Boston: Printed by Adams and Nourse, 1787-1788. -645,; -665, ]; -693,  pp. [error in continuing pagination for third session]. Folio. Gray-blue muslin with red and black morocco spine labels, gilt titles. First edition. Moderate browning and soiling, library stamp to title page of first session, four leaves with marginal chips in first session, affecting a few letters on eight lines (missing letters supplied in manuscript), of one leaf (with repair), concerning concerning borders of Shutesbury, damp stain mainly to the last leaves of the third section. Still a good copy. Evans 20498; Evans 20499; Evans 21233. ESTC W16756; ESTC W16758; ESTC W16760. Item #43978
The most important act occurs in the third of the three sessions: "Act to prevent the Slave Trade, and for granting relief to the families of such unhappy persons as maybe kidnapped or decoyed away from this Commonwealth." While a ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1783 effectively abolished slavery in the state, it was only with this law that the trade in slaves was abolished. The incident that sparked the law was the kidnapping of three free blacks who were shipped to Martinique and sold into slavery. Prince Hall, a leader in the black community, led the effort to free them, with the support of Jeremy Balkan and a group of Quaker minister, as well as to pass this law which not only prohibited the slave trade, but also mandated financial compensation for victims of kidnapping and their families. There were 63 other acts passed in these three sessions. List upon request.