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As such, the exhibition hints at the recurrent historical tension between the British system of liberties and its imperial implementation. Despite our slave-trading industry, in 1701 Lord Chief Justice Holt could rule that "as soon as a Negro comes into England, he becomes free: one may be a villein in England, but not a slave". This was the language of free-born Englishmen, but it belied our arbitrary practices abroad. Indeed, the actions of officials and soldiers in the British empire often served as warning of the perils of lost liberty. According to Colley, "One of the persistent criticisms levelled against the empire by reformers and jurists was that such abuses overseas might in due course threaten and infect the quality of liberties at home." In ascending order, what happened in a colony today may be done in Ireland tomorrow and England hereafter.