1819: 59 George 3 c.120: An Act for establishing a Registry of Colonial Slaves in Great Britain, and for making further Provision with respect to the Removal of Slaves from British Colonies.
[12th July 1819.]
WHEREAS Laws have been passed in several of the Colonies and other Foreign Possessions of His Majesty, for enforcing the due Registration therein, of all Persons who are now, or may at any future time be held in Slavery within the same: And Whereas Provision has been made for transmitting to One of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, a Copy duly certified of each such Registry: And Whereas it is expedient, both for the better and more effectual Preservation of the said Copies, and for the Convenience of all Persons having any Interest in Persons held in Slavery in the British Colonies, that the Copies of such Registries should be deposited and kept in some Public Office in this Country; 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,
[His Majesty may appoint a Registrar of Colonial Slaves to receive Copies of Returns of Slaves, &c. from His Majesty’s Foreign Possessions.]
That it shall and may be lawful for His Majesty to nominate and appoint, by Warrant under the Hand and Seal of One of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, some fit and proper Person as the Registrar of Colonial Slaves, to receive the Copies of all Registries or Returns of Slaves, and of any Abstracts or Indexes referring thereto, which may have been, or which may at any time hereafter be transmitted from any of His Majesty’s Foreign Possessions, either in pursuance of any Order of His Majesty in Council, or of any Law or Ordinance duly passed in any of the said Colonies respectively, which said Registrar and his Successors respectively, shall continue to hold the said Office during His Majesty’s Pleasure.
[Treasury to assign such Registrar a Salary not exceeding 800l. per Ann. and fix Number of Clerks, &c. and allow them Salaries.]
II. And be it further enacted, That the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or any Three or more of them, shall assign to the Registrar so appointed, such a Salary, not exceeding in the whole the Sum of Eight hundred Pounds per Annum, as shall appear to them adequate and proper, and shall fix the Number of such Clerks, Officers or other Persons to assist the said Registrar, as may from time to time be necessary, and shall allow to them also such Salaries as may be proper, and also reasonable Sums for incidental Charges; all which Salaries and Charges shall be defrayed and paid in the same manner as the Salaries and incidental Charges of the Offices of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State are now defrayed and paid.
[Office to be provided, and a Schedule of Fees prepared.]
III. And be it further enacted, That the said Commissioners of the Treasury, or any Three or more of them, shall provide a proper and distinct Office for the said Registrar, and shall appoint the several Fees to be taken by the Registrar or his Assistants in the said Office, and shall cause a Schedule of the same to be delivered to the said Registrar at the time of his Appointment, which said Schedule, or a Copy thereof, shall be always kept and hung for Public Information in the Office of the said Registrar;
[Application of Fees.]
provided always, that the Fees so received by the Registrar or his Assistants shall be carried to the Public Account, and the Residue thereof, if any, after paying the Salaries of the Registrar and other Persons employed in his Office, shall be applied under the Direction of the said Commissioners of the Treasury, in aid of the Expences of His Majesty’s Civil List.
[Registrar to take an Oath before be enters upon Office.]
IV. And be it further enacted, That the Person who may be at any time appointed Registrar of Colonial Slaves, shall before he enters on the Execution of his said Office, be sworn before the Chief Justice or One of the Justices of His Majesty’s Courts of King’s Bench or Common Pleas, or the Chief Baron, or One of the Barons of His Majesty’s Court of Exchequer, in the Words following:
I A.B. do solemnly promise and swear, That I will in all respects faithfully and uprightly perform the Duties of Registrar of Colonial Slaves, to the best of my Judgment and Ability.
So help me GOD.
[Registrar not eligible to sit in House of Commons.]
V. And be it further enacted, That any Registrar of Slaves who may be appointed by virtue of this Act, shall during his Continuance in such Office be incapable of being elected, or of sitting as a Member of the House of Commons.
[Copies and Duplicates of Registries received by Secretaries of State delivered over to Registrar.]
VI. And be it further enacted, That as soon as the Office of Registrar of Colonial Slaves shall be opened, Copies and Duplicates of the several Registries and Returns of Slaves in the several Colonies, and all Papers connected therewith, which may have been received by any of His Majesty’s Secretaries of State, shall be delivered over to the said Registrar, and shall be by him kept in the said Office; and the said Registrar shall from time to time carry on, continue, correct and enlarge the Copies of the several Registries of Slaves respectively, pursuant to the further Returns of Slaves which may from time to time be received from the several Colonies, and shall form such Indexes and Abstracts, and such convenient Arrangements in other respects, as may best promote Regularity in keeping the said Books and facilitate Search therein.
[Attendance daily from Ten to Four (except Sundays and Holidays).]
VII. And be it further enacted, That every such Registrar, or his Clerks or Assistants, so to be appointed as aforesaid, shall give due Attendance at the said Office every Day in the Week (except Sundays and such Holidays as are kept at the Bank of England), from the Hour of Ten in the Morning to the Hour of Four in the Afternoon, for the Dispatch of all Business belonging to the said Office;
[Searches to be made and Certificates given by Registrar.]
and that every such Registrar, or his Clerks or Assistants, shall as often as required make Searches concerning any Slave or Slaves that shall be registered or supposed to be registered in any of the said Books, and shall also, if required, give Certificates under the Hand of the said Registrar, as to the Registration or Non Registration of any such Slave or Slaves, with Extracts, when the same is or are found to be registered, of the Name and Description or Names and Descriptions thereof, and of the Plantation or Plantations, Owner or Owners, to whom the same is or are described to belong, and of any other Particulars relating thereto which may be stated in the said Registry;
[Fee for Search.]
and that such Registrar shall be entitled to receive for every such Search, Certificate or Extract, such Sums as shall be duly appointed in the Schedule of Fees to be fixed by the said Commissioners of the Treasury as is hereinbefore provided for.
[After Jan. 1, 1820, no Purchase or Money lent on Security of Slaves, unless registered.]
VIII. And be it further enacted, That from and after the First Day of January One thousand eight hundred and twenty, it shall not be lawful for any of His Majesty’s Subjects in this United Kingdom to purchase, or to lend or advance any Money, Goods or Effects upon the Security of any Slave or Slaves in any of His Majesty’s Colonies or Foreign Possessions, unless such Slave or Slaves shall appear by the Return received therein to have been first duly registered in the said Office of the Registrar of Colonial Slaves;
[Sale or Mortgage otherwise made, shall be void, &c.]
and that every Sale, Mortgage and Conveyance, or Assurance of, and every Charge or other Security upon any Slave or Slaves not so appearing to be registered, which at any time or times after the said First Day of January One thousand eight hundred and twenty, shall be made or executed within this United Kingdom to or in trust for any of His Majesty’s Subjects, shall be absolutely null and void in respect of any such unregistered Slave or Slaves,
[What taken to be duly registering.]
and that for this Purpose no Slave or Slaves shall be deemed and taken to be duly registered, unless it shall appear that a Return of such Slave or Slaves duly made by the Owner or Owners, or other Persons in his or their behalf, in the manner and Form required by Law, in the Colony in which such Slave or Slaves may reside, or a Copy or Abstract of such Return, shall have been received in the Office of the said Registrar, from the Colony in which such Slave or Slaves shall reside, within the Four Years next preceding the Date of such Sale, Mortgage, Conveyance or Assurance, Charge or Security as aforesaid.
[No Deed executed for the Conveyance of Slaves valid, unless registered Name, &c. of Slave set forth.]
IX. And it is hereby further enacted, That from and after the said First Day of January One thousand eight hundred and twenty, no Deed or Instrument made or executed within this United Kingdom, whereby any Slave or Slaves in any of the said Colonies shall be intended to be mortgaged, sold, charged or in any manner transferred or conveyed, or any Estate or Interest therein created or raised, shall be good or valid in Law, to pass or convey, charge or affect any such Slave or Slaves, unless the registered Name and Description or Names and Descriptions of such Slave or Slaves shall be duly set forth in such Deed or Instrument, or in some Schedule thereupon indorsed or thereto annexed, according to the then latest Registration or corrected Registration of such Slave or Slaves in the said Office of the Registrar of Slaves:
[Misnomers not to invalidate Deed.]
Provided always, that no Deed or Instrument shall be avoided or impeached, by reason of a Clerical Error in setting forth the Names and Descriptions of any Slave or Slaves therein, or in any Schedule thereto contained, nor shall the same be avoided or impeached by reason of any Disagreement between the Names and Descriptions, and the Entries thereof in the Books of Registry, or Duplicate Registry, which shall have arisen from any Error or Default of the Registrar, his Assistants or Clerks, in extracting and certifying the said Names and Descriptions, without the fraudulent Contrivance or wilful Default of the Parties to such Deed or Instrument:
[Proviso for Securities executed before passing of Act, and certain other Deeds herein mentioned.]
Provided also, that nothing herein contained shall extend to or be construed to hinder or prevent the Transfer or Assignment of any Security, Mortgage or Charge of or upon Slaves granted, made, created or executed antecedently to the passing of this Act, nor to avoid any Deed or Instrument whereby such Security, Mortgage or Charge shall be hereafter transferred, nor to avoid, hinder or impeach any Will, Codicil or other Testamentary Paper, or any Probate or Letters of Administration, or any Bill of Sale, Assignment, Conveyance or Instrument made by or under the Authority of any Commission of Bankrupt, or any Public Officer appointed to assign or convey any Insolvent’s Estate and Effects, or by or under the Authority of any Court of Justice, or any Officer thereof, or in the Execution of any legal Process, by reason that the registered Names and Descriptions of any Slaves are not set forth in such Deed, Will, Codicil, Testamentary Paper, Probate, Letters of Administration, Bill of Sale, Assignment, Conveyance or Instrument.
[In what Case Issue of Slaves named in any Deed taken to be conveyed thereby.]
X. And be it further enacted, That the Issue of any Slave or Slaves named or described in any Deed or Instrument executed in the United Kingdom, or any Schedule thereto, born after the Return required by Law, in the Colony in which such Slave or Slaves may be resident, who shall afterwards be duly registered in the next Return required by Law in the said Colony, shall be deemed and considered to pass, and be conveyed and affected as registered Slaves by such Deed or Instrument, as effectually to all Intents and Purposes, as if such Issue were therein named and described, any thing in this Act contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
[46 G. 3. c. 52.]
XI. And Whereas by an Act passed in the Forty Sixth Year of His Majesty’s Reign, 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 (in certain Cases) into any of the Settlements, 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;
certain Regulations were made with respect to the Removal of Slaves from one British Colony to another: And Whereas it is expedient further to regulate the same; Be it therefore further enacted,
[When Slaves sent from one Colony to another, Owner to produce at Port of Shipping a certified Copy of Register of Names, &c, to be indorsed and annexed to Clearance, and produced to Officer at Port of Arrival, who is to see if the Slaves agree with the Description therein.]
That wherever any Slave or Slaves shall be sent from any Colony now or hereafter under the Dominion of His Majesty, His Heirs or Successors, with intent that such Slave or Slaves shall be removed to and remain in some other Colony under the Dominion of His Majesty, His Heirs or Successors, the Owner or Owners, or other Person or Persons sending any such Slave or Slaves, shall produce to the Collector or other Principal Officer of His Majesty’s Customs at the Port at which any such Slave or Slaves shall be shipped or embarked, a Copy duly certified by the Registrar of the said Colony, of the Name and Description, or Names and Descriptions, by which such Slave or Slaves has or have been registered, and of all other Particulars relating thereto stated in the said Registry; which Copy so certified shall be by such Collector or other Principal Officer indorsed with his own Name and Hand Writing, and shall be annexed to the Clearance or Permit to be given for the Shipment and Exportation of such Slave or Slaves, and shall on the Arrival of such Ship or Vessel in which such Slave or Slaves shall be sent, at the Port in any other British Colony to which the same shall be destined, be produced also to the Collector or Principal Officer of the Customs at such last mentioned Port, who shall examine the same, and shall also ascertain by personal Inspection whether the Slave or Slaves brought by such Ship or Vessel agree in Description with the Slave or Slaves mentioned in such Certificate or Clearance, and if not, shall refuse to admit the same to an Entry, but in case of such Agreement, shall indorse such Certificate with his Name and Hand Writing, and the said Certificate so indorsed shall be forthwith delivered by the Collector to the Registrar of Slaves in such last mentioned Colony.
[Slaves sent without such Certificate forfeited, together with Ship, &c. agreeably to 47 G. 3. c. 36.]
XII. And be it and it is hereby further enacted, That if any Slave or Slaves shall be exported, sent, carried or conveyed from any Colony under the Dominion of His Majesty, His Heirs or Successors, without such certified Copy from the Registrar of the Colony from which the same shall be so exported, sent, carried or conveyed, such Slave or Slaves, with the Ship or Vessel in which the same shall be so exported, sent, carried or conveyed, shall be forfeited, and shall and may be seized as forfeited, and prosecuted, condemned and dealt with in all respects as if such Slave or Slaves had been brought from or destined to any Foreign Colony or Place contrary to the Act passed in the Forty Seventh Year of His Majesty’s Reign, intituled An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade:
[Proviso for Embarkation of domestic Slaves as now allowed.]
Provided always, that nothing herein contained shall prevent or be construed to prevent the Embarkation or Passage from One British Colony to another, or to any other Colony or Place, in such manner as is now permitted by Law, of any domestic Slave or Slaves in actual Attendance on the Person of his, her or their Master or Mistress, or any Part of the Family of such Master or Mistress, being a Passenger or Passengers in the same Ship or Vessel, or of any Slave or Slaves employed as a Mariner or Mariners on board of any such Ship or Vessel;
[After Jan. 1, 1820, Owners of domestic Slaves, &c. to obtain Extracts certified by Registrar of Registry to be kept on board, and produced to Officer.]
but in addition to all Clearances and Certificates now required by Law, it shall be necessary, in all such Cases after the First Day of January One thousand eight hundred and twenty, for the Master or Owner of any such domestic Slave or Slaves, or Mariner or Mariners, to obtain from the Registry of the Colony to which the same shall belong, an Extract certified by the Registrar thereof, shewing that such domestic Slave or Slaves, or that such Slave or Slaves employed as a Mariner or Mariners, has or have been duly entered in the Slave Registry of the said Colony, by their Name and Description or Names and Descriptions therein specified; which Extract and Certificate shall be always on board the Ship or Vessel in which any such Domestic or Mariner is carried or employed; and unless such Extract and Certificate of Registration shall be found on board, any such Slave or Slaves so carried or employed after the time aforesaid,
shall be forfeited, and shall and may be seized as forfeited, and prosecuted, condemned and dealt with as aforesaid:
[When Domestic Slave landed, Certificate of Registry in Colony from whence brought to be produced to Officer, &c.]
Provided always, that if any domestic Slave or Slaves in actual Attendance upon the Person of his, her or their Master or Mistress, or any Part of the Family of such Master or Mistress, shall be brought into or landed in any British Colony, the Extract and Certificate of his, her or their Registration in the Colony from which he, she or they may have come, shall be forthwith produced to the Collector or Principal Officer of the Customs, and a Copy thereof shall be by him delivered to the Registrar of Slaves in the Colony into which he, she or they may be brought; and if the said domestic Slave or Slaves shall be again removed from the Colony into which they may have been so brought previous to the next Period for making Returns of Slaves therein, the Collector shall, previous to the Embarkation of such domestic Slave or Slaves, return to the Party requiring it the original Extract and Certificate of Registration delivered into his Office, to be kept on board the Ship or Vessel in which such domestic Slave or Slaves may be carried.
[Act altered, &c, this Session.]
XIII. And be it further enacted, That this Act may be altered, amended or repealed by any Act or Acts to be passed in this present Session of Parliament.