September Term, 1782
On Habeus Corpus of Negro Nelly.
It appearing to the Court, and the said Edmund Bainbridge conceding, that the said Negro Nelly was formerly the property of Edmund Bainbridge, the elder, of Maidenhead, deceased, who let his daughter Abigail, [page 9] late the Wife of Thomas Biles, of Bucks County In Pennsylvania, deceased, gave her when very young; that many Years afterwards he made his Will and bequeathed her to his said Daughter Abigail, during the Life of his said Daughter, and to her Issue, and did further order, that if she should die childless, then the said Negro Nelly should be sold, and the Money appropriated as mentioned in his said Will; that the said Abigail Biles who survived her husband and her Father, did by her Will dated 30th April 1779, set forth and declare, that the said Negro Nelly had by her said Father been presented to her on a New Year's Day, when she was a Child, and therefore, both from that Gift and from bringing her up she had a better Right to dispose of her than any other Person, and did therein order and direct, that the said Negro Nelly should be manumitted and set free, a thing which she had very much at Heart; that the said Negro Nelly resided in the State of Pennsylvania at the Time of the passing of the Act for the gradual Abolition of Slavery, 1st March, 1780, and until the first of November in the same Year, the Term and Period allowed and fixed in the said Act for registering Slaves and for some Time afterwards ; that she was not registered as the said Act requires, and that she is not within the Exceptions specified therein.
The Court having fully considered the Premises, are unanimously of Opinion, That the Manumission of the said Negro Nelly by the said Abigail Biles, Daughter of the aforesaid Edmund Bainbridge, is good in Law against all persons claiming under either of them ; the said Edmund Bainbridge, having given her to his said Daughter, when she the said Negro Nelly was a Child, and his said Daughter having directed by her Will that she should be manumitted; and further that the said Negro Nelly, not having been registered as the above mentioned Act of the State of Pennsylvania requires, and therefore entitled to Freedom In that State, is not by Law put in a worse Situation here; It is therefore Ordered, That the said Negro Nelly be discharged and set at Liberty from the said Edmund Bainbridge. On Motion of Mr. Morris for Mr. Houston.