Fugitive Slave Law of 1793
Chapter VII - An Act respecting Fugitives from Justice,
and persons escaping from the service of their masters.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of
America in Congress assembled, That whenever the executive authority of any state in the Union, or
of either of the territories northwest or south of the river Ohio, shall demand any person as a fugitive
from justice, of the executive authority of any such state or territory to which such person shall have
fled, and shall moreover produce the copy of an indictment found, or an affidavit made before a
magistrate of any state or territory as aforesaid, charging the person so demanded, with having
committed treason, felony or other crime, certified as authentic by the governor or chief magistrate
of the duty of the executive authority of the state or territory to which such person shall have fled, to
cause him or her to be arrested and secured, and notice of the arrest to be given to the executive
authority of the state or territory making such demand, or to the agent of such authority appointed to
receive the fugitive, and to cause the fugitive to be delivered to such agent  when he shall appear.
But if no such agent shall appear with six months from the time of the arrest, the prisoner may be
discharged. And all costs or expenses incurred in the apprehending, securing, and transmitting such
fugitive to the state or territory making such demand, shall be paid by such state or territory.

Section 2. And be it further enacted, That any agent, appointed as aforesaid, who shall receive the
fugitive into his custody, shall be empowered to transport him or her to the state or territory from
which he or she shall have fled. And if any person or persons shall by force set at liberty, or rescue
the fugitive from such agent while transporting, as aforesaid, the person or persons so offending
shall, on conviction, be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars, and be imprisoned not exceeding
one year.

Section 3. And be it also enacted, That when a person held to labour in any of the United States, or
in either of the territories on the northwest or south of the river Ohio, under the laws thereof, shall
escape into any other of the said states or territory, the person to whom such labour or service may
be due, his agent or attorney, is hereby empowered to seize or arrest such fugitive from labour, (b)
and to take him or her before any judge of the circuit or district courts of the United States, residing
or being within the state, or before any magistrate of a county, city or town corporate, wherein such
seizure or arrest shall be made, and upon proof to the satisfaction of such judge or magistrate, either
by oral testimony or affidavit taken before and certified by a magistrate of any such state or
territory, that the person so seized or arrested, doth, under the laws of the state or territory from
which he or she fled, owe service or labour to the person claiming him or her, it shall be the duty of
such judge or magistrate to give a certificate thereof to such claimant, his agent or attorney, which
shall be sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive from labour, to the state or territory from
which he or she fled.

Section 4. And be it further enacted, That any person who shall knowingly and willing obstruct or
hinder such claimant, his agent or attorney in so seizing or arresting such fugitive from labour, or
shall rescue such fugitive from such claimant, his agent or attorney when so arrested pursuant to the
authority herein given or declared; or shall harbor or conceal such person after notice that he or she
was a fugitive from labour, as aforesaid, shall, for either of the said offenses, forfeit and pay the sum
of five hundred dollars. Which penalty may be recovered by and for the benefit of such claimant, by
action of debt, in any court proper to try the same; saving moreover to the person claiming such
labour or service, his right of action for or on account of the said injuries or either of them.

Approved, February 12, 1793. Signed into law by President George Washington

In 1847 the Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of the 1793 act in Jones v. Van Zandt.

House of Representatives Vote on Fugitive Slave Act:
It was resolved in the affirmative,
Yeas ... 48,
Nays ... 7.
The yeas and nays being demanded by one-fifth of the members present,

Those who voted in the affirmative, are,

Fisher Ames,
John Baptist Ashe,
Abraham Baldwin,
Robert Barnwell,
Egbert Benson,
Elias Boudinot,
Shearjashub Bourne,
Benjamin Bourne,
Abraham Clark,
Jonathan Dayton,
William Findley,
Thomas Fitzsimons,
Elbridge Gerry,
Nicholas Gilman,
Benjamin Goodhue,
James Gordon,
Christopher Greenup,
Andrew Gregg,
Samuel Griffin,
William Barry Grove,
Thomas Hartley,
James Hillhouse,
William Hindman,
Daniel Huger,
Israel Jacobs,
Philip Key,
Aaron Kitchell,
Amasa Learned,
Richard Bland Lee,
George Leonard,
Nathaniel Macon,
Andrew Moore,
Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg,
William Vans Murray,
Alexander D. Orr,
John Page,
Cornelius C. Schoonmaker,
Theodore Sedgwick,
Peter Silvester,
Israel Smith,
William Smith,
John Steele,
Thomas Sumpter,
Thomas Tudor Tucker,
Jeremiah Wadsworth,
Alexander White,
Hugh Williamson, and
Francis Willis.

Those who voted in the negative, are,
Samuel Livermore (N.H),
John Francis Mercer (Md),
Nathaniel Niles (Vt),
Josiah Parker (Va),
Jonathan Sturges (Ct),
George Thatcher (Mass and Ma), and
Thomas Tredwell (NY).

George Cabot (Ma), Ralph Izard (S.C), and Roger Sherman (Ct)
were the commitee assigned to the bill, but no recorded vote was taken.
John Francis Mercer
Md State Archives
Ranaway from Subscriber, living in
Prince George's County, Maryland on
Thursday the 6th day of October, Negro


commonly called Lewis Butler. Lewis is
about 6 ft high, very dark mulatto,
spare made, very long limbs, with very
long feet and hands; clothing course
Osnaburg shirt and trousers other
clothes not recollected. I will give Fifty
dollars if taken in the state or the
District of Columbia; if out of state, the
above reward, reasonable charges, if
brought home or confined to jail so that
I may get him again.

Thomas Snowden Jr.
October 19, 1825.
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Maryland Law
Relations with Other
U. S. Fugitive Slave Law
U. S. Fugitive Slave Law
Federal Laws Regarding
Slavery in Prince
George's County
Maryland Abolition of
Free People of Colour
Before the End of Slavery
Dred Scott Decision
Organizations against
Dr. Bronson Main Page
Assorted Documents of
Prince Georges County
Prince Georges 1861
Author's Introduction