Forsyth County, Georgia: 1848. Unbound. This set of questions from the defendant’s attorney in an Interior (civil) Court case for Sarah Long, who was not then residing in the area, was sent to a well-respected lawyer for presentation to her. The lawyer was instructed to record her answers “plainly and distinctly written” and return them to “closed up under your hands & seals.” The civil suit, between James Key and William Lee was for defamation. “Interrogation to be exhibited to Sarah Long material female witness for Defendant. . . . Int 1st Do you know the parties? Int 2nd Did you or did you not tell to Defendant or say in his presence that you had learned or had been informed by Hiram Long or some one else that plaintiff had been Caught in the act of Committing Bestiality with a Sheep or words imparting this Charge and please relate what you did say & when it was. Int 3rd Please relate all you know in favour of defendant”. An annotation at the bottom of the page reads, "Plaintiff excepts to the foregoing interrogation on the grounds that the defendant seeks thereby to show that he had an author for the defamating words spoken by him respecting the plaintiff. . . .”. Very good. Item #009348
In mid-century Georgia, an accusation of Bestiality was not to be taken lightly as it was regarded as a more heinous offense than rape. Bestiality, which the code defined as “the carnal knowledge and connection against the order of nature by man or woman in any manner with a beast,” was to be punished by “imprisonment at labor in the penitentiary, for . . . the natural life of the person convicted of this detestable crime.” See A codification of the statute law of Georgia, 1848. No wonder James Key sued William Lee for making the allegation. Exceptionally scarce. As of 2019, there are original source legal documents regarding 19th century bestiality for sale in the trade or, per OCLC, held by institutions. Additionally, there are no auction records for any similar material found at the Rare Book Hub.