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~1787, March 28. South Carolina: Importation Prohibited.~
“An Ordinance to impose a Penalty on any person who shall import into this State any Negroes, contrary to the Instalment Act.”
1. “_Be it ordained_, by the honorable the Senate and House of Representatives, met in General a.s.sembly, and by the authority of the same, That any person importing or bringing into this State a negro slave, contrary to the Act to regulate the recovery of debts and prohibiting the importation of negroes, shall, besides the forfeiture of such negro or slave, be liable to a penalty of one hundred pounds, to the use of the State, for every such negro or slave so imported and brought in, in addition to the forfeiture in and by the said Act prescribed.” Cooper, _Statutes_, VII. 430.
~1787, October. Rhode Island: Importation Prohibited.~
“An act to prevent the slave trade and to encourage the abolition of slavery.” This act prohibited and censured trade under penalty of 100 for each person and 1,000 for each vessel. Bartlett, _Index to the Printed Acts and Resolves_, p. 333; _Narragansett Historical Register_, II. 298-9.
A CHRONOLOGICAL CONSPECTUS OF STATE, NATIONAL, AND INTERNATIONAL LEGISLATION.
As the State statutes and Congressional reports and bills are difficult to find, the significant parts of such doc.u.ments are printed in full. In the case of national statutes and treaties, the texts may easily be found through the references.
~1788, Feb. 22. New York: Slave-Trade Prohibited.~
“An Act concerning slaves.”
“Whereas in consequence of the act directing a revision of the laws of this State, it is expedient that the several existing laws relative to slaves, should be revised, and comprized in one. Therefore, _Be it enacted_,” etc.
“And to prevent the further importation of slaves into this State, _Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid_, That if any person shall sell as a slave within this State any negro, or other person, who has been imported or brought into this State, after” June 1, 1785, “such seller, or his or her factor or agent, making such sale, shall be deemed guilty of a public offence, and shall for every such offence, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds…. _And further_, That every person so imported … shall be free.” The purchase of slaves for removal to another State is prohibited under penalty of 100. _Laws of New York, 1785-88_ (ed. 1886), pp. 675-6.
~1788, March 25. Ma.s.sachusetts: Slave-Trade Prohibited.~
“An Act to prevent the Slave-Trade, and for granting Relief to the Families of such unhappy Persons as may be kidnapped or decoyed away from this Commonwealth.”
“Whereas by the African trade for slaves, the lives and liberties of many innocent persons have been from time to time sacrificed to the l.u.s.t of gain: And whereas some persons residing in this Commonwealth may be so regardless of the rights of human kind, as to be concerned in that unrighteous commerce:
— 1. “Be it therefore enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court a.s.sembled, and by the authority of the same, That no citizen of this Commonwealth, or other person residing within the same, shall for himself, or any other person whatsoever, either as master, factor, supercargo, owner or hirer, in whole or in part, of any vessel, directly or indirectly, import or transport, or buy or sell, or receive on board, his or their vessel, with intent to cause to be imported or transported, any of the inhabitants of any State or Kingdom, in that part of the world called _Africa_, as slaves, or as servants for term of years.” Any person convicted of doing this shall forfeit and pay the sum of 50 for every person received on board, and the sum of 200 for every vessel fitted out for the trade, “to be recovered by action of debt, in any Court within this Commonwealth, proper to try the same; the one moiety thereof to the use of this Commonwealth, and the other moiety to the person who shall prosecute for and recover the same.”
— 2. All insurance on said vessels and cargo shall be null and void; “and this act may be given in evidence under the general issue, in any suit or action commenced for the recovery of insurance so made,” etc.
— 4. “_Provided_ … That this act do not extend to vessels which have already sailed, their owners, factors, or commanders, for and during their present voyage, or to any insurance that shall have been made, previous to the pa.s.sing of the same.” _Perpetual Laws of Ma.s.sachusetts, 1780-89_ (ed. 1789), p. 235.
~1788, March 29. Pennsylvania: Slave-Trade Prohibited.~
“An Act to explain and amend an act, ent.i.tuled, ‘An Act for the gradual abolition of slavery.'”
— 2. Slaves brought in by persons intending to settle shall be free.
— 3. ” … no negro or mulatto slave, or servant for term of years,”
except servants of congressmen, consuls, etc., “shall be removed out of this state, with the design and intention that the place of abode or residence of such slave or servant shall be thereby altered or changed, or with the design and intention that such slave or servant, if a female, and pregnant, shall be detained and kept out of this state till her delivery of the child of which she is or shall be pregnant, or with the design and intention that such slave or servant shall be brought again into this state, after the expiration of six months from the time of such slave or servant having been first brought into this state, without his or her consent, if of full age, testified upon a private examination, before two Justices of the peace of the city or county in which he or she shall reside, or, being under the age of twenty-one years, without his or her consent, testified in manner aforesaid, and also without the consent of his or her parents,” etc. Penalty for every such offence, 75.
— 5. ” … if any person or persons shall build, fit, equip, man, or otherwise prepare any ship or vessel, within any port of this state, or shall cause any ship or other vessel to sail from any port of this state, for the purpose of carrying on a trade or traffic in slaves, to, from, or between Europe, Asia, Africa or America, or any places or countries whatever, or of transporting slaves to or from one port or place to another, in any part or parts of the world, such ship or vessel, her tackle, furniture, apparel, and other appurtenances, shall be forfeited to the commonwealth…. And, moreover, all and every person and persons so building, fitting out,” etc., shall forfeit 1000.
Dallas, _Laws_, II. 586.
~1788, October. Connecticut: Slave-Trade Prohibited.~
“An Act to prevent the Slave-Trade.”
_”Be it enacted by the Governor, Council and Representatives in General Court a.s.sembled, and by the Authority of the same_, That no Citizen or Inhabitant of this State, shall for himself, or any other Person, either as Master, Factor, Supercargo, Owner or Hirer, in Whole, or in Part, of any Vessel, directly or indirectly, import or transport, or buy or sell, or receive on board his or her Vessel, with Intent to cause to be imported or transported, any of the Inhabitants of any Country in Africa, as Slaves or Servants, for Term of Years; upon Penalty of _Fifty Pounds_, for every Person so received on board, as aforesaid; and of _Five Hundred Pounds_ for every such Vessel employed in the Importation or Transportation aforesaid; to be recovered by Action, Bill, Plaint or Information; the one Half to the Plaintiff, and the other Half to the Use of this State.” And all insurance on vessels and slaves shall be void. This act to be given as evidence under general issue, in any suit commenced for recovery of such insurance.
” … if any Person shall kidnap … any free Negro,” etc., inhabitant of this State, he shall forfeit 100. Every vessel clearing for the coast of Africa or any other part of the world, and suspected to be in the slave-trade, must give bond in 1000. Slightly amended in 1789.
_Acts and Laws of Connecticut_ (ed. 1784), pp. 368-9, 388.
~1788, Nov. 4. South Carolina: Temporary Prohibition.~
“An Act to regulate the Payment and Recovery of Debts, and to prohibit the Importation of Negroes, for the Time therein limited.”
— 16. “No negro or other slave shall be imported or brought into this State either by land or water on or before the first of January, 1793, under the penalty of forfeiting every such slave or slaves to any person who will sue or inform for the same; and under further penalty of paying 100 to the use of the State for every such negro or slave so imported or brought in: _Provided_, That nothing in this prohibition contained shall extend to such slaves as are now the property of citizens of the United States, and at the time of pa.s.sing this act shall be within the limits of the said United States.
— 17. “All former instalment laws, and an ordinance imposing a penalty on persons importing negroes into this State, pa.s.sed the 28th day of March 1787, are hereby repealed.” Grimke, _Public Laws_, p. 466.
~1789, Feb. 3. Delaware: Slave-Trade Prohibited.~
“_An additional Supplementary_ ACT _to an act, int.i.tuled_, An act to prevent the exportation of slaves, and for other purposes.”
“Whereas it is inconsistent with that spirit of general liberty which pervades the const.i.tution of this state, that vessels should be fitted out, or equipped, in any of the ports thereof, for the purpose of receiving and transporting the natives of Africa to places where they are held in slavery; or that any acts should be deemed lawful, which tend to encourage or promote such iniquitous traffic among us:
— 1. “_Be it therefore enacted by the General a.s.sembly of Delaware_, That if any owner or owners, master, agent, or factor, shall fit out, equip, man, or otherwise prepare, any ship or vessel within any port or place in this state, or shall cause any ship, or other vessel, to sail from any port or place in this state, for the purpose of carrying on a trade or traffic in slaves, to, from, or between, Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, or any places or countries whatever, or of transporting slaves to, or from, one port or place to another, in any part or parts of the world; such ship or vessel, her tackle, furniture, apparel, and other appurtenances, shall be forfeited to this state…. And moreover, all and every person and persons so fitting out … any ship or vessel … shall severally forfeit and pay the sum of Five Hundred Pounds;”
one-half to the state, and one-half to the informer.
— 2. “_And whereas_ it has been found by experience, that the act, int.i.tuled, _An act to prevent the exportation of slaves, and for other purposes_, has not produced all the good effects expected therefrom,”
any one exporting a slave to Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, or the West Indies, without license, shall forfeit 100 for each slave exported and 20 for each attempt.
— 3. Slaves to be tried by jury for capital offences. _Laws of Delaware_ (ed. 1797), p. 942, ch. 194 b.
~1789, May 13. Congress (House): Proposed Duty on Slaves Imported.~
A tax of $10 per head on slaves imported, moved by Parker of Virginia.
After debate, withdrawn. _Annals of Cong._, 1 Cong. 1 sess. pp. 336-42.