Petition of Thomas Sims

April 18, 1851

From the Boston Courier, under the title, Massachusetts Legislature, is notice that “Mr. Keyes” has presented a petition to the Senate, on behalf of Thomas Sims, and signed by his “mark”. The petition calls for the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court to issue a writ of habeus corpus on his behalf, and calls upon the General Court to pass a law which will ascertain the right to a trial by jury, and that the petitioner “may not be surrendered , exiled, of delivered to bondage, until proved to be a slave by ‘due course of law’.”

Proceedings in Sims case

A lengthy article about the Court proceedings, concluding with the judgment that the Court has not found sufficient reason to discharge Sims, and he would be remanded to the  custody of the Marshal…..then follows a “sketch of a scene never to be forgotten by those who witnessed, which we copy from the Commonwealth of Saturday”.  This account tells of the conveyance of Sims, a few minutes before five o’clock in the morning, to Long Wharf, where he was placed on board the brig, Acorn, and to the steamboat Hornet.  It indicates that Sims had been brought from the Court House by a guard of 15 men, and then by a “slave-guard” of men who had been “drilled for an hour and a half before the final move to the vessel”.