Legal Papers of John Adams, volume 2

Adams' Minutes of the Argument

Writ and Pleadings

13.

The cases cited by Putnam are probably Smith v. Gould, 2 [not 3]Ld. Raym. 1274, 92 Eng. Rep. 338, 2 Salk. 666, 91 Eng. Rep. 567 (K.B. 1705); Smith v. Browne & Cooper, note 11 above; and Chamberline v. Harvey, 5 Mod. 182, 87 Eng. Rep. 598 (K.B. 1696). In the Gould case it was held that trover for a Negro will not lie, “no more than for any other man; for the common law takes no notice of Negroes being different from other men.” Putnam's reference to Scripture is probably a quotation from Salkeld's argument for the plaintiff in Gould “that a negro was a chattel by the law of the plantations, and therefore trover would lie for him; that by the Levitical law the master had power to kill his slave, and in Exodus xx, ver. 21 it is said, he is but the master's money.” Chamberline v. Harvey was cited in the margin of both reports of Smith v. Gould. In a long opinion the court held “that no action of trespass would lie for the taking away a man generally, but there might be a special Action of Trespass for taking his Servant, per quod Servitium amisit.” 5 Mod. at 191. See Pleadings Book, Form XI.