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Full-Text Articles in European History

‘Unkle Sommerset's’ Freedom: Liberty In England For Black Sailors, Charles R. Foy May 2011

‘Unkle Sommerset's’ Freedom: Liberty In England For Black Sailors, Charles R. Foy

Faculty Research & Creative Activity

With his 1772 decree in Somerset v. Steuart that slavery was ‘so odious that nothing can be suffered to support it [in England] but positive law’, Lord Mansfield altered the legal landscape regarding black rights in England. While earlier judicial decisions had implied that slaves who came to England were free, prior to the Somerset decision there was no judicial consensus on the issue. The Somerset decision did not decree that slavery was illegal in England. Yet many blacks believed it ‘emancipated’ any slave who reached the shores of England. This understanding, combined with the British military welcoming runaways into ...


Shipboard Insurrections, The British Government And Anglo-American Society In The Early 18th Century, James Buckwalter Apr 2010

Shipboard Insurrections, The British Government And Anglo-American Society In The Early 18th Century, James Buckwalter

2010 Awards for Excellence in Student Research & Creative Activity - Documents

Captain Francis Messervy, first time captain on the slave ship Ferrers and perhaps overly ecstatic after his most recent successes at sea, maneuvered unprotected below deck to inspect his newly purchased Africans. As he lurched further down into the Ferrers, Messervy would have seen sailors whose duty it was to guard against insurrection and the three hundred or more Africans he had recently purchased following a war between two neighboring polities near Cetre-Crue. What Messervy perceived as good fortune, fellow captain William Snelgrave saw as cause for concern, noting that controlling "many Negroes of one Town and Language" had its ...