Commonwealth v. Aves 18 Pickering (Mass.) 193 (1836)

Author:Leonard W. Levy

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This became the nation's leading case on sojourner slaves. It posed an unprecedented question: can a slave brought

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temporarily into a free state be restrained of liberty and be removed from the state on the master's return? Chief Justice LEMUEL SHAW rejected the contention that COMITY between the states compelled recognition of the laws of the master's domicile. SLAVERY, Shaw replied, was so odious that only positive local law recognized it. (See SOMERSET ' SCASE.) In Massachusetts slavery was unconstitutional. Any nonfugitive slave entering Massachusetts became free because no local law warranted restraint and local laws could prevent involuntary removal.


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