On November 12, 1790, Robert began a second case against Godfrey Wainwood. Accusing Godfrey Wainwood of assaulting him on May 15, 1789 and then imprisoning him for two months, Robert requested one hundred pounds in damages.
Providence.. The Governor and Company of the State of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations
To the Sheriff of our county of Newport or to his deputy Greeting~
We command you to arrest the body of Godfrey Wainwood of Newport in our said county of Newport Baker (if he may be found in your Precinct) & for want of his body to attach his goods & chattels & him or them in safe custody keep until he give sufficient bond returnable according to Law to answer the complaint of Robert a free Negro man labourer at the next Court of Common Pleas to be holden at Providence with & for our said County of Providence on the third Monday of December next ensuing the date hereof in an action of Trespass for that the said Godfrey at said Newport on the fifteenth day of May AD 1789 with force and arms upon the said Robert made assault & him the said Robert did then & there beat imprison & evilly treat & the said Robert in Prison at sd Newport without any reasonable cause against the will of him the said Robert and contrary to the laws of our said state for a long time viz. for the space of two months continued & kept and another enormities to him then & there did to the damage of the said Robert & against our peace and dignity as by declaration to be filed in Court will be fully set forth which said Assault Battery & imprisonment are to the damage of the Plaintiff as he saith one hundred pounds silver lawful money. Hereof fail not and make true the Return of this writ with your doing thereon. Witness Caleb Hams Esq. at Providence this twelveth day of November Anno Domini 1790
David Howell Atty for Plaintiff A Fenner CLK
On November 18, 1790, the sheriff took Godfrey Wainwood into custody.
Newport 18th November AD 1790 Served this Writ on the Body of the within mentioned defendant as commanded
Fees 6/8 Wm Davis Sheriff
In December 1790, the case was heard in the Providence Court of Common Pleas. Robert argued that he had been assaulted by Godfrey Wainwood on May 15, 1789 and then imprisoned for two months. He requested damages of one hundred points.
Providence... At Providence Court of Common Pleas December Term AD 1790~
Robert a free Negro man residing in Providence in the County of Providence labourer complains against Godfrey Wainwood of Newport in the County of Newport baker in the custody of the Sheriff in an action of Trespass for that the said Godfrey at Newport aforesaid to wit at said Providence on the fifteenth day of May AD 1789 with force and arms upon the said Robert made an assault & him the said Robert did then and there beat imprison & evilly treat and the said Robert in prison at said Newport to wit at said Providence without any reasonable cause against the will of him the said Robert and contrary to the laws of the State of Rhode Island & for a long time, to wit, for the space of two months continued & kept & other enormities to him then & there did against the Peace & dignity of the Governor & company & to the Plaintiff great injury whereupon the Plaintiff complains and saith he is worse and hath sustained damage to the value of one hundred pounds silver lawful money as laid in his writ dated the twelveth day of November Anno Domini 1790. And hereon he brings his suit &c by.
David Howell & Thos. Arnold} His attorneys
In response, Godfrey Wainwood argued that Robert was a slave and defended his actions towards Robert.
Court of Common Pleas Dec. Term 1790
Robert vs. Godfrey Wainwood
And the said Godfrey Wainwood saith, he ought not to be held to answer the said writ of the said Robert because he saith that on the day of the date of the said writ the said Robert was a slave – and this he is ready to verify wherefore he prays judgment if he shall be held to answer the writ of the said Robert &c.
And if the said plea shall be overruled by this court the said Godfrey reserving the same for a final decision thereon at the Superior Court &c comes into Court and defends the force and injury when &c and saith he is not guilty in manner & form as the said Robert hath declared against him & of this he puts &c.
The case was decided in the Court of Common Pleas in June 1791. Robert lost his case and was required to repay Godfrey Wainwood the four hundred pounds he spent defending himself in the case.
Providence... At a Court of Common Pleas holden at Providence within and for
the county of Providence on the third Monday of June AD 1791
Robert a free negro man residing at Providence in the county of Providence laborer Plaintiff; Godfrey Wainwood of Newport in the County of Newport Baker defendant. In an action of trespass. Damage laid one hundred pounds silver lawful money. This action was commenced at the Court of Common Pleas holden at Providence with and for the County of Providence on the third Monday of December AD 1790, thence continued to this term and now being called the plaintiff submitted judgment. It is therefore considered by the court that the said Godfrey recover and have of the said Robert his cost expended in and about the defense of this action taxed at £ [purposely left blank].
I hereby certify that the preceding four pages is a true copy of the whole case Robert v. Godfrey Wainwood as the same was heard and determined at the Court of Common Pleas in the County of Providence at June Term AD 1791.
2/8 A Fenner CLK