1818: 58 George 3 c.49: An Act to explain Three Acts, passed in the Forty sixth, Forty seventh and Fifty first Years of His Majesty’s Reign, respectively, for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
[30th May 1818.]
WHEREAS an Act was passed in the Forty Sixth Year of the Reign of His present Majesty,
[46 G. 3. c. 52.]
intituled An Act to prevent the Importation of Slaves by any of His Majesty’s Subjects into any Islands, Colonies, Plantations or Territories belonging to any Foreign Sovereign, State or Power; and also to render more effectual a certain Order made by His Majesty in Council on the Fifteenth Day of August One thousand eight hundred and five, for prohibiting the Importation of Slaves (except in certain Cases) into any of the Settlements, Islands, Colonies or Plantations on the Continent of America or in the West Indies, which have been surrendered to His Majesty’s Arms during the present War; and to prevent the fitting out of Foreign Slave Ships from British Ports:
[47 G.3. Sess. 1. c. 36.]
And Whereas an Act was passed in the Forty seventh Year of the Reign of His present Majesty, intituled An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade:
[51 G. 3. c. 23.]
And Whereas another Act was passed in the Fifty first
A.D. 1818. 58° GEO. III. C. 49. 167
Year of the Reign of His present Majesty, intituled An Act for rendering more effectual an Act made in the Forty seventh Year of His Majesty’s Reign, intituled ‘An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade:’ And Whereas divers Persons have, contrary to Law, imported into certain of His Majesty’s Possessions on the Continent of South America, certain Negro Slaves from other Possessions of His Majesty: And Whereas it is expedient that all Persons who have been concerned in advising, authorizing or making such Importations of Negro Slaves as aforesaid, contrary to Law, should be indemnified, inasmuch as such Importations have been made under a belief that they were authorized by Law; Be it therefore enacted by The King’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same,
[Certain Importations of Slaves rendered valid, and Prosecutions nulled.]
That the said Importations be and be deemed valid and of due Force in Law; and that all personal Actions and Suits, Indictments, Informations and all Prosecutions and Proceedings whatsoever, which have been or shall be hereafter prosecuted or commenced against any Person or Persons for having advised, authorized or made any such Importation at any time before the passing of this Act, be, are and shall be discharged and made void by virtue of this Act;
[General Issue in such Actions.]
and that if any Action or Suit shall be prosecuted or commenced against any Person or Persons for or by reason of any such Importation, he, she or they may plead the General Issue, and give this Act and the special Matter in Evidence; and if the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs in any Action or Suit so to be prosecuted or commenced in that Part of the United Kingdom called England or that Part called Ireland, or in any of His Majesty’s Possessions on the Continent of South America or in the West India Islands, shall become nonsuit, or forbear further Prosecution, or suffer Discontinuance, or if a Verdict shall pass against such Plaintiff or Plaintiffs,
the Defendant or Defendants shall recover his, her or their Double Costs, for which he, she or they shall have the like Remedy as in cases where the Costs by Law are given to the Defendants;
[Actions in Scotland.]
and if any such Action or Suit as aforesaid shall be commenced or prosecuted in the Part of Great Britain called Scotland, the Court before which such Action or suit shall be commenced or prosecuted shall allow to the Defender the Benefit of the Discharge and Indemnity thereby provided,
and shall further allow him his Double Costs of Suit in all such cases as aforesaid.
[Proceedings where Suits have been commenced to be stayed.]
II. And be it also enacted, That if any Action or Suit hath been already commenced against any Person or Persons for any such Importation, it shall and may be lawful for the Defendant or Defenders in such Action or Suit respectively, in whatever Court of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland or in any of His Majesty’s Possessions on the Continent of South America, or in the West India Islands, such Action or Suit shall have been commenced, to apply to such Court or Courts respectively, to stay all Proceedings thereon respectively, by Motion in a summary Way, and such Court or Courts are hereby required to make Order for that Purpose accordingly;
and the Court or Courts making such Order shall allow and award to the Defendant or Defenders respectively Double Costs of Suit, for which they shall respectively have the like Remedy as in cases where the Costs are by Law given to the Defendant or Defenders.
[Slaves may be transported from the Bahamas and Dominica to South America on Licence.]
III. And Whereas it has been represented that there is in the Bahama Islands, and on certain Estates in the Island of Dominica, a considerable Quantity of the Land which, from Length of Cultivation has become exhausted: And Whereas it has in consequence become impossible for the Proprietors of such Land to find profitable Employment and Subsistence for the Negro Slaves who are their Property, and have hitherto been supported by cultivating the said Land: And Whereas it might tend to ameliorate the Condition of the said Negro Slaves if they could by Law be transported to certain of His Majesty’s Possessions on the Continent of South America, to which by Law they cannot now be transported; Be it enacted, That from and after the passing of this Act, it shall and may be lawful for His Majesty, by and with the Advice of His Privy Council, to grant Licences for the Transportation of such Slaves from any of the said Islands to any of the said Possessions on the Continent of South America, under certain Regulations and Restrictions, to be hereinafter provided: Provided always, that no such Licence shall be granted unless upon a Representation to His Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, from the Proprietor of such Negro Slaves, who shall be required to produce satisfactory Proof that the said Slaves may be so transported without Disadvantage to themselves, and unless he shall enter into Bond to remove the said Negro Slaves in Families.
[His Majesty in Council may make further Rules and Orders.]
IV. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for His Majesty, by and with the Advice of His Privy Council, to make such further Rules and Regulations, with respect to the Transport and Destination of any such Negroes, with such Penalties and Forfeitures for the Breach thereof, as shall seem fit and necessary to His Majesty, by and with the Advice aforesaid.
[Regulations as to the Conveyance of Slaves from one Settlement to another by Sea.]
V. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That it shall not be lawful for any Person or Persons to embark, ship, export or carry upon the Sea, any Slave or Slaves from any such Settlement or Territory, now belonging to, or under the Dominion, or in the Possession of His Majesty, on the Continent of South America, to any other Country, Island, Territory or Place whatever, whether under the Dominion of His Majesty, or of any Foreign Sovereign, State or Power; any thing in the said recited Acts or either of them, or in any other Act or Acts of Parliament to the contrary notwithstanding: Provided also, that nothing herein, before contained shall extend or be construed to extend to prohibit or prevent the embarking, shipping, exporting or carrying by Sea any Slave or Slaves from any such Settlement or Territory of or belonging to, or under the Dominion, or in the Possession of His Majesty, on the Continent of South America, to any other Settlement or Territory now belonging to, or under the Dominion, or in the Possession of His Majesty, on the said Continent of South America, so as that such Slaves are embarked, shipped and so carried by Sea, under and Subject and according to all the Restrictions, Regulations, Penalties and Forfeitures in the said recited Acts or either of them contained, in relation to the carrying of Slaves from one Island, Colony or Plantation belonging to His Majesty, to any other Island, Colony or Plantation belonging to His Majesty:
[Proviso for employing Slaves in Navigation, Fishing, &c.]
Provided also, that nothing hereinbefore contained shall prevent or be construed to prevent any Slave from being employed either in Navigation, Fishing or any other his ordinary Business or Occupation upon the Seas, in the same manner as Slaves may now be employed in any British West India Island, in Numbers not exceeding in any one Boat or Vessel those usually employed in navigating such Vessels or Boats:
[and for Slaves being domestic Servants attending their Masters by Sea.]
Provided also, that nothing hereinbefore contained shall extend or be construed to extend to prevent any Slave who shall be really and truly the domestic Servant of any Person residing or being in any such Settlement or Territory, now belonging to, or under the Dominion, or in the Possession of His Majesty as aforesaid, from attending his or her Owner, or Master or Mistress, or any Part of his or her Family, by Sea to any Place whatever, in the same manner and under the same Regulations as are prescribed by any of the said recited Acts as to Slaves attending their Masters from any British West India Island.