Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy



As slavery, in the territory now embraced in the State of Illinois, depended upon conditions prior in time to its separate existence as a political division, it will be necessary to consider these conditions, the documentary provisions upon which its existence in the State was based, and as a preliminary to this examination, it will be proper to consider the origin of the institution in the territory from which the State was formed. Slaves were imported into that part of the country, which afterward became the Northwest Territory, from two sources, both from French provinces. The first introduction of Africans into the Illinois Territory was in 1720, by Renault, agent and manager of The Company of St. Phillipe, who brought a colony from France and purchased five hundred, slaves at St. Domingo, which he sold to the colonists before his return to France in 1744. In 1615 an edict of Louis XIII of France first recognized slavery in the French provinces in America, and settlers from Canada in these regions, brought with them the French laws and customs, and among them were those which recognized slavery, and in 1724 Louis XV published an ordinance which re-enacted the edict of Louis XIII, for the regulation of the government and administration of justice, policies, discipline and traffic in negro slaves in the province of Louisiana, of which Illinois was then a part. This included the provision of the civil law that if one of the parents were free, the offspring should follow the condition of the mother, and prohibited the sale separately of husband, wife, or minor children either by contract or execution. By the treaty of peace between England and France in 1763 this territory, as a dependency of Canada, was ceded to Great Britain, and when General Gage took possession he issued a proclamation in 1764, to the late subjects of France, that those who chose to retain their lands and become British subjects, should enjoy the same rights and privileges, the same security for their persons and effects, and liberty of trade, as the old subjects of the king. for more click here

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