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Teaching With Documents:The Amistad Case

Answer of S. Staples, R. Baldwin, and T. Sedgewick, Proctors for the Amistad Africans, to the several libels of Lt. Gedney, et. al. and Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz, January 7, 1840

After the Amistad was seized, the schooner, its cargo, and all on board were taken to New London, CT. Had it not been for the actions of abolitionists in the United States, the issues related to the Amistad might have ended quietly in an admiralty court. But they used the incident as a way to expose the evils of slavery and generate significant opposition to the practice. Abolitionists asked Roger S. Baldwin, a lawyer from New Haven, and two New York attorneys, Seth Staples and Theodore Sedgewick, to serve as proctors for, or represent, the Africans. The answer to the libels of Lt. Gedney, et. al. and Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz that the proctors submitted to the district court conveyed the position of the Africans.

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Proctor's Answer
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National Archives
and Records Administration
Northeast Region, Waltham, MA,
Records of the District Courts
of the United States, RG 21


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