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.