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An argument in the case of James Sommersett, a Negro, lately determined by the Court of King's Bench : wherein it is attempted to demonstrate the present unlawfulness of domestic slavery in England : to which is prefixed a state of the case Preview this item
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An argument in the case of James Sommersett, a Negro, lately determined by the Court of King's Bench : wherein it is attempted to demonstrate the present unlawfulness of domestic slavery in England : to which is prefixed a state of the case

Author: Francis Hargrave; Great Britain. Court of King's Bench.; Gloucestershire Archives.; Adam Matthew Digital (Firm)
Publisher: London : Printed for the author, and sold by W. Otridge ..., 1772.
Series: Slavery, abolition & social justice.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Somerset v. Stewart (GB, 1772) is one of the most important slave cases in Anglo-American law. Brought by English opponents of slavery, the case led to the liberation of James Somerset, a Virginia slave, whose master, Charles Stewart, had brought to England. This pamphlet contains the arguments made by counsel for Somerset. In this case Lord Chief Justice Mansfield ruled that no one could be held as a slave in  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Trials, litigation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Hargrave, Francis, 1741?-1821.
Argument in the case of James Sommersett, a Negro, lately determined by the Court of King's Bench.
London : Printed for the author, and sold by W. Otridge ..., 1772
(DLC) 94839969
Named Person: James Sommersett; James Sommersett
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Francis Hargrave; Great Britain. Court of King's Bench.; Gloucestershire Archives.; Adam Matthew Digital (Firm)
OCLC Number: 974437195
Notes: Errata: p. 82.
Description: 1 online resource (82 pages)
Series Title: Slavery, abolition & social justice.
Responsibility: by Mr. Hargrave.

Abstract:

Somerset v. Stewart (GB, 1772) is one of the most important slave cases in Anglo-American law. Brought by English opponents of slavery, the case led to the liberation of James Somerset, a Virginia slave, whose master, Charles Stewart, had brought to England. This pamphlet contains the arguments made by counsel for Somerset. In this case Lord Chief Justice Mansfield ruled that no one could be held as a slave in England because slavery could only be established by positive law. This was narrower than the arguments made here, and lacked the eloquence of the claim by Somerset{u2019}s attorneys that the ?air of England was too pure for a slave to breathe.? Nevertheless, the arguments here combined with Mansfield{u2019}s opinion effectively doomed slavery in England, and set the stage for ending slavery in the North. Some scholars also argue that Somerset helped push slaveowners in the Southern colonies to support the Revolution (which started three years later) because they believed that Somerset would lead to the total abolition of slavery in the British Empire. In the United States opponents of slavery would draw on Mansfield{u2019}s decision and the arguments here in their legal, political, and rhetorical attacks on American slavery.

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