Skip to main content

Duvall, Gabriel


Gabriel Duvall was born December 6, 1752. He was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1778. Duvall served in the militia before beginning his government career in 1783, serving on the Maryland Governor's Council from 1783 to 1784, and in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1787 to 1794.

From 1794 to 1796, Duvall acted as a representative from Maryland to the U.S. House of Representatives. He returned to Maryland as chief justice of the Maryland General Court in 1796 and remained on the bench until 1802. Duvall then returned to federal service, and from 1802 to 1811 served as first comptroller of the U.S. Treasury under President thomas jefferson.

"It will be universally admitted that the right to freedom is more important than the right of property."
—Gabriel Duvall

Duvall was appointed to the Supreme Court by President james madison to replace samuel chase. He served on the Court from 1811 to 1835, mainly writing minor opinions on commercial law and maritime law. Though he tended to vote with chief justice john marshall,

Duvall was a strong opponent of slavery. He wrote a memorable dissent in Mima Queen and Child v. Hepburn, 11 U.S. 290 (1813), a case argued for the plaintiffs by Francis Scott Key. The majority disallowed hearsay evidence to prove a purported slave was free. Duvall opined that hearsay should be admitted to prove freedom whenever the facts are so old that living testimony cannot be procured.

Duvall died on March 6, 1844.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Duvall, Gabriel." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . 12 Dec. 2018 <>.

"Duvall, Gabriel." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . (December 12, 2018).

"Duvall, Gabriel." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved December 12, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.