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[435] them in the West Indies! On his return from Tortugas, “he brought home a cargo of cotton, tobacco, salt, and negroes” ! Slavery was thus introduced as early as 1638; but, in 1645, the General Court passed this noble, this truly Christian, order:--
The General Court, conceiving themselves bound by the first opportunity to bear witness against the heinous and crying sin of man-stealing, as also to prescribe such timely redress for what is past, and such a law for the future, as may sufficiently deter all others belonging to us to have to do in such vile and most odious courses, justly abhorred of all good and just men, do order, that the negro interpreter, with others unlawfully taken, be, by the first opportunity (at the charge of the country for the present), sent to his native country of Guinea, and a letter with him of the indignation of the court thereabouts, and justice thereof, desiring our honored governor would please put this order into execution.

May 29, 1644: Slaves took the name of their first master. “John Gore is granted leave to set his servant, Thomas Reeves, free.”

Respecting taxes on black servants, we have the subsequent items: Each of them, in 1694, was assessed twelve-pence; from 1700 to 1719, as personal estate; 1727, each male fifteen pounds, and each female ten pounds; from 1731 to 1775, as personal property. In 1701, the inhabitants of Boston gave the following magnanimous direction: “The representatives are desired to promote the encouraging the bringing of white servants, and to put a period to negroes being slaves.”

Colonel Royal (Dec. 7, 1737) petitions the General Court, that, having lately arrived from Antigua, he has with him several slaves for his own use, and not to sell, and therefore prays that the duty on them be remitted. The duty was four pounds a head. This petition was laid on the table, and rests there yet. In 1781, a final blow was given to slavery in Massachusetts; and in this the inhabitants of Medford unanimously rejoiced. To show how anxious our fathers were to prevent all abuse of an existing custom, the town passed the following vote, Aug. 4, 1718: “Voted that every inhabitant of this town (Medford) shall, when they buy any servant, male or female, be obliged to acquaint and inform the selectmen of said town, for their approbation.” It was a settled law with our fathers, that “no man shall hire any ”

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