Friday, August 23, 2019

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Vernellia Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

Article Index




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.

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