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which, it is presumed, is now entire, timents of the Spanish invaders of ly unknown. Any English woman, the New World. The warrant of the who married a negro slave, became latter to conquer and enslave, was servant to the master of the husband founded upon the supposition, that during the life of the latter. This was
pagans were the lawful prey of chriscertainly carrying the doctrine, that tians;* and our anglo-Americans of the acquisitions of the slave, become the 17th century, appear to have the property of the master, to an un thought, that such as were not chris. precedented extent.
tians, might be lawfully held as This law, after a shortlived exist slaves. Upon this principle, the earence, was repealed, and the maxim ly settlers in North America, appear of the civil law, that children should to have reconciled their consciences follow the condition of the mother, to the practice, probably, finding in adopted as the law of all the colonies, the Mosaic institutions, a satisfactory in relation to slaves. This maxim, it warrant.t. The necessary conseis obvious, places the slave, in con quence of admitting this doctrine, templation of law, much nearer the would be, that slaves, in case they condition of brutes, than the former
became christians, should be free. had done, and must greatly increase We accordingly find, that about the the demoralizing tendency of slavery beginning of the eighteenth century, itself. It seems, besides, rather hard, a number of slaves who had accomthat unconditional slavery should be panied their masters from the West the only heritable article that an ille Indies to England, were induced to gitimate child can possess. In a law engage some clergyman whom they of Virginia, passed in 1679, noted could interest in their favour to bapby our author, we find one of the tize them, under a persuasion that sources of slavery recognized, by the they became, in consequence, entideclaration, that, for the better en. tled to their freedom. And so genecouragement of soldiers, all Indian pri- | rally did this opinion prevail, that the soners who should be taken in the masters do not appear to have venwar then existing, should be free pur. tured to bring the question before chase to the soldiers taking them.
any of the English courts. But if Whether the encouragement propos
negroes were enslaved, because they ed, was intended to stimulate the ar.
were pagans, and with a remote view dour, or to moderate the fury of sol. to their ultimate conversion to chris. diers, is not very clear. If it was designed to prevent the massacre of
* See the grant of Eugene IV, to
Prince Henry, of Portugal, and that Indian prisoners, a practice which of Alexander VI. to Ferdinand, of we all know, has generally disgraced Spain. (Robertson's Hist. Am. book our wars with these unfortunate peo
1 and 2.) ple, the motive was certainly more
#Lev. 25, 44.
# Clarkson's History of the Abolilaudable than the means. One point tion of the Slave Trade, vol. i. p. 55. is particularly striking in the early le A similar opinion prevailed about the gislation of the colonies, that our an
same time in these colonies, as we
find by the laws of Maryland and s. cestors of that time were imbued, to Carolina. The former enacted in a considerable extent, with the sen 1715, and the latter in 1711,
tianity, habit soon reconciled their larger field than the former. In ormasters to the practice, and they der to exhibit in proper order, the continued to be held, because they
various laws which this branch of the were negroes; and eventually many inquiry must call into view, our auof them having, by mixture or other. thor, after the example of Stephen, wise,* became almost white, they has stated twelve propositions, which are still retained, because their mo are successively discussed. They are thers were slaves. So rigidly is the
as follows: maxim of the civil law maintained, Prop. I. The master may determine in all our slave-holding states, that
the kind, and degree, and
time of labour, to which the any person descended, however re
slave shall be subjected. motely, in the maternal line, from a II. The master may supply the female slave, is adjudged a slave,
slave with such food and cloth
ing only, both as to quantity even though the paternal ancestor in
and quality, as he may
think each generation was white. Accord
proper, or find convenient. ing to Edwards, such as are above III. The master may, at his disthree steps removed in lineal digres
cretion, inflict any punish
ment upon the person of his sion from a negro mother, are in the
slave. island of Jamaica, entitled to all the IV. All the power of the master privileges of white subjects.
over his slave may be exercis
ed not by himself only in per. The second chapter “on the inci son, but by any one whom he dents of slavery," includes a much may depute as his agent.
V. Slaves have no legal rights
of property in things, real or * In his first chapter, our author personal; but whatever they has cited, rather hesitatingly a case, may acquire belongs, in point of three unipartite children, born of
of law, to their masters. a negro slave, two of whom were VI. The slave being a personal white, and the other black. These chattel, is at all times liable to white children of course, were slaves.
be sold absolutely, or mort. This case, if true, is curious, but not gaged or leased, at the will of totally unprecedented. Several ana
his master. lagous cases are given by Dr. Prich VII. He may also be sold by pro. ard, in his profound work on the phy
cess of law for the satisfaction sical history of mankind. One is, of the debts of a living, or the that of a white child, born in Virgi. debts and bequests of a de. nia, both of whose parents were
ceased master, at the suit of black. The father, an imported
creditors or legatees. African, belonged to a family in VIII. A slave cannot be a 'party which white children were not un
before a judicial tribunal, in common. A second instance was, that any species of action, against of a pair of twins, one of whom was
his master, no matter how black, with short woolly curled hair, atrocious may have been the the other white, with long hair. The injury received from him. mother in this case, was a negress, the IX. Slaves cannot redeem them. father an Englishman. A third, is
selves, nor obtain a change of that of a child whose mother, was
masters, though cruel treatwhite, and the father a negro. The ment may have rendered such child was fair, with European fea. change necessary for their tures, except a part of the body, and
personal safety. of one limb, which was as black as X. Slaves being objects of prothe father.
perty, if injured by third per† Hist. W. Ind. B, iv, chap. 1.
sons, their owners may bring
suit, and recover damages, for rights and privileges of freemen, than the injury.
among other people, and hence an XI. Slaves can make no · con
extreme sensibility with regard to tract. XII. Slavery is hereditary and every measure which tends to enperpetual.
croach on their power. At the same These propositions are proved ei. time the passions of every descripther by citations from existing laws, tion being more indulged, become including those of all the slave states, warmer, and hence the feelings of from Delaware to Louisiana; or by || humanity when once excited, assume inference from the established prin a higher tone than among those who ciples of all the servile codes. In are subject to habitual restraint. We the investigations belonging to this accordingly find just and noble senpart of the subject, we are often re timents in preambles to puerile prominded of a remarkable feature in all visions for the protection of slaves. the laws which operate upon slaves. One principle, never to be impeachThose provisions which are designed || ed, pervades the system. The rights to support the authority of the mas. of the master must be maintained. ter, and to punish the delinquencies || Humanity to the slave is always a of the slave, are obviously capable of subordinate object. And probably enforcement. But those laws which the most efficient protection afforded were ostensibly designed to protect || by law to the slave, arises from its the slaves from the cruelties of mas guardianship over the property of the ters, or other white persons, are ge master. nerally deficient in the essential of Under the twelfth proposition, our law, an executory principle. It is not author has discussed, though briefly, to be supposed, that our southern le the question whether slavery among gislatures, when they enacted laws the Hebrews was hereditary and perfor the protection of their slaves, in- | petual, or limited by the year of jutended that the products of their le. bilee. The conclusion to which he gislative toils should sleep forever has arrived, is that the general freeamidst dust and cobwebs; yet from dom to be proclaimed in the year of the general character of their enact jubilee, related to Hebrews and not ments, it is hard to resist the conclu. to strangers; and that the slaves, pursion, that they were striving to attain chased from the Heathens, were not two incompatible ends. To afford an emancipated in the fiftieth year. efficient protection to their slaves, From this conclusion I must take the and leave the power of the masters liberty of dissenting. Having made, unretrenched. To leave their slaves in the third number, some general in the condition of brutes, and yet observations on this subject, I shall confer upon them some of the privi. || add on the present occasion but very leges of men. Probably the collision few remarks. The passages most apof opposite principles is no where plicable to this case, and on which more obvious than in the legislation both sides of the question are supof our slave-holding states.
ported, are Levit. xxv. 10 and 44, Among the holders of slaves, a 45, 46. These precepts to be consishigher sense is entertained of the tent must on one side or the other,
be construed with a limit which is
then, yet the former is admitted on not obvious. Can we understand the all hands to have been free in the expression all the inhabitants, as im
year of jubilee. plying all the Israelites to the exclu The third chapter treats of the sion of the servants purchased of the condition of the slave considered as heathen, and incorporated with the
a member of civil society. It consists family of the master? Had such been
of the seven following propositions. the design of the legislator, it ap
1. A slave cannot be a witness pears reasonable to conclude that he
against a white person, either in a ci. would have used a less general ex. vil or criminal cause. pression-thy brethren, the chil II. He cannot be a party to a civil
suit. dren of Israel,-Hebrew servants,
UI. The benefits of education are would have been concise and defi withheld from the slave. nitę terms. There is no obvious lic
IV. The means for moral and relimit, and to suppose one implied,
gious instruction are not granted to
the slave; on the contrary, the efforts seems equivalent to a supposition of the humane and charitable to supthat more was said than intended. ply these wants are discountenanced This precept, we may remember,
V. Submission is required of the whatever it meant, was imperative. slave, not to the will of his master It enjoined the performance of a only, but to that of all other white duty. It must therefore be observed persons.
VI. The penal codes of the slave. according to its full extent. The pre
holding States bear much more se. cepts respecting the purchase of verely upon the slaves than upon heathen servants, were evidently per
wbite persons. missive, not imperative. The He.
VII. Slaves are prosecuted and
tried upon criminal accusations in a brews did not violate the law, by ne
manner inconsistent with the rights glecting to buy servants, or declin
of humanity. ing to retain them forever when This is the most important chapter bought. If a modern judge was call in the work. The first proposition, ed to decide a case involving the when proved to apply not only to questson before us, he must certain. the slave, but in most of the slavely examine whether the permission holding States, to the free coloured here given was not susceptible of a race, opens at once a theme for seconstruction compatible with the ge vere animadversion upon the legislaneral tenor of the law, and the posi tion of the South. This is treated at tive injunction in the 10th verse. considerable length, and the effect of When in the 30th verse an exception the rule, in neutralizing every proto the general law announced in the tecting law, conclusively shown. But 10th verse is designed; we find words this branch of the subject having of description, and exclusion succes been already discussed in this joursively employed. It shall be establish nal, no further notice will be taken ed forever, throughout your genera of it at present, than just to remark, tions, it shall not go out in the jubilee. that, negroes not being christians, The phrase forever is used in the would appear to have been, at one case of the Hebrew servant whose time, judged a satisfactory reason for ear was bored, as well as the hea. excluding their testimony. Their
profession of christianity, however, slaves but free persons of colour from has not yet been thought a solid being taught to read and write; and ground for admitting it.
that meetings of these people for These propositions are not only mental instruction are proscribed. proved, but are shown to apply with Do these acts evince a belief that nebut little modification to free colour
groes are an inferior race? ed persons as well as slaves. So far
The sixth proposition presents the have the legislative and judicial au injustice of slave legislation in a more thorities proceeded in the amalgama- glaring light than any of the precedtion of free persons of colour with || ing. Our author exhibits a catalogue slaves, that in several States, laws
of fifty crimes, for each of which a have been enacted declaring all ne slave, in Mississippi, forfeits his life, groes, mulattoes, &c. slaves, unless
twelve only of which subject a white proved to be free: and subjecting a man to a similar fate. The penal code slave to corporal punishment for an of Virginia is still more sanguinary, unsuccessful attempt to establish his annexing the punishment of death to freedom. In nearly all the slave States about 70 different crimes when slaves negroes are presumed to be slaves, are the offenders, though whites are unless the contrary can be proved; not subjected for any of these to and the claims of a white person can greater penalties than imprisonment not be set aside by any but white in the penitentiary. That these sanwitnesses. Our author has shown guinary punishments have not been with his usual clearness, the encou resorted to in consequence of any ragement afforded by this presump evidence of their necessity, which extion, to the enormous crime of kid.
perience may be supposed to have napping-to which I shall add, that I furnished, may be safely inferred do not believe the practice can be from the fact, that in some of the suppressed, until the rule of presump-slave-holding States the penal codes tion is changed, the testimony of co are clear of this Draconic character. loured persons admitted, or an effec The laws of Tennessee, for instance, tual system of registration adopted. compared with the foregoing, are
When we reflect upon the degra- amiably mild—the capital crimes of dation which slavery never fails to slaves are there but five. produce, we should be ready to con The fourth chapter relates to the clude a disposition would be in dissolution of slavery. dulged to counteract this effect and Sectfon I. Recites the laws which keep the slave within the pale of have been enacted in the Eastern humanity; or at least that nothing and middle States, for the abolition would be done, by legislative autho of slavery. rity, to smother the dormant energies The section before us includes, of the slave, and clip the puny wings somewhat more at large, nearly the of genius, among the servile class. same information as I have already The fact, however, is as our author laid before my readers in the sixth has shown, that the statute books of number. the South are disgraced by several Section II. Treats of the laws reacts designed to prevent not only gulating the emancipation of slaves;