Today in History:

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793

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The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793, often refered to as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, was the result of an Interstate legal battle between Penssylvania and Virgina which took place at the time.  The text of the law is below, crafted to provide teeth to the elements of the Constitution which protected slavery.  The last line sums up the affect of the law on runaway slaves.

ART. 4. For the better security of the peace and friendship now entered into by the contracting parties, against all infractions of the same, by the citizens of either party, to the prejudice of the other, neither party shall proceed to the infliction of punishments on the citizens of the other, otherwise than by securing the offender, or offenders, by imprisonment, or any other competent means, till a fair and impartial trial can be had by judges or juries of both parties, as near as can be, to the laws, customs, and usage's of the contracting parties, and natural justice: the mode of such trials to be hereafter fixed by the wise men of the United States, in congress assembled, with the assistance of such deputies of the Delaware nation, as may be appointed to act in concert with them in adjusting this matter to their mutual liking. And it is further agreed between the parties aforesaid, that neither shall entertain, or give countenance to, the enemies of the other, or protect, in their respective states, criminal fugitives, servants, or slaves, but the same to apprehend and secure, and deliver to the state or states, to which such enemies, criminals, servants, or slaves, respectively below.

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