Mary Charlotte, a woman of color v. Gabriel S. Chouteau
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upon the two points of proof above - mentioned in the following
terms, copied from the authentic register of the Court
of that day:- âCes deux points sont deux questions
purement de droit, dans la maniere que les parties
offrent de les etablir, ce no pouvant etre des questions
defait, car les loix de cette province n'admettent point
de mariage lègitime, ni d'esclavage defait, sans titre
authentique et loix expresses.


The KingKing , on the application of RobinRobin , a black
man, for a writ of habeas corpus: The negro,
RobinRobin , had been purchased in the City of New YorkYork in
1783, whilst still in British possession, and became his
master's servant, with whom he removed to NovaNova Scotia ScotiaNova Scotia,
and afterwards to Newfoundland, and finally came
with him to MontrealMontreal. After his arrival in MontrealMontreal,
he was committed to the common gaol of the District,
by warrant of three Justices of the Peace, for absenting
himself from his owner's house without leave. On
habeas corpus granted, and after argument in Banco
before Chief Justice MonkMonk and Judges OgdenOgden and
PanetPanet , the negro was discharged, by Judgment rendered
on the Eighteenth of February, 1800.

Copies of the several before mentioned Judgments, duly
authenticated, are hereto annexed.

The Registers of the Courts have been carefully examined
by me since 1761 until after 1802, and no
other cases connected with slavery have been found.
The above, except those of ManuelManuel and RobinRobin , chiefly turn
upon the rights of the parties under the contracts of sale
between themselves, as purchasers and vendors, in relation
to the consideration money, and apart from the individual
rights of the negro or subject sold, to hold himself
no slave. Such contracts for sale may be valid as between
the parties, and the law would readily hold
[ them  ]

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them upon their Contracts but the person of the slave was
not the object of litigation. It is only in those of
ManuelManuel and RobinRobin , where the negroes themselves were
personally in Court, and in both of these they were relieved
from the effect of servitude. It is not to be wondered
at that judicial opinion was not sooner expressed.
Judicial action cannot be expected to arise ex mero
motu of the Judges themselves, and Courts must be
moved before their opinion can be required.

It is singular, however, that no case can be found
of record in the archives of the Courts, under the British
or French rule, in which involuntary servitude has been
judicially sustained, or in which application for freedom
has been judicially denied; and it is still more
singular, that none of the cases above mentioned applied
to the purchased negroes or PanisPanis , the so-called
Esclaves of the French rule, or to their descendants,
and offspring, of whom some may still have existed
en qualite d'esclaves, as before the capitulation, but not
by constraint of law, or of the judgments of Courts of
Justice. The contracts of servitude above referred to,
with others to which I have had access, executed in
MontrealMontrealfrom1780 to 1790 or 1780, always stipulate
the sale either of a life service, for âthe term of his
natural lifeâ or for a longer or shorter period of service,
but in no case does it interfere with the acquisitions
of the purchased persons, or stipulate regulations over
his wife and children; the ingredients of slavery in no
case that I have examined, are added to or form part of
the contract, which is limited in all of them to mere
service, more or less prolonged so also in the French
time it did not assume any other shape than
mere enforced service, pour sa vie durante, or for a