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Continental Congress. Report on Slaves Who Had Escaped to East Florida, [26 August 1788]

Continental Congress. Report on Slaves Who Had Escaped to East Florida

[New York, August 26, 1788]

The Comittee to whom was referred the report of the Secretary for the Department of foreign affairs of the 14th instant1 submit the following resolutions

That the secretary for the department of foreign affairs be directed to transmit copies of the papers2 referred to in the said report to the Chargé des affaires of the United States at Madrid and instruct him to represent to his Catholic Majesty the inconveniences which the states bordering on his dominions experience from the Asylum afforded to subjective negroes belonging to the citizens of the said states and that Congress have full confidence that orders will be given to his governors to permit and facilitate their being apprehended and delivered to their owners or to persons authorised to receive them; assuring his Majesty that the said states will observe the like conduct respecting all such negroes3 belonging to his subjects as may be found therein

That the said Secretary be also directed to communicate the said papers to the Encargado de Negocios4 of Spain and to signify to him that his interposition to obtain proper regulations to be made on the subject would be very agreeable to Congress.

AD, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.

1The report of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of August 14, 1788, concerned resolutions of the Georgia legislature respecting slaves who had fled from Georgia to East Florida where they were given asylum. The secretary reported that he had applied to the governor of East Florida for the return of the fugitives but that the governor had replied that he could return them only if his court instructed him to do so. John Jay, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, recommended that copies of relevant papers be sent to the American chargé d’affaires at Madrid and that he be instructed to present the case to the Spanish King. Jay’s report is printed in JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXXIV, 430–31.

2The papers consisted of a motion by the Georgia Assembly concerning fugitive slaves and a letter from the governor of East Florida to the governor of Georgia on the same subject. They are printed in JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXXIV, 458–59.

3In the MS, the word “negroes” is written above the word “slaves.”

4I.e., chargé d’affaires.

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