SC-Ships

Preventing Slave Escapes by Ship in South Carolina

This article on a new law in South Caroline appeared in National Anti-Slavery Standard on April 28, 1842.  National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials.

New Law in South Carolina

At the last session of the legislature an act was passed, “to prevent the citizens of New-York from carrying slaves, or persons held to service, out of the State, and to prevent the escape of persons charged with the commission of any crime.

This law is to take effect on the 1st of May next; unless New York repeals her law of 1840, granting the right of trial by jury to fugitive slaves. This act declares that no vessel of any size or description, owned in whole or in part, commanded or navigated, by any other person than an actual inhabitant of South Carolina, and destined to any port in the State of New York, shall be allowed to depart, until inspected by the proper officer. If any vessel depart without a certificate that no slave-criminal is on board, the captain or owner shall pay five-hundred dollars to whoever will sue for the same. The inspector is to receive ten dollars for his certificate, for the payment of which the vessel is liable.

Whenever any vessel of the above description enters the ports of South Carolina, the inspector is to take possession of her until the master or owner executes a bond, in the penalty of one thousand dollars, or deliver up to the inspector the vessel’s papers, with an affidavit that he will not sail till the vessel has undergone inspection according to law. If these terms are not complied with, an officer remains on board, at three dollars a day, for which the vessel is liable. The regular packets between New-York and Charleston are required to give but one bond a year.

If any slave, or criminal, is found on board, the captain or owner forfeits five hundred dollars, or the value of the slave, and all costs.

How much trouble these people might save themselves, if they would!

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.

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