The prisoner escaped; the question is moot.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

The State v. George, a free negro1 NC 62 (1794).

The issue: Whether a slave could testify as a witness against a free negro.

The decision of the Superior Court of Law and Equity: “Mr. Solicitor General Jones had drawn a bill of indictment for burglary against the defendant: and at the moment it was about to be sent to the grand jury, and the book was handed to the witnesses:

Martin called the attention of the Court to the table: observing that one of the witnesses about to be sworn, was a negro slave; that although the defendant was a negro, yet, he being a free man, it was perhaps improper that a slave should testify against him.

McCoy, J. [Ashe, J., tacente.]

If there be anything in the objection, the Court will attend to it at the trial.

The slave was sworn, and the bill was found. The prisoner being arraigned, pleaded not guilty; but made his escape before the day assigned for his trial.”