Last updated on: 1/30/2017 | Author:

Mar. 12, 1700 – Massachusetts Prohibits “Lame, Impotent, or Infirm Persons” from Entering

“Colonial immigration laws… set precedents that were followed in subsequent national legislation. Colonial Americans, who viewed strangers as legitimate objects of suspicion, cautiously allowed settlers but were wary of those of religious difference (i.e., Catholics/Jesuits) or those who might become public charges. The influx of Germans and Quakers in the early 1700s led to specific provincial immigration laws… The [Mar. 12, 1700 Province Laws of Massachusetts], enacted nine years after the two Massachusetts Bay colonies unified into one province, demonstrates their economic concerns. Lame, impotent, or infirm persons were prohibited from entering without providing security that the town into which they settled would not be charged with their support. That first major provincial law was amended in 1722 [Province Laws, Massachusetts, June 29, 1722] to increase the bond to secure that no immigrant would become a public charge and specifying the requirement of masters of ships to submit their list to town selectmen or the town treasurer.”