THE COURTS AND SLAVERY. 99
and the adoption by two successive leading judges of the policy described by Mr. Blowers, had its intended effect. " This course ", that gentleman informed Ward Chipman, " has so discouraged the masters that a limited service by indenture has been very generally substituted by mutual consent". " Mr. Strange", said he, " always aimed to effect this and generally succeeded".
The policy pursued by these judges was in accordance with the precedent furnished by Lord Mansfield. and. there can be little doubt, was influenced by his direct teaching respecting slavery in the British islands. Of Strange. it is stated in the " Dictionary of National Biography" that, " adopting a legal career, he entered Lincoln's Inn in 1776, and as a law student received much help from his mother's friend. Lord Mansfield". That eminent English jurist, when pressed for a decision in the famous Somerset case, expressed great reluctance to give any direct decision.' " In five or six cases of this nature ", he stated, " I have known it"—the question of the right of a master to the services of a slave when in England—" accommodated by agreement between the parties. On its coming before me I strongly recommended it here, but if the parties will have it decided we must give our opinion. Compassion will not on the one hand, nor inconvenience on the other, be to decide, but the law. The setting fourteen or fifteen thousand men "—the number of slaves estimated to be at that time in the ports of the United Kingdom—" at once free by a solemn opinion is much disagreeable in the effects which it threatens. If the patties will have judgment, fiat justtlia, rust ca./um. Let justice be done whatever the consequence. I think it right the matter should stand over, and if we are called upon for a decision proper notice shall be given ". A decision having been demanded, the plea that villeinage
' See page 94.