Philis Butler v. Augustin Saira

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


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.

This case summary was written and researched by William G. Thomas III, and edited by project scholars.