March 22 -- Laws prohibit the equipping of boats for slave transit
Look, I know it sometimes feels like I am harping on this whole slave trade thing in these posts…
I also know that I seem to find something completely new in my searches for things to use from day to day…
March 22, 1794; Congress passed the Slave Trade Act of 1794, which made it illegal to build and equip a boat with the then-necessary tooling to transport slaves. The first person tried and convicted under the Act would not be for over 3 years, in which John Brown of Rhode Island lost his boat. In 1798, Congress went a step further to place a PER slave fine of a then-astronomical $300 on people convicted.
Personally, as I read these, I find it quite odd that there was so much legislation, attention and general opposition to slavery in general for the whole of the time of its institution, yet it was allowed to last for so long in spite of.
The act would be modified several times over the course of its effectiveness, receiving even an upgrade eventually signed by Thomas Jefferson making the transport of slaves “piracy,” punishable by the death penalty.
I guess the thinking in this was that if you kill the trade of the slaves, then eventually slavery itself would go away, but that would not be the case when the livelihood of the oppressors is at stake with mind on not having to get out there and get dirty themselves.
Anyway, there you have it… Today’s date in 1794 marks another of the VERY long steps taken towards abolition of Slavery here in America.