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

Sep. 21, 1727-1729 – Pennsylvania’s Immigration Law Ignored by Ship Masters; New Tax and Health Inspections Imposed on Immigrants

“[A]n act was passed September 21, 1727, in Pennsylvania at the suggestion of the colonial governor, who feared that the peace and security of the province was endangered by so many foreigners coming in, ignorant of the language, settling together and making a separate people… It seems that although this law remained in force for a while, it was virtually a dead letter, for the ship masters did not get the required license to bring in the immigrants, and yet the latter were always admitted… [A] tax of forty shilling was laid on each immigrant by a law passed in 1729 which is quite an early instance of the use of a head tax as a restrictive measure… In order to prevent sick and diseased persons (there were many of them) from entering the colony, a law was passed requiring all ships to anchor a mile from the city until inspected by the port physician.”