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IX-X 



A STUDY OF SLAVERY IN NEW JERSEY 






JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES 

IN 

HlSTOKICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE 
HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor 



History is past Politics and Politics are present History Freeman 



FOURTEENTH SERIES 
IX-X 



A STUDY OF SLAVERY IN NEW JERSEY 



BY HENKY SCOF1ELD COOLEY 







BALTIMORE 
THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS 

PUBLISHED MONTHLY 

September and October, 1896 



COPYRIGHT, 1896, BY THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS. 



JOHN MURPHY & CO., PRINTERS, 
BALTIMORE. 



.7 1 ; 




CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

INTRODUCTION 7 

THE INCREASE AND DECLINE OF SLAVERY. 

The Proprietary Colony 9 

Indian Slavery 11 

The Royal Governors 13 

The Slave Trade 14 

The Anti-Slavery Movement , 20 

The Extent of Slavery 30 

THE GOVERNMENT OF SLAVES. 

Regulations Concerning Truant or Fugitive Slaves 32 

Other Police Regulations 35 

The Criminal Law for Slaves 37 

Negro Plots 42 

THE LEGAL AND SOCIAL POSITION OF THE NEGRO. 

Manumission 45 

Rights and Privileges of Slaves and Free Negroes 50 

Social Condition of Slaves 55 

BIBLIOGRAPHY ... 59 



V E 



INTRODUCTION. 



An accurate and thorough knowledge of slavery as it developed 
in the United States can best be gained by a comparative study of 
the institution as it has existed in the various States. Preparatory 
to such a study, the experience of each of these commonwealths 
needs to be investigated separately. This has been done in several 
instances very satisfactorily. The writer has aimed to follow lines 
of investigation already opened, and has pursued the history of 
slavery in New Jersey, his native State. 

New Jersey history is conveniently studied in three periods : the 
period of the Proprietary Colony, 1664-1702 ; the period of the 
Province of the Crown, 1702-1776 ; and the period of the State. 
These divisions have not been adopted in the plan of this mono 
graph, an arrangement by subject appearing more desirable ; but 
it is hoped that they have been sufficiently recognized throughout 
the paper. In general, in the Proprietary Colony we find the early 
beginnings of slavery ; in the royal Colony, a steady increase in the 
number of slaves, and special forms of trial and punishment for 
slaves prescribed in the criminal law. This was also the period of 
a strong abolition movement among the Friends, ending in 1776 
with the denial by Friends of the right of membership in their 
Society to slaveholders. In the State the anti-slavery movement, 
largely under the leadership of the abolition societies, grew to 
greater and greater strength. Its influence showed itself in practi 
cal ways in the support given to negroes before the courts, in the 
extinction of the slave trade, and in the passage of the gradual 
abolition law of 1804. 

The writer takes this opportunity to express his thanks for many 
courtesies received in the use of the New Jersey State Library at 

7 



8 Introduction. [41 8 

Trenton, the New York Historical Society Library and the Lenox 
Library at New York, the Bergen County Records at Hackensack, 
and particularly to F. W. Ricord, Esq., Librarian of the New Jersey 
Historical Society, for full and free access to its collections. The 
writer wishes also to recognize most gratefully his obligation, to 
Dr. Bernard C. Steiner for many valuable suggestions as to the 
method of investigation, and to Dr. Jeffrey R. Brackett for very 
helpful criticism of the manuscript. 



u xi Ji v fa *. - 

<?* 






A STUDY OF SLAVERY IN NEW JERSEY. 



CHAPTER I. 
THE INCREASE AND DECLINE OF SLAVERY. 

In nearly all of the English Colonies in America the insti 
tution of slavery was recognized and accepted by both gov 
ernment and colonists from the earliest period of settlement. 
In New Jersey the relation of master and slave had legal 
recognition at the very beginning of the Colony s political 
existence. The earliest constitution, the " Concessions " l from 
Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret in 1664, specifies slaves 
as possible members of the settler s family. 

By the " Concessions " the Lords Proprietors granted to 
every colonist that should go out with the first governor 
seventy-five acres of land for every slave, to every settler 
before January 1, 1665, sixty acres for every slave, to every 
settler in the year following forty-five acres for every slave, 
and to every settler in the third year thirty acres for every 
slave. For the colonist s own person and for every able- 
bodied servant other portions of land were given, and all, 
according to the text of the instrument, " that the planting of 

lu The concessions and agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the pro 
vince of New-Caesarea or New Jersey, to and with all and every of the 
adventurers, and all such as shall plant there." Learning and Spicer, 
Grants, Concessions, etc., pp. 20-23. 

9 



10 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [420 

the said province may be more speedily promoted." Some 
have thought to see in these grants an unworthy readiness to 
serve the interest of the Duke of York, President of the Royal 
African Company. 1 That the desire of the Lords Proprietors 
was anything different from that stated, namely, the rapid 
development of the Province, I have found no evidence to 
prove. To what extent slaves were actually imported even is 
uncertain. 

The earliest legislation in New Jersey bearing on the 
subject of slavery is a provision in 1668 that, if "any man 
shall wilfully or forcibly steal away any mankind, he shall be 
put to death." 2 This provision constituted the sixth of the 
" Capital Laws " passed by the General Assembly at Eliza 
beth-Town. 3 It, therefore, merely formed a part of the gen 
eral criminal code and was intended for the protection of 
persons of white race only. Another reference to slavery of 
a similar character is found in the "Fundamental Laws" 
agreed upon by the Proprietors and settlers of West Jersey in 
1676. A chapter designed to secure publicity in judicial pro 
ceedings concludes with the declaration " that all and every 
person and persons inhabiting the said Province, shall, as far 
as in us lies, be free from oppression and slavery." 4 

Bancroft, History of U. S. t 9th ed., Vol. II, p. 316, refers to the Pro 
prietors as, in this action "more true to the prince than to humanity." 
Whitehead, East Jersey Under the Proprietary Governments, maintains 
strongly that Bancroft s expression is not warranted by the evidence. 

* Learning and Spicer, p. 79. 

3 The provision when reenacted seven years later has the same position, 
L. and S., p. 105. 

* Learning and Spicer, p. 398. 

That slavery was an institution which the dwellers about the Hudson 
and Delaware recognized and had some acquaintance with, is shown by the 
action of a Council at New York in 1669. A certain Coningsmarke, a 
Swede, popularly known as "the long Finne," having been convicted of 
stirring up an insurrection in Delaware, as part of his punishment was 
sentenced to be sent to " Barbadoes or some other remote plantation to be 
sold." After having been kept prisoner in the " Stadt-house at York" 
for a year, the long Finne was duly transported for sale to Barbadoes. 
Smith, S., History of New Jersey, pp. 53, 54. 



421] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 11 

The earliest legislation implying the actual presence of 
slaves in the Province is an enactment in 1675 against trans 
porting, harboring, or entertaining apprentices, servants or 
slaves. 1 From that time on laws having reference to slavery 
become more and more frequent. 

In general, in the Proprietary Colony (1664-1702) slaves 
were regarded by the law very much as were apprentices and 
servants. In the " Concessions " and in the earlier legisla 
tion either slaves are treated in the same way as "weaker 
servants," 2 or slaves, apprentices and servants are treated as 
forming one class. 3 Gradually there were established special 
regulations for the government of slaves, until toward the end 
of this period we find special punishments and a special form 
of trial. 

To what extent slave labor was employed at this time it is 
difficult to estimate. That slaves were an important element 
in the economic life of the Colony seems probable in view of 
the amount of legislation relating to slavery. Mr. Snell says 
that the earliest recorded instance of the holding of negro 
slaves in New Jersey is that of "Col. Richard Morris of 
Shrewsbury, who as early as 1680 had sixty or more slaves 
about his mill and plantation." Mr. Snell thinks that by 
1690 nearly all the inhabitants of northern New Jersey had 
slaves. 4 

Indian Slavery. 

In New Jersey, as in many of the other Colonies, Indians 
were held as slaves from a very early period. I have found 
no evidence from which to determine in what year Indian 
slavery first existed, or what proportions it ever actually at 
tained. That there were Indian slaves in the Province as 



1 Learning and Spicer, p. 109. 

2 L. and S., pp. 20-23, Concessions of the Lords Proprietors. 

3 Laws of 1675 and 1682. L. and S., pp. 105 and 238. 

4 Snell, J. P., History of Sussex and Warren Counties, N. J., p. 76. 



12 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [422 

early as 1682 there is sufficient proof. The preamble to an 
"Act against trading with negro slaves " passed at Elizabeth- 
Town in that year reads : "Whereas, it is found by daily 
experience that negro and Indian slaves, or servants under 
pretence of trade, or liberty to traffic, do frequently steal from 
their masters," etc. 1 Throughout the Act in the several places 
where slaves are spoken of, the designation is " negro or Indian 
slave" or a similar term. In many of the Colonial laws 
Indian slavery is recognized by the use of the enumerating 
phrase " negro, Indian and mulatto slaves " where slaves are 
referred to. 2 The advertisements for fugitives, found in the 
newspapers of the early part of the eighteenth century, 
show pretty clearly the actual presence of Indian slaves. 3 
Slaves of mixed race, half negro and half Indian, are also 
mentioned. 4 

That Indians might be slaves under the laws of New Jersey 
was established judicially by a decision of the State Supreme 
Court in 1797. 5 The case was one of habeas corpus to bring 
up the body of Rose, an Indian woman, claimed by the de 
fendant as a slave. It was proved that Rose s mother, an 
Indian woman, had been purchased as a slave and had always 
been considered as such. The Chief Justice, delivering the 



1 L. and S., p. 254. 

9 Allinson, pp. 5, 31, 307, 315 ; Nevill, I, pp. 18, 242 ; N. J. Archives, III, 
473 ; XII, 516-520 ; XV, 30, 351. Also in the State Laws of 1798 and 1820. 
Paterson, p. 307, and JV. J". Statutes, 44 ses., Statutes, 74. The expressions 
" negro slaves or others," " negroes or other slaves " are found in Acts of 
1682, 1695 and 1710. L. and S., pp. 237, 257 ; JV. J. Archives, XIII, p. 439. 

3 Fugitive Indian men, apparently slaves, are advertised 1716 and 1720. 
Boston News-Letter, July 23, 1716; American Weekly Mercury, Sept. 28, 
1721 ; in JV. J. A., XI, pp. 41 and 58. 

4 In 1734, 1741 and 1747. Am. Wk. Mer., Oct. 31, 1734 ; N. Y. Wk. 
Journal, May 11, 1741; Penn. Oax. t Oct. 1, 1747; in JV. J. A., XI, 393; 
XII, 91, 403. One of these half-breed slaves is mentioned as the child of 
an Indian woman. N. J. A., XII, 403. 

5 JV. .7. Law Reports, VI, 455-459 (1st. Halsted). The State vs. Van- 
Waggoner. 



423] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 13 

opinion of the court, said: "They [the Indians] have been so 
long recognized as slaves in our law, that it would be as great 
a violation of the rights of property to establish a contrary 
doctrine at the present day, as it would be in the case of 
Africans; and as useless to investigate the manner in which 
they originally lost their freedom." 1 

The Royal Governors. 

The plan for the administration of New Jersey outlined in 
the instructions from Queen Anne to the first royal governor, 
Lord Cornbury, included the regulation of slavery as existing 
in the Province and the development of an import trade in 
slaves from Africa. Lord Cornbury was directed to encourage 
particularly the Royal African Company of England, along 
with other enterprisers that might bring trade, or otherwise 
"contribute to the advantage" of the Colony. The Queen 
was " willing to recommend " to the Royal African Company 
that the Province " may have a constant and sufficient supply 
of merchantable negroes, at moderate rates," and the Governor, 
on his part, was instructed to " take especial care " to secure 
prompt payment for the same. He was to guard against en 
croachments on the trading privileges of the Royal African 
Company by inhabitants of New Jersey. He was to report 
annually to the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations the 
number of negroes imported, and the prices that they brought. 
The "conversion of negroes and Indians to the Christian 
religion " was even treated of. The consideration of the best 
means to encourage this pious movement was commended to 
the attention of the Governor, assisted by his Council and the 
Assembly. 2 



1 It was decided that the slavery of this Indian woman had been suffi 
ciently proved, and she was remanded to the custody of her master. 

8 L. and S., pp. 640, 642. Instructions from Queen Anne to Lord Corn- 
bury. 



14 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [424 



The Slave Trade. 

In the action of the Colony on the subject of the expediency 
of restricting the importation of slaves, we find some indica 
tion of the position which slavery attained among the institu 
tions of the Province, and of the popular feeling as to the 
desirability of the use of slave labor. The question of an 
import duty was one upon which at times the views of Assem 
bly, Council, and the Lords of Trade did not agree. Queen 
Anne s instructions to Lord Cornbury show clearly a desire 
to encourage the importation of slaves. The Governor was 
specifically directed to report annually to the home government 
the number and value of the slaves that the Province " was 
yearly supplied with." The earliest statute on the subject was 
in 1714, when a duty of ten pounds was laid on every slave 
imported for sale. 1 The legislation was called forth by the 
desire to stimulate the introduction of white servants that the 
Colony might become better populated. 2 

To what extent slaves were actually imported at this period 
is largely a matter of conjecture. A report from the custom 
house at Perth Amboy in 1726 gives "an account of what 
negroes appears by the custom house books to be imported 
into the eastern division of this Province" since 1698. 3 The 
report states that, from 1698 to 1717 none were imported, and 
from 1718 to 1726 only 115. It is hardly probably that this 
testimony gives an accurate indication of the real amount of 
slave importation. Many negroes must have been brought 
into the Province in such a manner as not to appear on the 
books of the custom house at Perth Amboy. It certainly 
would seem strange that it should be thought desirable in 

1 Allinson, S., Ads of Gen. Assembly (1702-1776), p. 31 ; N. J. A,, XIII, 
pp. 516-520 ; Journal of Gov. and Council. 

This law remained in force for seven years from June 1, 1714. 

2 A similar law in Pennsylvania had been observed to have the desired 
effect. 

*N. J. A., V, p. 152. 



425] The Increase and Decline of Slavery, 15 

1714 to pass an act laying a duty upon slaves imported, if 
actually, there had been little or no importation for fifteen 
years previously. 1 

The law of 1714 was permitted to expire in 1721, and for 
nearly fifty years there was no duty upon the importation of 
negroes, although during that period bills to establish such a 
duty were at several times before the governing houses. 2 In 
1744, a bill plainly intending an entire prohibition of the 
importation of slaves from abroad was rejected by the Provin 
cial Council. 3 That body declared that even the mere dis 
couragement of importation was undesirable. The Council 
maintained that the Colony at that time had great need of 
laborers. An expedition to the West Indies had drawn off 
from the Province many inhabitants. The privateering pro 
fession had attracted many others. For these causes, wages 
had risen so high that " farmers, trading-men, and tradesmen " 
only with great difficulty were able to carry on their business. 
The Council expected little relief from Ireland ; for, since the 
establishment of the linen manufacture on that island, there 
had been little emigration. The Silesian war in Europe allowed 
slender hope of help from Germany or England. Under the 
existing conditions, encouragement of slave importation rather 

1 A similar inference may be drawn from information afforded by an 
extract from the minutes of the Friends Yearly Meeting held at Burling 
ton in 1716, given by Mr. J. W. Dally. From this extract we learn that 
certain Friends at a Quarterly Meeting at Shrewsbury had shown great 
solicitude for the discouragement of the importation of slaves, although 
the question had received consideration at the previous Yearly Meeting. 
Dally, Woodbridge and Vicinity, p. 73. 

*In 1739, a bill was passed by the Assembly, but rejected by the Coun 
cil. The Assembly and Council were just then at odds on the subject of 
governmental appropriations. Possibly the strained relations may have 
influenced the action on this bill. See Assem. Jour., Dec. 5, 1738, Feb. 16, 
1739, and N. J. A., XV, 30, 31, 45, 50 (Jour, of Gov. and Council). 

3 The bill imposed a duty of ten pounds upon all slaves imported from 
the West Indies, and five pounds upon all from Africa. N. J. A., VI, 219, 
232, and XV, 351, 384, 385 ( Jour, of Provin. Council) ; Assem. Jour., Oct. 9 to 
Nov. 7, 1744. 



16 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [426 

than prohibition of it, was needed, in the opinion of the 
Council. Again, in 1761, the question of a duty was under 
discussion. The free importation of negroes had then become 
a source of inconvenience. A large number of slaves were 
" landed in this Province every year in order to be run into 
New York and Pennsylvania" where duties had been estab 
lished. Furthermore, New Jersey had become overstocked 
with negroes. In response to two petitions from a large num 
ber of the inhabitants of the Colony, praying for a duty on 
all negro slaves imported, a bill for that purpose was introduced 
into the Assembly. 1 Governor Hardy, however, informed the 
House that his instructions would not permit him to assent to 
the bill, 2 and it was abandoned. At the request of the Assem 
bly, the Governor laid the matter before the Lords of Trade, 
and besought them for some relief. 3 Less than a year later 
Governor Hardy assented to a bill 4 imposing import duties ; 
but insisted upon a suspending clause that the act should not 
not take effect until approved by the King. The Lords of 
Trade, because of technical faults in the bill, did not lay it 
before the King ; but, at the same time, they disclaimed any 
opposition to the policy of an import duty. 5 



Assembly voted that the duties to be provided for in this bill 
should not be so high as to amount to a prohibition (Assent. Jour., Dec. 3, 
1761). 

8 He was forbidden to give his "assent to any act imposing duties upon 
negroes imported into this Province, payable by the importer ; or upon any 
slaves exported, that have not been sold in the Province, and continued 
there for the space of twelve months" (Assem. Jour., Dec. 4, 1761). 

3 N. J. A., IX, 345. Letter from Gov. Hardy to the Lords of Trade. 
Assem. Jour., Nov. 30 to Dec. 8, 1761. 

4 Sept. 25, 1762. The act laid a duty of forty shillings in the Eastern 
and six pounds in the Western division of the Province. The reason for 
the discrimination was that Pennsylvania had a duty of ten pounds, while 
New York charged only two pounds. Allinson, p. 253 ; N. J. A., IX, 383 
(Letter from Gov. Hardy to the Lords of Trade). XVII, 333, 338-385, 
(Jour, of Council) ; Assem. Jour., Sept. 23-25, 1762. 

5 JV. J. A., IX, 447 (Letter from Lords of Trade to Gov. Franklin). 
XVII, 385; see also IX, 444. 



427 J The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 17 

Finally, in 1767, an act limited to two years was passed; 1 
and at its expiration a more comprehensive law followed which 
was in force during the remainder of the Colonial period. 2 
The preamble to the law of 1769 states that the act was 
passed because several of the neighboring Colonies had found 
duties upon the importation of negroes to be beneficial in the 
introduction of sober, industrious foreigners as settlers and 
in promoting a spirit of industry among the inhabitants in 
general, and in order that those persons who chose to purchase 
slaves might "contribute some equitable proportion of the 
public burdens." It was enacted that the purchaser of a slave 
which had not been in the Colony a year, or for which the 
duty had not yet been paid, should pay to the county collector 
the sum of fifteen pounds. 3 

In 1773, several petitions were presented to the Assembly 
praying that the further importation of slaves might be pro 
hibited and that manumission might be made more easy. In 
response, two bills were introduced for the above purposes, 
respectively. The bill regarding manumission, however, seems 
to have aroused such interest as to have overshadowed entirely 
the bill for laying a further duty on the purchasers of slaves ; 
for nothing is heard of the latter beyond its second reading 
and recommitment. 4 

In the early years of the royal Colony, the home govern 
ment is inclined to encourage the importation of slaves. The 
Assembly favors restriction of importation, apparently on 
purely economic grounds, and succeeds in passing a law to 
that end. For nearly fifty years the attempts of the Assembly 
to carry out its policy are defeated, at first by the Council, 



1( This law abandoned the awkward discrimination between East and 
West Jersey of the bill of 1762, and imposed a uniform duty for the whole 
Colony. Allinson, pp. 300 and 353. Whitehead, Perth Amboy, p. 320. 

2 This act was to be in force for ten years. 

3 Any purchase made upon the waters surrounding the Province was con 
sidered a purchase within the Province (Allinson, p. 315). 

Assam. Jour., Nov. 30 to Dec. 13, 1773. 

2 



18 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [428 

then by the opposition of the Governor in accordance with his 
official instructions, then by legal technicality. Finally, the 
resistance is overcome, and a law laying a duty is passed. 
Economic motives are again given as the cause of the legisla 
tion ; but it is probable that the persistence of the Assembly 
was due to the influence of the Friends, 1 among whom a strong 
abolition movement had been going on. 

Late in the year 1785, a petition from a great number of 
the inhabitants of the State was presented to the Assembly, 
praying for legislation to secure the gradual abolition of 
slavery and to prevent the importation of slaves. In response 
to this petition, an act was passed early in 1786 2 inflicting a 
penalty of fifty pounds for bringing slaves into New Jersey 
that had been imported from Africa since 1776, and a penalty 
of twenty pounds for all others imported. 3 Foreigners, and 
others having only a temporary residence, might bring in their 
slaves without duty ; but might not dispose of them in the 
State. The legislation against the slave trade met with in 
the Colonial period was entered upon from considerations of 
economic expediency, if we are to judge from the explana 
tions of the legislators. In the act of 1786 we find legal 
recognition of the ethical side of the question. The pream 
ble declares that the " principles of justice and humanity re 
quire that the barbarous custom of bringing the unoffending 
Africans from their native country and connections into a 
state of slavery" be discountenanced. 4 Further petitions 5 for 
the suppression of the negro trade and the gradual abolition of 

1 See N. J. A., IX, 346. Note by W. Nelson (editor). 
Mr. Nelson thinks that the law of 1769 was caused by the anti-slavery 
movement among the Friends. 

2 Assem. Jour., Nov. 1, 1785, to March 2, 1786. Acts of Assem. 

3 Persons coming to settle in New Jersey must pay duty on such of their 
slaves as had been imported from Africa since 1776 ; but were not charged 
for the others. 

4 Even this act continues, " and sound policy also requires," that importa 
tion be prohibited, in order that white labor may be protected. 

5 Assem. Jour., Nov. 6-10, 1788. 



429] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 19 

slavery, one from the Society of Friends and another from 
certain inhabitants of the town of Princeton, led the legisla 
ture in 1788 to pass a supplement to the law of 1786. This 
supplement 1 carried the non-importation principle still farther 
and inflicted a forfeiture of vessels, appurtenances and cargo 
upon those who fitted out ships for the slave trade. Masters 
of vessels who resisted the persons attempting to seize were 
fined fifty pounds. Not only was the import trade in slaves 
forbidden, but the export trade also. No slave that had 
resided within the State for the year past could be removed 
out of the State with the intention of changing his legal resi 
dence, without his consent, or that of his parents. The pro 
hibition did not apply to persons emigrating to settle in a 
neighboring State and taking their slaves with them. 2 

The abolition law of 1804 and the increasing strength of 
the public sentiment against slavery inclined masters to send 
their negroes out of the State, and a further law forbidding 
exportation was passed in 18 12. 3 Again, in 1818, 4 in answer 
to a memorial from a number of the inhabitants of Middlesex 
County, praying for a more efficient law to prevent the kid 
napping of blacks and carrying them out of the State, an act 
was passed inflicting heavy penalties, both of fine and imprison 
ment for exporting, contrary to law, slaves or servants of 



Acts of 13th Gen. Assem., Assem. Jour., Nov. 6-25, 1788. 

2 These several provisions were virtually re-enacted ten years later in the 
comprehensive slave law of 1798, excepting that the money penalties in 
flicted were, on the whole, made lighter. Paterson, W., Laws of N. J., 
revised 1800, p. 307. 

The law was not so construed by the courts as to prevent an immigrant, 
bringing in slaves among his dependents, from ever and under all circum 
stances disposing of such slaves. An instance in 1807 is recorded, when a 
slave imported conformably to law was sold from prison after two years 
residence within the State. The State vs. Quick, 1st Pennington, p. 393. 

3 36 Ses., 2 sit, Statutes, 15. Assem. Jour., Jan. 10-29, 1812 ; also Nov. 8, 
1809. 

4 Assem. Jour., Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, 1818. 43 Ses., Statutes, 3; also Assem. 
Jour., Jan. 19-30, 1818. 



20 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [430 

color for life or years. 1 Any person who had resided within 
the State for five years, desiring to remove from it perma 
nently might take with him any slave that had been his prop 
erty for the five years preceding the time of removal, pro 
viding that the slave was of full age and had consented to the 
removal. These facts must be proven before the Court of 
Common Pleas, and a license to carry the slave out of the 
State be given by the court. Any master of a vessel receiving 
and carrying out of the State any slave for whose exportation 
a license had not been obtained was liable to a heavy fine 
and imprisonment. An inhabitant of New Jersey going on 
a journey to any part of the United States might take his 
slave with him ; but if the slave was not brought back the 
master became liable to a heavy penalty unless he could prove 
that it had been impossible for the slave to return. These 
provisions mark the final suppression of the slave trade in 
New Jersey. 

The Anti-Slavery Movement. 

We find during the latter part of the Colonial period grow 
ing recognition of the iniquity of human slavery. It is among 
the Quaker inhabitants that this moral development is observed. 
As early as 1696, 2 the Quakers of New Jersey and Pennsyl 
vania voted in their Yearly Meeting to recommend to Friends 
to cease from further importation of slaves. A cautious dis 
approval of slavery is again seen in the action of the Yearly 
Meeting in 1716. Out of consideration for those Friends 
whose consciences made them opposed to slavery, "it is de 
sired," the minutes read, " that Friends generally do as much 
as may be to avoid buying such negroes as shall be hereafter 
brought in, rather than offend any Friends who are against 



1 All the legislation on this subject reached its final and permanent form 
in the compiled Statute of 1820 (44 Ses., Statutes, 74). 

2 Gordon, History of N. J., p. 57. 



431] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 21 

it," ..." yet, this is only caution, not censure." l These sug 
gestions seem to have been received favorably and to have 
been put into practice. At a monthly meeting held at Wood- 
bridge in 1738, it was stated that, not for several years had 
any slaves been imported by a Friend, or had any Friend 
bought negroes that had been imported. 2 

This is the period of the life and work of John Woolman 
(1720-1772), one of the earliest and noblest of those who 
in this country labored for the abolition of human slavery. 
But a poor, unlearned tailor of West-Jersey, his simplicity 
and pure, universal charity gave him far-reaching influence 
among the Friends. These qualities, as shown in his " Jour 
nal/ together with the exquisite style of his writing, have 
called forth the admiration of literary circles. He travelled 
about as a minister among the Friends North and South, 
preaching and urging his associates to do away with slavery. 
In 1754, he published "Some Considerations on the Keep 
ing of Negroes," in which he contends that slaveholding is 
contrary to Scripture. 3 

In 1758, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, largely as the 
result of a moving appeal by Woolman, voted that the Chris 
tian injunction to do to others as we would that others should 
do to us, " should induce Friends who held slaves to set 
them at liberty, making a Christian provision for them. 7 " 4 In 
succeeding years this Meeting expressed itself more and more 
resolutely as opposed to slavery. At one stage in the move 
ment, New Jersey Friends who inclined to free their slaves, 
were deterred from so doing because of the law requiring 
masters manumitting slaves to enter into security to maintain 
the negroes in case they have need of relief. These masters 
compromised the matter by retaining in their possession young 

1 Extract given by Mr. J. W. Dally in his Woodbridge and Vicinity, p. 73. 
JfWA 

3 Whittier, J. G., John Woolman s Journal, Introduction; also N. J. Ar., 
IX, 346. Note by W. Nelson (ed.). 

4 Whittier s Introduction to Woolman s Journal, p. 19. 



22 , A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [432 

negroes and forcing them to work without wages until they 
reached the age of thirty, while at the same time declining to 
hold any slaves for life. 1 The movement proceeded by moder 
ate advances. Mr. Dally states that a report was made to 
the Monthly Meeting at Plainfield in August, 1774, showing 
" that at this time only one negro, fit for freedom within the 
jurisdiction of the Society, remained a slave." 2 Finally, in 
1776, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting directed the subordi 
nate meetings to " deny the right of membership to such as 
persisted in holding their fellowrnen as property." 3 

The persistent effort for the restriction of slave importation 
culminating in the law of 1769 was, no doubt, largely due 
to the growing anti-slavery sentiment among the Friends. 4 
Again, in the fall of 1773, no less than eight petitions were 
presented to the Assembly from inhabitants of six different 
counties, 5 all setting forth the evils arising from human slavery, 
and praying for an alteration of the laws on the subject. The 
reforms desired were chiefly the prohibition of importation 
and increased freedom of manumission. Of the two bills 
introduced for these purposes, the one regulating manumission 
alone excited much interest ; the other was soon dropped. A 
counter-petition against the manumission bill was presented, 
and, in view of the attention called forth, it was decided to 
have the bill printed for the information of the public and 
defer action until the next session ; after which nothing fur 
ther was done. 6 

A petition of strong anti-slavery character, praying the 
Legislature to " pass an act to set free all the slaves now in 
the Colony," was presented to the House in 1775 by fifty-two 



1 Woolman s Journal, p. 224. 2 Dally, Woodbridge, p. 218. 

3 Whittier s Introduction, p. 23. 4 Supra, p. 20. 

5 The counties were Burlington, Monmouth, Cumberland, Essex, Mid 
dlesex and Hunterdon. 

Mssero. Jour., Nov. 19, 1773, to Feb. 16, 1774; also Jan. 28 to Feb. 7, 
1775. 



433] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 23 

inhabitants of Chesterfield in Burlington County. 1 In 1778, 
Governor Livingston asked the Assembly to make provision 
for the manumision of the slaves. The House thought that 
the times were too critical for the discussion of such a measure, 
and requested that the message be withdrawn. The Governor 
reluctantly consented, yet at the same time stating that he was 
determined, as far as his influence extended, "to push the 
matter till it is effected, being convinced that the practice is 
utterly inconsistent with the principles of Christianity and 
humanity ; and in Americans who have almost idolized liberty, 
peculiarly odious and disgraceful." 

The New Jersey State Constitution, adopted in 1776, 3 con 
tained no Bill of Rights. There was no provision ascribing 
natural rights to all persons. Although there is little doubt 
that the New Jersey courts would have been wholly opposed 
to construing such a provision as abolishing slavery ; yet even 
if the courts had been so inclined, as happened in Massachu 
setts, 4 there was no opportunity for such a decision. The 
common law of England and the former statute law of the 
Colony were declared in force. 

A society for promoting the abolition of slavery was formed 
in New Jersey as early as 1786. 5 A constitution adopted at 
Burlington in 1793 6 provides for an annual meeting of mem 
bers from the whole State and for county meetings half-yearly. 
The preamble, after mentioning " life, liberty and the pursuit 
of happiness" as "universal rights of men," concludes with 
the statement, " we abhor that inconsiderate, illiberal, and 



1 Assem. Jour., Nov. 20, 1775. 

2 Bancroft, Hist, of U. &, Vol. V., p. 411. 

s Wilson, Acts of Slate of N. J. (1776-1783) ; also Poore s Collection. 

4 Winchendon vs. Hatfield, 4th Mass. Eep., 123. 

" Williams, Hist, of Negro Mace in America, p. 20. 

6 N. J. Hist. Soc. Pamphlets, Vol. VI. 

The constitution adopted at Trenton in 1786 was frequently amended in 
succeeding years. The one agreed upon at Burlington in 1793 must have 
had some permanence, as it was printed and is now accessible. 



24 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [434 

interested policy which withholds those rights from an unfor 
tunate and degraded class of our fellow creatures." The 
society was active and contained many able men. It was 
influential in obtaining the passage of laws for the gradual 
abolition of slavery, 1 and in securing before the courts the 
protection to slaves provided for in the statutes. 2 Its mem 
bership, however, in the early part of the present century, was 
not large. The president stated in 1804 that probably not 
more than 150 persons throughout the State were in active 
association with the society. The aims of the society at this 
period were moderate. The president, in an address in 1804, 
declared that it was not " to be wished, much less expected, 
that sudden and general emancipation should take place." He 
thought that the true policy was to " steadily pursue the best 
means of lessening, and by temperate steps, of finally extin 
guishing the evil." 3 



l Assem. Jour., Jan. 28, 1794, records a "Petition from Joseph Bloornfield, 
styling himself President of a Society for promoting the Abolition of 
Slavery," praying that some measures may be established by law to pro 
mote the abolition of slavery." See also Nov. 22, 1802. 

2 The supreme court would not require persons acting with this end, to 
pay costs. In The State vs. Frees, the court refused to compel the Salem 
Abolition Society, the prosecutor of the writ of habeas corpus for the negroes 
in the case, to pay costs. The Chief Justice said that in no case would 
such prosecutors be compelled to pay costs ; that " it was a laudable and 
humane thing in any man or set of men to bring up the claims of those 
unfortunate people before the court f or consideration." N. J. Law Rep., I, 
299 (Coxe). 

3 There were local societies also. In 1802 the "Trenton Association for 
promoting the Abolition of Slavery " published its constitution, in order to 
evince to the public "that no improper or impertinent motives produced 
our association; and that no illegal, unjust or dishonorable means will be 
employed to accomplish our objects." 

The members, convinced of the iniquity of personal slavery, had asso 
ciated themselves together to endeavor by all constitutional and lawful 
means to ameliorate, as far as lay within their power, the situation of slaves, 
" to encourage and promote the gradual abolition of slavery," " and to im 
prove the condition of and afford all reasonable protection and assistance 
to the blacks, and other people of color, who may be among us." 



435] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 25 

A petition in 1785, praying for the gradual abolition of 
slavery and the suppression of further importation of slaves, 
from a great number of the inhabitants of the State, resulted 
in the law of 1786 against importation and providing for manu 
mission without security. This law is the first that recog 
nizes that any question of ethics is involved in the holding of 
slaves. 1 Similar petitions to the above, from the Society of 
Friends and from citizens of Princeton, led two years later to 
the supplementary law of 1788 enacting very stringent meas 
ures for the overthrow of the slave trade. 2 A petition praying 
for the abolition of slavery, from certain inhabitants of Essex 
and Morris counties, was received in the Assembly in 1790, 
and referred to a committee. The committee reported to the 
effect that the position of the slaves under the existing laws 
was very satisfactory ; that, although it might be thought de 
sirable to pass a law making slaves born in the future free at 
a certain age, for example, twenty-eight years, yet that, " from 
the state of society among us, the prevalence and progress of 
the principles of universal liberty, there is little reason to 
think there will be any slaves at all among us twenty-eight 
years hence, and that experience seems to show that precipita 
tion in the matter may do more hurt than good, not only to 
the citizens of the State in general, but the slaves themselves." 3 

It was the " duty of the Acting Committee to carry into effect the resolves 
of the Association," " to give attention to all objects entitled to relief by the 
laws of the land," " to state their cases, by themselves or counsel, before the 
proper judicatures," etc. 

Further, a Standing Committee of the Association had the following duties: 

1. To superintend the morals and general conduct of the free blacks, and 
to give advice, instruction, protection and other friendly offices. 

2. To superintend the instruction of children, and encourage them to 
good morals and habits of temperance and industry. 

3. To place out children as apprentices. 

4. To procure employment for men and women who are able to work, 
and to encourage them to bind themselves out to a trade. ("True American," 
March 2, 1802.) 

1 Supra, p. 18. * Supra, pp. 18 and 19. 

3 Assem. Jour., May 24 and 26, 1790. 



26 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [436 

Notwithstanding the alluring optimism of the Assembly s 
committee anti-slavery petitions * continued to be presented to 
the House, and provisions to establish a system of gradual 
abolition were frequently before that body in the following 
years. 2 In the passage of the general slave law of 1798, a 
provision ordaining that all children born to slaves in the 
future should be free on attaining the age of twenty-eight 
years failed only by a very narrow majority. 

In the year 1804, an act for the gradual abolition of slavery 
within the State was passed after the bill had run through two 
sessions of the legislature. 3 Every child born of a slave after 
the fourth of July of that year was to be free, but should 
remain the servant of the owner of the mother, as if bound 
out by the overseers of the poor, until the age of twenty-five 
years, if a male, and twenty-one years, if a female. The right 
to the services of such negro child was perfectly clear and free. 
It was assignable or transferable. 4 One person might be the 
owner of the mother and another have gained the right to the 
services of the child. Masters were compelled to file with the 
county clerk a certificate of the birth of every child of a slave. 5 
This certificate was kept for future evidence of the age of the 
child. The owner of the mother must maintain the child for 
one year; after that period he might, by giving due notice, 

l Assem. Jour., Oct. 24, Nov. 21, 1792; Jan. 28, Nov. 10, 1794. 
*Assem. Jour., Oct. 25, 1792 ; May 21, 1793; Feb. 4, 1794; Feb. 14, 1797 ; 
Jan. 19, March 8, 1798. 

3 28 Ses., 2 sit., Statutes 251. Here, again, the bill was introduced in an 
swer to a memorial from the New Jersey Abolition Society. The bill was 
published for the general information of the people before it was finally 
acted upon. Assem. Jour., Nov. 22, 1802 to Feb. 15, 1804. 

4 This point was established by the Supreme Court in 1827. The Chief 
Justice declared that services of this character were a " species of property," 
and were "transferred from one citizen to another like other personal 
property." Ogden vs. Price, N. J. Law Rep., IX, 211-217 (4th Halsted). 

6 The book Black Births of Bergen County, contains the certificates for 
that county. The descriptions are generally very brief, frequently giving 
nothing more than the name of the child. It seems remarkable that such 
records should have been sufficient to prove a man s freedom. 



437] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 27 

abandon it. Every negro child thus abandoned, like other 
poor children, was to be regarded as a pauper of the township 
or county, and be bound out to service by the overseers of the 
poor. This provision, allowing masters to refuse to maintain 
children born to their slaves, was the source of considerable 
fraud upon the treasury, and was the cause of many supple 
ments and amendments l to the law of 1804 in succeeding 
years. Finally, seven years later the provision was repealed, 2 
the reason given being " it appears that large sums of money 
have been drawn from the treasury by citizens of the State for 
maintaining abandoned black children, and that in some in 
stances the money drawn for their maintenance amounts to 
more than they would have brought if sold for life." 3 

In 1844, a new constitution was adopted in New Jersey. 4 
The first article was in the nature of a Bill of Rights, and the 
first section read as follows : " All men are by nature free and 
independent, and have certain natural and inalienable rights, 
among which are those of enjoying and defending life and 
liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of 
pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness." Some believed 
that this section abolished both slavery and that form of invol 
untary servitude in which children of slaves were held by the 



G, 1808, 1809. 30 Ses., 2 sit., Statutes, 668; 33 Ses., 1 sit, Statutes, 
112 ; 34 Ses., 1 sit., Statutes, 200. 

1811. 35 Ses., 2 sit., Statutes, 313. This legislation also reaches its final 
form in the compiled law of 1820. 44 Ses., Statutes, 74. 

3 In 1806, the State Treasurer requested the "orders of the legislature 
with respect to payments demanded of him for supporting black children." 
His report the next year shows disbursements "for abandoned blacks" 
amounting to half as much as all other disbursements whatever. In 1809, 
the expenditure for abandoned blacks amounted to two-thirds of all other 
expenditure ; the drafts upon the treasury for the support of blacks from 
the County of Bergeu alone amounting to $7,033, out of a total State ex 
penditure for blacks of $12,570. The Treasurer called the attention of the 
Assembly to these latter facts, and the House directed him " to suspend all 
further payments in all doubtful cases for the support of abandoned blacks." 
Asaem. Jour., Nov. 5, 1806 ; Nov. 2-21, 1809 ; also Treas. Rep., Assem. Jour., 
Nov. 13, 1807 ; Nov. 14, 1808 ; Nov. 8, 1809. 

"Poore s Collection, p. 1314. 



28 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [438 

law of 1820. The ground for this belief was, doubtless, that 
remarkably liberal interpretation of a similar provision in the 
Massachusetts constitution of 1780, by which the Massachu 
setts courts decided slavery to have been abolished by that 
constitution. 1 The matter came up for adjudication before the 
New Jersey supreme court in 1845; 2 but that court did not 
follow the Massachusetts precedent. The court declared the 
section in question was a " general proposition, that men in 
their social state are free to adopt their own form of govern 
ment and enact their own laws," " that in framing their laws, 
they have a right to consult their safety and happiness, whether 
in the protection of life and liberty, or the acquisition of 
property. The provision was not designed, the Justice said, 
to apply to " man in his private, individual or domestic capac 
ity; or to define his individual rights or interfere with his 
domestic relations, or his individual condition." The court then 
held that the constitution of 1 844 had not abolished slavery 
or affected the slave laws existing at the time of its adoption. 3 
Slavery was abolished by statute in New Jersey in the year 
1846. 4 This action did not result in complete emancipation of 
the slaves. The abolition law simply substituted apprentice 
ship in place of slavery. By virtue of the act, and without 
the execution of any instrument of manumission, every slave 
became an apprentice, bound to service to his present owner, 
executors, or administrators, until discharged therefrom. How 
similar were the two conditions 5 is shown when we find many 

1 Mr. Moore says that this provision of the constitution of 1780 was " only 
a new edition of the glittering and sounding generalities which prefaced 
the Body of Liberties in 1641 ; " yet the earlier instrument was never held 
to have abolished slavery. Moore, G. H., Notes on the History and Slavery 
in Massachusetts, p. 12. 

2 The State vs. Post. The State vs. Van Buren. N. J. Law Rep., XX. 
368-386 (Spencer). 

3 The case was carried up into the Court of Errors and Appeals, and the 
decision of the Supreme Court was confirmed. N. J. Law Rep., XXI, 699. 

4 Revised Statutes, 382. 

5 TheU. S. Census of 1850 reports 236 slaves in New Jersey, and the 
Census of 1860 reports 18 slaves. Evidently these must have been legally 
apprentices for life. 



439] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 29 

old provisions regarding slaves reproduced and reenacted for 
the government of the new apprentices created by the statute. 
Forms are established according to which apprentices may be 
legally discharged. 1 Penalties for enticing apprentices away 
or harboring them, or for misusing them, are provided. Ap 
prentices are not to be carried out of the State, or sold to a 
non-resident. Yet this change of status represented a real 
improvement in the condition of the negro servant for life or 
years. The sale of an apprentice must be in writing and with 
the consent of the apprentice, expressed by his signature. An 
apprentice having a complaint against his master was granted 
the same remedy as that previously provided by law for 
apprentices and servants. Children born to negro apprentices 
were to be absolutely free from birth, and not subject to any 
manner of service whatsoever. They must be supported by the 
master until they attained the age of six years, after which they 
were to be bound out to service by the overseers of the poor. 
New Jersey, as a State, showed also at times considerable 
interest in slavery in its larger aspect, as it affected general 
conditions in the United States. In January, 1820, the legis 
lature passed resolutions against the admission of Missouri as 
a slave state. 2 Four years later resolutions were passed affirm 
ing, first, that in the opinion of the legislature, " a system of 
foreign colonization" represented a feasible plan by which 
might be effected " the entire emancipation of the slaves in 
our country ; " second, that such an arrangement made con 
venient provision for the free blacks ; third, that the evil of 
slavery being a national one a the duties and burdens of 
removing it " ought to be borne by the people and States of 
the Union. Copies of these resolutions were forwarded to 
the Governors of the several States, with the request that 
they lay the same before their respective legislatures, and to 
the New Jersey Senators and Representatives in Congress 

*A new and interesting provision is that the apprentice shall not be 
discharged unless he desires to be. 
*Assem. Jour., Jan. 13 to 19, 1820. 



30 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [440 

asking their cooperation. 1 In 1847, the legislature resolved 2 
that the Senators and Representatives in Congress from New 
Jersey be requested to use their best efforts to secure the exclu 
sion forever of slavery or involuntary servitude from any 
territory thereafter to be annexed to the United States, except 
as a punishment for crime. Two years later similar resolu 
tions 3 were passed condemning the further extension of slavery, 
and urging the speedy abolition of the slave trade within the 
District of Columbia. 

The Extent of Slavery. 

The use of slave labor was quite general in New Jersey 
during the period of the royal governors. From quotations 
from the census reports, given by Mr. Gordon, 4 we learn that 
there were 3,981 slaves in the Province in 1737, 4,606 slaves 
in 1745, and 11,423 in 1790. 5 Though the number of slaves 
was increasing constantly during this period, that increase did 
not keep pace with the growth of population. Slaves con 
stituted 8.4 per cent, of the population in 1737, 7.5 per cent, 
in 1745, and 6.2 per cent, in 1790. In Perth Amboy, the 
port of entry for the eastern division of the Province, slaves 
were especially numerous. According to Mr. Whitehead, it 



l Assem. Jour., Nov. 23 to Dec. 29, 1824, and 49 Ses., Statutes, 191. 

2 71 Leg., 3 Ses., Statutes, 188. 3 73 Leg., 5 Ses., Statutes, 334. 

4 Gordon, T. F., Gazetteer of N. J., p. 29. 

* Blake, Ancient and Modern Slavery, p. 388, says that in 1776 New Jersey 
contained 7,600 slaves. No authority for the statement is given. As the 
U. S. Census of 1790 reports 11,423 slaves in New Jersey, if Mr. Blake s 
figures are correct, there must have been an increase of 3,823 slaves between 
1776 and 1790. That there was such a large increase seems to me very 
improbable, when we consider, first, that such an increase would be at a 
rate double that observed in the next decade; second, that the years of 
the war presumably were not yars when the number of slaves increased 
rapidly. If the slave population increased at a uniform rate from 1745 to 
1790 there would have been more than nine thousand slaves in the Colony 
in 1776. 



441] The Increase and Decline of Slavery. 31 

was reported that in 1776 there was in the town only one 
house whose inmates were " served by hired free white domes 
tics." * In other places the labor of families was also very com 
monly performed by slaves. 

The maximum slave population in New Jersey given by 
the U S. Census Reports is 12,422 in the year 1800. The 
next census shows a decrease to 10,851, in consequence of the 
abolition law of 1804. The number of slaves reported rapidly 
diminishes with each succeeding census until the last record in 
1860 shows but eighteen slaves 2 in the State. At the begin- 
ing of the present century New Jersey had a larger slave 
population than any other State north of Maryland, except 
New York. 3 The coast counties from Sandy Hook to the 
northern boundary, and the Raritan Valley, were the regions 
containing the great majority of the slaves. The three great 
Quaker counties of Burlington, Gloucester, and Salem, con 
taining 23 per cent, of the total State population, contained 
less than 3 per cent, of the slave population. The effect of 
the eighteenth century abolition agitation among the Friends 
is here clearly shown. 4 

1 Whitehead, Perth Amboy, p. 318. 

2 These must have been legally " apprentices." 

3 U. S. Census, 1800. Mr. Mellick notices this fact, and thinks that it 
was due to the large Dutch and German population. He says that the 
greatest number of slaves were to be found in the counties where the Dutch 
and Germans predominated. Story of an Old Farm, pp. 220-228. 

4 Population of New Jersey : 

Vanv Total e; Per Cent. 

^ eai Population. Slaves ofSlaves. 

1737 47,402 3,981 8.4 (Gordon.) 

1745 61,383 4,606 7.5 " 

1790 184,139 11,423 6.2 (U. S. Census.) 

1800 211,949 12,422 5.8 

1810 245,555 * 10,851 4.4 " 

1820 277,575 7,557 2.7 

1830 320,823 2,254 .7 " 

1840 373,306 674 .18 " 

1850 489,555 236* .048 

1860 672,035 18* .0026 
* Legally " apprentices " for life. 



CHAPTER II. 
THE GOVERNMENT OF SLAVES. 

Regulations bearing upon the faults and misdemeanors to 
which slaves are peculiarly liable first appear in New Jersey 
legislation in laws for the correction of truancy on the part of 
slaves and servants. As early as 1675, 1 under the Proprietary 
government, it was enacted that persons who assist in the 
transportation of a slave shall be liable to a penalty of five 
pounds and must make good to the owner any costs that he 
may have sustained. Those who entertain or harbor any slave 
known to be absent from his master without permission must 
pay to the owner " ten shillings for every day s entertainment 
and concealment." 2 The Indians by their reception of negroes 
appear to have caused the settlers some annoyance. We read 
in the Journal of the Governor and Council that, in 1682, it 
was " agreed and ordered that a message be sent to the Indian 
sachems to confer with them about their entertainment of 
negro servants." 3 Again, in 1694, the "countenance, harbor 
ing and entertaining of slaves by many of the inhabitants " 

1 Learning and Spicer, p. 109. 

2 These provisions were virtually reenacted in a law for East Jersey, 
"against fugitive servants and entertainers of them," in 1682, just after 
that Province came under the government of the twenty-four Proprietors. 
L. and S., p. 238 ; N. J. Ar., XIII, 31, 33 and 157. In 1683, in West Jersey, 
in order to prevent servants from running away from their masters, magis 
trates and other inhabitants were directed to require from all suspicious 
travellers, a certificate showing that they were not fugitives, L. and S., p. 
477. 

3 JV. J. Ar., XIII, 22. 
32 



443] The Government of Slaves. 33 

calls for heavier penalties. By a law of that year such enter 
tainment, if it extends to as much as two hours, renders the 
offender liable to a penalty of twenty shillings, and a propor 
tional sum for a longer time. 1 Furthermore, any person may 
apprehend as a runaway any slave found " five miles from his 
owner s habitation " without a certificate of his owner s per 
mission ; and for this service the master must give recompense 
in money at a prescribed rate. 2 

During the period of the royal governors there were two 
new regulations bearing on the recovery of fugitives. Any 
slave from another Province travelling without a license, or 
not known to be on his master s business, was to be taken up 
and whipped ; and should remain in prison until the costs of 
apprehending him had been paid by his owner. 3 Persons from 
a neighboring Colony suspected of being fugitives must produce 
a pass from a justice, " signifying that they are free persons," 
otherwise to be imprisoned until demanded. 4 

Under the State laws more stringent regulations referring 
to fugitives are found. By the law of 1786 the freedom of 
movement of negroes was very closely restricted. Negroes 
manumitted in other States were not allowed to travel in 
New Jersey. Any person who employed them, concealed 
them, or suffered them to reside or land within the State was 
liable to a penalty of five pounds per week. Free negroes of 
New Jersey were not to travel beyond their township or county 
without an official certificate of their freedom. 5 This severity 
was modified somewhat by the law of 1798. A free negro 
from another State might now travel in New Jersey provided 
that he produced a certificate signed by two Justices of the 



1 That this entertainment of negroes was a real evil in the later Colonial 
period is shown by an advertisement for a fugitive slave in 1750, which 
reads : " and whereas he has been harboured once before, whoever informs 
who harbours him shall have ten pounds reward." N. J. Ar., XII, 644. 

2 L. and S., p. 340; N. J. Ar., XIII, 205. 

3 Act for regulating of slaves, 1714; Nevill, I, 18. 

4 1714. Nevill, I, 24. 6 Acts of General Assembly. 

3 



34 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [444 

Peace of his State showing his freedom. 1 That all black men 
should be regarded as slaves until evidence appeared to the 
contrary, was held by the Supreme Court even as late as 1826. 2 
Yet by the U. S. Census of 1820, New Jersey contained nearly 
twice as many free negroes as slaves. The court receded from 
this position ten years later, the injustice of the ruling having 
become very obvious owing to the small proportion which 
slaves bore to the colored population. 3 

The ferries from New Jersey to New York constituted 
routes by which fugitive slaves occasionally escaped. On July 
4, 1818, a slave mingling in the holiday crowd gained a pas 
sage on the ferry-boat running from Elizabeth-Town to New 
York, and, after reaching the latter place, escaped. The 
master of the slave sued the owner of the ferry-boat and 
obtained damages for the loss of the slave. 4 Seven years later 
there is recorded a similar escape on a steamboat running 
from Perth Amboy to New York. 5 

The apprehension of fugitive slaves from other States was 
provided for with great care by a law of 1826. 6 On the proper 
application 7 by the master, a fugitive might be arrested by the 
sheriff and brought before a judge of the inferior Court of 
Common Pleas. If the judge deemed that there was enough 
proof he was to give the claimant a certificate, which should 
be sufficient warrant for the removal of the fugitive from the 



1 Any person harboring, concealing or employing any negro without such 
a certificate was liable to a fine of $12 for every week of such action. 
Paterson, p. 307. 

2 Fox vs. Lambson, N. J. Law Rep., VIII, 339-349 (3rd Halsted). This 
principle was authoritatively established, in 1821, by the case of Gibbons 
vs. Morse carried up to the court of errors and appeals, N. J. Law Rep., 
VII, 305-327 (2nd Halsted) ; and reaffirmed in Fox vs. Lambson. 

3 Stoutenborough vs. Haviland, N. J. Law Rep., XV, 266-269 (3rd Green). 

4 Gibbons vs. Morse. 

6 Cutter vs. Moore, N. J. Law Rep., VIII, 270-278 (3rd Halsted). 

6 51 Ses., Statutes, 90. 

7 Application by the master, personally or by attorney, to any judge of 
any inferior Court of Common Pleas or Justice of the Peace. 



445] The Government of Slaves. 35 

State. A case falling under this law, and carried up to the 
Supreme Court in 1826, led to a debate in that court which 
called in question the justice of the law. The judges con 
curred in discharging the prisoner, a negro claimed as a 
runaway slave from Maryland; but showed great disagree 
ment in the discussion^ of the merits of the case. Chief 
Justice Hornblower held that questions of fact were involved, 
such as, was the negro lawfully held to service in the State 
from which he came? has he fled into this State? has the 
claimant any right to his services ? Here were facts which 
must be judicially determined, "facts which involve the 
dearest rights of a human being." These facts the Justice 
believed should not " be tried and definitely sealed in a sum 
mary manner, and without the verdict of a jury." ] The next 
year, probably as the result of the discussion in the Supreme 
Court, the fugitive slave law was amended. 2 A judge having 
a fugitive brought before him must appoint a certain time 
and place for the trial of the case, and associate with him two 
other judges. Either party might demand trial by jury. 3 

Other Police Regulations. 

Besides the provisions for the correction of truancy, various 
other police regulations were established from time to time. 
The early inhabitants of East Jersey appear to have been 
much troubled by the thievishness of their slaves. The com 
plaint was that slaves stole from their masters and others and 
then sold the stolen goods at some distance away. In the 
belief that a market was necessary to make pilfering worth 
while, all traffic whatever with slaves was forbidden in 1682, 



1 The State vs. Sheriff of Burlington. Hurd, Law of Freedom and Bondage, 
II, 64-67. Owing to disagreement among the judges as to the proper extent 
of the discussion, the case was not given in the State Reports. 

2 61 Ses., 2 sit., Statutes, 134. 

3 In the revision of 1847 virtually the same law was approved and so 
stood as the fugitive slave act of the State. Revision of 1847, p. 567. 



36 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [446 

under heavy penalties. 1 If any slave were found offering 
goods for sale without the permission of his master it was the 
duty of the person to whom the article was offered to take up 
and whip the slave, for which service the master must pay a 
reward of half a crown. 2 Later, in the same Province, we 
read that slaves allowed to hunt with dog and gun killed 
swine under pretence of hunting. In 1694, slaves were pro 
hibited from carrying any " gun or pistol/ and from taking 
any dog with them into the " woods or plantations," unless 
accompanied by the master or his representative. 3 If any 
person "lend, give or hire out" a pistol or gun to a slave, 
that person must forfeit the gun or twenty shillings to the 
owner of the slave. 4 In West Jersey, in the Proprietary 
period, the selling of rum to negroes was found to be produc 
tive of disorder. Any person " convicted of selling or giving 
of rum, or any manner of strong liquor, either to negro or 
Indian," except the stimulant be given in relief of real physical 
distress, becomes liable to a penalty of five pounds by a law of 
1685. As the offense was one difficult of detection, "one 
creditable witness or a probable circumstance " was accounted 
" sufficient evidence," unless the accused gave his " oath or 
solemn declaration that he has not transgressed the law. 7 5 

Kegulations against harboring, trading with, or selling rum 
to slaves were reenacted during the period of the royal Gov 
ernors, and in the State legislation. 6 Others were added, such 
as : the prohibition of large or disorderly meetings of slaves, 7 

Similar penalties are found in the slave law of 1714, and thus held 
throughout the Colonial period. 

2 L. and S., 254 ; N. J. Ar., XIII, 82. Law passed at Elizabeth-Town. 

3 Act passed at Perth Amboy. L. and S., 340 ; N. J. Ar., XIII, 205. 

4 By the same law, no inhabitant should allow his slave to keep swine 
marked with another brand than the owner s. This provision was probably 
intended to prevent dishonesty on the part of masters. 

s Act passed at Burlington. L. and S., 512. 

6 Laws of 1714, 1738, 1751 and 1798. Nevill, I, 242 ; Allison, 191 ; Pater- 
son, 307. 

7 Laws of 1751 and 1798. 



447] The Government of Slaves. 37 

the rule that all slaves must be at home after a certain hour 
at night, 1 that slaves shall not go hunting or carry a gun on 
Sunday, 2 that slaves shall not set a steel trap above a specified 
weight, 3 that slaves shall not be permitted to beg. 4 For the 
correction of the smaller faults and misdeeds there was the 
workhouse. A law of 1754 provided that in the borough of 
Elizabeth, servants and slaves accused of " any misdemeanor 
or rude or disorderly behavior/ 7 being brought before the 
Mayor, may be " committed to the workhouse to hard labor " 
and receive corporal punishment not exceeding thirty stripes. 5 
In 1799 the system was established throughout the State. 
" Any stubborn, disobedient, rude or intemperate slave or male 
servant " might be committed to the workhouse to endure 
confinement and labor at the discretion of a Justice of the 
Peace. The master paid the cost of maintenance of the slave 
while so confined. 6 

The Criminal Law for Slaves. 

During nearly the whole period of the Proprietary Colony 
the same general criminal laws governed both slaves and free 
men. The bond as well as the free were tried in the ordinary 
courts, for crimes and misdemeanors. In 1*695 a change was 
made. Special courts were provided for the trial of slaves 



1 Nine o clock by law of 1751, ten o clock by law of 1798. 

2 Laws of 1751 and 1798. These laws, however, did not prevent a negro 
or slave from going to any place of worship, or from burying the dead, or 
from doing any other reasonable act, with his master s consent. 

3 In 1760 an " Act to regulate the size of traps to be hereafter set in this 
Colony " directed that any slave setting a steel trap above a specified weight 
" shall be whipped with thirty lashes and committed until the cost is paid." 
N. J. Statutes, p. 61. 

4 The law of 1798 imposed a penalty of $8 for permitting slaves to beg, 
one-half to be paid to the overseers of the poor and one-half to the person 
who prosecuted. 

5 Nevill, II, 25, 29. 

6 An act for the establishment of workhouses in the several counties of 
this State. Paterson, 379. 



38 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [448 

and an exceptional form of punishment was prescribed for 
slave offenders. 1 Slaves accused of a felony or murder were 
to have trial by jury before three Justices 2 of the Peace of the 
county, and on conviction were to receive, in general, the 
punishments t( appointed for such crimes." 3 Under the royal 
governors, the law of 1714 adhered to the principle of special 
courts for slaves. Ordinarily the trials of slaves for capital 
offences were to be before three or more Justices of the Peace 
and five principal freeholders of the county ; but the master 
might demand trial by jury. 4 In 1768 the use of special 
courts was discontinued, and slaves accused of capital offences 
were once more tried in the ordinary courts 5 as freemen were. 
The reason given for this return to earlier practice was that 
the method by special courts had " on experience been found 
inconvenient." 6 Throughout the period of the royal gov 
ernors special forms of punishment were provided for slaves. 
Not until 1788, under the State government, was it enacted 
that all criminal offences of negroes should be punished in 
the same manner as the criminal offences of other inhabitants 
of the State were. 7 Even under the State legislation the pro 
visions allowing corporal punishment or transportation to be 
substituted in some cases for the usual punishment, at the 
discretion of the court, violated somewhat the principle of 
uniformity of procedure. 

As might be expected from the grade of civilization devel 
oped in the various Colonies and the accompanying stringent 



1 Act passed at Perth Amboy, 1695. L. and S., 357. 

2 One being of the quorum. 

3 The special punishment provided was, that slaves convicted of stealing 
should receive corporal punishment, not exceeding forty stripes, the master 
making good the amount stolen. 

*Allinson, 18. 

5 The courts mentioned were the Supreme Court, Court of Oyer and 
Terminer and General Gaol Delivery, and Court of General Quarter Ses 
sions of the Peace. 

6 Allinson, 307. 7 Acts of 1 3th General Assembly. 



449] The Government of Slaves. 39 

criminal code, the punishments provided for slaves in New 
Jersey throughout the Colonial period were severe and often 
cruel. 1 As early as 1704 the Lords of Trade recommended to 
the Queen the repeal of an act lately passed by the Assembly 
because one clause inflicted inhuman penalties upon negroes. 2 
By the slave law of 1714 3 any "negro, Indian or mulatto 
slave" murdering or attempting the death of any freeman, 
wilfully murdering any slave, committing arson, "rape on 
any free subject," or mutilation of any free person, is to suffer 
the penalty of death. 4 The manner of death, however, is not 
specified, but is to be such as the "aggravation or enormity of 
their crimes" (in the judgment of the justices and freeholders 
trying the case) "shall merit and require." The testimony of 
slaves was admitted in the trials. 5 When a slave was executed, 
the owner received for a negro man thirty pounds and for a 



1 That in the rough, frontier conditions of the Proprietary Colony the 
punishments were sometimes cruel, although slaves were tried in the ordi 
nary courts, is evident from an instance given by Mr. Mellick. He says 
that in 1694 a Justice presiding at the Monmouth court of sessions, sen 
tenced a negro convicted of murder to suffer as follows : " Thy hand shall 
be cut off and burned before thine eyes. Then thou shalt be hanged up by 
the neck until thou art dead, dead, dead ; then thy body shall be cut down 
and burned to ashes in a fire, and so the Lord have mercy on thy soul, 
Csesar" (Story of an Old Farm, p. 225). 

*N. J. Ar., Ill, 473, Eepresentation of Lords of Trade to the Queen. 
Allinson, p. 5. 

3 Nevill, I, 18; Allinson, 18. 

In the Journal of the Governor and Council, N. J. Ar., XIII, 439, 440, 
448, we find record that the Council in 1710 passed "An Act for deterring 
negroes and other slaves from committing murder and other notorious 
offenses within this Colony." The provisions are not given. 

4 Poisoning was sometimes practiced by slaves in the Colonial period. In 
1738 two negroes, found guilty of destroying sundry persons by poison, were 
executed at Burlington. At Hackensack, in 1744, a negro was executed for 
poisoning three negro women and a horse. N. J. Ar., XI, 523, 537 ; XII, 223. 

5 At the trial of the negro man "Harry" in Bergen County, 1731, who 
was hung for threatening the life of his master and poisoning the slave 
" Sepio," many negroes were summoned as witnesses. Bergen Co., " Liber 
A," p. 24. 



40 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [450 

woman twenty pounds, the money being raised by a poll tax 
upon all the slaves in the county above fourteen years of age 
and under fifty. 1 This payment made good to the master a 
loss of property due to no fault of his. Further, it left him 
no inducement to transport the slave out of the Province and 
thus encourage other negroes to crime by allowing the hope 
that punishment might be escaped. In the case of slaves 
attempting rape, or assaulting a free Christian, any two jus 
tices of the peace were authorized to inflict such corporal 
punishment, not extending to life or limb, as they might see 
fit. Slaves stealing under the value of five shillings were to 
be whipped with thirty stripes ; if above five shillings, with 
forty stripes. 2 

A form of execution frequently chosen was burning at the 
stake. At Perth Amboy, in 1 730, a negro was burnt for the 
murder of an itinerant tailor. 3 In Bergen County, in 1735, 
the slave "Jack" was burnt. He had beaten his master, 
several times had threatened to murder his master and the 
son of his master and to burn down his master s house, and 
when arrested tried to kill himself. 4 In Somerset County, in 
1739, a negro was burnt for brutally murdering a child, 
attempting to murder the wife of his overseer, and setting fire 
to his master s barn. 5 In 1741 two negroes were burnt for 

1 Bergen County Quarter Sessions in 1768 ordered that Hendrieck Chris 
tian Zabriskie should have thirty pounds for his negro named Harry, lately 
executed for the murder of Claas Toers. The money was collected from the 
slave-owners of the county, upon the basis of an assessment of ten pence per 
head upon all slaves in the county. Bergen Co. Quar. Sess., January 27, 1768. 

2 In Hackensack in 1769, a slave pleading guilty to the charge of steal 
ing, was whipped at the public whipping-post and before the houses of two 
prominent citizens, with thirty-nine lashes on each of three days, being 
taken from place to place tied to a cart s tail. Bergen Co. Quar. Sess., 
October 24, 1769. 

3 Am. Wk. Mercury, Jan. 14-20, 1729 (1730) ; (N. J. Ar., XI, 201). 

4 Bergen County, " Liber A," p. 36. 

* Boston Wk. News-Letter, Jan. 18-25, 1739 (N. J. Ar., XI, 558). In the 
same county, five years later, a negro was burnt for ravishing a white child. 
Pa. Gazette, Dec. 14, 1744 (N. J. Ar., XII, 244). 



451] The Government of Slaves. 41 

setting on fire several barns in the neighborhood of Hacken- 
sack. 1 Mr. Whitehead says that the New York " Negro Plot " 
of 1741 caused many executions by burning as well as by 
hanging in New Jersey. He describes a case ten years later, 
near Perth Amboy, when all the negroes of the neighborhood 
were compelled to witness the execution. 2 

The criminal law of 1768, which supplanted the provisions 
relating to capital offences in the act of 1714, represents an 
increase of severity. It appointed the penalty of death for 
the crimes made capital under the earlier law, and for others 
as well. A slave convicted of manslaughter, or of stealing 
any sum of money above the value of five pounds, or of com 
mitting any other felony or burglary, was to suffer death or 
such other pains and penalties as the justices might think 
proper to inflict. In this law, as before, there was no specifi 
cation as to the manner in which death might be inflicted. 3 

Under the early State legislation the severe and peculiar 
forms of punishment provided for slaves by the Colonial laws 
disappeared. In 1788, it was enacted that all criminal offences 
of negroes, whether slaves or freemen, should be " enquired 
of, adjudged, corrected and punished in like manner as the 
criminal offences of the other inhabitants of this State are." 4 
This principle was firmly established by the passage in 1796 
of " An Act for the punishment of Crimes," a comprehensive 
and fundamental criminal law, which, in general, prescribed 
one punishment for all persons guilty of a particular crime, 
mentioning no distinction between bond and free. 5 Slaves 
continued, however, to be to some extent the subject of special 
criminal legislation. By the law of 1796 a court might 
impose upon any slave, in place of the usual punishment, 



Bergen County, "Liber A," p. 44. 

* Whitehead, W. A., Contributions to the Early History of Perth Amboy, pp. 
318-320 ; also Wk. Post Boy, July 2, 1750 (N. J. Ar., XII, 652). 

3 Allinson, 307 ; N. J. Ar., XVII, 483, 485, 486 (Jour, of Prov. Council). 

4 Acts of 13th Gen. Assem., Nov. 26, 1788. * Paterson, 220. 



42 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [452 

corporal punishment at its discretion and not extending to 
life or limb, for any offence not punishable with death. By 
the act of 1801, when slaves were convicted of arson, burglary, 
rape, highway robbery, or assault with intent to commit 
murder, the court might choose to order them to be sent out 
of the United States. 1 In this case the owner was compelled 
to give bond that he would faithfully execute the court s 
decree, and finally file a certificate that the sentence has been 
complied with. 

Negro Plots. 

We have seen that by the police regulations enacted for the 
government of slaves, negroes were forbidden to assemble 
together in companies, except with their master s consent for 
some reasonaBle purpose, such as to attend public worship or 
to bury their dead. Furthermore, slaves must be at home 
after nine o clock at night. 2 These provisions were probably 
called forth by fear of slave insurrections ; but it is difficult 
to determine to what extent the legislation was connected with 
actual experience of negro plots. 

In 1734, a rising in East Jersey, 3 near Somerville, 4 was 
feared. Certain negro quarters some miles remote from the 
master s dwelling-house had become a rendezvous for the 
negroes of the neighborhood. The slaves round about stole 
from their masters provisions of various sorts which they car 
ried to their place of meeting and feasted upon, sometimes in 
large companies. It was claimed that at one of these meet 
ings some hundreds had entered into a plot to gain their 
freedom by a massacre of the whites. A belief on the part 
of the negroes that they were held in slavery contrary to the 

1 25 Ses., 2 sit., Statutes, 77. See also on this subject, Revision of 1821, pp. 
738, 793, and 44 Ses., Statutes, 74, sec. 20. 

2 Supra, p. 37. 

*N. Y. Gazette, March 18-25, 1734, gives a detailed account of the con 
spiracy. 

4 Mellick, p. 226, says that the excitement was near Somerville. 



453] The Government of Slaves. 43 

positive orders of King George appears to have been an 
element contributing to the excitement. According to the 
plan of the conspirators, as soon as the weather became mild 
enough so that living in the woods might be possible, at some 
midnight agreed upon, all the slaves were to rise and slay their 
masters. The buildings were to be set on fire and the draught 
horses killed. Finally, the negroes, having secured the best 
saddle horses, were to fly to the Indians and join them in the 
French interest. Suspicion of a negro plot was first aroused 
by the impudent remarks of a drunken slave. He and another 
negro were arrested, and at their trial the above details were 
brought out. The insurrection believed to be threatening was 
suppressed with considerable severity. 1 

That delirium of the New York people in 1741, known as 
the "Negro Conspiracy," appears to have spread to some 
extent into neighboring New Jersey also. Mr. Whitehead 
thinks that this panic caused many executions in New Jersey. 2 
In one day seven barns were burned at Hackensack ; an 
eighth caught fire three times, but fortunately was saved. It 
was believed that these were set on fire by a combination of 
slaves, for one negro was taken in the act. The people of the 
neighborhood were greatly alarmed and kept under arms every 
night. Two negroes charged with committing the crime were 
burned. 3 Mr. Hatfield quotes from the Account Book of the 
Justices and Freeholders of Essex County the following items : 
"June 4, 1741, Daniel Harrison sent in his account of wood 
carted for burning two negroes." . . . "February 25, 174J, 
Joseph Heden acct. for wood to burn the negroes Mr. Farrand 
paid allowed 0. 7. 0. Allowed to Isaac Lyon 4/ Curr y for a load 
of wood to burn the first negro, 0. 4. O." 4 Mr. Whitehead 



1 About thirty negroes were apprehended ; one of them was hanged, 
some had their ears cut off, and others were whipped. Poison was found 
on several of them. N. J. Ar., XI, 333, 340. 

2 Whitehead, Perth Amboy, p. 318. 3 N. J. Ar., XII, 88, 91, 98. 
4 Hatfield, History of Elizabeth, N. J., p. 364. 



44 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [454 

says that, in 1772, "an insurrection was anticipated, but was 
prevented by due precautionary measures." * 

Mr. Hatfield tells of a panic regarding negroes at Elizabeth- 
Town during the Revolution. 2 In June, 1779, a conspiracy 
of the negroes to rise and murder the people of the town was 
discovered. The Tories, whose plundering expeditions had 
been very exasperating, were held responsible for this new 
danger also. The resentment aroused by these occurrences 
caused the Court of Common Pleas to enter severe judgments 
against many Tories. Mr. Atkinson states that in 1796 there 
was, among the whites, great fear of negro violence, and a 
feeling of bitterness toward the slaves was developed. 3 The 
agitation was caused by the attempts of certain blacks to set 
fire to buildings in New York, Newark and other places. 



iWhitehead, Perth Amboy, pp. 318-320. 2 Hatfield, p. 476. 

3 Atkinson, J., History of Newark, N. /., pp. 170-172. 



CHAPTER III. 
THE LEGAL AND SOCIAL POSITION OF THE NEGRO. 

The subject of manumission began to demand legislative 
action at the time of the royal governors. According to what 
forms manumission should be legal, what limitations it might 
be expedient to place on the power to manumit ; these were 
considerations which then became of great consequence and 
retained their prominence even until after the disappearance 
of slavery from New Jersey life. Furthermore, the interpre 
tation given by the courts to the existing law of manumission 
often decided for the colored man whether his position was 
that of freeman or slave. 

Very early in the eighteenth century it is recorded that 
experience had shown " that free negroes are an idle, slothful 
people and prove very often a charge to the place where they 
are." 1 Therefore, the law of 1714 had a provision designed 
to prevent freedmen from ever coming upon the township as 
paupers. It enacted that any master manumitting a slave 
must enter into "sufficient security," "with two sureties in 
the sum of 200 pounds/ 7 to pay to the negro an annuity of 
20 pounds. In case of manumission by will the executors 
must give such security. Owners or their heirs were obliged 
to maintain all negroes not manumitted according to law. 
The desire to save townships the expense of supporting freed 
men was not recognized to such an extent as to allow un 
fortunate negroes actually to suffer. An act of 1769 states 

1 Law of 1714. Nevill, I, 18. 

45 



46 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [456 

definitely that if the " owner becomes insolvent and so incapa 
ble of providing for his slaves, who shall by sickness or other 
wise be rendered incapable of maintaining themselves, they 
shall be relieved by the township the same as white servants." * 
In 1773, in response to several petitions, a bill providing for 
manumission without the giving of security was introduced 
in the Assembly. The bill stated that the manumission law 
of the Colony had on experience been found too indiscrimi 
nate, the requirement of equal security in all cases working, 
in some instances, to " prevent the exercise of humanity and 
tenderness in the emancipation of those who may deserve it." 
In view of the great opposition as well as favor with which 
the bill was received, the House ordered that the bill be 
printed and referred to the next session. 2 At the next session, 
in 1775, the various petitions presented for and against the 
bill led to another postponement to the following session ; 3 by 
which time the greater interests of the Revolution crowded out 
the consideration of this matter. 

Immediately after the Revolution we find a peculiar form 
of manumission, that by special act of the legislature. On 
three occasions previous to the year 1790, slaves that had 
become the property of the State, through the confiscation of 
Tory estates, were set free by act of the legislature. 4 The 
negroes were given their freedom in recognition of past services 
to the State or to the Federal cause. 5 



1 Allinson, 315. The law of 1679 reenacted the requirements of the law 
of 1714. 

*Assem. Jour., Nov. 30, 1773, to Feb. 16, 1774. 

3 Assem. Jour., Jan. 28 to Feb. 7, 1775. 

4 1784, 1786 and 1789; 8 Ses., 2 sit., Statutes, 110; 11 Ses., 1 sit., Statutes, 
368 ; 14 Ses., 1 sit., Statutes, 538. 

5 There is record of an interesting case of this form of manumission in 
1840. Csesar Jackson, a colored man of Hackensack, was a slave in law, 
having been born previously to the year 1804. His late master, Peter 
Bourdett, had inserted in his will a request that, at his death, the slave 
Csesar Jackson should be set free. The heirs of Peter Bourdett desired to 
carry out his request, but had been unable to do so. They had given 



457] The Legal and Social Position of the Negro. 47 

In 1786, changes were made in the law of manumission. 
Slaves between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-five, sound 
in mind, and under no bodily incapacity of obtaining a sup 
port, might now be emancipated without security being given 
for their support. A master must first secure a certificate 
signed by two overseers of the poor of the township and two 
Justices of the Peace of the county, showing that the slave 
met the requirements as to age and health. He might then 
manumit the slave by executing a certificate under his hand 
and seal in the presence of two witnesses. A similar manu 
mission by will was valid. In all other cases the master (or 
his executors) was compelled to give security that the negro 
should not come upon any township for support. 1 These pro 
visions were virtually reenacted in the slave law of 1798. 2 
A supplementary law in 1804 provides for registration of 
instruments of manumission by the county clerk. 3 Such 
record by the clerk was receivable as evidence in the courts. 4 

The New Jersey courts interpreted the law on manumission 
in a liberal spirit. They were ready to presume a manumis 
sion, if an actual, formal emancipation according to law could 
not be proven, whenever the circumstances seemed to warrant 
such a procedure. In 1789, a negro woman who had lived 
and worked in the neighborhood of Shrewsbury as a free 
woman for seventeen years, with no claim upon her as a slave, 



Caesar Jackson a lot of land in the township, and he had erected on it a 
dwelling-house for himself and his family; but he had been unable to 
obtain a deed for the land, as he was still a slave at law. In view of these 
circumstances Csesar Jackson was emancipated by act of the legislature. 
64 Ses., 2 sit.. Statutes, 19. See also Assem. Jour., Jan. 29 to Feb. 17. 
x Acts of Gen. Assem., 1786. 2 Paterson, 307. 

3 29 Ses., 1 sit., Statutes, 460. The registration book for Bergen County is 
entitled "Liber A. Manumition of Slavery." It records: (1) the certifi 
cate by two overseers of the poor and two Justices of the Peace; (2) the 
deed of manumission ; (3) the Justice s certificate that the deed is executed 
voluntarily. 

4 The certificate of health and capacity need now be signed by only one 
overseer of the poor. 



48 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [458 

was declared free by the Supreme Court. The court held that 
the above facts proven were prima facie evidence of freedom 
and would compel the defendant to prove a strict legal prop 
erty, which he had not done. 1 Similarly, six years later, the 
court decided that a certain negro woman, who had been 
promised her freedom by her mistress, and who had lived for 
ten years as a free woman with the acquiescence of the person 
claiming her, was entitled to her freedom. 2 Verbal declara 
tions by a master that after his death his slave should be free, 
as a reward for good behavior, entitled the slave to receive 
his liberty. In the opinion of the court, these declarations 
amounted to an actual manumission to take eifect on the mas 
ter s death ; or, if they were regarded as proving nothing 
more than a promise, it was still a promise binding upon the 
master s executors. 3 A case in 1794 4 shows the limit to which 



1 The State vs. Lyon, N. J. Law Rep., I, 462. A slave woman named Flora 
had been the property of a certain Dr. Eaton, of Shrewsbury. He had 
frequently declared that he was " principled against slavery ; that he never 
intended Flora to belong to his estate ; nor should any of his children be 
entitled to hold her as their property." After his death his wife had stated 
that she had set Flora free. From that time Flora was considered in the 
neighborhood as a free woman ; and lived and worked as such, with no 
claim upon her as a slave, for seventeen years. During this time she had 
married a free negro, with whom she had since lived. They had two 
children whom they had supported by their industry and kept with them 
until one, Margaret, was seized and forcibly carried away as a slave. The 
court decided that this Margaret Eeap must be set at liberty, as the above 
facts were not opposed by proof of strict legal property. 

2 1795. The State vs. M Donald and Armstrong, N. J. Law Rep., I, 
382 (Coxe. ) A slave had been promised her freedom upon the death of 
her mistress. From the time this death occurred the negro had lived as a 
free woman and had worked for herself in various places. She had mar 
ried a free negro and had three children by him. For ten years the hus 
band of her late mistress acquiesced in the arrangement, but at the end of 
this period gave to a man a bill of sale for the negro. The court held that 
these facts were sufficient evidence of the woman s right to her liberty. 

3 1790. The State vs. Administrators of Prall, N. J. Law Rep., I, 4 
(Coxe) ; also Halsted, N. J. Digest, pp. 831, 832, sec, 23. 

4 The State vs. Frees. N. J. L. R., I, 299 (Coxe.) 



459] The Legal and Social Position of the Negro. 49 

the Supreme Court was willing to go on this subject. It was 
held that mere general declarations of an intention to set 
negroes free, unaccompanied by any express promise or under 
standing, were insufficient authority for the court to declare 
the negroes free. 1 

In 1793, we find a very liberal interpretation of the law 
when the court ignores the legal requirement of security. A 
certain slave owner had, by will, manumitted all his slaves. 
One, a boy, could not be considered as manumitted until the 
administrators had given the security required by law. In 
stead of giving security they united with the heirs in selling 
the boy. The court decided that the boy was entitled to his 
freedom whether the administrators had given the security or 
not. 2 

Slaves left by will to be sold for a term of years and then 
be free, were held to be free from the time of sale. As soon 
as sold they were merely servants for a term of years and no 
longer slaves. Any children born to them during the period 
of service were free. 3 

The authority of the act of 1798 was judicially established 
in 1806. The supreme court declared that instruments of 
manumission must be executed conformably to that law. 4 
Again in 1842, in a case to prove legal settlement, 5 it was 

1 If a master had made a contract with his slave for his freedom and the 
terms had been fully complied with, the negro was entitled to his freedom 
although afterwards sold by his master. Halsted, N. J. Digest, pp. 831, 
832, sec. 26. 

*The State vs. Pitney. N. J. Law Rep., I, 192 (Coxe.) 

3 1790. The State vs. Anderson. N. J. Law Rep., I, 41. 

*The State vs. Emmons. N. J. Law Rep. (1st Pennington, 3rd ed., pp. 
6-16). The counsel for the State endeavored to establish a distinction 
between emancipation as it respects the owner, and emancipation as it 
respects the State. He argued that so far as the master was concerned any 
kind of manumission might be valid, but at the same time be void so far as 
it affected the government. The court held that "slavery was an entire 
thing ; " that a negro could not be considered as at once slave and free. 

5 The Overseers of the Poor of Perth Amboy vs. The Overseers of the 
Poor of Piscataway. N. J. Law Rep., XIX, 173-181 (4th Harrison). 

4 



50 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [460 

held that "a deed of manumission although acknowledged 
and recorded, was not valid unless executed in the presence of 
at least two witnesses 7 1 as the act of 1798 required. 2 

Rights and Privileges of Slaves and Free Negroes. 

The protection of slaves from ill-treatment by their masters 
received some attention in New Jersey legislation. As early 
as 1682, in the Proprietary Colony, one section of a " Bill for 
the general laws of the Province of East New-Jersey " pro 
vides " that all masters and mistresses having negro slaves, or 
others, shall allow them sufficient accommodation of victuals 
and clothing." 3 Queen Anne s instructions to the first royal 
governor, Lord Cornbury, required him to endeavor to get a 
law passed protecting servants and slaves from "inhuman 
severity " on the part of their masters. The " Instructions " 
directed that this law should provide capital punishment for 
the " willful killing of Indians and negroes " and a suitable 
penalty for the " maiming of them." 4 Again, in the early 
legislation of the State, one of the reasons given for the enact 
ment of the slave law of 1786 was "that such [slaves] as are 
under servitude in the State ought to be protected by law from 
those exercises of wanton cruelty too often practiced upon 
them." Any person " inhumanly treating and abusing " his 
slave might be indicted by the grand jury, and on conviction 
might be fined. 5 

1 There had been many instances in which deeds of manumission had 
been executed conformably to law in every respect, excepting that there 
had been but one witness. These manumissions were made valid by a 
special act of the legislature in 1844 (68 Ses., 2 sit., Statutes, 138). 

2 In a case of postponement of a trial by habeas corpus the defendant was 
ordered to enter into recognizance to produce the negro at the future trial 
and, in case of adverse judgment, to pay for the services of the negro 
during the intervening time. Halsted s Digest, p. 831, sec. 21. In another 
case the defendant was ordered to enter into recognizance not to send the 
negro out of the State (Halsted s Digest, p. 831, sec. 22). 

3 L. and S., 237. 4 Ibid., 640-642. 

5 Laws of N. J., 1786. This provision was repeated in the law of 1798. 



461] The Legal and Social Position of the Negro. 51 

The owner 1 of a slave was held in law obliged to support 
the slave at all times, provided that the negro had not been 
legally manumitted. If the master became insolvent and so 
unable to provide for his slave, the negro, if unable to main 
tain himself, was treated as a pauper. Any person, " fraudu 
lently selling an aged or decrepit slave to a poor person unable 
to support him/ 7 was liable to punishment by a fine of $40. 2 
A master who had disclaimed all responsibility for the support 
of his slave could not be held liable to a third person for the 
negro s maintenance. 3 Yet, if the overseer of the poor had 
found the slave in actual want, it would have been his duty 
to give immediate relief, and then recover from the master. 

The value and need of some amount of education for slaves 
was recognized soon after the establishment of the State gov 
ernment. The law of 1788 provided that all slaves and 
colored servants for life or years, born after the publication of 
the act, should be taught to read before they reached the age 
of twenty-one years. Any owner failing to supply this in 
struction was to forfeit the sum of five pounds. 4 



1 After the master s death the heirs were held responsible for the slave s 
support. Chatham vs. Canfield, N. J. Law Rep., VIII, 63-65, decided what 
circumstances were sufficient proof of a testator s ownership of a slave to 
make the executors liable for the negro s maintenance (1824.) 

2 Law of 1798. Paterson, 307. 

3 1840. Force vs. Haines, N. J. Law Rep., XVII, 385-414 (2nd Harri 
son.) Force had refused to support his slave, an infirm and helpless crip 
ple. Elizabeth Haines, having maintained the negro for several years, 
finally sued Force for the cost of " board, clothing, and necessaries furnished 
for his slave." 

4 Acts of 13th. Gen. Assem. The provision was reenacted in the law of 
1798. 

At first sight this fine might seem trifling ; but it was probably quite 
sufficient to be a severe penalty, considering the small charge made for 
teaching at the time. School bills given by Mr. Mellick show how low the 
charges were. Christopher Logan had a bill against the " Estate of Aaron 
Melick Dec d," " To Schooling Negro boy Joe 61 days $1.39 ; " later " Wm. 
Hambly, teacher," charges " $4.16 for 159* days Schooling." (Story of an old 
Farm, p. 608.) 



jftr Of T 



52 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [462 

All black men were presumed to be slaves until the contrary 
appeared, as has been shown earlier in this paper. 1 The Su 
preme Court held to this position even as late as 1826, when 
the free negroes numbered twice as many as the slaves, and 
only receded from it ten years later when the injustice of the 
ruling had become very evident. Nevertheless, the court 
early decided that any person claiming a particular negro as a 
slave must prove a good title to him. 2 A negro thus claimed 
need not prove himself absolutely a freeman in order to obtain 
his liberty. If he disproved the right of the person who 
claimed him, that was sufficient. That the negro had been 
actually held as property and had acquiesced in the arrange 
ment was no proof of a good title. 

In most cases at law no slave might be a witness. He was 
allowed to testify in criminal cases when his evidence was for 
or against another slave. 3 The presumption of slavery arising 
from color must be overcome before a negro could be received 
as a witness. A slave might not be a witness even to show 
whether he were bond or free. His declarations on that point 
might not legally be accepted as evidence. 4 That a negro was 
reputed free from childhood, or had lived to all intents and 
purposes as a freeman for more than twenty years, the courts 
decided was sufficient proof to overcome the presumption 
arising from color, and permit the negro to be admitted as a 
witness. 5 Free negroes, therefore, were commonly received as 
witnesses. 

In 1760 6 the enlistment of slaves, without the express per 
mission in writing of their masters, was forbidden. This 
provision evidently was caused, not by prejudice against the 
negro, but by unwillingness to deprive masters of the services 

1 Supra, p. 34. 

S 1795. The State vs. Heddon. N. J. Law Rep., I, 377. 

3 Acts of 1714 and 1798. 

* 1826. Fox vs. Lambson, N. J. Law Rep., VIII, 339-347. 

6 Ibid., and Potts vs. Harper, N. J. Law Rep., Ill, 583. 

6 Nevill, II, 267. 



463] The Legal and Social Position of the Negro. 53 

of their slaves. The occasion of the prohibition was the 
raising of one thousand volunteers for a campaign against 
Canada in the French and Indian War. To what extent 
negroes in New Jersey took part or aided in the Revolution 
it is difficult to determine. A law of 1780 for the recruiting 
of the remainder of New Jersey s quota of troops for the 
service of the United States forbids the enlistment of slaves. 1 
The following year a law for the same purpose repeats the 
prohibition. 2 Yet slaves from New Jersey served, in various 
capacities, both the State and the Federal Government during 
the war. Two instances are recorded when a slave was manu 
mitted by act of legislature as a reward for faithful service 
of the Revolutionary cause. Peter Williams, a slave who 
belonged to a Tory of Woodbridge, having been taken within 
the British lines by his master, escaped through them in 1780. 
He served for some time with the State troops and later 
enlisted in the Continental army, serving there until the close 
of the war. When his master s estate was confiscated he 
became the property of the State, and, in 1784, was set free 
by an act of the legislature. 3 Five years later a slave named 
Cato, part of the confiscated estate of another Woodbridge 
Tory, received his freedom in the same manner. The act 
declared that Cato had " rendered essential service both to this 
State and the United States in the time of the late war." 4 

In the Colonial period freedmen were denied the right to 
hold real estate. The law of 1714 enacted that no negro, 
Indian, or mulatto thereafter manumitted should hold real 



1 5th Assembly, N. J. Laws. s Wilson, 209. 

3 8 Ses., 2 sit., Statutes, 110 ; Assam. Jour., Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, 1784. 

4 14 Ses , 1 sit., Statutes, 538; Assem. Jour., Nov. 13-25, 1789. In 1786 
another negro, named Prime, the property of the State, was emancipated by 
special statute. He had formerly been the slave of a Tory of Princeton. 
No specific reason was given for this action other than, that " the legislature 
was desirous of extending the blessings of liberty and the said negro Prime 
hath shown himself entitled to their favorable notice." 11 Ses., 1 sit., 
Statutes, 368. 



54 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [464 

estate " in his or her own right, in fee simple or fee tail " but 
the same should a escheat to her Majesty, her heirs and succes 
sors." 1 A free negro was entitled to vote in the State during 
the early years. The suffrage was not confined to whites by 
the constitution adopted in 1776. 2 Article IV states that "all 
inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are worth fifty 
pounds . . . and have resided within the county " for twelve 
months, are entitled to vote. 3 A new constitution in 1844 
limited the elective franchise to whites. 4 

The provision for allowing free negroes to gain a legal set 
tlement is of interest, because upon legal settlement depended 
the responsibility of a township for the support of its colored 
paupers. A manumitted slave had a legal settlement in the 
place where his master s legal settlement was. 5 The children 
of slaves born free were deemed settled in the township in 
which they were born ; but might gain a new settlement in 
the same manner as whites, or in any township where they 
had served seven years. 6 No slave whose master had not 
become insolvent could gain a legal settlement in any town 
ship. 7 This inability of slaves to acquire a settlement was 



l, I, 18. 2 Poore s Collection. Wilson, Acts (1776-1783). 

3 In 1793, as proof of the illegality of an election for fixing on a site for 
the Middlesex County jail and court house, it was stated that " a negro 
man was admitted to vote, who had no legal residence, and his declaration 
that he had been manumitted in another State was received as sufficient 
proof of his being entitled to vote. The implication here is that a negro 
able to show clear proof of his freedom, and having a legal residence, was 
entitled to vote. The State vs. Justices, etc., of Middlesex, JV. J. Law Rep., 
I, 283, 284 (Coxe). 

4 Poore s Collection, 1315. 5 Law of 1798. Paterson, 307. 
6 1820. 44 Ses. ; Statutes, 166. 

7 1824. South Brunswick vs. East Windsor, N. J. Law Rep., VIII, 78-83 
(3rd Halsted). 

.As has been shown, Supra, pp. 45 and 51, a helpless slave was not allowed 
to suffer because his master was able to maintain him and yet refused to do 
so. It was the duty of the overseer of the poor of the township where 
such a slave happened to be, to give relief and then recover from the owner 
if possible. 



465] The Legal and Social Position of the Negro. 55 

established in several cases carried to the Supreme Court, 
where one township endeavored to prove the legal settlement 
of a destitute negro in another township, and then to shift the 
burden of his support. 1 It is the latest form in which I have 
found the influence of slavery traceable in New Jersey law. 



Social Condition of Slaves. 

The use of slave labor was, in the eighteenth century, very 
general in the eastern portion of New Jersey. Interesting 
information on the social condition of slaves is afforded by 
advertisements in newspapers 2 published during the Colonial 
period and in the early years of the State. Male slaves were 
employed as farm laborers of all sorts, stablemen, coachmen, 
stage drivers, sailors, boatmen, miners, iron workers, saw-mill 
hands, house and ship carpenters, wheel-wrights, coopers, 
tanners, shoemakers, millers, bakers, cooks, and for various 
kinds of service within the house or about the master s person. 
Slave women were employed at all kinds of household service, 
including cooking, sewing, spinning and knitting ; and as 
dressing maid, barber, nurse, farm servants, etc. If a woman 
had children she was rendered less desirable as a slave. That 
the laxness of morals ordinarily found among African slaves 
was present in New Jersey is sufficiently evident. 3 Frequently 
slave women were offered for sale for no other reason than 
that they had children. They were, in some cases, sold with 
out their child. 



1 1824. South Brunswick vs. East Windsor. 

1842. Overseers of the Poor of Perth Amboy vs. Overseers of the Poor 
of Piscataway, N. J. Law Rep., XIX, 173-181 (4 Harrison). 

1857. Overseers of Morris vs. Overseers of Warren, N. J. Law Rep. (2 
Dutcher, 312). 

2 The Newark Centinel of Freedom, the Trenton True American and excerpts 
from the Colonial journals published in JV. J. Ar., XI and XII. 

3 See The State vs. Anderson, N. J. Law Rep., I, 41, and The State vs. 
Mount, N. J. Law Rep., I, 337. 



56 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [466 

The newspapers contained many notices of reward for the 
return of fugitive slaves. In some cases the returned fugitive 
seems to have been treated very leniently. One instance is 
recorded in which he received no punishment whatever. 1 In 
another case the advertisement promises that if he "shall 
return voluntarily, he shall be forgiven, and have a new 
master. 7 2 Slaves of both sexes and various ages were among 
the fugitives. A man fled and left behind a wife and child. 
A woman with a child of nine mouths ran away. Slaves 
occasionally escaped by the ferries from Elizabeth-Town and 
Perth Amboy to New York. 3 In 1734, three were thought 
to have gone off in a canoe toward Connecticut and Rhode 
Island. Others attempted to get on board some vessel, or 
sought a chance to go privateering. A slave sometimes escaped 
on the back of his master s horse. 

Negroes were frequently sold for a term of years. Slaves 
were at times hired out by their masters ; 4 occasionally a plan 
tation together with the negroes to cultivate it was rented, or a 
mine with the slaves to work it. 5 A negro indented servant is 
mentioned in 1802. In 1794, a slave was given as a donation 
to the Newark Academy to be sold for as much as he would 
bring. 6 The Rev. Moses Ogden bought him for fourteen 
pounds. Mr. Atkinson states that this clergyman owned a 
number of slaves whom he employed to work his farm lands. 7 
The slave s position as a chattel is brought out clearly in many 
advertisements of sales where slaves are classed with horses, 
cattle, farming utensils and household goods. 8 

1 Cenlinel of Freedom, VI, No. 34. 2 Ibid., IV, 45. 3 Supra, p. 34. 

4 Centinel of Freedom, VI, No. 14. N. J. Ar., XII, 186, 251. 

6 Atkinson, History of Newark, N. J., 170-172. 

7 Moses Newell Combs, another Newarker of the same period, was a rep 
resentative of the anti-slavery sentiment. He was noted for the free school 
which he established for his apprentices, but also advocated zealously the 
emancipation of slaves. This latter principle he himself put into practice 
by manumitting a negro that he owned (Atkinson, 148). 

8 For example, the notice of the sale of a farm at Elizabeth, in 1801, 
reads : " On the above farm is also to be sold a negro man with four children, 
a horse, chair, cows, and farming utensils " (Centinel of Freedom, VI, 11). 



467] The Legal and Social Position of the Negro. 57 

Slaves were, on the whole, well treated in New Jersey. In 
most cases, they lived in close personal relations with the 
master s family and were regarded by him as proper subjects 
for his care and protection. As early as 1740 there is record 
of a slave that could read and write. 1 Frequently slaves spoke 
both English and Dutch. 2 Many slaves played the violin 
with considerable proficiency. Under the Colonial laws, it is 
true, slaves accused of crime received severe treatment; but 
this severity must be viewed as part of the criminal law of an 
eighteenth century Colonial society, stern both from its origin 
and from its individual development. 

Mr. Mellick, in his " Story of an old Farm," gives a very 
entertaining description of slavery on a farm at Bed minster 
in Somerset County. The first negro purchased was a pic 
turesque creature of somewhat eccentric habits. He was a 
"master-hand at tanning, currying and finishing leather;" 
and, indeed, these accomplishments were the attractions that 
overcame the scruples of the family against slave-holding, at 
a time when there was great need of help in the tannery. The 
slaves of the farm were granted their holidays and enjoyments. 
In the week following Christmas they generally gave a party 
to which the respectable colored people of the neighborhood 
were invited. The whole week was one of great festivity, and 
but little work was expected of the blacks. Again, the day 
of "general training" (usually in June), was another great 
holiday for these slaves. This drill of the militia was re 
garded as a kind of fair and was a time of great sociability. 
The family negroes all attended in a large wagon, taking with 
them root beer and ginger cakes to offer for sale. 

Mr. Mellick gives copies of bills for the schooling 3 of the 
negro children, showing that in this family the law that slaves 
should be taught to read was well observed. When the farmer 
died, his will disposed of the negroes so that those who did 

1 N. J. Ar. t XII, 51. 8 N. J. Ar., XI, 209 ; XII, 102, 306. 

3 tiupra, p. 51, note. 

5 



58 A Study of Slavery in New Jersey. [468 

not remain on the old farm were comfortably placed with 
friends of his. The boys and girls were sold for terms of 
years merely. This shows a considerate interest in the happi 
ness of slaves, together with a consistent regard for the welfare 
of his family. 1 

Slavery was very evidently an institution in New Jersey life. 
During the eighteenth century especially, the use of slave 
labor became very common in many sections. Yet, in other 
parts, during the same period, an anti-slavery sentiment was 
growing, the strength of which was shown when the Friends 
in 1776 denied the right of membership in their Society to 
slave holders. The anti-slavery movement progressed steadily, 
after the Revolution largely under the leadership of the aboli 
tion societies. Its influence toward practical ends is seen in 
the extinction of the slave trade ; in the activity of various 
philanthropic men in securing to negroes their rights before 
the courts ; and, later, in the gradual emancipation begun in 
1804. 

After the gradual abolition of slavery in New Jersey had 
been secured by law, the local anti-slavery movement merged 
into the larger agitation going on throughout the nation. The 
resolutions of the legislature in 1824, 1847, and 1849 show 
that the people of New Jersey early recognized the connection 
of the institution of slavery with national interests. 



Mellick, A. D., Story of an Old Farm, pp. 602-612. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY. 



The following is a list of the principal works used in the preparation of 
this monograph : 

Allinson, Samuel. Acts of the General Assembly of the Province of New 
Jersey (1702-1776). Burlington, 1776. 

Atkinson, Joseph. History of Newark, N. J. Newark, 1878. 

Bancroft, George. History of the United States of America. 9th ed. 

Bergen County Records. "B. C. Liber A," folio May 29, 1715 to 1790. 
" Black Births, 1804," folio July 28, 1804, to March 14, 1843. " Liber 
A of Manumition of Slavery," June 17, 1805, to July 26, 1841. 

Blake, W. O. Ancient and Modern Slavery. 

Brackett, J. R. Status of the Slave. 

Census Reports of the United States. 

"Centinel of Freedom." Newark, N. J. 

Dally, J. W. Woodbridge and Vicinity. New Brunswick, 1873. 

Gordon, Thomas. History of New Jersey. Gazetteer of New Jersey, 1834. 

Hatfield, E. F. History of Elizabeth, N. J. New York, 1868. 

Laws of New Jersey. Yearly edition. Revision of 1821 ; Revision of 1847. 

Learning and Spicer. The grants, concessions and original constitutions of 
the Province of New Jersey. The acts passed during the Proprietary 
governments, and other material transactions before the surrender 
thereof to Queen Anne. The instrument of surrender and her formal 
acceptance thereof. Lord Cornbury s commission and instructions con 
sequent thereon. Philadelphia. 

Mellick, A. D. The Story of an Old Farm or Life in New Jersey in the 
Eighteenth Century. Somerville, N. J., 1889. 

Moore, G. H. Notes on the History of Slavery in Massachusetts. 

Kevill, Samuel. Acts of the General Assembly of the Province of New 
Jersey (1703-1761). Woodbridge, 1761. 

New Jersey Archives. Vols. I-X. Documents relating to the Colonial 
History of the State of New Jersey (1631-1776), Vols. XI-XII. Ex 
cerpts from various Colonial newspapers, treating of New Jersey 
History, Vols. XIII-XVIII. Journal of the Governor and Council 
(1682-1775). Trenton, 1890-1893. 

59 



60 Bibliography. [470 

New Jersey Law Reports. I-XXIX (1790-1863). 

Paterson, William. Laws of the State of New Jersey, revised and pub 
lished under the authority of the legislature. Newark, 1800. 

Poore. Charters and Constitutions. 

Proceedings of the General Assembly of New Jersey. 

Smith, Samuel. The History of the Colony of Nova-Caesarea, or New 
Jersey. Burlington, 1765. 

Snell, J. P. History of Sussex and Warren Counties, N. J. Philadelphia, 
1881. 

" True American." Trenton, N. J. 

Whitehead, W. A. Contributions to the early History of Perth Amboy. 
New York, 1856. East Jersey under the Proprietary Governments. 
Newark, 1875. 

Whittier, J. G. (editor), John Woolman s Journal. 

Williams. History of the Negro Race in America. 

Wilson, Peter. Acts of the Council and General Assembly of the State of 
New Jersey (1776-1783). Trenton, 1784. 



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