1759 - New York woman is prevented from freeing her slaves for fear that they would become a burden on the community

+5 votes

I ran across this item in Olde Ulster (a magazine of history and genealogy) from 1905 on page 11, regarding a court record from Kingston, New York, in 1759:

AT A SESSION of the Court of Common Pleas, held in Kingston on Wednesday the 19th day of September, 1759, one Mrs. Susanna Bond, desirous to free four of her slaves, appeared in court by “Mr. James G. Livingston, Gentleman,” her attorney, with a manumission freeing “her Negroes Orandata, Orandates, Stradwell & Sateria and her son Thomas, and Delivered in court four bonds, Pursuant to the Acts of Assembly, executed by the said Susanna Bond, Cornelius Lewis and Jurian Mackey Dated Sept. the 18, 1759, to indemnify all & Every City, Town, Parish or place within this Colony where they shall at any time after their Manumission Live.” But the court rejected the security for insufficiency.—(From Court Minutes.)

If I understand this correctly, she was not permitted to manumit (free) her slaves for fear that they would become a financial burden on society. My first thought was that this was a peculiar attitude of the past, but on further reflection I think it is not very different from modern attitudes. We may no longer regard slave-owning as socially acceptable, but people are still inclined to try to keep refugees, foreigners, poor people, etc., out of our midst for fear that we will have to support them.

I have not found a profile for Susanna Bond (nor have I researched her), but I think that Jurian Mackey is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Mackey-1054 .

in The Tree House by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

1 Answer

+7 votes
Not only this, but there actually had to be laws passed to prevent people from manumitting elderly slaves in order to ditch them once they were no longer productive. A whole new low I bet few people have ever considered!

In 1815, Georgia enacted the Old Age Relief Act to protect elderly slaves from abandonment and neglect. In the Code of 1806 in Louisiana stated that slaves disabled through "old age, sickness, or any other cause, whether their diseases were incurable or not were to be fed and maintained by their owners."
by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (256k points)

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