An ACT for laying a Duty on the Purchasers of Slaves imported into this Colony.

Nov.16, 1769, 4 Bush 510-512

WHEREAS Duties on the Importation of Negroes in several of the neighbouring Colonies, hath, on Experience, been found beneficial in the Introduction of sober, industrious Foreigners, to settle under his Majesty's Allegiance, and the promoting a Spirit of Industry among the Inhabitants in general: In order therefore to promote the same good Designs in this Government, and that such as choose to purchase Slaves, may contribute some equitable Proportion of the publick Burthens:

[§1] BE IT ENACTED by the Governor, Council and General Assembly of this Colony, and it is hereby Enacted by the Authority of the same, That every Person hereafter purchasing a Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, if such Slave has not resided in this Colony at least for the Space of one whole Year before such Purchase, or such Slave, for which the Duty by this, or any former Act imposed, hath not been paid, shall, besides the Price paid for the said Slave, moreover pay to the County Collector, chosen for the County in which such Purchase shall be made, the Sum of Fifteen Pounds Proclamation Money; and on Refusal or Neglect of paying the same, Ten whole Days after the said Purchase or Purchases shall be made, it shall and may be lawful for the said County Collector, by himself or Deputy, to apply to a Justice of the Peace for the said County, who on such Information, shall immediately grant a Precept in the usual Manner, for the Apprehension of the Person or Persons complained against; and the same being so apprehended, and brought before him, shall proceed to hear the Parties, and give Judgment and award Execution for the said Duty, in Manner and Form as by Law is appointed in Cases of Six Pounds and under.

[§2] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That the respective County Collectors of this Province, shall keep fair and true Accounts in writing, of all Duties collected in Virtue of this Act, and once in Twelve Months, or oftner if required by the Provincial Treasurer of the Division in which he lives, pay into his Hands all the said Duties so by him collected as aforesaid, except as herein after is directed, first deducting out of the same for his own Use Five per Cent, and shall further be allowed in the final Adjustment of his Accounts, all reasonable Charges by him expended in the Recovery of the Duties laid by this Act; which said Fines so paid into the Treasury, shall be applied to the Support of Government, as by Law shall be hereafter directed. Provided always, That each of the said County Collectors, before he enters upon the Execution of his Office, in Reference to this Act, shall be sworn or affirmed before some Justice of the Peace, for the true and faithful Execution of his Office as appointed by this Act.

[§3] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That if any of the Overseers of the Poor in this Colony, shall give Information unto the County Collector, of the Purchase of such Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, and the Duty hereby imposed be collected in Consequence of such Information, then and in such Case, the said Duty so collected, shall be and remain in the Hands of such County Collector, and subjected to the Disposal of the Justices and Freeholders of the said County, towards the defraying of the publick Expences of the City, Town, Precinct or District wherein the Overseers of the Poor, who shall give such Information, may reside.

[§4] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That from and after the Publication of this Act, if any Master or Mistress, shall by last Will or otherwise, discharge, manumit or set free any Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, he or she, his or her Heirs, Executors or Administrators, shall at the next Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace in the County where such Master or Mistress shall or may have resided, enter into a Bond, with one or more sufficient Sureties, unto our Sovereign Lord the King, his Heirs and Successors, in the Sum of Two Hundred Pounds, conditioned to secure and indemnify the City, Town, Precinct or District where such Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave may reside, from any Charge or Incumbrance they may bring upon the same, in Case such Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, shall by Sickness or otherwise, be rendered incapable to support and maintain him or herself; which said Bond shall be filed, and remain with the Clerk of the Peace of the said County; on Failure whereof, such Manumission shall be utterly void and of none Effect, any Thing contained in this Act to the Contrary notwithstanding.

[§5] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That every Master or Mistress of any Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, not manumitted according to the Directions of this Act, his or her Heirs, Executors or Administrators, shall be obliged and compelled at all Times to support and maintain his, her or their Slave or Slaves. Provided Nevertheless, That if any Master or Mistress shall become insolvent, and so incapable of providing for and maintaining his or her Slave or Slaves who shall by Sickness or otherwise be rendered incapable of supporting and maintaining him, her or themselves; in such Case, the Slave or Slaves so rendered incapable of maintaining themselves, shall be deemed and esteemed of the Poor of this Colony, and be intitled to the same Relief as white Servants in such Case by the Laws of this Colony now are.

[§6] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That the Fourteenth, being the last Section of the Act, entitled, An Act for regulating of Slaves, passed in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Years of her late Majesty Queen Anne, is hereby repealed.

[§7] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That any Purchase of any Slave as aforesaid, made upon the Water or Waters along the Sea Coast of this Province, or those between this Province and the Provinces of New-York, Pennsylvania, and the Lower Counties of Delaware, shall be deemed a Purchase made within the County opposite to such Water. Provided always,That this Act shall be in Force for the Space of Ten Years, and from thence to the End of the next Session of General Assembly, and no longer.