The question of prohibiting the African slave-trade by a provision in the national Constitution caused much and warm debate in the convention that framed that instrument. A compromise was agreed to by the insertion of a clause (art. I., sec. 9, clause 1) in the Constitution, as follows: "The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight; but a tax, or duty, may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person." The idea of prohibiting the African slave-trade, then warmly advocated, was not new. In 1774 the Continental Congress, while releasing the colonies from other provisions of the AMERICAN ASSOCIATION , had expressly resolved " that no slave be imported into any of the United States."
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