Lemman Dutton, a girl of color, by and through her next friend, Grace Dutton v. John Paca
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Opinion delivered by McGirkMcGirk Justice

DuttonDutton the plaintiff is a woman of color suing for freedom it appears that in the 1752
the colonial legislature of MarylandMaryland passed an act authorising persons owning negro
slaves of a certain description to set them free under certain restrictions that on or about
the year 1787 one Josias owned and possessed the grandmother of the
defendant in error as a slave and that said DallamDallam did by a deed under his hand
and seal attested by one witness and duly recorded emancipate said grandmother
to take effect in future and that by said deed the mother of the defendant in error
also became free according to the terms of said deed and the defendant in error also
claims by said deed to be free the defendant in error had a judgment of freedom
in the Circuit CourtCircuit Court and the plaintiff has brought the cause up by Writ of Error.

On the trial the plaintiff in that Court offered in evidence a certified copy of the
deed of emancipation which was objected to by the dependant. the Act of the MarylandMaryland
legislature provides that the deed of emancipation shall be recorded in the office of the
clerk of the County CourtCircuit Court where the deed is made and that a copy of the Registry shall be
evidence of the fact of Emancipation. the first objection made to receiving this copy is
that it is not the best evidence the nature of the case admits of and that the original
alone in this case will suffice the defendant in error replies to this the 1st Sec. of the

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4th art of the Constitution which says that full faith and credit shall be given in
each State of the public acts records and judicial proceedings of every other State
and the congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such records
and proceedings shall be proved and the effect thereof and also the Act of Congress
of the 27th March 1804 Ingersols digest 76 and 77 which declares that "from and
after the passage of all records and exemplifications of office books which are or may
be kept in any public office of any state not appertaining to a Court shall be proved
or admitted in any other Court &c on being authenticated in a certain way. The Act
after some other regulations as to the authentication proceeds to declare that the
said records and exemplifications authenticated as aforesaid shall have such faith
and credit given to them in every Court and office within the United StatesUnited States as they
have by law or usage in the Courts or offices of the State from whence the same are
or shall be taken" it appears to us there is according to this Act of CongressCongress no
room for dispute the MarylandMaryland Act expressly declares that the copy shall be evi-
dence of the fact of Manumission the copy must have the same effect here if it
be duly authenticated. Let us now proceed to enquire whether the copy is so authen-
ticated that it can be received in evidence. there is no objection made to the first
certificate of the Clerk by which he testifies that the paper is a perfect copy. the Clerk
certifies as the Clerk of Hartford County CourtCircuit Court of MarylandMaryland the Judge then certifies
as follows, to wit. MarylandMaryland Hartford County Sct. I Stephen Archer Chief Judge of
the sixth Judicial district of MarylandMaryland composed of Balimore and Hartford Counties
hereby certify that the foregoing attestation of HenryHenry DorseyDorsey Clerk of Hartford CountyCircuit Court
CourtCircuit Court is in due form and by the proper officer. then HenryHenry DorseyDorsey certifies as follows
I certify that Steven ArcherArcher who has signed the within and foregoing certificate
was at the time of so doing presiding Judge of the sixth Judicial District of
MarylandMaryland composed of BaltimoreBaltimore and Hartford counties duly commissioned
and Sworn it is objected by the Counsel for Paca that these certificates do not
pursue the act of congress it is argued by Mr AllenAllen for the plaintiff in error that the
certificate of the Judge should in itself contain an afffirmation that the Judge
was presiding judge of the County CourtCircuit Court of Hartford County and that the certificate
of the Clerk as to the official character of the judge should affirm that the judge is presiding
Judge of Hartford County CourtCircuit Court . it is our opinion that it should appear by the certificate of the
clerk when he comes to certify as to the official character of the Judge that the judge is pre-
siding Judge or Justice of the Court of which he is Clerk this has not been done but the