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‘There Are No Slaves in France’The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime$
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Sue Peabody

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195101980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195101980.001.0001

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The Impact of the Declaration of 1738: Nantes, La Rochelle, and Paris

The Impact of the Declaration of 1738: Nantes, La Rochelle, and Paris

(p.41) 3 The Impact of the Declaration of 1738: Nantes, La Rochelle, and Paris
‘There Are No Slaves in France’

Sue Peabody

Oxford University Press

The impact of the Declaration of December 15, 1738 is presented in this chapter. It was discussed that when masters neglected to complete the required formalities, such as registration of their slaves with the nearest clerk of the Admiralty, the slaves would be confiscated au profit du roi and returned as slaves to the colonies. The Parlement of Paris and the Admiralty Court of France refused to confiscate slaves. However, the case of Catherine Morgan, who was brought to Nantes by her master in 1746, shows how the courts of Brittany enforced the Declaration of 1738. The Admiralty Court of France never recognized the validity of either the Edict of October 1716 or the Declaration of December 15, 1738, because they had not been registered by the Parlement of Paris. As a result, they relied on the maxim that any slave who entered the French soil was free.

Keywords:   Declaration of 1738, au profit du roi, Admiralty Court of France, Parlement of Paris, slaves, Catherine Morgan, Nantes, Brittany

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