페이지 이미지

Evans, claimed as his servant till the and no other designation is given. age of twenty-eight years, being the The question, then, is, whether the law daughter of his female slave Lucy, and has been complied with in this case. alleged by him to be duly registered It is very clear to my mind, that, for according to the act of assembly. the reasons urged by Judge Gibson in

Mary was registered on the 12th of 3d Sergeant & Rawle, 400, in whatNovember, 1805, in these words, ever spirit the act of 1780 should be

" David Evans, of Drumore town interpreted, that of 1788 should be ship, in the county of Lancaster, yeo strictly construed. Its operation was man, returns Mary, a female negro intended to be exclusively for the bechild, the daughter of Lucy, a female nefit of the servant registered. In slave, born on the fourteenth day of every case of a registry under the latAugust, in the year of our Lord one ter act, he says, I, for one, should hold thousand eight hundred and five.” the master to a strict and formal ex

The objection to the registry is, that ecution of every thing enjoined, except the occupation or profession of the where express decision of this court claimant was not stated in the return, may have established a contrary conas required by the act of the 29th of struction. The servant has nothing March, 1788. Two witnesses testified, to do with either the fraud or mistake on the part of the claimant, that they of the master, who is to make the had been acquainted with him for registry at his own peril, and if it be many years, one for fifty, and the not done so as to give the servant the other for thirty years, that they had benefit of every thing intended to be never known him to follow any other secured to him by the act, the master, occupation than that of a farmer, and who is the author of the mischief, and that the word yeoman is generally not the servant, should suffer. understood to denote a farmer. On Now if yeoman be not indicative of this latter point, the testimony was an occupation, the entry in the case objected to.

does not contain all which the act of The third section of the act of 29th assembly calls for. In considering the March, 1788, declares, that all persons meaning of the term yeoman, I place who then were, or thereafter should be, out of view the testimony which was possessed of any child or children, born given of the opinion of the witnesses, after the 1st of March, 1780, who, by or of the sense commonly attached to the act of assembly passed on that day, it; for where a word of description is would be liable to serve till the age of used to which the law affixes a certain twenty-eight years, should deliver or sense, evidence is not available to cause to be delivered to the clerk of show that by custom or usage, or in the peace of the proper county, the common parlance, it bears a meaning name, surname, and occupation or pro different from its legal acceptation, (1 fession, of such possessor, under the Strange 278.) pain and penalty of forfeiting and The general term yeoman is applied losing all right and title to every such by legal authors exclusively to signify child and children, and of him, her, or the degree, state, or condition of a man their immediately becoming free. The in society. It is never used to express statement of the occupation or profes his calling, any more than the title sion of him in whose behalf the entry || esquire, which, as Judge Gibson coris made, is, therefore, (if he have one,) rectly says, denotes no occupation or a particular indispensable to the va profession whatever, being bestowed lidity of the entry. By omitting it, by courtesy on all civil officers, without the master forfeits all right to the ser regard to the nature and variety of vice of the child. If he be without their several duties. Yeoman, esquire, any occupation or profession, it has and gentleman, are all on the same been decided by the supreme court footing in relation to profession or vothat he is at liberty to prove it. Here cation. it is in evidence by the claimant him In 2d Institutes, 668, “yeoman" is self, that he has an occupation, and it said by Lord Coke to be a Saxon word, is that of a farmer. But in the return (geuen,) “ the g being turned in commade to the clerk, he is styled yeoman, mon speech (as is usual in like cases)

into a y. In legal understanding, a as a punishment for the commission of yeoman is a freeholder, that may dis several different crimes. Without quespend forty shillings, (anciently five tioning the soundness of the principle nobles,) per annum : and he is called of the forfeiture of individual liberty, probus et legalis homo.”

by the commission of crime-slavery He there distinguishes between ad must be admitted to be a punishment ditions of estate or degree, and those of the highest order, and according to of mystery, &c.; places yeoman among every just rule for the apportionment the former, and then speaks of the lat of punishments to crimes, it would ter: “Mistier, or mystery,” he says, seem, ought to be applied to crimes of " is a large word, and includeth all the highest order; but under the exlawful arts, trades, and occupations, || isting laws, in case of free people of as taylor, merchant, mercer, husband colour only, it is extended to several man, and the like."

crimes not involving capital punishIn Blackstone's Table of Precedence, ment. Under these laws, the punish(vol. i. p. 405,) he makes a difference ment of slavery is indiscriminately between “yeoman,” and “tradesman.” applied to both sexes, whilst the curse After esquires come gentlemen, yeo of slavery, from its peculiar character, men, and then tradesmen; and al bears with much more severity upon though in this country, happily, no females than male offenders. In the distinction of rank, orders, or classes, case of male offenders, the punishment has the sanction or countenanoe of dies with the offender. In the case of law, yet terms peculiar to the designa. female offenders, it does not, but it tion of rank or degree, cannot be made lives, and is visited upon the offspring to signify occupation or profession. No throughout all generations. The most legal authority has been adduced to serious and distressing reflection, howwarrant the use of the word yeoman ever, in the application of the punishas expressive of mystery, trade, or voca ment of slavery to female offenders, tion. Under the act of assembly which when extended to the offspring, arises authorises the binding of minors to from the circumstance that the inserve as apprentices in any art, mys nocent is punished with the guilty. tery, occupation, or labour, there are The unoffending offspring is made to probably numerous examples of inden participate deeply in the punishment tures binding minors to learn the art

of the offending mother; whilst it paror mystery of a husbandman or farmer, | ticipates nothing in her guilt. This but I apprehend that no instance can seems to me to be incompatible with be found of an indenture binding a every principle of morality and justice, minor to learn the mystery, occupa and directly repugnant to the just, tion, or profession of a yeoman, nor humane, and liberal policy of Virginia, can it be pretended, with any show of in the dispensations of criminal justice reason, that such an indenture would

upon every other occasion. In cases be valid.

of the sales of slaves under these proI am, therefore, of opinion, that the visions of the laws, the condition of registry is not according to law, and the bond requiring the purchasers of that Mary Whipper is entitled to her the convict slaves to cause them to be discharge.

transported beyond the limits of the United States, is found, in its execu

tion, to be merely colourable. It is CODE NOIR OF VIRGINIA.

believed to be seldom or ever comExtract from the late Message of Gover

plied with; and from its peculiar chanor Giles, to the Legislature of Vir

racter, it would be extremely difficult ginia.

to enforce a compliance with it by ju" Whilst considering the subject of dicial proceedings. It would require criminal jurisprudence, I find myself the proof of a negative, and that negaimpelled, by an impressive sense of tive of a character too, very difficult duty, to call the attention of the gene to be ascertained. If this provision of ral assembly to the provisions of the the laws should be known to be notolaws, which subject free people of co riously disregarded, and no competent lour to slavery, sale, and transportation, || remedy adopted against its violation,

358 Summary of Researches on the Physical Nature of Man.



it becomes a subject well worthy the consideration of the general assembly, whether the other provisions of the laws in relation to the transportation of convicts comport with the just, frank, and liberal policy towards her sister states, for which Virginia has heretofore been distinguished on all other occasions, and upon which her moral influence in the United States must mainly depend. The transportation of convicted people of colour, as a means of lessening the number in the state, can have but a very limited influence in producing that very desirable effect; certainly too inconsiderable to justify the introduction of unusual punishments, of questionable principle, into our criminal code, directly inconsistent with the mild and humane spirit which characterises every other part of the system. The whole number transported from January 1824 to this time, amounts to only 44. Nor do these laws appear to have had any beneficial effect in the prevention of crimes, since it appears from authentic documents, that twelve were convicted in 1827, whilst eleven were the highest number convicted in any preceding year. It seems but an act of justice to this unfortunate, degraded class of persons, to state that the number of convicts, compared with the whole population, exceeding 35,000, is extremely small, and would serve to show, that even this description of our population is less demoralized than has been generally supposed. From these, and other considerations, I earnestly recommend a review of these provisions of the penal laws to the serious attention of the general assembly, and confidently rely upon its wisdom, justice, and humanity, for remedying the evils, as I think them, if indeed evils they should be deemed by the better judgment of the general assembly. I hope to be indulged for most respectfully recommending, in substitution of the punishment of slavery, sale, and transportation, the propriety of appropriating a separate apartment in our own penitentiary, for the punishment of this most unfortunate description of persons. It seems to me, that a plan might be devised, by which their labour could be made to defray the expenses of their own punishments, for their own crimes.

I have endeavoured to find a solution of the problem, whether in each particular species, both in the animal and vegetable creations, it is probable, that there exists only one stock or family; or whether, in general, it may be supposed to be the method of nature, if such an expression may be allowed, to spread the same species at once over distant countries, from many different centers. This question was investigated by observing the distribution of genera and species over different parts of the earth. From the fact, that plants and animals of each kind have their existence chiefly in tracts, whither they may have wandered, or may have been conveyed by accident, from certain points, the common and original centers, as it would appear, of particular tribes, and are elsewhere scarcely to be found, it was inferred, that the whole number, in each species respectively, has probably descended from a single primitive stock. This inference was strengthened by a consideration of the wonderful means provided by nature, for the extension and dispersion of species; means which appear to be requisite only on such hypothesis. It seemed, on the whole, to result as the most probable conclusion, that Providence thought fit, in the first place, to call into existence only one family, or race, in each particular kind, and did not at once diffuse it over the world, from a variety of different origins.

This fact being established with respect to organized beings in general, it remained to inquire, whether there are among mankind any specific diversities, or any physical differences, of such a description, that they may be looked upon as original characters, and therefore as constituting distinct species. If this question be determined in the affirmative, it obviously results, that men are of more than one original family; but if in the negative, it must be concluded, that all mankind are, according to the law already shown to exist throughout the organized world, descended from a single stock.

In the first place, the different methods of determining the limits of spe

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Summary of Researches on the Physical Nature of Man.


cies, and of discovering what races are of the same, and what of distinct species were pointed out. It was observed, that there are four methods of examining this question, each of which is capable of elucidating it more or less. The first or what may be termed the physiological method, is founded on a comparison of the principal facts relating to the animal economy, or physiological character of the tribes to be considered ; such as the term or duration of life proper to each kind, the circumstances connected with their breeding, the number of progeny, the laws of the natural functions, the diseases to which each tribe is obnoxious, and the character of its faculties, instincts, and habits. If in all these circumstances, in respect to which strongly marked differences occur between species very nearly resembling each other in outward form, no material difference can be found to exist between any two races which are the subjects of comparison, a probable argument results for concluding them to be of one species. A second criterion for determining the unity or diversity of species, has been sought by many naturalists in the fertility or sterility of the animal which is the mixed progeny of two races. The validity of this criterion has been called in question, and it seems that in some instances, hybrid animals, properly so called, are capable of continuing their race.

Yet there is evidently in nature, a principle, by which the casual intermixture of species is guarded against. On this point, it may suffice to observe, that on applying both of these two first methods of inquiry to the particular instance under consideration, the result seemed clearly to be, that, as far as the evidence derived from these sources extends, we have no reason to believe that there is more than one species of human beings in existence.

A third method of inquiry is, the analogical, or comparative. It is resolved into the question, whether the particular diversities we have to account for are analogous to those deviations from a common type, which are known to make their appearance as varieties in the progeny of a single race. When this appears, after due investigation, it is fair to conclude, that such diversities

are analogous in their nature, or resolvable into the same class of natural phenomena. This inquiry, in respect to the most remarkable varieties in the form, structure, and other peculiarities which occur in mankind, has been pursued, and the conclusion which resulted was, that the diversities which are known in mankind are, in the most important particulars, similar in kind to the natural varieties discovered in other species of animals, and, therefore, as far as we can rely upon an inference drawn from analogy, they afford no reason for supposing that there is more than one species of man.

It was observed, that the probable inference deduced fro the comparison of parallel or analogous phenomena would be very much confirmed, if it should appear on investigation, that varieties, such as those which are the subject of discussion, do in reality take place in particular races of men, and originate in the progeny of the same stock. And this brings us to the fourth part of our inquiry. We have examined the history of the different races of men,

and have taken notice of the instances in the variety in form and complexion, which appear to have arisen from the same stock, and of the most remarkable differences in physical character, which exist among tribes nearly allied to each other in kindred. In the course of this inquiry, we have seen that certain deviations display themselves at once in strongly marked examples, some striking phenomena of complexion or figure appearing in the immediate offspring of races, or families, in which they had been before unknown. In other instances such variations take place by slow and imperceptible degrees. It appeared from the whole of this examination, that there is no clearly traced and definite line, which the tendency to variety or deviation cannot pass, and therefore no specific distinction. The character of one race passes into that of another, and this not merely in the sense often attached to such an expression, implying the want of any exact limit between them, but by actual deviation and transition. Even within the limits of one particular race, it is sometimes possible to point out a wide range of varieties, and in some instances it may

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

perable. We have examples of such peculiarities becoming common to a whole nation, and may account for the fact in either of two ways. A whole tribe appears, in some instances, to have deviated from its original character, or to have become distinguished from another branch of the same race, as the Gothic nations are distinguished from the Persians, and these again from the Hindoos; or as one of the Tshude, or Finnish race, is distinguished from others. These differences must, as it should appear, have taken place subsequently to the separation of great hordes or tribes, from each other. In other instances, it may have happened that a new stock has sprung from a few individuals, who happened themselves to be characterized by some peculiarities; such peculiarities may have been transmitted by the parents to their offspring, and by subsequent increase and multiplication of a family, may have become the prevalent character of a whole tribe or nation.

[ocr errors]


be shown, that the most different complexions, and the greatest diversities of figure known to exist, are to be found among tribes which appear to belong to the same nation, or family of nations.

These conclusions have resulted from a survey of the physical history of the most extensively spread nations, and, indeed, of all the principal departments of mankind. The various races, constituting the population of Africa, were first surveyed; then the different nations scattered throughout the Austral countries, and the islands of the Indian ocean; afterwards the several branches of the IndoEuropean stock, including the nations of India, and some other parts of upper Asia, and most of the countries of Europe. Next to these followed the Semitic or Palæ-Syrian nations. A survey of the races of people near the chain of Caucasus, prepared us for passing over this limit, and proceeding to the northern and eastern nations of Asia : this part of the work was closed with an account of the native or aboriginal inhabitants of America. In all these several divisions of the human family, important physical diversities were shown to have arisen, and in each of them remarkable approximations to the character prevalent in other tribes.

On the whole, it appears that the information deduced from this fourth method of inquiry, is as satisfactory as we could expect, and is sufficient to confirm, and, indeed, by itself to establish the inference, that the human kind contains but one species ; and therefore, by a second inference, but one race.

It will, I apprehend, be allowed by those who have attentively followed this investigation of particulars, that the diversities in physical character belonging to different races, present no material obstacle to the opinion, that all nations sprang from one original, a result that plainly follows from the foregoing considerations. The formation of whole nations, or of separate tribes, distinguished by some particular traits from others who are supposed to be of the same kindred, is a subject which appears to present some difficulty, but this is, perhaps, not insu

From Pringle's African Sketches. THE LION AND THE CAMELOPARD, Wouldst thou view the lion's den? Search afar from haunts of men, Where the reed-incircled fountain Oozes from the rocky mountain ; By its verdure far descried, 'Mid the desert brown and wide.

Close beside the sedgy brim, Couchant lurks the lion grim; Waiting till the close of day, Brings again the destined prey.

Heedless, at the ambushed brink, The tall giraffe stoops down to drink; Upon him straight the savage springs With cruel joy; the desert rings With clanging sound of desperate strife, For the prey is strong, and strives for life. Plunging oft, with frantic bound, To shake the tyrant to the ground, Then bursts like whirlwind through the waste, In hope to 'scape by headlong haste. In vain! the spoiler on his prize Rides proudly, tearing as he flies. For life-the victim's utmost speed Is mustered in this hour of need. For life, for life, his giant might He strains, and pours his soul in flight; And mad with terror, thirst, and pain, Spurns with wild hoof the thundering plain. "T'is vain; the thirsty sands are drinking. His streaming blood; his strength is sinking ; The victor's fangs are in bis veins, His flanks are streaked with sanguine stains, His panting breast in foam and gore Is bathed , he reels ; his race is o'er; He falls, and with convulsive throe, Resigns his throat to the raging foe, Who revels amidst his dying moans, While, gathering round to pick his bones, The vultures watch in gaunt array, Till the proud monarch quits his prey.

« 이전계속 »