Fugitive Slave Law of 1793
Article IV, Section 2 of the United States Constitution guaranteed the right to
repossess any "person held to service or labor" (a euphemism for
slaves), it did not set up a mechanism for executing the law.
On February 12, 1793, the Second Congress passed "An act respecting fugitives
from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters,"
that authorized the arrest or seizure of fugitives and empowered "any
magistrate of a county, city or town" to rule on the matter. The act
further established a fine of $500 against any person who aided a fugitive.
(Teaching syllabus notes of Heather Godley, Scattergood
Friends School of West Branch, Iowa)