Mémoire on case involving enslaved individuals

This blog has long been interested in the law and court cases concerning enslaved men, women, and children. The well-known cases tend to be those that concern freedom or claims of freedom, such as Knight  v. Wedderburn or Somerset v. Stewart. All European countries had such cases, and similar became important in “free” states in the USA. 

An important source of information for legal historians can be the catalogues of rare book sellers. This blog has a number of entries that derive from such catalogues. A recent Catalogue of the Lawbook Exchange was categorised as dealing with “Apparently Unrecorded” works. It contained a Mémoire produced during litigation in a pre-Revolution French Court concerning the Estate of a deceased individual, namely M. Garnier, who headed the Cape High Council in St Domingue. Unsurprisingly the estate included enslaved individuals as well moveables and land. It refers to the famous Roman ruling that the children of enslaved women were not counted as “fruits”.

Such mémoires resemble the printed Scottish Session Papers.