ESSEX-UK-L ArchivesArchiver > ESSEX-UK > 2002-12 > 1038955446
From: "Alan Poole" <>
Subject: Slavery in England
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 17:44:06 -0500
I insert an excerpt I found on Google relating to Lord Mansfield.
"Mansfield was a judge renowned for the quickness and depth of his understanding of complex legal matters and for the strict impartiality of his judical conduct. Perhaps his most famous judgement was in 1772 in the case of James Somersett. Somersett had been brought to England as a slave, had then escaped, but was recaptured and was awaiting shipment to Jamaica. Mansfield's judgement was that slavery was so odious that nothing but positive law could support it. No such law being found to exist, Mansfield concluded there was no legal backing for slavery and that no black people could be removed from England against their wishes. This judgement was a key stage in the process leading to the abolition of slavery.
My recollection of the judgment is that the judge said the air of England was too rich to be breathed by someone who was a slave.
Slavery was eventually abolished in British possessions by Act of Parliament in 1833.
Alan Poole in Toronto.
|Slavery in England by "Alan Poole" <>|