Juan A. Hernandez
Proyecto de ley sobre Abolicion de la Esclavitud en la isla de Puerto-Rico
Tomás Alonso
Legislation & Constitutions
Biblioteca Nacional de España. British Library.
Proposition Spanish Colonies Law Abolition Slavery Island Puerto Rico
The colonial administrator and member of parliament for Puerto Rico, Hernandez Arvízu published his project for an emancipation law in 1869. He recommended that all children of slaves should be born free, and also proposed the emancipation of all slaves aged under seven or over seventy, and the gradual abolition of slavery over a period of ten to twelve years. Arvízu opposed immediate abolition, but argued that both the threat of slave resistance and public pressure from "abolitionist peoples and societies" (20) made some kind of reform of slave law in the Spanish colonies necessary.
Many of Arvízu's proposed reforms would be incorporated in the 1870 Moret law, including "el vientre libre" - all children of slave mothers to be born free, and the idea of "el patronado", an apprenticeship system for free minors.