Friday, November 24, 2017

Laws related to Slavery

Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

 

Respecting fugitives from justice,  and persons escaping from the service of their masters. February 12, 1793 The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 Statutes at Large, Chap. VII, p. 302, February 12, 1793 Chapter VIIC An Act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters.

Section 1.  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever the executive authority of any state in the Union, or of either of the territories northwest or south of the river Ohio, shall demand any person as a fugitive from justice, of the executive authority of any such state or territory to which such person shall have fled, and shall moreover produce the copy of an indictment found, or an affidavit made before a magistrate of any state or territory as aforesaid, charging the person so demanded, with having committed treason, felony or other crime, certified as authentic by the governor or chief magistrate of the state or territory from whence the person so charged fled,  it shall be the duty of the executive authority of the state or territory to which such person shall have fled, to cause him or her to be arrested and secured, and notice of the arrest to be given to the executive authority making such demand, or to the agent of such authority appointed to receive the fugitive, and to cause the fugitive to be delivered to such agent when he shall appear:  But if no such agent shall appear within six months from the time of the arrest, the prisoner may be discharged.  And all costs or expenses incurred in the apprehending, securing, and transmitting such fugitive to the state or territory making such demand, shall be paid by such state or territory.

Sec. 2.  And be itfurther enacted, That any agent, appointed as aforesaid, who shall receive the fugitive into his custody, shall be empowered to transport him or her to the state or territory from which he or she shall have fled.  And if any person or persons shall by force set at liberty, or rescue the fugitive from such agent while transporting, as aforesaid, the person or persons so offending shall, on conviction, be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars, and be imprisoned not exceeding one year.

Sec. 3.  And it be also enacted, That when a person held to labour in any of the United States, or in either of the territories on the northwest or south of the river Ohio, under the laws thereof, shall escape into any other of the said states or territory, the person to whom such labour or service may be due, his agent or attorney, is hereby empowered to seize or arrest such fugitive from labour, (b) and to take him or her before any judge of the circuit or district courts of the United States, residing or being within the state, or being any magistrate of a county, city or town corporate, wherein such seizure or arrest shall be made, and upon proof to the satisfaction of such judge or magistrate, either by oral testimony or affidavit taken before and certified by a magistrate of any such state or territory, that the person so seized or arrested, doth, under the laws of the state or territory from which he or she fled, owe service or labour to the person claiming him or her, it shall be the duty of such judge or magistrate to give a certificate thereof to such claimant, his agent or attorney, which shall be sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive from labour, to the state or territory from which he or she fled. Sec. 4.And it be further enacted, That any person who shall knowingly and willingly obstruct or hinder such claimant, his agent or attorney in so seizing or arresting such fugitive from labour, or shall rescue such fugitive from such claimant, his agent or attorney when so arrested pursuant to the authority herein given or declared; or shall harbor or conceal such person after notice that he or she was a fugitive from labour, as aforesaid, shall for either of the said offences, forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred dollars.  Which penalty may be recovered by and for the benefit of such claimant, by the action of debt, in any court proper to try the same; saving moreover to the person claiming such labour or service, his right of action for or on account of the said injuries or either of them.

 

Approved, February 12, 1793

Fugitive Slave Law - 1850

 

Fugitive Slave Act(1850)


(Approved, September 18, 1850.)


And be it further enacted, That the Circuit Courts of the United States shall from time to time enlarge the number of the commissioners, with a view to afford reasonable facilities to reclaim fugitives from labor, and to the prompt discharge of the duties imposed by this act.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the commissioners above named shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the judges of the Circuit and District Courts of the United States, in their respective circuits and districts within the several States, and the judges of the Superior Courts of the Territories, severally and collectively, in term-time and vacation; shall grant certificates to such claimants, upon satisfactory proof being made, with authority to take and remove such fugitives from service or labor, under the restrictions herein contained, to the State or Territory from which such persons may have escaped or fled.

SEC. 7.And be it further enacted, That any person who shall knowingly and willingly obstruct, hinder, or prevent such claimant, his agent or attorney, or any person or persons lawfully assisting him, her, or them, from arresting such a fugitive from service or labor, either with or without process as aforesaid, or shall rescue, or attempt to rescue, such fugitive from service or labor, from the custody of such claimant, his or her agent or attorney, or other person or persons lawfully assisting as aforesaid, when so arrested, pursuant to the authority herein given and declared; or shall aid, abet, or assist such person so owing service or labor as aforesaid, directly or indirectly, to escape from such claimant, his agent or attorney, or other person or pergons legally authorized as aforesaid; or shall harbor or conceal such fugitive, so as to prevent the discovery and arrest of such person, after notice or knowledge of the fact that such person was a fugitive from service or labor as aforesaid, shall, for either of said offences, be subject to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisonment not exceeding six months, by indictment and conviction before the District Court of the United States for the district in which such offence may have been committed, or before the proper court of criminal jurisdiction, if committed within any one of the organized Territories of the United States;

...and shall moreover forfeit and pay, by way of civil damages to the party injured by such illegal conduct, the sum of one thousand dollars for each fugitive so lost as aforesaid, to be recovered by action of debt, in any of the District or Territorial Courts aforesaid, within whose jurisdiction the said offence may have been committed.

SEC. 9.And be it further enacted, That, upon affidavit made by the claimant of such fugitive, his agent or attorney, after such certificate has been issued, that he has reason to apprehend that such fugitive will be rescued by force from his or their possession before he can be taken beyond the limits of the State in which the arrest is made, it shall be the duty of the officer making the arrest to retain such fugitive in his custody, and to remove him to the State whence he fled, and there to deliver him to said claimant, his agent, or attorney. And to this end, the officer aforesaid is hereby authorized and required to employ so many persons as he may deem necessary to overcome such force, and to retain them in his service so long as circumstances may require. The said officer and his assistants, while so employed, to receive the same compensation, and to be allowed the same expenses, as are now allowed by law for transportation of criminals, to be certified by the judge of the district within which the arrest is made, and paid out of the treasury of the United States.


Taken from: Barnett Hollander. Slavery in America: Its Legal History. London: Bowes and Bowes, 1962: 39-41. 

Slave Codes of the State of Georgia, 1848

Slave Codes of the State of Georgia, 1848


INCLUDING THE
ENGLISH STATUTES OF FORCE:
IN FOUR PARTS.

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED
A COLLECTION OF STATE PAPERS,

OF ENGLISH, AMERICAN, AND STATE ORIGIN;
TOGETHER WITH AN
APPENDIX, AND INDEX.,

AND ALSO
A COLLECTION OF LEGAL FORMS,
IN USE IN GEORGIA.


COMPILED, DIGESTED, AND ARRANGED, BY
WILLIAM A. HOTCHKISS,
BY AUTHORITY OF THE LEGISLATURE.


(SECOND EDITION)
AUGUSTA:
PUBLISHED BY CHARLES E. GRENVILLE.
1848


ART. I. CRIMES, OFFENCES, AND PENALTIES


SEC. I CAPITAL OFFENCES

1.Capital crimes when punished with deaths.
2.When punished by death, or at discretion of the court.
3.Punishment for manslaughter.
4.Punishment of slaves for striking white persons.
5.When the striking a white person justifiable.
6.Punishment for burning or attempting to burn houses in a town.
7.Punishment for burning or attempting to burn houses in the country.
8.Trial of offenders for arson.
9.Punishment of free persons of color for inveigling slaves.
10.Punishment for circulating incendiary documents.


SEC. II. MINOR OFFENCES

11.Punishment for teaching slaves or free persons of color to read.
12.Punishment of free persons of color for trading with slaves.
13.Punishment of slaves for harboring slaves.
14.Punishment of free persons of color for harboring slaves.
15.Constables authorized to search suspected premises for fugitive slaves.
16.Persons of color not allowed to preach or exhort without written license.
17.Punishment for preaching or exhorting without license.
18.Prosecution by indictment.
19.Slaves giving information of design to poison, how rewarded.
20.Punishment for giving false information.
21.Punishment of slaves for teaching other to poison.
22.Punishment of slaves for killing, marking, or branding cattle.
23.Offences not defined, how punished.


ART II. PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES.


SEC. I. COMMENCEMENT OF PROSECUTION

24.Tribunal for the trial of free persons of color.
25.Arrests and trial of slaves and free persons of color
26.Offences, how prosecuted.
27. Inferior court to be notified
28.Duty of justice notified.
29.Continuance may be granted for cause.
30.Clerk of inferior court to act as prosecuting officer.
31.Accusation to be preferred by clerk in writing.
32.Record of proceedings, subpoenas for witnesses, rules of evidence.


SEC. II. TRIAL.

33.Jurors, how drawn and summoned.
34.At what time jurors to be drawn.
35.Challenging jurors; number allowed state and federal.
36.Oath of jurors.
37.Trial by jury.
38.Jury failing to render verdict, proceedings.
39.Jury may be completed by talesmen.


SEC. III. EVIDENCE

40.Persons considered competent witnesses
41.Slaves, when competent witnesses
42.Justice may compel the appearance and answer of witnesses.


SEC. IV. VERDICTS, JUDGEMENT, AND SENTENCE

43.Verdict and judgement
44.Sentence of death.
45.Punishment to be proportionate to the offence.
46.Suspension of sentence in minor offences.


ART. III. CORRECTION OF ERRORS, PARDON, EXECUTION, AND COSTS.


SEC. I. CORRECTION OF ERRORS

47.Exception may be take; proceedings
48.When execution may be suspended.
49.When judge of superior court may fix day of execution.
50.When new trial may be granted; proceedings.
51.Pardon of capital offences.
52.Offences not capital, court may grant time to obtain pardon.


SEC. III. EXECUTION AND COSTS

53.Execution of sentence.
54.Officer may press slaves to and in executing sentence.
55.State not liable to owner for slave executed.
56.Expenses of prosecution, when paid by master.
57.When paid by the county.
58.Fees if officer executing sentence.
59.Clerk and sheriff's fees



ART. 1. CRIMES, OFFENCES, AND PENALTIES.


SEC. I. CAPITAL OFFENCES.


1. Capital crimes when punished with death. -- The following shall be considered as capital offences, when committed by a slave or free person of color: insurrection, or an attempt to excite it; committing a rape, or attempting it on a free white female; murder of a free white person, or murder of a slave or free person of color, or poisoning of a human being; every and each of these offences shall, on conviction, be punished with death.


2. When punished by death, or at discretion of the court. -- And the following, also, shall be considered as capital offences, when committed by a slave or free person of color: assaulting a free white person with intent to murder, or with a weapon likely to produce death; maiming a free white person; burglary, or arson of any description; also, any attempt to poison a human being; every and each of these offences shall, on conviction, be punished with death, or such other punishment as the court in their judgement shall think most proportionate to the offence, and best promote the object of the law, and operate as a preventive for like offences in future.


3.Punishment for manslaughter. -- And in case a verdict of manslaughter shall be found by the jury, the punishment shall be by whipping, at the discretion of the court, and branded on the cheek with the letterM.


4.Punishment of slaves for striking white persons. -- If any slave shall presume to strike any white person, such slave upon trial and conviction before the justice or justices, according to the direction of this act, shall for the first offence suffer such punishment as the said justice or justices shall in his or their discretion think fit, not extending to life or limb; and for the second offence, suffer death: but in case any such slave shall grievously wound, maim , or bruise any white person, though it shall be only the first offence, such slave shall suffer death.


5. When the striking a white person justifiable. -- Provided always, that such striking, wounding, maiming, or bruising, be not done by the command, and in defense of the person or property of the owner or other person have the care and government of such slave, in which case the slave shall be wholly excused, and the owner or other person having the care and government of such slave, shall be answerable, as if the act has been committed by himself.


6. Punishment for burning or attempting to burn houses in a town. -- The willful and malicious burning or setting fire to, or attempting to burn a house in a city, town, or village, when committed by a slave or free person of color, shall be punished with death.


7. Punishment for burning or attempting to burden houses in the country. -- The willful and malicious burning a dwelling house on a farm or plantation, or elsewhere, (not in a city, town or village) or the setting fire thereto, in the nighttime, when the said house is actually occupied by a person or persons, with the intent to burn the same, when committed by a slave or free person of color, shall be punished by death.


8.Trials of offenders for arson. -- The trial of offenders against the provisions of this act, shall be had in the same courts, and conducted in the same manner, and under the same rules and regulations as are provided by the several acts now in force in this state for the trial of capital offences, when committed by a slave or free person of color.


9.Punishment of free persons of color for inveigling slaves. -- If any free person of color commits the offence of inveigling or enticing away any slave or slaves, for the purpose of, and with the intention to aid and assist such slave or slaves leaving the service of his or their owner or owners, or in going to another state, such person so offending shall, for each and every such offence, on conviction, be confined in the penitentiary at hard labor for one.(1)


10. Punishment for circulating incendiary documents. -- If any slave, Negro, mustizoe, or free person of color, or any other person, shall circulate, bring, or cause to be circulated or brought into this state, or aid or assist in any manner, or be instrumental in aiding or assisting in the circulation or bringing into this state, or in any manner concerned in any written or printed pamphlet, paper, or circular, for the purpose of exciting to insurrection, conspiracy, or resistance among the slaves, Negroes, or free persons of color of this state, against their owners or the citizens of this state, the said person or persons offending against this section of this act, shall be punished with death.







SEC.. II. MINOR OFFENCES.


11. Punishment for teaching slaves or free persons of color to read. -- If any slave, Negro, or free person of color, or any white person, shall teach any other slave, Negro, or free person of color, to read or write either written or printed characters, the said free person of color or slave shall be punished by fine and whipping, or fine or whipping, at the discretion of the court.


12. Punishment of free persons of color for trading with slaves. -- If any slave or slaves, or free persons of color shall purchase or buy any of the aforesaid commodities(2) from any slave or slaves, he, she, or they, on conviction thereof, before any justice of the peace, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, shall receive on his, her, or their bare back or backs, thirty-nine lashes, to be well laid on by a constable of said county, or other person appointed by the justice of the peace for that purpose: Provided, that nothing herein contained shall prevent any slave or slaves from selling poultry at any time without a ticket, in the counties of Liberty, McIntosh, Camden, Glynn, and Wayne. 


13. Punishment of slaves for harboring slaves. -- If any free person or any slave shall harbor, conceal, or entertain any slave that shall run away, or shall be charged or accused of any criminal matter, every free Negro, mulatto, and mustizoe, and every slave that shall harbor, conceal, or entertain any such slave, being duly convicted thereof according to the direction of this act, if a slave, shall suffer such corporeal punishment, not extending to life or limb, as the justice or justices who shall try such slave shall in his or their discretion think fit; and if a free person, shall forfeit the sum of thirty shillings for the first day, and three shillings for every day such slave shall have been absent from his or her owner or employer, to be recovered and applied as in this act hereafter directed.


14. Punishment of free persons of color for harboring slaves. -- All free persons of color within this state, who shall harbor, conceal, or entertain a slave or slaves who shall be charged or accused or any criminal matter, or shall be a runaway, shall, upon conviction (in addition to the penalty already provided for in said section(3)), be subject to the same punishment as slaves are under said section of the above recited act.


15. Constables authorized to search suspected premises for fugitive slaves. -- Any lawful constable having reason to suspect that runaway slaves, or such Negroes who may be charged or accused of any criminal offence, are harbored, concealed, or entertained in the house or houses of such slaves or free persons of color, they or any of them are authorized to enter such houses, and make search for the said runaway or runaways, or accused criminal or criminals.


16. Persons of color not allowed to preach or exhort without written license. -- No person of color, whether free or slave, shall be allowed to preach to, exhort, or join in any religious exercise with any persons of color, either free or slave, there being more that seven persons of color present. They shall first obtain a written certificate from three ordained ministers of the gospel of their own order, in which certificate shall be set forth the good moral character of the applicant, his pious deportment, and his ability to teach the gospel; having a due respect to the character of those persons to whom he is to be licensed to preach, said ministers to be members of the conference, presbytery, synod, or association to which the churches belong in which said colored preachers may be licensed to preach, and also the written permission of the justices of the inferior court of the county, and in counties in which the county town is incorporated, in addition thereto the permission of the mayor, or chief officer, or commissioners of such incorporation; such license not to be for a longer term than six months, and to be revocable at any time by the person granting it.


17. Punishment for preaching or exhorting without license. -- Any free person of color offending against this provision, to be liable on conviction, for the first offence, to imprisonment at the discretion of the court, and to a penalty not exceeding five hundred dollars, to be levied on the property of the person of color; if this is insufficient, he shall be sentenced to be whipped and imprisoned at the discretion of the court: Provided, such imprisonment shall not exceed six months, and no whipping shall exceed thirty-nine lashes.


18. Prosecution by indictment. -- Each offence under this act may be prosecuted by indictment(4) in the superior court of the county in which the same shall have been committed, and the penalties shall be recoverable byqui tam action in the superior or inferior court, one half to the use of the informer, and the other to the use of the county academy.


19. Slaves giving information of design to poison, how rewarded. -- Every Negro, mulatto, or mustizoe, who shall hereafter give information of the intention of any other slave to poison any person, or of any slave that hath furnished, procured or conveyed any poison to be administered to any persons, shall, upon conviction of the offender or offenders, be entitled to and receive from the public of this province, a reward of twenty shillings, to be paid him or her by the treasurer yearly and every year, during the abode of such Negro, mulatto, mustizoe in this province, on the day that such discovery was made, and shall also be exempted from the labor of his or her master on that day; and every justice before whom such information and conviction is made, is hereby required to give a certificate of every such information, which certificate shall entitle the informant to the reward aforesaid: Provide always, nevertheless, that no slave be convicted upon the bare information of any other slave, unless some circumstances or overt act appear, by which such information shall be corroborated to the satisfaction of the said justices and jury.


20. Punishment for giving false information. -- In cases any slaves shall be convicted of having given false information, whereby any other slave may have suffered wrongfully, every such false informer shall be liable to, and suffer the same punishment as was inflicted upon the party accused.


21. Punishment of slaves for teaching other to poison. -- In case any slave shall teach and instruct another slave in the knowledge of any poisonous root, plant, herb, or other sort of a poison whatever, he or she offending shall, upon conviction thereof, suffer death as a felon; and the slave or slaves so taught or instructed, shall suffer such punishment, not extending to life or limb, as shall be adjudged and determined by the justices and jury before whom such slave or slaves shall be tried.


22. Punishment of slaves for killing, marking, or branding cattle. -- In case any slave or slaves shall be found killing, marking, branding, or driving any horse or neat cattle, contrary to the directions of this act(5), every such slave or slaves, being convicted thereof by the evidence of a white person, or of a slave, shall be punished by whipping on the bare back, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes, by order or warrant of any justice of the peace before whom the fact shall be proved.


23. Offences not defined, how punished. -- All other offences committed by a slave or free person of color, either against persons or property, or against another slave or person of color, shall be punished at the discretion of the court before whom such slave or person of color shall be tired, such court having in view the principles of humanity in passing sentence, and in no case shall the same extend to life or limb.



ART. II. PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES.


SEC. I. COMMENCEMENT OF PROSECUTION.


24. Tribunal for the trial of free persons of color. -- An act passed at Milledgeville on the sixteenth day of December, eighteen hundred and eleven, entitled an act to establish a tribunal for the trial of slaves within this state; the court therein established is hereby made a tribunal for offences committed by free persons of color, to all intents and purposes, as if the words free persons of color had been inserted in the caption, and every section of the said act to establish a tribunal for the trial of slaves within this state.


25. Arrests and trial of slaves and free persons of color. -- Every slave or free person of color, charged with any offence contained in this act, shall be arrested and tried, pursuant to an act entitled, "An act to establish a tribunal for the trial of slaves within this state", passed the sixteenth dat of December, eighteen hundred and eleven, and the seventh, eighth and ninth sections of this act, and shall receive sentence agreeably to the requisitions contained in this act.(6)


26. Offences, how prosecuted. -- Upon complaint being made to, or information received upon oath, by any justice of the peace, of any crime having been committed by any slave or slaves within the county where such justice is empowered to act, such justice shall, by warrant from under his hand, cause such slave or slaves to be brought before him, and give notice thereof, in writing, to any two or more of the nearest justices of the peace of said county, to associate with hm on a particular day, in said notice to be specified, not exceeding three days from the date of said notice, for the trial of such slave or slaves; and the justices so assembled, shall forthwith proceed to the examination of a witness or witnesses, and other evidence, and in case the offender or offenders shall be convicted of any crime not capital, the said justices, or a majority of them, shall give judgement for the inflicting any corporeal punishment, not extending to the taking away life or member, as in their discretion may seem reasonable and just, and shall award and cause execution to be done accordingly; and in case it should appear to them, after investigation, that the crime or crimes wherewith such slave or slaves stand or stands charged, is a crime or crimes for which he, she, or they ought to suffer death, such slave or slaves shall immediately be committed to the public jail of said county, if any, provided it should be sufficient, or to the custody of the sheriff or said county, or to the nearest sufficient jail thereto.


27. Inferior court to be notified. -- The said justices shall, within three days next thereafter, give notice, in writing, to one of the justices of the inferior court of said county, of such commitment, with the names of the witness or witnesses, and such justice of the inferior court shall, within three days after the receipt thereof, direct the sheriff of said county, whose duty it shall be to summon a jury of twelve free white persons of said county, to be drawn in the manner hereinafter pointed out, to attend in like manner.


28. Duty of justice notified. -- When any justice of the inferior court shall have received notice of the commitment of any slave or slaves, or free person or persons of color, (under the description of a free Negro or Negroes, mulatto, or mustizoe), to jail, in pursuance of the second section of an act entitled, "An act to establish a tribunal for the trial of slaves in this state", passed the sixteenth day of December, eighteen hundred and eleven,(7) it shall be the duty of the said justice of the inferior court, within three days after the receipt thereof, to give notice, in writing, of such commitment, to the justices of the inferior court, or a majority of them, together with the clerk of said court, requiring their attendance at the court house of said county, where such slave or slaves, or person or persons of color, as aforesaid, may have been committed, on a particular day, in said notice to be specified in writing, not exceeding ten days from the date of said notice.

29. Continuance may be granted for cause. -- The said court, so constituted as a aforesaid, shall immediately proceed to such trial, unless it should appear necessary for the said court, either for the want of sufficient proof, or any other sufficient reason, to delay the same, as in their judgement may seem for the furtherance of justice.


30. Clerk of inferior court to act as prosecuting officer. -- In all prosecutions for a capital offence against any slave or free person of color, the clerk of the inferior court shall act as the prosecuting officer in behalf of the sate.


31. Accusation to be preferred by clerk in writing. -- It shall be the duty of such justices, clerk, and jurors, to attend accordingly, and the said court, when so assembled, shall cause the clerk of said court to commit the charge or accusation alleged against such slave or slaves in writing, therein particularly setting forth the time and place of the offence, and the nature thereof.


32. Record of proceedings, subpoenas for witnesses, rules of evidence. -- It shall be the duty of the clerk to make a record of the proceedings against such slave or slaves, separated and distinct from other records of his office, and he shall also issue subpoenas and other writs necessary to procure the attendance of a witness or witnesses, at the instance of either party, and that in all cases respecting the admission of evidence against people of color, the rules shall be the same as heretofore practiced in this state.




SEC. II. TRIAL.


33. Jurors, how drawn and summoned. -- The justices of the inferior court, at their regular terms,(8) shall draw, in the manner pointed out by law, not more than thirty-six, nor less than twenty-six jurors, twenty-four of whom shall be directed by such justices of the court to be summoned as aforesaid, to attend at the day and place pointed out for the trial of such slave or slaves, in manner aforesaid; and in case a sufficient number of those summoned should not attend, the said court shall direct the panel to be made up by talesmen, and all defaulting jurors so summoned in the manner pointed out by this act, shall be fined as in other cases pointed out by law.


34. At what time jurors to be drawn. -- So much of the eighth section of the before recited act, as requires, the justices of the inferior courts in this state to draw a jury of thirty-six, at their regular terms, for the trial of such slave or slaves, person or persons of color, as aforesaid, shall be, and the same is hereby repealed; and in lieu of such regular drawing of jurors, it shall be the duty of such justices, or a majority of the, forthwith after being notified of such commitment as aforesaid, to cause to be drawn fairly and impartially from the jury box the names of persons subject to serve as jurors, not less than twenty-six nor more than thirty-six jurors, who shall be summoned according to the requisitions of the before-recited act, to attend at the time and place pointed out for the trial of such slave or slaves, or person or persons of color, by the said justices of the inferior court.


35. Challenging jurors; number allowed state and defendant. -- The owner or manager of such slave or slaves, shall have the right of challenging seven of the said number summoned, and the said court five on the part of the sate, and the remaining twelve shall proceed to the trial of such slave or slaves.


36. Oath of jurors. -- As soon as the justices and jury shall be assembled, as aforesaid, in pursuance of the direction of this act, the said jury shall take the following oath: "I, A. B., do solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will truly and impartially try the prisoner or prisoners, brought upon his, her, or their trial, and a true verdict give according to evidence, to the best of my knowledge; so help me God."


37. Trial by jury. -- The said court shall cause twelve persons of those summoned, to be empaneled and sworn (the usual oath on such occasions made and provided) as jurors, to whom the said charge or accusation, in writing, and the evidence, shall be submitted.


38. Jury failing to render verdict, proceedings. -- If [in] any court held hereafter, within this state, for the trial of a slave or slaves, or free person or persons of color, the jury empaneled and sworn for such trial, shall, from any cause, fail to render a verdict, it shall and may be lawful for said court to adjourn to a succeeding day, not exceeding thirty days from the day of adjournment; and at the time of its adjournment, and before is shall adjourn, said court shall draw, agreeable to the provisions of the before-recited act, not less than twenty-six, and not more than thirty-six jurors, who shall be summoned to attend said adjournment, in the mode prescribed in the acts aforesaid; and the proceedings of said adjournment shall be in all respects the same as those pointed out in the before-recited acts.


39. Jury may be completed by talesman. -- In all cases where a sufficient number of the jurors summoned shall fail to attend, it shall be lawful for the court to complete the requisite number by summoning talesmen.




SEC. III. EVIDENCE.


40. Persons considered competent witnesses. -- On the trial of a slave or free person of color, any witness shall be sworn who believes in God and a future state of rewards and punishments.


41. Slaves, when competent witnesses. -- The evidence of any free Indians, mulattoes, mustizoes, Negroes, or slaves, shall be allowed and admitted in all cases whatsoever, for or against another slave, accused of any crime or offence whatsoever, the weight of which evidence, being seriously considered and compared with all other circumstances attending the case, shall be left to the justices and jury.


42. Justices may compel the appearance and answer of witnesses. -- The said justices, or any of them, are hereby authorized, empowered, and required, to summon and compel all persons whatsoever, to appear and give evidence upon the trial of any slave, and if any person shall neglect or refuse to appear, or appearing shall refuse to give evidence, or if any master or other person, who has the care and government of any slave, shall prevent and hinder any slave under his charge and government, from appearing and giving evidence in any matter depending before the justices and jury aforesaid, the said justices may, and they are hereby fully empowered and required, upon due proof made of such summons being served, to bind every such person offending as aforesaid, by recognizance,, with one or more sufficient sureties, to appear at the next general court, to answer such their offence, and contempt, and for default of finding sureties to commit such offenders to prison, for any term not exceeding the space of two months.





SEC. IV. VERDICT, JUDGEMENT, AND SENTENCE.


43. Verdict and judgement. -- The said jurors by their verdict shall say whether such slave or slaves are guilty or not guilty, and if a verdict of guilty should be returned by such jury, the court shall immediately pronounce the sentence of death by hanging, or some other punishment not amounting to death.


44. Sentence of death. -- Whenever a slave or free person of color is brought before the inferior court to be tried for an offence deemed capital, it shall be the duty of said court to pass such sentence as may be pointed out by law for the offence of which slave or free person of color may be guilty.


45. Punishment to be proportionate to the offence. -- In all cases where the jury, on the trial of any slave or free person of color, shall return a verdict of guilty, the court shall pass the sentence of death on such slave or free person of color, agreeably to the requisitions and subject to the same restrictions as are required by the before-recited act,(9) or proceed to inflict such other punishment as in their judgement will be most proportionate to the offence, and best promote the object of the law, and operate as a preventive for [of] like offences in future.


46. Suspension of sentence in minor offences. -- Where any jury shall find a verdict of guilty against any such slave or slaves, or person or persons of color as aforesaid, in pursuance of the fifth section(10) of the act referred to in the preceding section, it shall and may be lawful for the said court to suspend the passing sentence against such slave or slaves, or person or persons of color as aforesaid, for any term of time not exceeding two day.




ART. III. CORRECTION OF ERRORS, PARDON, EXECUTIONS, AND COSTS.


SEC. I. CORRECTION OF ERRORS.


47. Exceptions may be taken; proceedings. -- In all trials and proceedings before justices of the peace and justices of the interior courts, under any by virtue of the act passed on the sixteenth day of December, eighteen hundred and eleven, and of the act passed on the nineteenth day of December, eighteen hundred and sixteen, in relation to slaves and free persons of color, and of any acts amendatory thereof,, when either party shall be dissatisfied with any decision of the court before whom such trial and proceedings may be had, affecting the real merits thereof, such party shall and may offer exceptions in writing to such decisions, which shall be signed by such party,, or his or her attorney; and if the same shall be overruled by said court, the party making the exceptions may or twenty days' notice to the opposite party, or his or her attorney, apply to one of the judges of the superior court, and if such judge shall deem the exceptions sufficient, he shall forthwith issue a writ ofcertiorari to said justices, or to the clerk of the inferior court, as the case may be, requiring the proceedings in said matter to be certified and sent to the superior court next to be held in and for the county in which said proceedings or trial may have been had; and at the term of the court to which such proceedings shall be certified, said superior court shall determine thereon, and make such order, judgement and decisions, as shall be agreeable to law and justice.


48. When execution may be suspended. -- When exceptions shall be offered in manner aforesaid, the said justices before whom said trials or proceedings may be, shall suspend the execution of their judgement and sentence for forty days; and when awcertiorari shall be sanctioned in manner aforesaid, the judge issuing the same shall order the said judgement and sentence to be suspended until the final order and decision of said superior court shall be had in the cause.


49. When judge of superior court may fix day of execution. -- Whenever acertiorari shall be granted agreeable to the provisions of the before-mentioned act, passed on the twenty-second day of December, eighteen hundred and twenty-nine, if sentence shall have been passed and a day fixed when the same shall be carried into effect by the inferior court before whom the slave or slaves, or free person or persons of color, were had and convicted; and if, after considering saidcertiorari, the judge of the superior court before whom the same may be, shall be of the opinion that the sentence of the inferior court should not be altered or disturbed, he is hereby authorized and directed to order the execution of said sentence on some other day than that fixed by said inferior court shall have passed before the final hearing and discussion of saidcertiorari.


50. When new trial may be granted; proceedings. -- If the judge of the superior court before whom anycertiorari, as contemplated by the before-recited act, passed on the twenty-second of December, eighteen hundred and twenty-nine, shall be argued and considered, shall, after considering the same, be of opinion that error has been committed in the court before, and that a new trial should be had, be shall pass such order as may be necessary to effect this object; and the inferior court to whom said order may be directed shall obey the same; and whenever a new trial shall be ordered, said inferior court shall assemble on the day to be specified in said order, shall draw a jury, have them summoned in the manner prescribed by the before-recited acts, and in all cases of a new trial, the presenting shall in all cases be the same as those presented in the before-mentioned acts.


SEC. II. Pardons


51. Pardon of capital offences. -- In every case of conviction, for a capital felony, the owner of the slave, or guardian of the free person of color convicted, may apply to the court before which the conviction shall have taken place, and obtain a suspension of the execution of the sentence, for the purpose of applying to the governor for a pardon, and it shall be in the power of the governor to grant said pardon.


52. Offences not capital, court may grant time to obtain pardon. -- On a conviction for any other offence not punishable by death, the court may, at its discretion, grant a suspension of the execution of the sentence for the purpose of enabling the owner of a slave, or guardian of a free person of color, to apply to the governor for a pardon, or commutation of the punishment in such manner, and upon such terms and conditions as he may think proper to direct.




SEC. III. EXECUTIONS AND COSTS.


53. Execution of sentence. -- All and every the constable and constables(11) in the several parishes within this province, where any slave shall be sentenced to suffer death, or other punishment, shall cause execution to be done of all the orders, warrants, precepts, and judgements of the justices hereby appointed to try such slaves, for the charge and trouble of which the said constable or constables respectively shall be paid by the public,(12) unless in such cases as shall appear to the said justice or justices to be malicious or groundless prosecutions, in which cases the said charges shall be paid by the prosecutors. 


54. Officer may press slaves to aid in executing sentence. -- And that no delay may happen in causing execution to be done upon such offending slave or slaves, the constable who shall be directed to cause execution to be done, shall be, and he is hereby empowered to press one or more slave or slaves in or near the place where such whipping or other corporeal punishment shall be inflicted, to whip or inflict such other corporeal punishment upon the offender or offenders; and such slave or slaves so pressed shall be obedient to, and observe all the orders and directions of the constable in and about the premises, upon pain of being punished by the said constable by whipping on the bare back not exceeding twenty lashes, which punishment the said constable is hereby authorized and empowered to inflict; and the constable shall, if he presses a Negro, pay the owner of the said Negro two shillings out of his fee for doing the said execution: and in cases capital, shall pay to the Negro doing the said execution the sum of two shillings, over and above the said fee to his owner.


55. State not liable to owner for slave executed. -- The state shall in no instance be answerable for, or liable to pay the owner whatever for any Negro slave or slaves who may laws of this state.


56. Expenses of prosecution, when paid by master. -- All expenses and fees chargeable by any of the public officers, for prosecuting any Negro slave or slaves, convicted of any crime, not capital, against the laws of this state, shall be paid by the owner or owners of such slave or slaves.


57. When paid by the count. -- But in all cases where any slave shall be convicted of any crime whereby he, she, or they may suffer death, the expenses attending the trial and execution of such slave or slaves shall be paid by the county where they shall be executed.


58. Fee of officer executing sentence. -- For whipping or other corporeal punishments not extending to life, the sum of five shillings; and for any punishment extending to life, the sum of fifteen shillings; and such other charges for keeping and maintaining such slaves, as are by the act for erecting the workhouse appointed; for levying of which charges against the prosecutor, the justices are hereby empowered to issue their warrant.


59. Clerk and sheriff's fees. -- The following shall be the fees of the clerk in such cases,(13) to wit: 

CLERK'S FEES.  border="0" width="100%">

For attending the court to draw
jury. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 1.25

For drawing up specifications of
the charge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.00

For attending each trial. . . . . . 1.25

For recording the proceedings of
trial. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

For copying order, or sentence,
and delivering the same to the
sheriff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50



And the following shall be the fees of sheriffs in such cases, to wit:

SHERIFF'S FEES.
  border="0" width="100%"> For summoning jury. . . . . . . . . 4.00 

For attending each trial . . . . . . 1.25

For executing order of sentence of the
court the same as contained in the general fee bill.


1. Latter clause of this act repealed. Omitted.

2. See ante chap. xxx, 53, p. 771.

3. See preceding 13.

4. Query as to constitutionality of this provision for indictment.

5. See ant Chap. xxx, 21, p. 762.

6. See post 23-34-43.

7. See preceding 27.

8. See succeeding when jurors may be drawn.

9. Act of Dec. 19, 1816, Prince 791.

10. See ante 43.

11. Sheriffs to execute sentence for capital offences.

12. Repealed by act of Dec. 19, 1793. See post 56, 57.

13. For the performance of duties in the trial of slaves and free persons of color.

Slavery (1787 - 1863): Selected Laws and Policies affecting AfricanAmericans

Slavery (1787 - 1863): Selected Laws and Policies affecting African Americans

Federal Laws State Laws

Federal Laws

1787 Constitution apportioned direct or capitation taxes and membership in the House of Representatives in accordance with population, but counted a slave as only three-fifths of a person. (Article 1 Section 2, Clause 3)
Constitution required that escaped slaves be returned to their owners (Article 4, Section 2) .
Constitution forbade Congress from making slavery illegal until 1808 (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1)
1709 -98 Naturalization Laws that applied to free whites only
1790 Cowperthwaite v. Jones, 2 Dall. 55, 2 U.S. 55, 1 L.Ed. 287 ( Sct Pa.,1790)(The price of the slave is the proper measure of damages in a suit on a bond of sureties for the safe keeping of a negro slave. Such a result by a jury has the consequence of emancipating the slave)
1793 Act of Feb. 12, 1793, ch. 7, 3,4, 1 Stat. 302, repealed by Act of June 28, 1864, ch. 166, 13 Stat. 200.
1793 Fugitive Slave Law Act, February 12 1793, c. 7, 4, 1 Stat. 305 (Provided that any person who should harbor or conceal a fugitive after notice that he was a fugitive from labor should forfeit and pay to the claimant the sum of $500, to be recovered by action of debt, saving also to the claimant his right of action for any damages sustained)
1794 Slave Trade Act 1794, 1 Stat. 347 (the forfeiture attaches, where the original voyage is commenced in the United States, whether the vessel belong to citizens or foreigners, and whether the act is done suo jure, or by an agent, for the benefit of another person who is not a citizen or resident of the United States.)
1794 Act March 22, 1794, 46 U.S.C.A. 1351 et seq., which prohibits any citizen or resident of the United States from equipping vessels within the United States to carry on trade or traffic in slaves to any foreign country
1796 St.1796, c. 67, 13 (providing for manumission of slaves by will, made to take effect at the death of testator, the right to freedom may be tried at law in a suit against the executor at the instance of the manumitted slaves)
1799 Act March 2, 1799, 1 Stat. 696
1800 Act May 10, 1800, 2 Stat. 70 (prohibits the voluntary service of an American citizen on board of an American or foreign vessel on a voyage commenced with the intent of carrying slaves from one foreign country to another, though no slaves have been received on board.)
1801 Sylvia v. Coryell, 23 F.Cas. 591, 1 Cranch C.C. 32, 1 D.C. 32, No. 13,713 (C.C.Dist.Col.,1801); The plaintiff [Negro Sylvia] petition for freedom under Act Va. Dec. 17, 1792. In 1779, Negro Sylvia was born a slave in Virginia and she became the property of the defendant [George Coryell], a citizen of Virginia. In June, 1789, the defendant sent her to New Jersey, where she remained three years in the service of the defendant's mother, but continued all that time the property of the defendant. At the end of the three years, the plaintiff returned to Virginia, to the service of the defendant, and has so remained until the time of bringing her action. HELD: It is not such a bringing into the commonwealth as entitles the slave to freedom, under Act Va. Dec. 17 1792.
1802 Acts May 3, 1802, 2 Stat. 194
1803 U.S. v. Wright, 28 F.Cas. 790, 1 Cranch C.C. 123, 1 D.C. 123, No. 16,771 (C.C.Dist.Col.,1803)(Betty Wright, a slave in Alexandria, VA,., may be tried for larceny in the circuit court of the District of Columbia, though under the law of Virginia she would have been tried by five justices of the county court, without a jury. After consideration she was tried by a jury. VERDICT: guilty. Judgment, 20 lashes, 1 cent find.)
1805 The Sally, 2 Cranch 406, 6 U.S. 406, 2 L.Ed. 320 (U.S.Md.,1805)(A libel for a forfeiture under the slave trade act of March 22, 1794, 1 Stat. 347, is a cause of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction)
1806 Scott v. Negro London, 3 Cranch 324, 7 U.S. 324, 2 L.Ed. 455 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1806)(A slave was brought into Virginia by a person who claimed and exercised the right of ownership over him, though he did not take the oath prescribed by the law. Eleven months after, the real owner of the slave came into the state, and within the 60 days took the oath prescribed. Held, that the slave was not entitled to his freedom)
1807 Act March 2, 1807, 2 Stat. 429(An act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States; prohibiting the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction etc., is not that of importing or bringing persons to hold as slaves, but of hovering on the coast with such intent; and though it forfeits the vessel, it is silent as to disposing of the colored people on board, any further than handing them over to the proper authorities)Slave Trade was legally ended BUT illegal trade began
1808 Spiers v. Willison, 4 Cranch 398, 8 U.S. 398, 2 L.Ed. 659(U.S.Ky.,1808)(Rebecca Willison, claimed title to the slaves under her grandmother, and at the trial offered parol proof that the grandmother, while Kentucky was a part of Virginia, had given them to her by a deed, which was lost. By the Virginia act of assembly, no gift of a slave was valid unless in writing and recorded. Court Held: parol evidence may be given of the existence of a deed of gift to show the nature of possession which accompanied the deed.)
Ramsay v. Lee, 4Cranch 401 (Mem), 8 U.S. 401, 2 L.Ed. 660 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1808) In Virginia, in 1784, no gift of a slave was valid unless in writing and recorded, although possession accompanied the gift.
1810 Scott v. Ben, 6 Cranch 3, 10 U.S. 3, 3 L.Ed. 135 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1810)(The right of freedom under Act Md.1783, which prohibits the bringing of slaves into that state, is not acquired by the neglect of the master "to prove, to the satisfaction of the naval officer or collector of the tax, that such slave had resided three years in the United States," though such proof is required by the act)
1812 Act June 24, 1812, 2 Stat. 755
1816 Davis v. Wood, 14 U.S. 6, 4 L.Ed. 22, 1 Wheat. 6 (U.S.,1816)(Evidence by hearsay and reputation is admissible only as to pedigree, but not to establish the freedom of a petitioner's ancestor, and thence to deduce his or her own)
1817 Beverly v. Brooke, 15 U.S. 100, 4 L.Ed. 194, 2 Wheat. 100 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1817)(Where the owner of slaves and part owner of a vessel hired the slaves to the master of the vessel, as mariners for a voyage, without a special contract, the master was not responsible for the escape of the slaves at a foreign port, which was one of the contingent termini of the voyage, if he acted with good faith, though it was doubtful if he had strictly pursued his orders in going to such port.)
1818 Slave Trade Act of April 20, 1818, 3 Stat. 450 (An act to prohibit the introduction of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States; The object of the statute prohibiting the importation of salves was to put an end to the slave trade and to prevent the introduction of slaves into the United States from other countries.)
1819 Act March 3, 1819, 3 Stat. 532
1820 The Missouri Compromise Act., March 6, 1820, 3 Stat. 545 (Provision prohibiting the holding and ownership of slaves in the territory of the United States north of the line)
Act May 15, 1820, 3 Stat. 600, 18 U.S.C.A. 1585; 18 U.S.C.A. 3238
The Josefa Segunda, 18 U.S. 338, 5 L.Ed. 104, 5 Wheat. 338 ( U.S.La.,1820)(Necessity, having been pleaded in justification of a violation of the law forbidding the importation of slaves, must, if real, and it can be fully and easily established, be proved by the most convincing and conclusive testimony. Evidence sustained decree against claimants to vessel which was sought to be forfeited for violation of Act of March 3, 1807, 2 Stat. 426, relating to importation of slaves into the United States, in view of lack of convincing conclusive testimony that violation of the law was necessary because perilous situation of the vessel and famishing condition of the people on board required vessel, which contained cargo of slaves, to enter the United States. In the execution of laws relating to the importation of slaves, restitution of property condemned by the United States ought never to be made except in cases which are purged of every intentional violation of the law by proofs of the most clear and most explicit and unequivocal nature.)
1822 Hill v. Low, 12 F.Cas. 172, 4 Wash.C.C. 327, No. 6494 (C.C.E.D.Pa.,1822)(Under Act February 12, 1793, c. 152, 1 Stat. 305, if the defendant knowingly obstructs the owner or his agent in seizing the fugitive, he cannot excuse himself against the penalty by pleading ignorance of the law, or an honest belief that the person was not a fugitive from service or labor. Mere obstruction, hindrance, or interruption is no offense, under Act February 12, 1793, c. 152, 1 Stat. 305, unless it be interposed to prevent a seizure in the first instance, or a recapture in case the fugitive, after seizure, should escape; and the offense in such case would be complete, although the owner should ultimately succeed in making the arrest.)
1823 The Mary Ann, 21 U.S. 380 5 L.Ed. 641, 8Wheat. 380 (U.S.La.,1823) A libel for forfeiture of a vessel which allegedly sailed from port of New York and Perth Amboy without delivering manifests to collectors or surveyors of ports of New York and Perth Amboy was defective in view of fact that law requires delivery of manifest to collector or surveyor of one port only or was defective for vagueness in not alleging with precision the port where offense was committed. Act March 2, 1807, c. 22, 2 Stat. 426. Statute requiring captain of any vessel of the burden of 40 tons or more, sailing coastwise, and having on board any negro, to make out and deliver duplicate manifests and requiring forfeiture of any ship departing without manifests having been executed comprehends forfeiture only of vessels of 40 tons or more. Act March 2, 1807, c. 22, 9, 2 Stat. 429.
1824 The Emily, 22 U.S. 381, 6 L.Ed. 116, 9 Wheat. 381(U.S.S.C.,1824)A seizure may be made, under Slave Trade Act 1794, 1 St. at Large, p. 347, 1, 46 U.S.C.A. 1351, before the vessel proceeds to sea, so soon as the intention of "preparing," etc., or of "causing to sail," etc., is manifest)
The Merino, 22 U.S. 391, 6 L.Ed. 118, 9 Wheat. 391 (U.S.Ala.,1824)(Under Act May 10, 1800, c. 205, 4, the owner of the slaves transported contrary to the provisions of that act cannot claim the same in a court of the United States, though they may be held to servitude according to the laws of his own country. But if, at the time of the capture by a commissioned vessel, the offending ship was in possession of a noncommissioned captor, who had made a seizure for the same offense, the owner of the slaves may claim them; the section only applying to persons interested in the enterprise or voyage in which the ship was employed at the time of such capture. The prohibitions in the slave trade acts of May 10, 1800, and April 20, 1818, extend to the carrying of slaves on freight as well as to cases where slaves belonging to citizens of the United States are transported, and to the carrying them from one port to another of the same foreign country as well as from one foreign country to another. In proceeding to forfeit vessel and cargo for carrying on slave trade, objections to irregularity with which proceedings were conducted were waived by appearance of parties and filing of claims to property seized. The acts of congress of 1800, 2 Stat. 70, and 1818, 3 Stat. 450, forbidding the employment of vessel belonging to citizens of United States in carrying slaves from one foreign country or place to another or taking on board or transporting from Africa or from any foreign country any negro for the purpose of holding or disposing of such person as a slave manifests intent of congress to prevent citizens of or residents within United States from affording any facilities to the slave trade although they should have no interest or property in the slaves themselves and although they should not be immediately instrumental to the transportation of them from their native country. In proceeding for forfeiture of vessels and their cargoes under information alleging that citizens of the United States who took slaves on board did so for purpose of holding them as slaves decree of forfeiture was required to be reversed where evidence showed that slaves were taken on board merely as passengers to be delivered to their owners or to those to whom they were consigned. Under act declaring forfeiture of any vessel belonging to citizen of United States employed in transporting slaves from one foreign country to another and providing that vessel may be libeled and condemned for the use of person who shall sue for it, the right to seize the vessel and slaves on board is a necessary consequence of the right to enforce forfeiture)
1825 The Josefa Segunda, 23 U.S. 312, 6 L.Ed. 320, 10 Wheat. 312 (U.S.La.,1825)(To constitute a valid seizure, so as to entitle the party to the proceeds of a forfeiture, there must be open visible possession claimed, and authority exercised under the seizure. A seizure not followed by prosecution or by a claim in the district court before a hearing on the merits, insisting on the benefit of the seizure, becomes a nullity. A seizure under the slave trade act once voluntarily abandoned becomes a mere nullity; The abandonment of a seizure or capture without the influence of superior force leaves the property open to the next occupant; An inspector rightfully on board vessel in pursuance of his ordinary duty did not make "seizure" of vessel for violation of slave act where inspector gave no notice of seizure to persons on board, exercised no authority and claimed no possession and had no force adequate to compel submission; In proceedings for condemnation of vessel and cargo for violation of slave act parties intending to insist on right as seizors had duty to interfere in court before hearing on merits; Under act providing for forfeiture of vessels engaged in slave trade "to the use of the United States" and providing that proceeds of vessels when condemned shall be divided equally between the United States and officers and men who shall make such seizure whether service be made by armed vessel of United States or revenue cutters thereof surveyor and naval officer of port of New Orleans were not entitled to share in proceeds of vessel seized by him and condemned for engaging in slave trade)
The Plattsburgh, 23 U.S. 133, 6 L.Ed. 284, 10 Wheat. 133 (1825)(Under Slave Trade Act 1794, c. 11, 18 U.S.C.A. 429, the forfeiture attaches, where the original voyage is commenced in the United States, whether the vessel belong to citizens or foreigners, and whether the act is done suo jure, or by an agent, for the benefit of another person who is not a citizen or resident of the United States; It is not necessary, to incur the forfeiture under the slave trade acts, that the equipments for the voyage should be completed. It is sufficient if any preparations are made for the unlawful purpose; Circumstances of a pretended transfer to a Spanish subject, and the commencement of a new voyage in a Spanish port, are not sufficient to break the continuity of an original venture and to avoid the forfeiture of a vessel engaged in the slave trade, under Act 1794, c. 11, 1 Stat. 347; Evidence justified decree condemning vessel for participation in slave trade on ground that voyage was originally undertaken from the United States and not by Spanish claimant who was resident of Cuba after bona fide purchase made by him disconnected from original enterprise)
1827 Mason v. Matilda, 25 U.S. 590, 6 L.Ed. 738, 12 Wheat. 590(U.S.Dist.Col.,1827)(The fact of the oath, required by statute of Virginia to be made by the owner of slaves brought into that state in 1792 on removing them, having been taken in accordance with the statute, may be presumed after the lapse of 20 years, accompanied by possession).
The Antelope, 25 U.S. 546, 6 L.Ed. 723, 12 Wheat. 546 (U.S.Ga.,1827)(Evidence warranted restoration to Spanish claimants of certain Africans out of large group captured under Slave Trade Act on ground that such Africans were sufficiently identified as belonging to Spanish claimants; In making restitution of African slaves who were taken from Spanish vessel by privateers and who were brought into ports of United States along with other Africans taken by privateer from other vessels, by a United States revenue cutter for adjudication under suspicion that slaves were to be smuggled in United States, Africans to be delivered to Spaniards must be designated by proof and not by lot; The slave trade is not piracy, unless made so by the treaties or statutes of the nation to whom the party belongs; The slave trade is not contrary to the law of nations; The right of visitation and search does not exist in time of peace. A vessel engaged in the slave trade, even if prohibited by the laws of the country to which it belongs, cannot, for that cause alone, be seized on the high seas, and brought in for adjudication, in time of peace, in the courts of another country. But if the laws of that other country be violated, or the proceeding be authorized by treaty, the act of capture is not, in that case, unlawful; Africans who are first captured by a belligerent privateer fitted out in violation of our neutrality, or by a pirate, and then recaptured and brought into the ports of the United States under a reasonable suspicion that a violation of the slave trade acts was intended, are not to be restored without full proof of the proprietary interest; for, in such a case, the capture is lawful; Africans who were first captured by belligerent privateer fitted out in violation of neutrality of United States or by a pirate and then recaptured and brought into the ports of the United States under reasonable suspicion that violation of slave trade act was intended would be delivered up to the United States to be disposed of according to law where no sufficient proof was made of the title of the real proprietor)
U.S. v. Gooding, 25 U.S. 460, 6 L.Ed. 693, 12 Wheat. 460(U.S.Md.,1827)(It is sufficient to sustain an indictment, under the slave trade act of 1818, 3 Stat. 450, if the vessel be fitted out with the intent to be employed in the illegal voyage, though no equipments for a slave voyage be actually on board. An averment in an indictment under the slave trade act of 1818, 3 Stat. 450, of the offense "with the intent that the vessel should be employed," is defective and fatal; the words of the statute being "with intent to employ the vessel."--Id. Evidence that the owner commanded, authorized, and superintended the fitment, through his agent, without his personal presence, will support a count, in an indictment under the slave trade act of 1818, 3 Stat. 450, that "he did fit out for himself, as owner," etc.)
Williamson v. Daniel, 25 U.S. 568, 6 L.Ed. 731, 12 Wheat. 568 (U.S.Ga.,1827)(The issue follows the mother, unless they be separated from each other by the terms of the instrument which disposed of the mother).
1829 Le Grand v. Darnall, 2 Pet. 664, 27 U.S. 664, 7 L.Ed. 555( U.S.Md.,1829)(The grandmother and mother of petitioner were slaves of M., and they and their descendants were at large, acting as free, from the year 1797 to 1832. They were permitted to own property, contract debts, rent farms, and support themselves and children until the death of M., in 1805, living during that time within three miles of his residence. He bequeathed all his property to his wife for life, remainder to his children, but neither she nor her children after her death asserted a claim to petitioner or her mother. Held, that the circumstances would justify the jury in presuming a deed of manumission; Where the exercise of freedom by persons of color by going at large may have had a lawful commencement, as by deed of manumission, or may have been an offense, under the act of 1787, which would subject the owner to a prosecution, in the absence of all evidence the presumption will be that the exercise of acts of freedom were of right; In Maryland, by statute of 1796, the owner of slaves was authorized to manumit them by will, provided that no such manumission should be effectual if the same should prejudice the creditors of the owner, "nor unless the slave or slaves shall be under the age of 45 years, and able to work and gain a sufficient maintenance and livelihood at the time the freedom given shall commence." Held, that the manumission of a slave, to take effect when he was 11 years old, was valid; A devise of property, real or personal by a master to his slave, entitles the slave to his freedom by necessary implication)
1830 U.S. v. Preston, 3 Pet. 57, 28 U.S. 57, 7 L.Ed. 601 (U.S.La.,1830)( The offense, under Act Cong. March 2, 1807, 7, 18 U.S.C.A. 1587; 46 U.S.C.A. 1355, 1357, 1358, prohibiting the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction etc., is not that of importing or bringing persons to hold as slaves, but of hovering on the coast with such intent; and though it forfeits the vessel, it is silent as to disposing of the colored people on board, any further than handing them over to the proper authorities).
1831 Menard v. Aspasia, 5 Pet. 505, 30 U.S. 505, 8 L.Ed. 207 (U.S.Mo.,1831)( The mother of A. was born a slave in Illinois prior to 1787, before that country belonged to Virginia. A., born after 1787, was sent as a slave to Missouri, where she claimed her liberty under the ordinance of 1787. The court declared her free, and, on a writ of error, under Act 1789, 25, 1 Stat. 85, to reverse the judgment, the case was held not to be within that section)
1833 Johnson v. Tompkins, 13 F.Cas. 840, Baldw. 571, No. 7416 (C.C.E.D.Pa.,1833)( On questions of slavery or freedom, the same rules of evidence prevail as in other cases concerning the right of property. A citizen of another state, whose slave absconds from him into Pennsylvania, may pursue and take him without warrant, using as much force as is necessarry to carry him back to his residence. And such proceeding is no offense against the laws of the state of Pennsylvania. If such opposition is made, or such order attempted to be executed, the master may use force in repelling it, and the officer who gives such order, and all concerned in its execution, are trespassers. No person has a right to oppose the master in reclaiming his slave, or to demand proof of his property. This right of the master to reclaim his fugitive slave results from his ownership, and right to the custody and service of his slave by the common law and by the laws of the state; and the constitution of the United States does not confer but secures this right.)
1834 McCutchen v. Marshall, 8 Pet. 220, 33 U.S. 220, 8 L.Ed. 923 (U.S.Tenn.,1834)(Two slaves were ordered by the will of their master to be manumitted at the death of his widow, or on reaching the age of 21. It was held that the children of the slaves, born after the death of their master, followed the condition of their parents; It is admitted to be a settled rule, in Tennessee, that the issue of a female slave follows the condition of the mother; So, where a testator, in Tennessee, bequeaths a female slave to one until the slave shall arrive at the age of 21 years, and then the slave to be free, and after the death of the testator, and before the slave arrives at that age, she has children, such children are absolute slaves, and will not be entitled to their freedom on their arriving at the age of 21 years, according to the decisions of the courts of that state; A declaration by a testator in his will that his slaves, after a certain time should be liberated from slavery, is an emancipation of such slaves, authorized by the laws of Tennessee as they were in 1810, when the will was made; Under Act of Tennessee of 1801, c. 27, 1, an executor is authorized to petition the court for manumission of slaves directed by the testator to be set free; Consideration of policy with respect to slaves may justify legislative regulations as to the guards and checks under which manumission shall take place, especially so as to provide against the public's becoming chargeable for the maintenance of slaves so manumitted)
1835 Fenwick v. Chapman, 9 Pet. 461 34 U.S. 461, 9 L.Ed. 193 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1835)(Under St.1796, c. 67, 13, providing for manumission of slaves by will, made to take effect at the death of testator, the right to freedom may be tried at law in a suit against the executor at the instance of the manumitted slaves)
1837 The Garonne, 11 Pet. 73, 36 U.S. 73, 9 L.Ed. 637 (U.S.La.,1837)(The object of the statute prohibiting the importation of salves was to put an end to the slave trade and to prevent the introduction of slaves into the United States from other countries. Act of April 20, 1818, 3 Stat. 450, 18 U.S.C.A. 1582, 1584, 1585, 3283; 28 U.S.C.A. 2462; 46 U.S.C.A. 1351, 1353; Under Act April 18, 1818, a vessel is not liable to condemnation for transporting slaves from the United States to Europe, and bringing them back to the United States, where they were again held in bondage; The statute prohibiting importation of slaves did not prevent a resident from going abroad and sojourning for a time in a foreign country, taking with her one of her slaves as an attendant and later bringing or sending the slave back home with intent to hold the slave as before in her service. Act of April 20, 1818, 3 Stat. 450, 18 U.S.C.A. 1582, 1584, 3283; 28 U.S.C.A. 2462; 46 U.S.C.A. 1351, 1353)
1840 U S v. Morris, 14 Pet. 464,39 U.S. 464, 10 L.Ed. 543 (U.S.N.Y.,1840)(Act May 10, 1800, 2 Stat. 70, is penal, and prohibits the voluntary service of an American citizen on board of an American or foreign vessel on a voyage commenced with the intent of carrying slaves from one foreign country to another, though no slaves have been received on board; A vessel sailing to African coast for purpose of taking slaves on board was "employed or made use of" in transportation or carrying of slaves within Act of Congress of May 10, 1800, 2, 3, 18 U.S.C.A. 427, penalizing persons serving on board such vessels)
1841 Groves v. Slaughter, 15 Pet. 449, 40 U.S. 449, 10 L.Ed. 800(U.S.La.,1841)(A contract made in violation of fixed and settled policy of state against allowing introduction of slaves as merchandise or for sale would be void)
The Amistad, 15 Pet. 518, 40 U.S. 518, 10 L.Ed. 826 (U.S.Conn.,1841)(Negroes who were kidnapped in Africa and carried to Cuba in violation of laws and treaties of Spain and who subsequently took possession of vessel and killed captain were not "pirates" or "robbers" so that restitution of negroes to Spanish claimants could be compelled under provisions of treaty with Spain for restitution of merchandise rescued out of hands of pirates or robbers on the high seas (Under law of Spain African slave trade is abolished and negroes thereby introduced into dominions of Spain are free; Slaves under the laws of Spain which were recognized by laws of Spain as property capable of being lawfully bought and sold would constitute "merchandise" within provision of treaty with Spain for restitution of "merchandise" rescued out of hands of pirates or robbers on the high seas; Negroes kidnapped in Africa and unlawfully transported to Cuba in violation of laws and treaties of Spain did not constitute property of Spanish claimants within provision of treaty with Spain for restitution of merchandise rescued out of hands of pirates or robbers on the high seas; Negroes who had been kidnapped in Africa by slave trader and who had seized ship and attempted to sail back to Africa but had sailed to United States where they were captured could not be returned to shore of Africa under provisions of prohibitory slave trade act since negroes were not taken from Africa or brought to the United States in violation of the laws of the United States).)
1842 Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 41 U.S. (16 Pet.) 536 (1842).
1842 Supreme Court Ruled federal agencies had to carry out Fugitive Slave Laws
1843 Williams v. Ash, 1 How. 1, 42 U.S. 1, 11 L.Ed. 25 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1843)(A testator bequeathed to her nephew certain slaves, with a proviso in her will "that he should not carry them out of the state of Maryland, or sell them to any one, in either of which events I will and desire the said negroes shall be free for life." After the decease of the testator, the legatee sold one of the slaves. Held, that the bequest of the testatrix of the slave to her nephew under the restrictions imposed by the will was not a restraint or alienation inconsistent with the right to the property bequeathed to the legatee, and that by the sale the slave became free; A slave is capable of receiving a bequest of freedom on the happening of a contingency which is not too remote. Such a bequest is a specific legacy)
1844 Adams v. Roberts, 2 How. 486, 43 U.S. 486, 11 L.Ed. 349 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1844)(On the trial of a petition for freedom, a paper was produced, which was a copy of a deed of manumission executed in December, 1801, by the owner of certain slaves in Virginia, among them the mother of the petitioner, to become free on the 1st of January, 1814, to which paper the names of two persons were attached as witnesses. In January, 1802, the grantor went into court in Fairfax county, Va., and ordered it to be recorded; but it did not appear whether the two witnesses were there with him or not. The grantor resided in the District of Columbia. Under these circumstances, and under the statute of Virginia passed December 17, 1792, a prayer to the court to instruct the jury that the petitioner was not entitled to freedom, was properly refused; The mother of the petitioner becoming free on the 1st of January, 1814, the exact time of the birth of the petitioner, whether before or after that day, was a fact for the jury; and a prayer to the court which would have excluded the consideration of that fact was properly refused)
Rhodes v. Bell, 2 How. 397, 43 U.S. 397, 11 L.Ed. 314 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1844)(The District of Columbia being still governed by the laws of Maryland and Virginia which were in force anterior to the cession, it is not lawful for an inhabitant of Washington county to purchase a slave in Alexandria county and bring him into Washington county for sale; if he does the slave will become entitled to his freedom)
1847 Jones v. Van Zandt, 5 How. 215, 46 U.S. 215, 12 L.Ed. 122, 3 Ohio Law Rep. 453 (U.S.Ohio,1847)(Under Act Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from the service of their master, on a charge for harboring and concealing fugitives from labor, the notice need not be in writing by the claimant or his agent, stating that such person is a fugitive from labor, under section 3 of the above act, and served on the person harboring or concealing such fugitive, to make him liable to the penalty of $500 under the act; Clear proof of the knowledge of the defendant, by his own confession or otherwise, that he knew that the colored person was a slave and fugitive from labor, though he may have acquired such knowledge from the slave himself or otherwise, is sufficient to charge him with notice; Such notice, if not in writing, and served as aforesaid, may be given verbally by the claimant or his agent to the person who harbors or conceals the fugitive; and a general notice to the public in a newspaper is not necessary to charge him under the statute; any overt act so marked in its character as to show an intention to elude the vigilance of the master or his agent, and which is calculated to attain such an object, is a harboring of the fugitive within the statute; A claim of the fugitive from the person harboring or concealing him need not precede or accompany the notice; In this case, the first and second counts were held to contain the necessary averments that the colored man escaped from the state of Kentucky into the state of Ohio, of notice that he was a fugitive from labor within the description of the act, and that the defendant harbored him. The counts were also held to be otherwise sufficient; Act Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, making it an offense to harbor or conceal fugitive from labor was designed merely to render effective the guaranty of constitution providing that no person held to service or labor in one state under the laws thereof escaping into another shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor but shall be delivered upon claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due; In Act of Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, making it an offense to harbor or conceal a fugitive from labor, the words and their derivatives must be construed in reference to the subject matter of the statute and the nature of the offense; As regards meaning of Act Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, making it an offense to harbor or conceal a fugitive from labor to harbor often means to secrete; Under Act Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, making it an offense to harbor or conceal a fugitive from labor the gist of the offense consists in the concealment of another's property under knowledge that it belongs to another and not in a claim being previously made and refused; Under Act Cong. February 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, respecting the concealment of a fugitive from labor if the information given to party orally or in writing is such as ought to satisfy a fair minded man that he is concealing the property of another, it is his duty under the constitution and laws to cease to do it. The act of congress, approved February 12, 1793, respecting fugitives from justice and labor, is not repugnant to the constitution of the United States, nor to the ordinance of 1787; Receiving the fugitive at 3 o'clock in the morning, at a place in the state of Ohio about 12 miles distant from the place in Kentucky where the fugitive was held to labor, from a certain individual, and transporting him in a closely covered wagon 12 or 14 miles, so that the boy thereby escaped pursuit, and his services were thereby lost to his master, is a harboring or concealing of the fugitive within the statute; and this, though the boy should be recaptured by his master)
Miller v. Herbert, 5 How. 72, 46 U.S. 72, 12 L.Ed. 55 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1847)(Under a statute of Maryland, passed in 1796, a deed of manumission is not good, unless recorded within six months after its date; and this law is in force in Washington county, District of Columbia.)
1848 Sims v. Hundley, 6 How. 1, 47 U.S. 1, 12 L.Ed. 319 (U.S.Miss.,1848)(Contracts for the sale of slaves were valid in the State of Mississippi in the year 1835).
1850 Fugitive Slave Law, September 18, 1850, 9 Stat. 462(any person who shall harbor or conceal any fugitive from service or labor, escaping from one state into another, so as to prevent his discovery and arrest, after notice or knowledge that he was such a fugitive, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, and, on indictment and conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding six months, and shall forfeit and pay, by way of civil damages, to the party injured, the sum of $1,000 for each fugitive so lost, to be recovered by action of debt.)
Randon v. Toby, 11 How. 493, 52 U.S. 493, 13 L.Ed. 784 (U.S.Tex.,1850)(Crime committed by those who introduced negroes into country in violation of law did not attach to all who might afterwards purchase negroes).
Strader v. Graham, 10 How. 82, 51 U.S. 82, 13 L.Ed. 337 (U.S.Ky.,1850)(Every state may determine status, or domestic and social condition, of persons domiciled within its territory, except in so far as powers of states in this respect are restrained or duties and obligations imposed upon them by the federal constitution; State of Kentucky could determine for itself whether employment of slaves in Ohio should make them free on their return to Kentucky)
1851 Bennett v. Butterworth, 12 How. 367, 53 U.S. 367, 13 L.Ed. 1026 (U.S.Tex.,1851)(In proceeding to require accounting by mortgagee in possession of slaves, master properly rejected account rendered under management which showed gross negligence or wilful default by mortgagee in failing to keep slaves engaged in useful employment. In proceeding to require accounting by mortgagee in possession of slaves, master properly stated charge for hire of slaves as commencing three months after date of death of mortgagor, which occurred while mortgagee had possession).
Norris v. Crocker, 13 How. 429, 54 U.S. 429, 14 L.Ed. 210(U.S.Ind.,1851)(Act Cong. 1850, c. 60, 7, 9 Stat. 464, providing that any person who shall harbor or conceal any fugitive from service or labor, escaping from one state into another, so as to prevent his discovery and arrest, after notice or knowledge that he was such a fugitive, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, and, on indictment and conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding six months, and shall forfeit and pay, by way of civil damages, to the party injured, the sum of $1,000 for each fugitive so lost, to be recovered by action of debt, repeals by implication Act 1793, c. 7, 4, 1 Stat. 305, which provided that any person who should harbor or conceal any such fugitive after notice that he was such a fugitive from labor should forfeit and pay to the claimant the sum of $500, to be recovered by action of debt, saving also to the claimant his right of action for any damages sustained, and bars all actions pending under said act of 1793 at the time of the repeal.
Harris v. Runnels, 12 How. 79 53 U.S. 79, 13 L.Ed. 901 (U.S.Miss.,1851)A statute of Mississippi prohibited the bringing of convict slaves into that state, or the holding of them when brought in; and also declared that no slaves should be brought into the state without a certificate, signed by two freeholders in the county and state from which the slaves were brought, that the slaves had not, within their knowledge and belief, been convicted of felony, and, in a subsequent section, imposed a penalty of $100 on any person purchasing or selling a slave contrary to this statute. Held, that this statute did not enable the purchaser to set up illegality of consideration to avoid payment of the purchase money. A statute of Mississippi prohibited the bringing of convict slaves into that state, or the holding of them when brought in, and also declared that no slaves should be brought into the state without a certificate, signed by two freeholders in the county and state from which the slaves were brought, that the slaves had not, within their knowledge and belief, been convicted of felony, and, in a subsequent section, imposed a penalty of $100 on any person purchasing or selling a slave contrary to this statute. Held, that this statute did not make void a contract of sale of slaves brought into the state without the required certificate.
1852 Moore v. People of State of Illinois, 14 How. 13, 55 U.S. 13, 14 L.Ed. 306 (U.S.Ill.,1852)(A state statute, making it penal to harbor or secrete a fugitive slave, or otherwise hinder or prevent his lawful owner from retaking him, is constitutional and valid)
1853 Amis v. Myers, 16 How. 492, 57 U.S. 492, 14 L.Ed. 1029 (U.S.La.,1853)(Evidence that slaves were purchased by defendant in execution by procuring acceptance and discount of a draft, that the plaintiff, when defendant in execution was unable to provide funds for payment of draft, caused draft to be paid by his own factor and agreed to take slaves as his property, that plaintiff's name was inserted in bill of sale and that defendant exercised no act of master ship over slaves and denied any interest therein, justified judgment restraining sale of salves in execution of judgment against the defendant).
1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed Missouri Compromise
Wanzer v. Truly, 17 How. 584, 58 U.S. 584, 15 L.Ed. 216 (U.S.Miss.,1854)(Where a portion of slaves purchased were lost because of defect in vendor's title, and a process of garnishment had been served upon purchaser by creditors of vendor who had absconded in insolvent circumstances, purchasers, against whom judgment had been rendered in garnishment proceeding, were entitled to value of the slaves and the costs incurred in suit in connection with loss of slaves).
1856 Dred Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 60 U.S. 393, 15 L.Ed. 691 (U.S.Mo.,1856)(The provision in Act Cong. passed March 6, 1820, 3 Stat. 545, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise act, prohibiting the holding and ownership of slaves in the territory of the United States north of the line therein mentioned, is not warranted by the constitution, and is therefore void; Right of property in slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution. The federal government has no power over person or property of citizens except what citizens of the United States have granted and no laws or usages of other nations or reasoning of statesmen or jurists on relations of master and slave could enlarge powers of government or take from citizens rights reserved. No federal tribunal may deny the right of property in slave, or deny to slave owners benefit of provisions and guarantees provided for protection of private property by the Constitution, since the Constitution recognizes such right of property and makes no distinction between slaves and other property. Under federal Constitution, federal government has no right to interfere with reserved power of states to regulate slaves for any other purpose but that of protecting rights of owner).
1858 Ableman v. Booth, 21 How. 506, 62 U.S. 506, 16 L.Ed. 169 (US Wis 1858)(The District Court of the United States for the District of Wisconsin has exclusive and final jurisdiction of an offense committed in that district under the act commonly called the "Fugitive Slave Law."; The commissioner duly appointed by the District Court of United States for the District of Wisconsin had lawful authority to issue warrant and commit person accused of violating the fugitive slave law of September 18, 1850, 9 Stat. 462. Holding that Act Cong. Sept. 18, 1850, 9 Stat. 462, commonly called the "Fugitive Slave Law," is constitutional in all its provisions).
1860 Vigel v. Naylor, 65 U.S. 208, 16 L.Ed. 646, 24 How. 208 (1860)(On a petition for freedom, the petitioner proved that one Kirby had emancipated all his slaves by will, some immediately, and some at a future day. In order to bring herself within this category and show that she had been the slave of Kirby, she offered to prove that her mother and brother and sister had recovered their freedom by suits brought against George Naylor, whose administrator, Henry Naylor, was the defendant in the present suit, and that it was very unusual to separate from the mother a child so young as the petitioner was at the time of Kirby's death. Held, that the evidence offered was admissible.
1861- 65 US Civil War
1861- 62 Confiscation Acts
1862 Morrill Land Grant Act
1863 The Emancipation Proclamation

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