Select Committee on Illegal Traffic in Slaves in D.C. Presentment of the Grand Jury of Baltimore


July Term 1810

Grand Jury Room.

We the undersign'd Grand Jurors for Baltimore County respectfully represent, that during our official service at the present court, we have had abundant evidence of the existence of an evil for which in the present state of our laws there seems to be no adequate remedy. To Wit the Evil which necessarily attaches itself to the Slave Trade or to the transportation of Slaves from this, to other states.

It has been represented to us by sufficient testimony that there are in this City, houses appropriated to this trade as prisons for the reception of Negroes intended to be carried to other states And that the manner in which these houses are kept, the slaves being crowded together, male and female in one common dungeon, there being loaded with irons, confined in their filth together with being subjected to various species of Cruelty and Tyranny from their Keepers, presents a scene at once abhorrent to every principle of humanity and in our opinion disgraceful to any civilized community.

Slaves lawfully held are not the only victims of the barbarity It appears that the high price given for negroes, offers so strong a temptation, to the depraved part of our community, That servants for a term of years are sold as slaves for life. Thus are defeated the humane intentions of their former masters who had manumitted them

Free Negroes are decoyed by stratagem or dragged by force into these prisons, are chained and sent away such is the facility with which your laws may be put at defiance when such a system as this is permitted to be established and continues to be tolerated

Indentures are given by virtue of which free children as also grown persons are to be carried away and made slaves for life.

Slaves the legal property of individuals and in some cases the chief support of helpless widows, are stolen away from their owners and deposited in these cells of misery   of misery to wait transportation.

These are not solitary cares, but the alarming frequency of their occurrence their every day notoriety is such, as to shock every spectator that has the least regard for mercy or for justice the number of cases of these descriptions that during the present sitting of the court have been presented to the jury justify them in believing that the horrible practice of kidnapping both the slaves and the free instead of being checked by the vigilance and exertion of our police is increasing with enormous rapidity Deeply impressed with a sense of the necessity of some measure being adopt'd by the state for the protection of her Citizens in their property and free negroes in their liberty, against those fellonious invaders of Law. and of right. We the Undersign'd Grand Jurors beg leave to be considered among the petitioners for a law that will completely put a stop to such nefarious practices.

Richard W Heath, Foreman
Wm Dickson
John Daugherty
George Miller
Alexr Irvine
R H Moale
John Snyder
James Corner
Isaac Atkinson
Jacob Welsh
M. McLaughlin
John Shrim
Robert Stewart
Saml H Hadskis
James Piper
Philip Rogers
David Forney
Andrew Barge
Isaac Philips
John Murray
John Lynch

(A. Copy)


No 1.

Presentment Of the Grand Jury of Baltimore


presentment of the Grand Jury for Baltimore county