Pierre, a man of color v. Gabrial Chouteau
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Before the jury were sworn, the defendant below asked leave to
enquire of the jurors when sworn to answer questions, if any of
them felt bound in conscience to find a verdict in favor of the freedom of
the plaintiff, notwithstanding the law might held him in slavery?
The court refused to permit this question to be part to the jury, to
which refusal an exception was taken.

The first point we will notice is that growing
out of the refusal of the Court, to allow a juror to be asked, if he felt in
Conscience bound to find a verdict, in favor of the freedom of the plaintiff,
notwithstanding the law might hold him in slavery? We cannot
well conceive, how a juror could be considered as indifferent between
the parties, who labored under the bias, supposed by the question.
Nor do we see what objections can be urged against its pro-
priety. An affirmative Answer does not tend to the disgrace
or infamy of the juror. We know that there are many
in our Sister States, who do entertain such opinions, they
may find their way amongst us, and so long as Slavery
is tolerated in this State, our Courts should be clothed with the
power of preventing our laws, from being openly set
at defiance, and under the pretence of administering
justice, to permit jurors to trample in the dust, the
rights of property of our Citizens. No loyal or faithful
Citizen will object to answering the question. It will fully
appreciate the motives which prompt it, and while he
laments the cause, which renders such an enquiry
necessary he yield a ready obedience to the law, which
prescribes such a test, in order to ascertain his fitness
as a juror, in cases involving the right to property,
of the species claimed by the defendant in error.
We are not without authority on this question.

In the case of Queen vs Hebburn G. Granch 290,
which was a suit for freedom, a juror was called, who,
upon being questioned avowed his detestation of Slavery,
to be such, that in a doubtful case, he would find
a verdict for the petitioner, and that he had so
expressed himself in the very case, and that if the
testimony were equal, he should certainly fined a
verdict for the petitioner. The Court which tried

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the cause, instructed the triers that he did not stand
indifferent. This was for Error in the Supreme CourtSupreme Court ,
and chief Justice MarshallMarshall in delivering its opinion,
observed, that Jurors should be superior to every excep-
tion, they ought to stand perfectly indifferent between the
parties and that the court below exercised a sound discre-
tion, in not permitting the juror to be sworn. The objection
now under consideration is much more forcible, than
that in the preceding case, for if suppose, that the juror
will not find a verdict for one of the parties, at the law and
the evidence be as it may, where as in the other the juror
had only declared that in case of a doubt or equipoise
of the testimony, the claimant should have the benefit of
it. On another occasion, Chief Justice MarshallMarshall
speaking of the qualification of Jurors remarks-
I have always conceived, and still conceive, an impar-
tial jury as required by the common Law, and as secured by
the Constitution, must be composed of men, who will fairly
hear the testimony which may be offered to them, and bring
in their verdict according to that testimony, and according
to the law on it. This is not to the expected, certainly
the law does not expect it, when the jurors before they hear
the Testimony have deliberatly formed and delivered an
opinion. The Jury should enter upon the trial, with
mind, open to these impressions, which the testimony
and the law of the Case ought to make, not with those
preconceived opinion, which will resist those impressions.

The instruction given to the
jury, to wit, that slavery or involuntary servitude,
does not, nor never did exist in either of the Canadas
is complained of by the plaintiff in error. There was
some condensing to show, that slavery did
actually exist in CanadaCanada at the time the mother of
the plaintiff (PierrePierre ), was Detained in that Country, and
the instruction can only be predicted, on the idea, that
the proof of the existence of slavery, can only be established
by position and idea entirely inconsistent