Saturday, May 30, 2020


Article Index


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.