Law about Slavery, 1690

Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, Vol. 4

Restricting travel without a pass

Transcription

[Word spelling is changed to today's spelling. See original below. "Negroe servant" is the term used at the time to refer to an enslaved African person.]

Whereas many persons of this Colony do for their necessary
use purchase negroe servants, and often times the said ser-
vants run away to the great wrong, damage and disappoint-
ment of their masters and owners, for prevention of which for
the future, as much as may be, it is ordered by this
Court that whatever negroe or negroes shall hereafter, at any
time, be found wandering out of the town bounds or place to
which they do belong, without a ticket or pass from the au-
thority, or their master or owners, shall be stopped and secured
by any of the inhabitants, or such as shall meet with them, and
brought before the next authority to be examined and returned
to their owners, who shall satisfy for the charge if any be; and
all ferrymen within this Colony are hereby required not to
suffer any negroe without such certificate, to pass over their
ferry by assisting them therein, upon the penalty of twenty
shillings, to be paid as a fine to the county treasury, and to be
levied upon their estate for non-payment in way of distress 
by warrant form any one Assistant or Commissioner. This order to be
observed as to vagrant and suspected persons found wandering
from town to town, having no passes; such to be seized for
examination and farther dispose by the authority; and if any
negores are free and for themselves, traveling without such
ticket or certificate, they to bear the charge themselves of their 
taking up. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Summary 

Because many people in the colony, for their necessary
use, purchase slaves and often time those slaves
run away to the great wrong, damage, and disappointment
of their owners, in order to prevent this from happening,
it is ordered by this Court that when a black person
is found wandering out of town bounds, or in a place
he or she does not belong, without a ticket or pass from
the authorities or their owner, that any inhabitant should stop them,
hold them securely, and bring them to the authorities to be
returned to their owners, who shall pay for any costs;

and all ferrymen within the Colony are required to stop
any black person without a pass from using the ferry
or pay a fine of 20 shillings to be paid to the county treasury.

This order applies to any vagrant or suspected person found wandering
from town to town and having no pass; those people are to be seized for
examination and for the authorities to deal with; and if any
black people are free and traveling for their own reasons
without a ticket or certificate, they will pay the costs of their
being seized and held by the authorities.

Law about Slavery, 1690

Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, Vol. 4

Restricting travel without a pass

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