Kidnapping free negroes.
--Wm. K Ellett
, Ro. F. Cotton
, and L. B. Boynton
, were before the Mayor
yesterday to answer the charge of kidnapping Wm. Henry Harris
, and Elisha Wallace
, three free negro boys, residents of James City county
The evidence elicited the following facts: On the 4th instant Wm. K. Ellett
called at Wm. E. Wade
's, on Brook Avenue, and asked accommodation for three negroes for the night.
promised to receive the negroes, and about 9 o'clock that night Ellett
arrived in a carriage with the three negro boys named above.
After depositing them Ellett
a bill of sale for the three, remarking that they belonged to a friend, and that he would call for them the next morning.
The bill of sale was made to L. B. Boynton
for the three boys, in consideration of the payment of $6,000, was dated Dec. 4, 1863, and signed John Holt
That night the negro boys were taken into custody by order of the Mayor
, and the next morning officer Perrin
, and found in his possession the bill of sale already noticed.
told the officer that the negroes belonged to a friend, and wrote a note to Boynton
to see him at the Court House
The officer next arrested Boynton
, and that afternoon, when Cotton called at the station-house to see Boynton
, he too was looked up. Cotton denied knowing anything about the negroes, but passes found in Ellett
's possession showed that the two were connected in their operations.
The three prisoners are from Texas
, and their connection appears to be thus: Ellett
is a speculator of limited means, and Cotton is an excellent soldier, and a scout on the Peninsula
As they were well known to Dr. Boynton
, who is a moneyed man, they obtained money of him to trade on, and, as he believed, were buying and selling negroes.--During the examination nothing was elicited to show that he had any knowledge of the negroes; and but for the fact that Ellett
had a bill of sale with his name on it, he could not have been held under the charge made against the other two.
The Commonwealth established, by the evidence of several citizens of James City county
, that the three negroes were born free, and that another negro, Washington Simpson
, who was left at E. H. Stokes
's jail on the 10th of July as the slave of Dr. Chas. M. Herbert
, by Cotton and an unknown man, was also free.
The witnesses also proved that there was no such man in James City
as John Holt
; that in Charles City
there was a Justice of the Peace named John Holt
; but that the bill of sale presented was not in his hand-writing.
, in order to secure the attendance of other witnesses, adjourned the investigation for one week, and admitted Dr. Boynton
to bail in $3,000 for his appearance.
Whatever the facts may hereafter prove, it is evident that some parties are endeavoring to reopen the African trade by taking free negroes from Yankee lines and making them useful slaves; and it is equally clear that the Mayor
does not intend to encourage this contraband trade.