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Francis Hargrave

Francis Hargrave (c.1741 to 1821) was the most prominent of the five advocates who appeared on behalf of James Somersett in the case which determined, in 1772, the legal status of slaves in England. Although the case was Hargrave's first, his efforts on the occasion secured his reputation.

Hargrave was born in London, and educated at Lincoln's Inn. He came to prominence because of his brilliant performance in the Somersett's case. Thereafter, he specialised in legal history and commentary and did not take part in the abolition campaign. He published many works of legal history and amassed a substantial collection of legal books and manuscripts. He fell ill, probably with Alzheimer's Disease, in 1813 and his collection was purchased by the government for £8,000 and deposited in the British Library. He died in 1821, and was buried in the chapel of Lincoln's Inn.

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