Sec. I. Prohibits any black or mulatto person settling or residing in the State without producing a certificate of freedom, etc. This section was the first blow at free negroes. It follows the precedent of slave- state legislation, that gives no place for a negro on our broad domain unless he be a slave; in this case, that this State shall not be an asylum for those who ran away from oppression.
Sec. 2. Makes it the duty of all free negroes having families and having a certificate, as before provided, to register their families, with a description of each name, age, etc.
Sec. 3. Prohibits any person from bringing any slave into this State for the purpose of emancipating such slave, making it a condition for those who do so, to give bond in the penal sum of one thousand dollars, condition that such slave shall not become a county charge; neglecting so to do, subjected the offender to a fine of $200 for each one so emancipated.
Sec. 4. Requires every black or mulatto (except slaves or persons held to service) to register his name and his family, with their description and the evidences of freedom, which shall be recorded by the clerk, which certificate of record should be sufficient evidence of freedom, except as against the claim of a slave-owner.
Sec. 5. Forbids any person, under a penalty of one dollar and fifty cents a-day, from hiring or employing such negroes, without a certificate of freedom, keeping the said free negro out of employment. This was amended.
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Sec. 10. Makes it the duty of masters to provide servants with sufficient food, clothing, etc., a law found necessary in slavery but it is no where found necessary to require an owner to give his horse sufficient hay and grain, unless on common grounds of cruelty to animals.
Sec. 11. Makes these contracts for services assignable to other persons, with consent of servants, such assignments to administrators, assigns, etc. Thus the property relation is recognized. It was a common thing to sell these servants.
Sec. 12. Provides that any servant being lazy, disorderly, guilty of misbehavior, may be whipped, upon an order of a justice; or refusing to work, be compelled by a like process, and forfeiting two days to the end of his service for every one in which he so refuses and is whipped up to it, and all expenses, including whipping, be paid by him in labor, which would finally have to be whipped out of him.
Sec. 13. Provides that for the failure of the master’s duties, or if he is guilty of injuring his servant, it must be redressed in the Circuit Court a pretty hard court for a flogged slave to get access to.
Sec. 14. Makes all contracts between masters and servants, during the time of service, void.
Sec. 15. Makes it the duty of the Circuit Court at all times to hear complaints of servants, being citizens against masters, for immoderate correction, or on complaints of masters against servants for desertion, etc.
Sec. 16. Provides that if any servant shall lawfully acquire property during the time of service, such property shall be for his own use; and the master is compelled to care for him when sick and lame, until his term expires, under penalty of $30, for use of the county.
Sec. 17. Forbids any negro or Indian from purchasing any servant other than of their own color, and makes such contract void.
Sec. 18. Forbids any person to hire or to buy, sell, receive of, to, or from any servant or slave, any coin, or commodity, without consent of the master, under a forfeiture of four times the value of the article sold or given. [A dollar given in good-will on Christmas would involve a forfeiture of four dollars.] It also provides that at the expiration of the term, the clerk shall give a certificate, which shall indemnify any person for thereafter hiring.
Sec. 19. Provides that in all cases of penal acts, where free persons are punishable by fine, servants shall be punished by whipping and the rate given (twenty lashes for every eight dollars, the rate of the currency being forty cents a lash), unless the offender procures another person to pay his fine.
Sec. 20. Provides that at the expiration of his service, every servant may have his freedom recorded, etc.
Sec. 21. Provides that if any slave or servant shall be found at a distance of ten miles from the tenement of his master without a pass, it shall be lawful for any person to apprehend and carry him or her before a justice, by whose order he or she may be whipped, not exceeding thirty-five lashes.
Sec. 22. Provides that if any slave or servant shall presume to come and be upon the plantation, or at the dwelling of any person whatever, without leave of his or her owner, not being sent on lawful business, the owner of such plantation or dwelling may give such servant or slave ten lashes on the bare back.
Sec. 23. Provides that riots, routs, unlawful assemblies, trespasses, and seditious speeches by any slave or slaves, servant or servants, may be punished, at the discretion of a justice; and whoever will, MAY apprehend such persons and bring them before the justice. [There may be a black crowd, perhaps of one more than three jolly persons, and at the lead of one white villain they may be brought before a justice, and he the only witness of their evil plotting or riotous conduct, (negroes will sometimes laugh boisterously,) and not one of them can say a word of defence or explanation, or affirm that they were not engaged in their spiritual devotions, but they must bare their backs to whatever flagelation the justice may discretionarily inflict.]
Sec. 24. Imposes a fine of $20 upon any person who suffers or permits slaves or servants of color, to the number of more than three, to assemble in any house, yard, or shed, (pasture and wood-lot ought to have been added) for the purpose of reveling, night or day.
Sec. 25. Makes it the duty of all coroners, sheriffs, judges, and justices, who see or know of any such assemblage, immediately to commit such persons to jail; and on proof have them whipped, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes on the bare back, the very next day, unless it should be Sunday, then the whipping was to come off Monday.