England’s the Court of the King’s Bench Rules Slavery Not Allowed
England’s the Court of the King’s Bench rules in James Somerset v. Charles Stewart… slavery was not “allowed or approved by the laws of this Kingdom” and can only exist based upon “positive law”. Somerset is granted freedom. 15,000 Afro-Englishmen are immediately released from bondage in England and Wales. Slavery is deemed unlawful throughout the British Empire and all colonial slave statutes rendered void ab initio by English law.
Lord Mansfield Reaches Judgement
Lord Mansfield reaches judgement in the Somerset Case. He rules that no person, whether a slave or otherwise, can be compelled to leave the country against their will. Although this does not in fact make slavery illegal in England, it makes it more difficult to enforce and the judgement is therefore widely interpreted as ending slavery in England.