Stone Collection: Volume 93 - Item 20
20. Case of the Slave-Child, Med.: Report of the Arguments of Counsel and of the Opinion of the Court, in the Case of Commonwealth vs. Aves; Tried and Presented in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (Boston: Isaac Knapp, 1836). (40 p.)
Arguments before the Massachusetts Supreme Court in regard to a young slave named Med who had been brought to Boston from New Orleans by her owner’s wife, Mrs. Slater. The child was being held in Boston by Thomas Aves until Mrs. Slater was ready to take Med back to New Orleans as a slave. A writ of habeas corpus was filed to free the child. The owner’s attorney argued that Med’s coming to Massachusetts did not emancipate her, just as fugitive slaves were not free when they reached a free state. The petitioner’s attorney argued that Med was free because slavery was illegal in Massachusetts. The justices found for the petitioner, deciding that the fugitive slave law did not apply in this case because Mrs. Slater had voluntarily transported Med to Massachusetts (i.e., the child was not a fugitive slave because she had not fled from her owner).