The Black Laws in the Old Northwest: A Documentary History

By Stephen Middleton | Go to book overview

II
Slavery

Indiana whites showed considerable interest in slavary, especially during its territorial phase. Proslavery leaders assembled at a convention in the town Vincennes, to pursue suspension of Article 6, which banned slavery in the Northwest Territory. The petitioners asked Congress to either rescind or modify the article. They also made ridiculous assertions about their benevolence and concern for the welfare of blacks. They argued that prohibition in the ordenance discouraged immigration to Indiana and they urged Congress to allow slave holders who came there to maintain control over enslaved persons. Congress did not approve of their petitions. Consequently, Indiana lawmakers devised a complex indentured servitude system system that produced quaci-slavery for African Americans. The following documents include their petitions, reports, and memorials.


NUMBER 1

Proclamation calling for a convention to petition Congress to allow slavery in the Indiana Territory. Governor's messages, Executive Journal, November 22, 1802. Indiana Historical Collections, ( 1922).

Petitions having been presented to the Governor by a Considerable number of the Citizens of the Territory praying that a proclamation should Issue from the Executive authority for Calling A General Convention for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of repealing the sixth article of Compact between the United States and the people of the Territory, and for other purposes, and proof having been adduced to the governor that a very large majority of the Citizens are in favor of the measures: the Governor in

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