Philis Butler v. Augustin Saira

United States. Circuit Court (District of Columbia) - Washington (D.C.)

Case Narrative

Philis Butler claimed she was "manumitted & set free" by Philip Selby. The terms of her manumission, however, were complicated because Augustin Saira paid Selby for Butler's freedom. As a result, Butler owed Saira. Under the terms of their arrangement, Butler argued, she could either pay Saira the equivalent money or work for him for a "certain length of time." Saira, however, used the opportunity to claim Butler as a slave, in effect taking the position that he purchased Butler rather than lent her funds in order to secure her freedom.