Richmond Enquirer, Oct. 7, 1831
An Act Concerning Slaves and Free Persons of Color, 1831-32
Alabama Laws, 1832
In the 1832 session of the Alabama legislature, lawmakers passed measures that imposed the death penalty for circulating “seditious” materials and that prohibited free African Americans from settling in the state. The legislature also prohibited the introduction of slaves into the state in a law passed on January 16, but they repealed the law on December 4 of the same year.
(4) An Act to provide for the more speedy trial of slaves and free persons of color.—January 7, 1832.
(8) An Act to prevent the introduction of slaves into Alabama, and for other purposes.—January 16, 1832.
(27) An Act to amend and repeal an act entitled “An Act to prevent the introduction of slaves into Alabama, and for other purposes,” approved January 16th, 1832.—December 4, 1832.
55. Should any person distribute, circulate, or publish, or cause to be distributed, circulated, or published, any seditious papers, pamphlets, or writing, tending to produce conspiracy, or insurrection, or rebellion, among the slaves or colored population, such person, upon conviction thereof, shall suffer death.
30. From and after the first day of February next, it shall not be lawful for any free person of color to settle within the limits of this state; and should any free person of color, after that time, settle in this state, he, she, or they shall, on notice of this act, depart within thirty days, or shall be liable, on conviction before any justice of the peace, to receive thirty-nine lashes; and any person may arrest any such free person of color, and take him or her before any justice of the peace for trial; and if any such free person of color shall not depart this state within twenty days after the infliction of the punishment last mentioned, he or she shall be liable to be arrested by any person, and be taken before a justice of the peace for trial, and on conviction by such justice, shall be ordered to be sold as a slave for the term of one year for ready money, ten days’ notice being given of the time of sale, one half of which, after paying all the expenses of the prosecution, (which shall be to the justice one dollar, the constable two dollars for summoning the witnesses, attending the trial, and selling the said free person of color, and fifty cents a day for each day he may keep such person of color, and fifty cents per day for each witness who may attend the trial,) shall be paid to the informer, and the other half to the state. And if any free person of color shall not depart this state within [p. 397] twenty days after the expiration of said year, he or she shall forfeit his or her freedom; and upon conviction thereof before any circuit court of this state, shall, by order of said court, be sold to the highest bidder, and the proceeds of the sale of said free negro so forfeiting his or her freedom, shall go, one half to the informer, and the other half to the state.
From John G. Aikin, compiler, A Digest of the Laws of the State of Alabama (Tuscaloosa: D. Woodruff, 1836, 2d edition).