Runaway Slaves



Laws, treatment and punishments of runaway slaves in Virginia, 1692, as recorded Blake's History of Slavery, published in 1857.

In Virginia, in 1692, an "act for suppressing outlying slaves," after setting forth in a preamble that "many times negroes, mulattoes, and other slaves unlawfully absent themselves from their masters' and mistresses' service, and lie hid, and lurk in obscure places, killing hogs, and committing other injuries to the inhabitants of this dominion," authorized any two justices, one being of the quorum, to issue their warrant to the sheriff for the arrest of any such outlying slaves.

Runaway Slave in the Usa Wearing a Pronged Slave-Collar to Hamper Escape

Runaway Slave in the Usa Wearing a Pronged Slave-Collar to Hamper Escape
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Whereupon the sheriff is to raise the necessary force, and if the slaves resist, run away, or refuse to surrender, they may be lawfully killed and destroyed " by guns, or any other way whatsoever," the master, in such cases, to receive from the public four thousand pounds of tobacco for the loss of his slave.

Runaway Slaves Captured in Boston and Returned to South Carolina under Fugitive Slave Act

Runaway Slaves Captured in Boston and Returned to South Carolina under Fugitive Slave Act
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Individual runaways seem at times to have made themselves formidable. We find, a few years later, an act setting for the that one Billy, a negro, slave to John Tillet, "has several years unlawfully absented himself from his master's service, lying out, and lurking in obscure places, supposed within the counties of James Ciry, York, and Kent, devouring and destroying the stocks and crops, robbing the houses of, and committing and threatening other injuries to several of his majesty's good and liege people within this his colony and dominion of Virginia, in contempt of the good laws thereof; "wherefore the said Billy is declared by the act guilty of a capital offense"; and "whosoever shall kill and destroy the said negro slave Billy, and apprehend and deliver him to justice," is to be rewarded with a thousand pounds of tobacco.

Old Runaway Jack, Fugitive Slave

Old Runaway Jack, Fugitive Slave
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