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[Deposition of Dr. John Archer]
Series VII: Legal Documents, 1709-1858, and undated
Subseries 2. Depositions, 1746-1839
Archer, John, 1741-1810
New-York Historical Society
Two-page deposition of Dr. John Archer of Annarundel [Anne Arundel] County [Maryland], describing circumstances surrounding the death of Jos, a slave belonging to Mr. James Lee. Archer testifies that an autopsy of the victim showed cause of death to be consistent with an accidental head injury at the hand of his master, Lee, despite Jos's complaints of "a pain in the side." Recorded by Annandale Lordship Justice of the Peace, Reverdy Ghiseln.
Depositions--Maryland--Anne Arundel CountySlavery--Maryland--Anne Arundel CountyAfrican Americans--DeathSlaves--Maryland--Anne Arundel CountyDeath--Causes--Case studies
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Annarundel [Anne Arundel] County , April 19th 1773 , This day came Doct. [Dr.] John Archer before me one of his Lordships Justices of the Peace for and county and made both that M. James Lee had Jun’r informed him that he had struck one of his negroes and had accidentally [sic] cut him above one of his eyes, and said, he that, he should be obliged to send for him the deponent ; but M. Lee said he served it himself and the negro was like to do well. Shortly after the deponent saw M. Lee who told him the negro was costive & and asked if it was necessary to give the negro a purge or the like, he told him it was who accordingly applied & got what was requisite with M. Lee said had the desired affect and the negro was better. , Some few days after M. Lee came for the deponent to visit his negro, who he said was bad with pain in the side he, the said deponent, went to examine the negro called Jos (who was wounded above the left eye) and found him very bad with pleuritic pain; but unable to give the antecedent symptoms common in that complaint, which he then alleged to proceed from inattention , he also asked the negro (in presence of his master) if he felt any pain or uneasiness in any other part who said he did not – the negro died the next day about noon. , About eight or ten days after the death of the negro the deponent being summoned by the coroner of Balt [Baltimore] County to examine the body of the negro Jos. On examining the pleura it was found inflamed in the part where he complained, but found no other cause of complaint in that part – the cranium being next examined and after removing the upper part thereof, there appeared a fracture and depression of that part of the As Frontis which forms part of the socket of the eye, opposite to an external wound in the flesh which penetrated to the brain – the size of the fractured piece appeared to be about a quarter of an inch broad and about half an inch long. , The deponent further deposeth that the fracture was sufficient to take the Negro’s life, also that the [pleurisis] itself if a primary disease, was sufficient – and that [inflammation] of the meninges of the brain are often translated from thence to the pleura with mortal – from the appearance of the wound above the eye. [on back] The deponent is rather of opinion that the inflammation was translated from the meninges of the brain to the pleura but would not determine positively as it can only be known positively by the supreme being. , [Signed] Sworn before R Ghiseln , M. James Lee was very careful of the negro in his picks and did not to the knowledge of the deponent let him want for any thing that was directed.