Page images
PDF
EPUB

1854, c. 65. An act for the defence of liberty in this State. Sec. 1. Declares punishment by fine and imprisonment for falsely and maliciously representing a free person to be a slave. 2. The truth of the allegation of slavery must be proved by two credible witnesses testifying to facts. 3. Penalty by fine and imprisonment for maliciously seizing a free person with intent to enslave. 4. Depositions not receivable on such trials. 5. Penalty of fine and imprisonment for false testimony that a person is, or was, a slave or owed service or labor. 6. Penalty for obstructing the apprehension of any person under this act. 7. Representation of debt of service as apprentice not herein intended. Compiled St. of 1854, p. 798.*

$550. LEGISLATION OF THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND.

1778.-Acts sanctioning and limiting the enlistment of slaves in the continental battalions, are mentioned in Bartlett's Index to Laws of Rh. I. pp. 243, 327, 337. "They were declared free on enlisting, and many actually served with fidelity during the war." E. R. Potter's Report."

1779, Oct. An act preventing slaves being sold out of the State without their consent is mentioned in Bartlett's Index, p. 329, and in Potter's Report.

1784, Feb. An act repealing the clause in the act of June, 1774, respecting the importation of slaves, is also mentioned. Bartlett's Index, p. 332. Mr. Potter mentions a law of this date as An act authorizing the manumission of negroes, mulattoes, and others, and for the gradual abolition of slavery, of which the preamble is, "Whereas all men are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the holding of mankind in a state of slavery as private property, which has gradually obtained by unrestrained custom and the permission of

'An act concerning the arrest and surrender of fugitives from justice, Sess. L. of 1852, c. 51. Sec. 3. Authorizes the governor to arrest and deliver persons claimed. 4. Provides for transportation through this State of offenders taken in some other State and on their way to the State where the offence is charged. Compiled St. of 1854, p. 360.

The clause punishing kidnapping, Compiled St. p. 308, provides "That it shall not operate to prevent persons coming into this State for the purpose of temporary residence, or passing through the same, from carrying their servants with them,” &c.

3 See vol. I. p. 275, n.

[ocr errors]

the laws, is repugnant to this principle and subversive of the happiness of mankind, the great end of," &c. "It declares all children of slaves born after March 1st, 1784, to be free, and makes regulations for their support. At the same session," says Mr. Potter, "they prohibited the importation or sale of negroes in the State."

1785, Oct. An act repealing part of the act for the manumission of slaves, also mentioned in Bartlett's Ind., p. 333; and in Potter's Report.

1787, Sep. An act to prevent the slave trade and to encourage the abolition of slavery, mentioned, Bart. Ind., p. 333, and Potter's Rep. Mr. Potter says, "This act refers to the fact of the slave trade having been lately carried on from this State, and censures it in strong terms, as contrary to the principles of justice, humanity, and sound policy. It imposes a penalty on every citizen who as master, agent, or owner shall buy, sell, or receive on board his ship for sale any slave," &c.

1798. In a Revision, p. 79, is An act declaratory of certain rights of the people of this State. There is no attribution of liberty, &c., to all men as natural and inalienable rights. (Rev. of 1822, p. 66.)

In the same Revision, p. 607, is An act relative to slaves and to their manumission and support (given as digested from laws of 1766, 1774, 1779, 1784, 1785, 1798). Sec. 1. No slaves to be brought into the State. Proviso, that this "shall not extend to the domestic slaves or servants of citizens of other States or of foreigners traveling through the State or coming to reside therein, nor to servants or slaves escaping from service or servitude in other States or foreign countries and coming of their own accord into this State." 2. Penalty for bringing in slaves. 3. For concealing or assisting to escape. 4. For forcibly carrying off slaves without their consent. 5. Slave in such case emancipated. 6. Proof of slave's consent by certificate of justice. 7. Courts may allow unfaithful slaves to be transported to any part of the United States. Penalty for transporting; proviso, as to persons traveling and escaped slaves. 8. "That no person born within this State, after the first day of March, 1784, shall be deemed or considered a serv

VOL. II.-4

ant for life or a slave, and that all servitude for life or slavery of children to be born as aforesaid, in consequence of the condition of their mothers, be and the same is hereby taken away, extinguished, and forever abolished." 9. Children of slave mother, if she be held in slavery, to be supported by her owner until twenty-one years. 10. Children of other blacks supported by the towns. 11. Support of emancipated slaves.

1822. In the Revision, p. 441, the above is re-enacted with new sections 12, 13 (quære, added in 1804 ?), providing for appeals in these cases.

1843, May. A Constitution of the State adopted. Framed Nov. 1842.

Art. I. A declaration of rights and principles.' There is no attribution of liberty, &c., as inalienable and natural rights. Sec. 4. "Slavery shall not be permitted in this State." By Art. II. sec. 1, 2. Every male citizen of the United States, qualified by residence and property, without distinction of color, may hold the elective franchise.

1844. The Revision of this year, p. 342, in the Poor Law, sec. 1. Provides, notwithstanding the constitutional denial of slavery, "that all persons who are holden in servitude or slavery who have not been emancipated according to the provisions. of" the act on slaves in the Digest of 1822, shall be supported at the expense of "their owners" if they become chargeable.

1848.-An act further to protect personal liberty. Pamphl. L. 714. Sec. 1. "That no judge of any court of record of this State and no justice of the peace shall hereafter take cognizance or grant a certificate in cases" arising under the law of Congress of 1793. 2. Forbids sheriffs or other officers of the State to arrest or detain in those cases. 3. Declares justices of the peace, sheriffs, &c., for violating this law, punishable by fine and imprisonment.

There is no declaration that all political power is derived from the people; but by Sec. I. "In the words of the Father of his Country, we declare that the basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and alter their Constitutions of government; but that the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all." A Constitution, under which Mr. Dorr claimed to be Governor, was proclaimed Jan. 1842. The controversy at that time, known as Dorr's rebellion, was occasioned by a general demand for an extension of the elective franChise. The question in fact was, Who are the people who may “make and alter"? Luther v. Borden, 7 How. 1; VI. Webster's Works, 217.

1854.-An amending act. Pamphl. L. 1100. Extends the provisions of this law to the law of Congress of 1850. Rev. St. of 1857, pp. 532–576.'

8551. LEGISLATION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

1777.-First Constitution,' Sec. 7. Prescribes the qualifications of electors,-every male inhabitant of full age, resident for six months in one of the counties, having certain freehold or other property qualification, or being "a freeman" of the cities of New York or Albany. 8. Electors to take oath of "allegiance to the State." 41. "That trial by jury, in all cases in which it hath heretofore been used in the colony of N. Y., shall be established and remain inviolate forever." 42. "That it shall be in the discretion of the legislature to naturalize all such persons as they shall think proper."

1781, c. 32. An act for raising regiments, &c. (1 Greenleaf's Laws, p. 42.) Sec. 6, provides for the manumission of slaves delivered by their owners to serve in such regiments, and a grant of land to the owner.

1786, c. 58. An act relating to confiscated estates. (1 Greenl. p. 278). Sec. 29, 30, declare the manumission of all negro slaves which may become the property of the State.

1787, c. 1. An act concerning the rights of the citizens of this State (1 Greenl. p. 287), contains thirteen articles. The

3

'R. S. ch. 223. Of fugitives from justice and protection of officers of adjoining States. Authorizes arrests by magistrates in view of demand on the executive; but there is no special grant of power to the latter.

1775, May 22,-Assembling of the Provincial Congress; 1776, July 9, the Congress at White Plains ratified the Declaration of Independence, and assumed the style of the Convention of the People of the State of New York. 1777, April 20, State Cons. adopted; see Journals, &c.; recites resolve of the Congress of the colony. May 31, 1776-" Whereas the present government of this colony, by Congress and committees, was instituted while the former government under the crown of G. B. existed in full force," &c.-that its object was temporary-its inconveniences-recites the recommendation of the General (Continental Congress, of May 10 and 15, 1776, to these colonies to adopt a form of government; the election of deputies to form a Constitutionfor the State, &c.-recites the Declaration of Independence, and its ratification by the State-that "By virtue of which several acts, declarations and proceedings mentioned and contained in the aforerecited resolves, or resolutions of the General Congress of the United American States, and of the congresses or conventions of this State, all power whatever therein hath reverted to the people thereof," &c., &c.

See Reviser's Reports and Notes, &c., in vol. 3 R. S. on Part I. c. 4, of R. S. entitled, Of the rights of the citizens and inhabitants of this State, and post, laws of this State, an. 1830.

2d-"That no citizen of this State shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseized of his or her freehold or liberties, or free customs, or out-lawed, or exiled, or condemned, or otherwise destroyed, but by lawful judgment of his or her peers, or by due process of law." The 5th-"That no person, of what estate or condition soever, shall be taken or imprisoned, or disinherited or put to death, without being brought to answer by due process of law; and that no person shall be put out of his or her franchise, or freehold, or lose his or her life or limb, or goods and chattels, unless, he or she be duly brought to answer and be fore-judged of the same, by due course of law; and if anything be done contrary to the same, it shall be void in law, and holden for none." The 6th provides, "That writs and process shall be granted to all persons requiring the same." In the other articles the term "citizen" is used alone, except the last, where" citizens and inhabitants" is the expression.

1788, c. 13. An act concerning apprentices and servants. (In 2 Greenleaf, p. 26, but not in Webster's ed. of 1802.) Sec. 8. Continues indentures of persons coming from beyond sea. -, c. 40. An act concerning slaves. (2 Greenleaf, p. 85.) Sec. 1. Enacts that "every negro, mulatto, or mestee within this State who, at the time of the passing of this act, is a slave for his or her life, shall continue such for and during his or her life, unless he or she shall be manumitted or set free in the manner prescribed in and by this act, or in and by some future law of this State." 2. Enacts that "the children of every negro, mulatto, or mestee woman, being a slave, shall follow the state and condition of the mother, and be esteemed, reputed, taken and adjudged slaves to all intents and purposes whatsoever." 3. That "the baptizing of any negro or other slave shall not be deemed, adjudged, or taken to be a manumission of such slave." 4. That any person selling a slave brought into this State after the first day of June, 1785, shall forfeit 1007.; " and further, that every person so imported or brought into this State, and sold, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, shall be free.' 5. That any person buying or receiving a slave with intent to remove such slave out of this State, to be sold, shall forfeit 1007., and such slave

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »