Rewriting slave law

Chamberlain v. Harvey

(1696)

Side-by-Side Transcription

After the Glorious Revolution, the members of the convention parliament barred all of James II’s high court justices from serving, as they believed that his judges had enabled his absolutism via decisions such as Godden v. Hales (1686), which held that the king could dispense with (or ignore) parliamentary laws and that the law was the king’s law. In 1696, the post-Glorious Revolution judges tried to reverse earlier precedents set during the reigns of Charles II and James II, including with regard to slavery.

About

The document is comprised of the different court reports on the case of Chamberlain v. Harvey, in which the court found that slavery was illegal in England. The court reports include varying levels of detail on the case, the most basic explanation that the plaintiff brought an enslaved negro from Barbados to England, where the defendant seized him. The plaintiff sued the defendant for trespass in taking the enslaved man, but the court found that no laws in England permitted the enslavement of a man, overturning Butts v. Penny.

Chamberlain v. Harvey is a crucial case in the history of slavery. It prompts questions on how the case reflected new ideas about labor, power, and authority. It also prompts readers to consider the role courts play in deciding law and empowering executive and legislative enforces.

Further Reading
Sources

1. (a) Trinity term, 9 Car. 2. 2 Lev. 201. 3 Keb. 785.

2. (b) Lit. sect. 204.

3. (c) Co. Lit. 137. Year Book, 5 Hen. 7, pl. 14 a. Bro. Abr. “Villenage,” pl. 26.

4. (a) Co. Lit. 136 b.

5. (b) Bract. bk. 1, cap. 6.

6. (c) Littleton’s Tenures, sect. 189, 190.

7. (d) Littleton’s Tenures, 181, 182.

8. (a) Sect. 202.

9. (b) 2 Inst. 46. 1 BI. Com. 137. 2 Hawk. P. C. c. 33.

10. (a) Coventry v. Woodall, Hob. 134. 1 Brownl. pl. 67.

11. (b) Molloy de Jure Maritimo, 355.

12. (c) 2 Roll. Abr. 553.

13. (d) Fitz. Abr. “Bar,” pl. 240.

Cite this page
Slavery Law & Power in Early America and the British Empire (October 5, 2022) Chamberlain v. Harvey Side-by-Side Transcription. Retrieved from https://slaverylawpower.org/chamberlain-v-harvey-side-by-side/.
"Chamberlain v. Harvey Side-by-Side Transcription." Slavery Law & Power in Early America and the British Empire - October 5, 2022, https://slaverylawpower.org/chamberlain-v-harvey-side-by-side/
Slavery Law & Power in Early America and the British Empire February 13, 2022 Chamberlain v. Harvey Side-by-Side Transcription., viewed October 5, 2022,<https://slaverylawpower.org/chamberlain-v-harvey-side-by-side/>
Slavery Law & Power in Early America and the British Empire - Chamberlain v. Harvey Side-by-Side Transcription. [Internet]. [Accessed October 5, 2022]. Available from: https://slaverylawpower.org/chamberlain-v-harvey-side-by-side/
"Chamberlain v. Harvey Side-by-Side Transcription." Slavery Law & Power in Early America and the British Empire - Accessed October 5, 2022. https://slaverylawpower.org/chamberlain-v-harvey-side-by-side/
"Chamberlain v. Harvey Side-by-Side Transcription." Slavery Law & Power in Early America and the British Empire [Online]. Available: https://slaverylawpower.org/chamberlain-v-harvey-side-by-side/. [Accessed: October 5, 2022]

EARLY ACCESS:  Transcription is under editorial review and may contain errors.
Please do not cite or otherwise reproduce without permission.