Page images
PDF
EPUB

their slaves; rule, where the master's lands extend over the State boundary. Owners in other States may employ slaves to bring in produce for sale. An act of 1811, c. 14, permits citizens and residents of the State to bring in slaves from other States &c., when acquired by marriage, inheritance or devise.

1807, c. 24. A penal law, declares felony punishable with death for slaves wilfully burning barn, stable, &c.

1812.--An amending act (c. 106 in suppl. ed. of 1802 to Coll. of 1808) permits residents or persons immigrating to bring their slaves born within the United States on condition of producing certificate, &c., and provided that they shall, within three months after the importation of any slave, "export a female slave, above the age of ten years and under the age of thirty, for every slave imported."

1819. A revised code,' c. 110, c. 111, relating to servants and slaves, and containing a digest of the earlier acts with modifications., c. 111, sec. 2, 3, permit the importation of slaves, born in any part of the United States, not convicted of crime. Code vol. 1, pp. 421, 422, where the earlier changes of legislative policy are noted. See code of 1849, p. 457.

1820, c. 32. An act making it "lawful to hire out free negroes and mulattoes for the payment of their taxes and levies." Code of '49, p. 468.

1822, c. 22. An act requiring an order of court for the sale of negro as runaway slave.

1823-4, c. 35. An act declaring penalty on free persons for enticing, &c., providing for search warrants, and that slaves may be confined by their masters in the county jail, &c. By act of 1828-9, c. 21, assisting slaves to escape is a misdemeanor punishable with imprisonment.

1824-5, c. 23. Rape of white by free negro, &c., punishable capitally. c. 45. Punishment of free negroes, &c., for larceny, by "stripes, sale, transportation, and banishment," and such person banished and returning shall suffer death as a felon. Act of 1827-8, c. 37, substitutes imprisonment in the

1 Ch. 162 of the same code, sec. 5, empowers the governor, on the demand for a fugitive from justice, accompanied by copy of the indictment, or an affidavit certified by the demanding executive to be genuine, to deliver, &c. See code of 1839, c. 60, and code of 1849, c. 17, §§ 10, 15.

State penitentiary for punishment by "stripes, transportation, and sale."

1826-7, c. 26, sec. 1-6. Giving remedy by attachment against the vessel where a party has cause of action against the master for carrying away slave, &c. 7, 8. Sale of emancipated slaves, for remaining in the State, to be decided on by the court instead of overseers of the poor.

1830. An amended Constitution. Bill of rights as before. By Art. III. sec. 14, the right of suffrage is limited to whites.

1830-1, c. 39. Amending the slave code. Sec. 3. Prohibits meetings for teaching free negroes or mulattoes reading or writing. 4. Penalty on whites for assembling with negroes for that purpose. 5. Penalty for assembling with slaves for such purpose, or teaching any slave for pay. (This, apparently, does not apply to the gratuitous instruction of slaves, nor prevent private instruction of free blacks by other persons of color.) Code of 1849, p. 747.

1832, c. 22. An amending act, contains new enactments against preaching by slaves and free negroes, and against slaves attending any preaching of a white minister, at night, without written permission. 3. "No free negro or mulatto shall hereafter be capable of purchasing or otherwise acquiring permanent ownership, except by descent, to any slave other than his or her husband, wife, or children." (Code of '49, p. 458.) 7. Punishment for writing or printing anything advising persons of color to rebel, &c. Code of 1849, p. 746.

1834, c. 65. Amending, prohibits the immigration of free negroes' and provides for corresponding precautionary and punitive measures, police regulations, &c. Code of 1849, p. 747.

1836, c. 66. An act to suppress the circulation of incendiary publications, and for other purposes, recites: "Whereas attempts have recently been made by certain abolition or anti-slavery societies, and evil disposed persons, being

1 According to the Richmond Enquirer, Feb. 21, 1855, Mr. William Church having been arrested for violating this law, by bringing back to the State the woman Sylvia, whom he had carried with him to New York, from Virginia, where she had been his slave-they having been in New York twelve months,-the Mayor of Richmond discharged the prisoner on the ground that the woman was still a slave. Compare the proviso in the law of 1796, c. 2.

and residing in some of the non-slaveholding States, to interfere with the relations existing between master and slave in this State, and to excite in our colored population a spirit of insubordination, rebellion, and insurrection, by distributing among them, through the agency of the United States mail and other means, certain incendiary books, pamphlets, or other writings of an inflammatory and mischievous character and tendency." Sec. 1, declares the penalty of fine and imprisonment for any member or agent of any abolition or anti-slavery society, "who shall come into this State, and maintain, by speaking or writing, that the owners of slaves have no property in the same, or advocate or advise the abolition of slavery."1 2 Code of '49, p. 745. Penalty for writing, printing, or circulating works denying the right of the masters, and enticing persons of color to insurrection, provides that postmasters may give notice, &c., and "that any postmaster knowingly violating the provisions of this act shall forfeit," &c. Code, c. 198.

1838, c. 99. Enacting that free persons of color, leaving the limits of the State "for the purpose of being educated," shall not be permitted to return, &c. Code of '49, p. 747.

1840–1, c. 72. An act to prevent the citizens of New York from carrying slaves out of this commonwealth, &c. Sec. 1, 2. Prohibit the departure of any vessel owned or navigated by citizens of New York, or any vessel departing for New York, and not owned by a citizen of this State, before having been inspected, &c. 3. Security against violation of State law required. 4-11. Ancillary provisions. 12. Governor may suspend the law when notified that the Executive of New York will comply with the demand referred to, and that the law of New York, of May 6, 1840, entitled An act to extend the right of trial by jury, has been repealed.' This is amended in c. 88 of 1843, by substituting "willingness of the governor of New

1 Bacon v. The Commonw. 7 Grattan, 602, as to evidence or indictment under this enactment. Commonw. v. Barrett, 9 Leigh, 665, the accused must be proved a member or agent of an abolition or anti-slavery society.

Preamble and resolutions, March 17, 1840, relative to the demand by the Executive of Virginia upon the Executive of New York for the surrender of three fugitives from justice. See 2 Seward's Works, 502-518, and post, ch. XXV.

York to surrender fugitives from the justice of this State," for the condition above stated. The above acts are repealed, except as to the county of Accomac, by c. 96 of 1846. See the present law as to vessels generally, Code, p. 730.

1847-8.-A criminal code, c. 2, sec. 5, provides punishment of death for advising or conspiring with a slave to rebel, &c. c. 10, offences against public policy. Sec. 22-40, contain re-enactment of former provisions. 22-24, impose duty, under penalty, on postmasters to give notice, to some justice, of books, &c., received, tending to insurrection; em- . powers justice to burn the same and to commit the receiver, &c. 34-37. Various provisions against free negroes remaining in the State under penalty of being sold. 38-40. Punishment of whites instructing slaves. Rev. Code, c. 194.'

1849.-The Revised Code in which the existing law on this subject appears to be substantially re-enacted in a more systematic arrangement; with marginal references to the original date of the law and to the cases. See Title 30, slaves and free negroes, in several chapters, relates to their general condition. Title 54, Crimes and punishments; c. 198, Offences against public policy, sec. 22-40, and c. 200, offences by negroes. In c. 3, sec. 1, the right of citizenship of the State is limited to free white persons.

1851.-A Revised Constitution' preceded by the declaration of rights of June 12, 1776. Sec. V. art. 19, provides, "Slaves hereafter emancipated shall forfeit their freedom by remaining in the commonwealth more than twelve months after they become actually free, and shall be reduced to slavery under such regulations as may be prescribed by law.”

A negro slave is a person against whom a free person may commit the offence of malicious or unlawful shooting, stabbing, &c., under the act of 9th Feb., 1819, Carver's case, 5 Rand. 660. Dolly Chapple's case; 1 Vir. Cases 184, under an act

of 1803.

The historical notes of the compilers are also very valuable.

By art 20, "the General Assembly may impose such restrictions and conditions as they shall deem proper on the power of slave owners to emancipate their slaves, and may pass acts for the relief of the commonwealth from the free negro population, by removal or otherwise." 21. "The General Assembly shall not emancipate any slave or the descendant of any slave, either before or after the birth of such descendant."

1851. March 31. An act to facilitate the recovery of fugitive slaves. 1. That whenever a slave shall escape from his owner or person having him in possession, if the county or corporation court of the county, wherein such owner or person resides, be not in session, it shall be the duty of the sheriff or sergeant, upon request in writing of such owner or other person or his agent, to summon a court to meet forthwith at the court-house of such county or corporation, to hear proof of the escape of such slave, and that he owed service or labor to the owner or person aforesaid, and to order such proof to be entered on the records of such court, together with a general description of the slave so escaping, with such convenient certainty as may be pursuant to the provisions of the tenth section of the act of Congress concerning persons escaping from the service of their masters, passed eighteenth September, eighteen hundred and fifty. 2. The clerk of such county court and the sheriff of the county shall then and there attend upon said court, which may consist of two or more justices of such county, and the said court when so organized shall be a court of record, and may be adjourned from time to time until the proceedings are closed. The sheriff, sergeant, and clerk aforesaid, shall be authorized to charge the owner or person aforesaid such fees as are allowed by law for like services, and collect the same as other fees are collected by them respectively.

1853, c. 55. An act establishing a colonization board and making an appropriation for the removal of free negroes from the commonwealth, i.e. to Liberia, and other parts of Africa. Sec. 5 levies a poll-tax on every male free negro between twenty-one and fifty-five years, to raise a fund for this purpose. (See the temporary act of 1850, c. 6.)

1856, c. 46. An act providing for the voluntary enslavement of the free negroes of this Commonwealth. Allows negroes above the ages specified to petition the courts, in order to become slaves of such master as they shall designate; the master to pay into court one half valuation of such slave, and give security, &c. The status of their children, already born, is not affected.

-, c. 47. An act providing additional protection for the slave property of citizens of this Common

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »