Granville Sharp's Cases on Slavery

Granville Sharp's Cases on Slavery

by Andrew Lyall


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Granville Sharp's Cases on Slavery by Andrew Lyall

The purpose of this book is twofold. First, to publish previously unpublished legal materials principally in three important cases in the 18th century on the issue of slavery in England, and specifically the status of black people who were slaves in the American colonies or the West Indies and who were taken to England by their masters. The unpublished materials are mostly verbatim transcripts made by shorthand writers commissioned by Granville Sharp, one of the first Englishmen to take up the cause of the abolition of the slave trade, and slavery itself. Other related unpublished material is also made available for the first time, including an opinion of an attorney general and some minor cases from the library of York Minster. The second purpose of this book is to give a social and legal background to the cases and an analysis of the position in England of black servants and slaves brought to England and the legal effects of the cases, taking into account the new information provided by the transcripts. There was a conflict in legal authorities as to whether black servants remained slaves, or became free on arrival in England. Lord Mansfield, the chief justice of the court of King's Bench, was a central figure in all the cases and clearly struggled to come to terms with slavery. The material provides a basis for tracing the evolution of his thought on the subject. On the one hand, the huge profits from slave production in the West Indies flooded into England, slave owners had penetrated the leading institutions in England, and the pro-slavery lobby was influential. On the other hand, English law had over time established rights and liberties, which in the 18th century were seen by many as national characteristics. That tradition was bolstered by the ideas of the Enlightenment. By about the 1760s it had become clear that there was no property in the person, and by the 1770s that they could not be sent abroad without their consent. But whether such servants owed an obligation of perpetual service remained unresolved. [Subject: Legal History, Slavery, Law, Human Rights]

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781509911219
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Publication date: 02/23/2017
Pages: 444
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.70(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Abbreviations xiii

Cases Cited xv

Unreported Cases xvii

Table of Statutes xix

Introduction 1

Granville Sharp (1735-1813) 1

The Manuscripts 2

Jonathan Strong 2

The King (Lewis) v Stapylton 3

Somerset v Stuart 4

Gregson v Gilbert (The Zong) 5

Black Servants Brought to England 7

Factual Background 7

State of the Law 22

The Case Law 22

Blackstone 38

The Royal Navy 41

The Cases 42

Jonathan Strong 42

The King (Lewis) v Stapylton (1771) 46

Somerset v Stewart 48

Versions of the Judgment 50

The Order 56

Scope of the Judgment 56

Attempts to Evade Somerset 61

Habeas Corpus and Foreigners 65

Slave Law in the Colonies 66

Villeinage in England 69

Gregson v Gilbert (The Zong) 70

The "Absolute Necessity" 75

Marine Insurance and Slave Trade Acts 78

Navigation and the Longitude Problem 81

Did it Really Happen? 83

Transcriptions 89

Jonathan Strong 91

King (Lewis) v Stapylton 101

Proceedings in the King's Bench 101

Motions for Judgment 136

Granville Sharp's Argument 139

Granville Sharp's Remarks on the Case 145

Somerset v Stuart 153

First Hearing in the King's Bench 153

Third Day, "Second Hearing" in the King's Bench 199

Lord Mansfield's Judgment 221

1 The Scots Magazine/Estwick version 221

2 Granville Sharp MS of the Judgment 224

3 Letter to the General Evening Post 226

4 Lincoln's Inn, Hill MS version 228

5 Lincoln's Inn, Ashhurst Paper Book 230

6 Lofft's Report 232

Sharp's Memoranda on Somerset v Stuart 235

Gregson v Gilbert 239

The Declaration in the King's Bench 239

Proceedings on a Motion for a New Trial 243

Letter from Granville Sharp to Admiralty 291

An Account of the Murder of Slaves on the Zong 297

Letter from Granville Sharp to Duke of Portland 307

Bill in the Court of Exchequer 311

James Kelsall's Answer 335

Gregson's Answer 353

Extract from Martin Dockray MS 361

Minor Cases 375

De Grey Opinion 375

Cay v Crichton 376

Hylas v Newton 377

Sharp's Remarks on Hylas v Newton 379

Legislation 385

Habeas Corpus Act 1679 385

Act of the Scottish Parliament, 1701 c 6 386

Slave Trade Act, 1788 388

Slave Trade Act, 1793 389

Slave Trade Act, 1798 390

Slave Trade Act, 1799 392

Letters 395

Letter from Blackstone to Sharp 395

Letter from Dr Fothergill to Sharp 397

Blackstone's Commentaries 399

Bibliography 401

Index of People, Places & Things 409

Index of Subjects 419

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