The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America Part 37

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“Provided that the slaves of settlers and travellers be excepted.

“Provided, also, that nothing in this act shall extend, or be deemed to extend, to any negro or mulatto slave brought from the coast of Africa, into the West Indies, on board any vessel belonging to this colony, and which negro or mulatto slave could not be disposed of in the West Indies, but shall be brought into this colony.

“Provided, that the owner of such negro or mulatto slave give bond to the general treasurer of the said colony, within ten days after such arrival in the sum of 100, lawful money, for each and every such negro or mulatto slave so brought in, that such negro or mulatto slave shall be exported out of the colony, within one year from the date of such bond; if such negro or mulatto be alive, and in a condition to be removed.”

“Provided, also, that nothing in this act shall extend, or be deemed to extend, to any negro or mulatto slave that may be on board any vessel belonging to this colony, now at sea, in her present voyage.” Heavy penalties are laid for bringing in Negroes in order to free them.

_Colonial Records_, VII. 251-3.

[1784, February: “It is voted and resolved, that the whole of the clause contained in an act of this a.s.sembly, pa.s.sed at June session, A.D. 1774, permitting slaves brought from the coast of Africa into the West Indies, on board any vessel belonging to this (then colony, now) state, and who could not be disposed of in the West Indies, &c., be, and the same is, hereby repealed.” _Colonial Records_, X. 8.]

~1774, October. Connecticut: Importation Prohibited.~

“An Act for prohibiting the Importation of Indian, Negro or Molatto Slaves.”

” … no indian, negro or molatto Slave shall at any time hereafter be brought or imported into this Colony, by sea or land, from any place or places whatsoever, to be disposed of, left or sold within this Colony.”

This was re-enacted in the revision of 1784, and slaves born after 1784 were ordered to be emanc.i.p.ated at the age of twenty-five. _Colonial Records_, XIV. 329; _Acts and Laws of Connecticut_ (ed. 1784), pp.

233-4.

~1774. New Jersey: Proposed Prohibitive Duty.~

“A Bill for laying a Duty on Indian, Negroe and Molatto Slaves, imported into this Colony.” Pa.s.sed the a.s.sembly, and was rejected by the Council as “plainly” intending “an intire Prohibition,” etc. _N.J. Archives_, 1st Series, VI. 222.

~1775, March 27. Delaware: Bill to Prohibit Importation.~

Pa.s.sed the a.s.sembly and was vetoed by the governor. Force, _American Archives_, 4th Series, II. 128-9.

~1775, Nov. 23. Virginia: On Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation.~

Williamsburg Convention to the public: “Our a.s.semblies have repeatedly pa.s.sed acts, laying heavy duties upon imported Negroes, by which they meant altogether to prevent the horrid traffick; but their humane intentions have been as often frustrated by the cruelty and covetousness of a set of _English_ merchants.” … The Americans would, if possible, “not only prevent any more Negroes from losing their freedom, but restore it to such as have already unhappily lost it.” This is evidently addressed in part to Negroes, to keep them from joining the British.

_Ibid._, III. 1387.

~1776, June 29. Virginia: Preamble to Frame of Government.~

Blame for the slave-trade thrown on the king. See above, page 21.

Hening, _Statutes_, IX. 112-3.

~1776, Aug.-Sept. Delaware: Const.i.tution.~

“The Const.i.tution or system of Government agreed to and resolved upon by the Representatives in full Convention of the Delaware State,” etc.

— 26. “No person hereafter imported into this State from _Africa_ ought to be held in slavery on any pretence whatever; and no Negro, Indian, or Mulatto slave ought to be brought into this State, for sale, from any part of the world.” Force, _American Archives_, 5th Series, I. 1174-9.

~1777, July 2. Vermont: Slavery Condemned.~

The first Const.i.tution declares slavery a violation of “natural, inherent and unalienable rights.” _Vermont State Papers, 1779-86_, p.

244.

~1777. Maryland: Negro Duty Maintained.~

“An Act concerning duties.”

” … no duties imposed by act of a.s.sembly on any article or thing imported into or exported out of this state (except duties imposed on the importation of negroes), shall be taken or received within two years from the end of the present session of the general a.s.sembly.” _Laws of Maryland since 1763_: 1777, sess. Feb.-Apr., ch. xviii.

~1778, Sept. 7. Pennsylvania: Act to Collect Back Duties.~

“An Act for the recovery of the duties on Negroes and Mulattoe slaves, which on the fourth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, were due to this state,” etc. Dallas, _Laws_, I. 782.

~1778, October. Virginia: Importation Prohibited.~

“An act for preventing the farther importation of Slaves.

— 1. “For preventing the farther importation of slaves into this commonwealth, _Be it enacted by the General a.s.sembly_, That from and after the pa.s.sing of this act no slave or slaves shall hereafter be imported into this commonwealth by sea or land, nor shall any slaves so imported be sold or bought by any person whatsoever.

— 2. “Every person hereafter importing slaves into this commonwealth contrary to this act shall forfeit and pay the sum of one thousand pounds for every slave so imported, and every person selling or buying any such slaves shall in like manner forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred pounds for every slave so sold or bought,” etc.

— 3. “_And be it farther enacted_, That every slave imported into this commonwealth, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, shall, upon such importation become free.”

— 4. Exceptions are _bona fide_ settlers with slaves not imported later than Nov. 1, 1778, nor intended to be sold; and transient travellers.

Re-enacted in substance in the revision of October, 1785. For a temporary exception to this act, as concerns citizens of Georgia and South Carolina during the war, see Act of May, 1780. Hening, _Statutes_, IX. 471; X. 307; XII. 182.

~1779, October. Rhode Island: Slave-Trade Restricted.~

“An Act prohibiting slaves being sold out of the state, against their consent.” t.i.tle only found. _Colonial Records_, VIII. 618; Arnold, _History of Rhode Island_, II. 449.

~1779. Vermont: Importation Prohibited.~

“An Act for securing the general privileges of the people,” etc. The act abolished slavery. _Vermont State Papers, 1779-86_, p. 287.

~1780. Ma.s.sachusetts: Slavery Abolished.~

Pa.s.sage in the Const.i.tution which was held by the courts to abolish slavery: “Art. I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain, natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties,” etc.

_Const.i.tution of Ma.s.sachusetts_, Part I., Art. 1; prefixed to _Perpetual Laws_ (1789).

~1780, March 1. Pennsylvania: Slavery Abolished.~

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