« AnteriorContinuar »
The law is similar in South Carolina ; in both states the slave is not punished, however, when he strikes, “ by the command, and in the defence of the person or property of the owner, &c." Unqualified submission to the will of the Whites
required of the Slaves. The Code of Louisiana gravely lays down the following principle :
Free people of color ought never to insult or strike white people, nor presume to conceive themselves equal to the whites ; but on the contrary, they ought to yield to them on every occasion, and never speak or answer them, but with respect, under the penalty of imprisonment, according to the nature of the offence. 1 Martin's Digest, 640-42.
The following are specimens of the laws by which the whole white community have made themselves tyrants over the slaves:
If any slave shall happen to be slain for refusing to surrender him or herself, contrary to law, or in unlawful resisting any officer or other person, who shall appcehend or endeavor to apprehend, such slave or slaves, &c., such officer or other person so killing such slave as aforesaid, making resistance, shall be, and he is by this act, indemnified from any prosecution for such killing aforesaid, &c. Maryland Laws, act of 1751, chap. xiv. $ 9.
And by the negro act of 1740, of South Carolina, it is declared :
If any slave, who shall be out of the house or plantation where such slave shall live, or shall be usually employed, or without some white person in company with such slave, shall refuse to submit to undergo the examination of any white person, it shall be lawful for such white person to pursue, apprehend and moderately correct such slave; and if such slave shall assault and strike such white person, such slave may be lawfully killed.!.! 2 Brevard's Digest, 231.
Power of the Slaveholder. Whereas, by another act of the assembly, passed in the year 1774, the killing of a slave, however wanton, cruel and deliberate, is only punishable in the first instance by imprisonment and paying the value thereof to the owner, which distinction of criminality between the murder of a white person and one who is equally a human creature, but merely of a different complexion, iš DISGRACEFUL TO HUMANITY, AND DEGRADING IN THE HIGHEST DEGREE TO THE LAWS AND PRINCIPLES OF A FREE, CHRISTIAN AND ENLIGHTENED COUNTRY, Be it enacted, &c. That if any person shall hereafter be guilty of wilfully and maliciously killing a slave, such offender shall, upon the first conviction thereof, be adjudged guilty of murder, and shall suffer the same punishment as if he had killed a free
man; Provided always, this act shall not extend to the person killing a slave outlawed by virtue of any act of assembly of this state, or to any slave in the act of resistance to his lawful owner or master, OR TO ANY SLAVE DYING UNDER MODERATE CORRECTION. Haywood's Manual, 530; and see Laws of Tennessee, act of Oct. 23, 1799, with a like proviso.
Any person who shall maliciously dismember or deprive a slave of life, shall suffer such punishment as would be inflicted in case the like offence had been committed on a free white person, and on the like proof, except in case of insurrection of such slave, and unless SUCH DEATH SHOULD HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT IN GIVING SUCH SLAVE MODERATE CORRECTION. Constitution of Georgia, Art. 4, § 12. Prince's Digest, 559.
Judge Stroud remarks :
That a proclamation of outlawry againt a slave is authorized, whenever he runs away from his master, conceals himself in some obscure retreat, and to sustain life, kills a hog, or some animal of the cattle kind!! See Haywood's Manual, 521 ; act of 1741, ch. 24, S 45.
In South Carolina by the Act of 1740 the “ wil. ful murder” of a slave was punished by a fine of
seven hundred pounds, current money," and ina. bility to hold office, but another description of murder, more likely to occur, was punished as fol
If any person shall, on a sudden heat or passion, or by undue correction, kill his own slave, or the slave of any other person, he shall forfeit the sum of three hundred and fifty pounds, current money. Brevard's Digest, 241.
By an act of 1821, the former provision was abolished but the latter was continued, diminishing the price to five hundred dollars, and authorizing an imprisonment of six months. James' Digest, 392.
It is the imperative duty of the judges to recognize the full dominion of the owner over the slave, except where the exercise of it is forbidden by statute.-Judge Ruffin, N. Carolina.
In case any person shall wilfully cut out the tongue, put out the eye, castrate, or cruelly scald, burn, or deprive any slave of any limh, or member, or shall infiict any other cruel punishment, other than by whipping or beating with a horsewhip,cowskin, switch or small stick,or by putting irons on, or confining or imprisoning such slave, every such person shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money. 2 Brevard's Di
Louisiana imposes a heavier penalty for taking off irons than she does for the “ cruel punishments, specified above, as appears from this:
If any person or persons, &c. shall cut or break any iron chain or collar, which any master of slaves should have used in order to prevent the running away or escape of any such slave or slaves, such person or persons so offending shall, on conviction, &c. be fined not less than two hundred dollars, nor exceeding one thousand dollars; and suffer imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, nor less than six months. Act of Assembly of March 6, 1819--pamphlet, page 64.
Now, in the same state, the law before quoted. from South Carolina is in force, and the penalty is a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, nor less than two hundred !
In Missouri, the master is assisted in punishing as follows:
If any slave resist his or her master, mistress, overseer or employer, or refuse to obey his or her lawful commands, it shall be lawful for such master, &c. to commit such slave to the common gaol of the county, there to remain at the pleasure of the master, &c; and the sheriff shall receive such slave, and keep him, &c. in confinement, at the expense of the person committing him or her. 1 Missouri Laws, 309.
Delegated power of the Master, According to the universal practice of the slave states, the master may delegate his tremendous power to any other person who he pleases. Louisiana has the following express law :
The condition of a slave being merely a passive one, his subordination to his master, and to all who represent him, is not susceptible of any modification or restriction, (except in what can incite the slave to the commission of crime,) in such manner, that he owes to his master and to all his family a respect without bounds and an absolute obedience, and he is consequently to execute all the orders which he receives from him, his said master, or from them. 1 Martin's Digest, 616.
Right of Marriage.
The following is, unquestionably, law and fact throughout the slave slates :
A slave has never maintained an action against the violator of his bed. A slave is not admonished for incontinence, or punished for fornication or adultery; never prosecuted for bigamy, or petty treason for killing a
husband being a slave, any more than admitted to an appeal for murder. Opinion of Daniel Dulany, Esq. Attorney General of Maryland, 1 Maryland Reports, 561, 563.
Right of Property. It shall not be lawful for any slave to buy, sell, trade, &c. for any goods, &c. without a license from the owner, &c. nor shall any slave be permitted to keep any boat, periauger or canoe, or raise and breed, for the benefit of such slave, any horses, mares, cattle, sheep or hogs, under pain of fofeiting all the goods, &c. and all the boats, periaugers, or canoes, horses, mares, cattle, sheep, or hogs. And it shall be lawful for any person whatsoever, to seize and take away from any slave, all such goods, &c. boats, &c. &c. and to deliver the same into the hands of any justice of the peace, nearest to the place where the seizure shall be made, and such justice shall take the oath of the person making such seizure, concerning the manner thereof; and if the said justice shall be satisfied that such seizure has been made according to law, he shall pronounce and declare the goods so seized, to be forfeited, and order the same to be sold at public outcry, one half of the moneys arising from such sale to go to the state, and the other half to him or them that sue for the same. James' Digest, 385-6. Act of 1740. S. Car.
In Georgia, to prevent the master from permitting the slave to hire himself for his own benefit, there is a penalty of thirty dollars " for every weekly offence, on the part of the master, unless the labor be done on his own premises." Prince's Digest, 457. In Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Missouri, there are similar laws.
As early as the year 1779, North Carolina interposed as follows:
All horses, cattle, hogs or sheep, that one month after the passing of this act, shall belong to any slave or be of any slave's mark, in this state, shall be seized and sold by the County Wardens, and by them applied, the one half to the