An Act Concerning Slaves and Free Persons of Color,

General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, 1831-32

 

REVISED CODE—No. 105.

 

SLAVES AND FREE PERSONS OF COLOR.

 

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               . . . 25. No slave shall go armed with gun, sword, club or other weapon, or shall keep any such weapon, or shall hunt or range with a gun in the woods, upon any pretence whatsoever; and if any slave shall be found offending herein, it shall and may be lawful for any person or persons to seize, and take to his own use, such gun, sword or other [p. 4] weapon, and to apprehend and deliver such slave to the next constable, who is enjoined and required, without further order or warrant, to give such slave twenty lashes on his or her bare back, and to send him or her home: and the master or owner of such slave shall pay the taker-up of such armed slave the same reward as by this act is allowed for taking up runaways.

 

. . .  34. It shall not be lawful for any slave to go at large as a freeman, exercising his or her own discretion in the employment of his or her time; nor shall it be lawful for any slave to keep house to him or herself as a free person exercising the like discretion in the employment of his or her time; and in case the owner of any slave consent or connive at the commission of such offence, he or she so offending shall be subject to indictment, and on conviction be fined in the discretion of the court not exceeding one hundred dollars: Provided, That nothing herein, shall be cons rued to prevent any person permitting his or her slave or slaves to live or keep house upon his or her land for the purpose of attending to the business of his or her master or mistress.

 

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. . . 36. It shall not be lawful under any pretence for any slave, or free person of colour to preach or exhort in public or in any manner to officiate as a preacher or teacher in any prayer meeting, or other association for worship where slaves of different families are collected together; and if any free person of colour shall be thereof duly convicted on indictment before any court having jurisdiction thereof, he shall, for each offence, receive, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes on his bare back; and where any slave shall be guilty of a violation of this act, he shall, on conviction before a single magistrate, receive not exceeding thirty-nine lashes on his bare back.

 

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. . .  47. In all cases where the county or superior courts shall have jurisdiction of offences committed by slaves, the slave charged shall be entitled to a trial by a jury of good and lawful men, owners of slaves.

 

. . . 54. If any negro, mulatto or Indian, bond or free, shall, upon any trial where he may be examined as a witness, commit wilful and corrupt perjury, he or she shall, upon convictien [sic] thereof, be sentenced to receive the same punishment as is imposed upon a freeman for the commission of the same offence.

 

 55. In all cases of insurrection or rebellion, or of conspiracy to make insurrection, or to murder or rebel, or any such comtemplated [sic] conspiracy, insurrection or rebellion, of any slave or slaves, upon the information and at the request of any five justices of the peace of the county in which such conspiracy, insurrection or rebellion shall happen or may be contemplated, the Governor for the time being, shall be authorised and have power to issue a commission of Oyer and Terminer, to any one of the judges of the Superior Courts of Law; and in case the said judges are necessarily engaged on their circuits, the Governor shall be authorised and have power to issue a commission to one of the judges of the Supreme Court, whose duty it shall be to hold said court forthwith, and who shall be clothed with all the powers necessary for the trial of all such slave or slaves, as may be charged with any of the before mentioned offences.

 

. . . 56. Every judge holding a Court of Oyer and Terminer, and the prosecuting officer in behalf of the State attending the said court, shall be entitled to receive the same compensation as may be allowed by law generally for holding and attending a term of a Superior Court.

 

. . . 57. The prisoner or prisoners who shall be tried before any Court of Oyer and Terminer, shall have the right of appeal to the Supreme Court under the rules and regulations now prescribed by law for appeals.

 

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. . . 87. It shall not be lawful for any free negro, mulatto, or free person of color, to hawk or peddle within the limits of any county in this State, without first obtaining a license from the court of [p. 10] Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the county in which they propose to hawk or peddle; which license shall be granted for one year only, and only when seven or more justices are present, and upon satisfactory evidence of the good character of the applicant, to be approved by said court; and for issuing such license the clerk shall be entitled to demand and receive from such applicant the sum of eighty cents: Provided nevertheless, That nothing in this act shall be construed so as to allow such person coming from another State to peddle in this State; and if any free negro, or free person of color shall offend against this section of this act, he or she shall be subject to indictment.

 

. . . 88. When any free person of colour shall be convicted of any offence against the criminal laws of the State, and sentenced to pay a fine, and it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court, that the free person of colour so convicted is unable to pay the fine imposed, the court shall direct the sheriff of the county where such fine is imposed to hire out the free person of colour so convicted to any person who will pay the fine for his services for the shortest space of time.

 

. . .  89. It shall be the duty of the sheriff, during the week of court or as soon thereafter as convenient, publicly, at the door of the court house, to hire out such free person of colour, to any person who will pay the fine so imposed for his services for the shortest space of time, and to take from the person so hiring bond and security, in double the amount of the fine so paid, payable in the same manner, and with the same conditions for the proper treatment of the free person of colour during the time for which he is so hired, as are now contained in apprentice bonds, except to teach them to read and write.

 

. . . 90. The person to whom the sheriff shall so hire any free person of colour, shall, during the time for which the hiring is so made, have the same authority over and the same right to controul [sic] and require the services of such free person of colour, and shall be liable in all respects to the same obligations and duties as masters now have, and are liable to in cases of apprentices.

 

. . .  91. If no person can be found who will pay the fine so imposed, for the services of the free person of colour so fined, for a space of time not exceeding five years, then it shall be the duty of the sheriff to hire the free person of colour to any person who will pay the highest sum for his services for five years; which sum shall discharge the fine; and it shall be the duty of the sheriff, after deducting five per cent. commissions, to account for and pay over the money collected by virtue of this act as other fines: Provided always, That if any free person of colour, hired out under the provisions of this act, shall abscond or leave the service of his master before the expiration of his or her time, he or she shall be liable and bound to make up such time so elapsed by serving double the time thereof: And provided further, That the fine imposed shall in all cases be at least equal to the amount of the costs of such prosecution.