said slave in the hands of his co-defendant for the purpose of avoiding the responsibility which would devolve upon him as vendor, or with any view to practice a fraud or concealment in his sale. Mr. Halsey is the son in law of this respondant: and an active young man engaged in business in the town of Lynchburg, a good market either respondant was informed and believed for the sale of slaves, and therefore be placed Edmund in his hands to be sold. He does not recollect that he gave any particular direction as to the mode of selling. Whether in his own name or in the name of Mr. Halsey: about that he was entirely indifferent. He had entire confidence in Mr. Halsey and did not doubt but he should receive from him the price obtained, be the form of the sale what it might
If this respondant thought at all as to the form of the sale, he should have taken it for granted that the sale would be made in his own name. The slave was his, and Mr. Halsey but his agent: but he does not now recollect that any thing was said about the form, and Mr. Halsey with no bad motive as this respondant verily believes, sold the slave in his own name, and the first time, that he saw him afterwards, he handed the respondant the bond taken for his price assigned without recourse upon himself, as well he might for he had no manner of interest in the transaction.
This respondant very much regrets the death of the slave, but he does not admit that he died of a disease existing at the time of the sale. If the fact was so, its existence was wholly unknown to this respondant. He does not know, or believes that the slave had one hour's sickness at any time within ten years just before the sale and therefore the plaintiffs can upon no principle of justice expect to throw the loss upon him.
For the representation which was made at the sale this respondant begs leave to refer the court to the answer of his co=defendant, and if it shall turn out as this respondant doubts not it will, that the representations made by that defendant was true as to all which he knew, and if as he verily believes, no fraud or concealment was practiced by him, then this respondant humbly conceives that he is entitled to the price contracted to be paid for the slave
And having answered the allegations of the plaintiffs bill as far as he is advised it is natural he should answer the same, and denying all fraud he prays a dissolution of the injunction &c to wit This day Elisha Peters came before me Caswell Poe a Justice of the Peace for the corporation aforesaid, and made oath that the forgoing answer contains the truth so far as regards himself and so far as regards others he believes it to be true. Sworn under my hand this 16 March 1835. Caswell Poe