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

Sue Peabody

in ‘There Are No Slaves in France’

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195101980
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854448 | DOI:
The Impact of the Declaration of 1738: Nantes, La Rochelle, and Paris

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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

Chapter.  6746 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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