John Murry vs. Louis Menard and Clayton Tiffin
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John MerryJohn Merry a man of colour
vs
Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin and
Louis MenardMenard

March Term 1827

Be it Remembered, that on the trial
of this cause, it was proved on the part of the
plaintiff, that John the Plaintiff in now about
thirty five or thirty six years of age; that he
was born in the family of Tratien
in the village of CahokiaCahokia in the now state of Il
linois: that the mother of said John was held and
claimed as a slave in IllinoisIllinois tell her death: that
John the Plaintiff was born & continued in a state
of slavery in IllinoisIllinois till about five or six years
ago, when said plaintiff entered into a contract or agreement
with Louis Perceneau who then held him as a
slave in IllinoisIllinois, for the freedom of himself, his
wife and two children, and by said contract or agreement agreed
to pay to said Perceneau for the freedom of
himself, his wife and two children, the sum of
nine hundred dollars, which said sum of
nine hundred dollars was to be paid within
the term of three years. thatsoon after the
said Contract was entered into between said Per
ceneau and the plaintiff the Plaintiff went at large in the
full exercise of his natural freedom, for several
months, part of the time in IllinoisIllinois & under the
Eye of said Perceneau and part of the time
in St LouisSt Louis in MissouriMissouri; that said Perceneau
acknowledged to one of the witnesses, that the plain
tiff had paid to him, as a part of the money to
be paid by him for the freedom of himself,
his wife & two children on said contract, the sum
of two hundred dollars in money and two horses
of the value of fifteen dollars each: that said
Perceneau also acknowledged to said witness, that
he intended to deprive John of his liberty and put
him on board of a boat & send him to OrleansOrleans
to be sold as a slave: that said Perceneau
further informed the witness, that he intended to cheat
John the Plaintiff out of all he had paid on
said Contract, by sending him to New OrleansOrleans to
be sold as a slave. It was further proved
a few days after said Perceneau had declared his
intention of depriving the plaintiff of the liberty he

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then enjoyed and of cheating him out of all
the money paid him by the plaintiff a
said contract, that the plaintiff was sure on
board of the steam boat general BrownBrown , then
Lying at St LouisSt Louis confined in Irons, and that said
boat was bound for and did in a ahort time -
sail from St LouisSt Louis for OrleansOrleans. that said Per
ceneau was also an board of said boat at the
same time with plaintiff for a short time before
it sailed, that the plaintiff, after being put on
board said boat, was absent for several years
and that, at the time of the commencement of this
action up till the day of trial of this cause said
plaintiff was has been in the possession and custo
dy of ClaytonClayton Tiffin TiffinClayton Tiffin one of the defendants.

The defendant by his counsel then produced
and offered to read the following deposition
of August Trotier, to writ (here set out Trotier's
deposition). The following deposition of Louis -
Pinconeau, the father of Louis Pinconeau the
party to the contract with John the plaintiff
was read on the part of the plaintiff, to writ,
(here set out the deposition of Louis Pinconeau)
No other evidence material to the cause at
was given on either side, and the
defendants by their attornies then prayed the
court to instruct the jury as follows, to writ,
1st that if the jury find that the plaintiff
was born a slave in IllinoisIllinois of a negro
mother, held in slavery there before the year
1787,unless they find that the said plain
tiff has been emancipated by his owner
they ought to find for the defendants.

2 that no contract that may have been
much between the plaintiff John MerryJohn Merry and
Louis Pinconeau, relative to the freedom or
slavery of the said John, as the same was
spoken of by by the witness is sufficient in
law to entitle the said plaintiff to his freedom

3rd that even if Pinconeau made a
contract with said plaintiff to set him free
on the payment of a sum of money such