African American Laws II 

1839-1846

 

 

AN ACT 

To punish certain Offences therein named. 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas in Congress assembled, That from and after the passage of this act, if any person shall be found guilty of harboring or clandestinely supporting any runaway negro slave, or negroes indentured for a term of years, or in aiding and assisting in so doing, on conviction thereof before a court of competent jurisdiction, he shall for such offence be fined in a sum of not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, shall be imprisoned not less than six months nor more than one year. 

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the district judge to give this act in charge to the grand jury. 

Approved, January 15, 1839.


AN ACT 

Concerning Free Persons of Color.

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, in Congress assembled, That from and after the passage of this act, it shall not-be lawful for any free person of color to emigrate to this Republic.

 Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That if any free persons of color shall emigrate to this Republic, it shall be the duty of the sheriff, or any one of the constables of the county to which such emigration shall be made, to arrest such free person of color, after giving him ten day's notice, and bring him before the Chief Justice of the county, or Judge of the district; and it shall be the duty of the Chief Justice, or Judge of the district, before whom such free person of color may be brought, to receive the bond of such free person of color in the sum of one thousand dollars, with the security of a citizen, to be approved by him, conditioned for the removal of such free person of color out of the limits of the Republic. 

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That if any free person of color should be brought before any Chief Justice of any county, or District Judge, and shall not be able to give the bond as prescribed in the second section of this act, such Chief Justice, or District Judge, shall commit such free person of color to the public jail, with an order to the sheriff to expose him to public sale to the highest bidder, at the court-house door of his county, after giving four weeks' notice of the same, in the nearest public journal, and at least four public places in his county; and the said purchaser shall and may exercise all the rights of ownership over said free person of color, for one year from such sale. 

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, And if any such free person of color, shall during the year of such slavery, be able to give his bond as contemplated in the second section of this act, to take effect at the end of his slavery, he shall be permitted to do so; but if he shall fail to render the bond, until after the expiration of his slavery, it shall be the duty of the purchaser to return him into the hands of the sheriff. 

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, It shall be the duty of the sheriff. upon the return of any such free person of color, upon giving six weeks' notice in some public journal, and at least four public places in his county, to expose the free person of color so returned, at public sale, to the highest bidder; and such free person of color so sold shall remain a slave for life: Provided, That if any person of color so sold should be the property of any individual, he shall have his right of recovery by due course of law.

 Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, All monies arising from the sale of such free person of color, shall be paid into the county treasury, subject to appropriation by the District Court for public purposes. 

Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, Upon the forfeiture of the bond of any free people of color, the same shall be placed in the hands of the District Attorney for collection, who shall prosecute the same against the securities only; and the amount of sale, if such shall have been made, of the free person of color, shall, in all cases, be subtracted from the amount adjudged against the securities, and the remainder only shall be recovered of them. 

Sec. 8. Be it further enacted, That two years shall be allowed, from and after the passage of this act, to all free persons of color who are now in this Republic, to remove out of the same; and all those who shall be found here after that time, without the permission of Congress, shall be arrested and sold as provided in this act. 

Sec. 9. Be it further enacted, That it shall not be lawful for any master of a vessel, or owner thereof, nor for any other person or persons whatsoever, to bring, import, induce, or aid or assist in the bringing, importing, or inducing any free person of color within the limits of Texas, directly or indirectly; and any person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be fined in a sum of not less than one nor more than ten thousand dollars: Provided, That cooks and other hands employed on board of vessels shall not be considered as coming within the provisions of this act. 

Sec. 10. Be it further enacted, That the President of the Republic do issue his proclamation, commanding all free persons of color who are now in the Republic, to remove from the same before the first of January, 1842, and the Secretary of State publish this act a number of times in all the journals of this Republic. 

Sec. 11. Be it further enacted, That all laws contrary to the meaning and spirit of this act, are hereby repealed. 

DAVID S. KAUFMAN, Speaker of the House of Representatives. DAVID G. BURNET, President of the Senate. 

Approved 5th February, 1840. 

MIRABEAU B. LAMAR.


AN ACT 

Concerning Slaves. 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, in Congress assembled, That if any person shall hereafter sell to any slave, without the written consent of his or her master, mistress or overseer, any ardent spirits or intoxicating liquors, he or she so offending, shall forfeit and pay on conviction thereof, any sum not less than twenty nor more than. two hundred dollars. 

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That if any person shall buy from any slave, any cotton, corn, meat or other valuable produce or article whatever, without the written consent of his or her master, or mistress, or overseer, he or she so offending, shall on conviction thereof, be fined in any sum not less than twenty nor more than two hundred dollars, with the value to the owner of any property so sold.  

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That if any person shall unreasonably or cruelly treat, or otherwise abuse any slave, he or she shall be liable to be sued in any court of competent jurisdiction, and on conviction thereof shall be fined in a sum, not less than two hundred and fifty dollars nor more than two thousand dollars. 

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That if any person or persons shall murder any slave, or so cruelly treat the same as to cause death, the same shall be felony, and punished as in other cases of murder. 

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the District Judges, within said Republic, to carry into effect the foregoing provisions of this act. 

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That no slave in this Republic shall carry a gun or other deadly weapon without the written consent of his master, mistress or overseer; such arms or other weapons shall be liable to be taken by any person from any such negro, and all such property forfeited, if it does not exceed ten dollars in value; but any such property may be reclaimed by the owner on paying ten dollars to the person who may have so taken the same. 

Approved February 5th, 1840.


AN ACT 

For the relief of Certain Free Persons of Color.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, in Congress assembled, That William Ainsworth, Abner Ainsworth, David Ainsworth, Aaron Ainsworth, Elisha Thomas, and all free persons of color, together with their families who were residing Texas on the day of the Declaration of Independence, are, and shall be exempt from the operation and provisions of an act of Congress, entitled "An Act concerning free persons of color, approved fifth of February, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and forty;" and that the above named persons, with their families, are hereby granted permission to remain in this republic, anything in the laws of the country to the contrary notwithstanding. 

Approved 12th December, 1840. 


AN ACT 

Prohibiting forced Sale of Slaves under Execution. 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, in Congress assembled, That hereafter no slave or slaves or indentured free person or persons, in the possession and ownership of the bona fide master, or heir or heirs, legatee or legatees of any testate or deceased person, shall be subject to forced sales, by virtue of any writ of venditioni exponas, fieri facias, or execution of any kind; Provided, always, That the provisions of this act shall not be construed to extend to sales under or by virtue of any final decree or judgment of the courts of competent jurisdiction, where the same has been made or obtained in conformity to law, ordering the sale and distribution of the property of any testate or deceased person's estate upon petition, as directed, being filed, praying for the same; Provided, Nothing herein shall protect said property in the possession or ownership of defaulters to this Republic. 

Approved January 27th, 1841. 


AN ACT

Supplementary and Amendatory of certain Acts therein named. 

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That in all prosecutions of slaves before the county court, under the "Act for the Punishment of Crimes and Misdemeanors committed by slaves and free persons of color," approved December 14th, 1837, the chief justice before whose court the trial is had, shall appoint an attorney to prosecute on behalf of the county; and in every case of conviction, said attorney shall be entitled to twenty dollars, Texas promissory notes, to be taxed in the bill of costs. 

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That in every case of conviction, the slave shall be hired out under the direction of the chief justice, until all the costs of the prosecution are satisfied: but if there be no conviction, the costs shall be taxed against the person lodging the information, and execution shall issue accordingly. 

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That so much of the first section of "An Act organizing the Inferior Courts, and Defining the Powers and Jurisdiction of the same," as requires the associate justices of the county courts to be selected at the beginning of each and every year, be, and the same is hereby repealed. 

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That this act be in force and take effect from and after its passage. 

Approved January 22nd, 1841.


AN ACT 

Supplementary and Amendatory of certain Acts therein named. 

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That in all prosecutions of slaves before the county court, under the "Act for the Punishment of Crimes and Misdemeanors committed by slaves and free persons of color," approved December 14th, 1837, the chief justice before whose court the trial is had, shall appoint an attorney to prosecute on behalf of the county; and in every case of conviction, said attorney shall be entitled to twenty dollars, Texas promissory notes, to be taxed in the bill of costs. 

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That in every case of conviction, the slave shall be hired out under the direction of the chief justice, until all the costs of the prosecution are satisfied: but if there be no conviction, the costs shall be taxed against the person lodging the information, and execution shall issue accordingly. 

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That this act be in force and take effect from and after its passage. 


AN ACT 

Regulating the Sale of Runaway Slaves. 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas in Congress assembled, That where any slave is now in the jail of any county of this Republic,. or shall hereafter be committed to the jail thereof as a runaway, a notice of the apprehension and commitment, with a full description of said slave, shall be published weekly in one of the Gazettes at the seat of Government, for the space of one month, and printed copies thereof shall be furnished to the clerk of the County Court of the County in which the commitment is made, to be carefully filed and preserved in his office, and it shall be the duty of the sheriff or jailor having custody of such slave, to ascertain as nearly as may be, the name of the owner thereof, and to address him or her by regular post, at least twice, giving a full description of said runaway slave, in such manner as may best lead to the discovery and restoration. 

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That if said runaway slave shall not be claimed and proved by the owner thereof, within six months from the first publication of the commitment of said slave, as foresaid, the Sheriff of the County in which the commitment was made, shall expose said' slave to sale at public outcry at the court house of his proper county, upon giving at least thirty days' previous notice of such sale, by advertisement posted up at, at least two public places in said county, and published in some gazette of the county in which the sale is to take place; or in the next nearest county having a gazette, and out of the. proceeds arising from the sale of any runaway slave as aforesaid, the sheriff shall be entitled to the same commission and fees as are allowed in cases of execution, and the balance after paying all prison fees, or fees for the maintenance of said runaway while in custody. Clerk's fees, and expenses of advertising and apprehending, shall be paid into the county treasury for the use of the proper county; provided, that if the owner of any runaway slave thus sold, should prove his property in said slave within three years after said sale, the proper county shall pay to him the amount that shall have, been paid into the county treasury, on account of the sale of said slave, but the right to any slave sold as aforesaid, shall be and remain vested in the purchaser under the sale made by the sheriff as aforesaid, any law to the contrary notwithstanding. 

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That the sheriff making the sale of any runaway slave as aforesaid, shall return a full and clear account and statement of such sale under his hand and seal, to the clerk of the county court, who shall record the same among the record of deeds. Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That all runaway slaves shall be lawfully apprehended by any person, and carried before the next justice of the peace, who shall either commit them to the county jail, or the custody of the sheriff, or send them to the owner, if known, who shall pay for every slave so taken up, the sum of ten dollars to the person apprehending him or her, and all reasonable ,costs and damages: and if said owner shall fail or refuse to pay said reward and reasonable expenses, the person apprehending and delivering said runaway slaves as aforesaid, shall be entitled to have his action for the recovery of the same before any justice of the peace of the district or precinct in which said owner resides, or in which said slave is delivered up to the owner as aforesaid. 

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That if any person or persons being convicted, harboring or concealing any negro or negroes belonging to any person or persons whatsoever, or suffering the same so to be, with his consent or knowledge, shall upon conviction of such offence, be fined in a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, and shall be imprisoned not less than one calendar month, nor exceeding six calendar months, and shall be liable in damages to the party injured, to be recovered by action on the case, before any court having competent jurisdiction. 

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That this act be in force and take effect from and after its passage. 

Approved February 5th, 1841.


AN ACT 

To repeal an Act entitled "An Act prohibiting Forced Sale of Slaves."

 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas in Congress assembled, That "An Act prohibting forced sale of Slaves under Execution," approved January 27th, 1841, be, and the same is hereby repealed. 

Approved 30th Dec., 1841.


BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS. 

PROCLAMATION. 

Whereas, by an act of Congress of the Republic of Texas, approved February 5th, 1840, the eighth section, it is provided, that all free persons of color shall remove out of this Republic, within two years from the passage of said act, under certain penalties: And whereas, it has been represented to me, that there are a number of honest and industrious persons of that description, who have been citizens of this country for a number of years, and have always heretofore conducted themselves so as to obtain the confidence and good opinion of all acquainted with them, and are now anxious to be permitted to remain in the Republic for the next two years, from and after the fifth day of February next: Therefore, be it known, that I, SAM. HOUSTON, President of the Republic of Texas, in virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the constitution and the law, do, in the name and by the authority of said Republic, issue this, my proclamation, remitting the penalty of the law that might otherwise attach against them for remaining in the Republic; to be in effect and operative for the term of two years from the fifth day of February next: Provided, those who wish to obtain the benefit of this proclamation, apply to the Chief Justice of the county in which they reside, and make satisfactory proof of their good character, and also enter into bond and security, in the penal sum of five hundred dollars, payable to the President and his successors in office, for their good behavior during the term specified in this proclamation. In witness whereof, I have hereunto signed my name, and caused the great seal of the Republic to be affixed. 

Done at the town of Washington, the. twenty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord one [L. S.] thousand eight hundred and forty two, and of the Independence of Texas the seventh. SAM. HOUSTON. By the President: ANSON JONES, Secretary of State.


BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS.

PROCLAMATION. 

To all and singular to whom these presents shall come,-Greeting: Whereas, a treaty between the Republic of Texas and Great Britain, for the suppression of African slave trade, was concluded and signed at the City of London, on the sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty, together with two forms of Warrants and Instructions to cruisers, thereunto annexed, by the Plenipotentiaries of this Republic and her Britannic Majesty, duly and respectively authorized for that purpose; which Treaty and forms of Warrants and Instructions are, word for word, as follows: TREATY BEWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS AND GREAT BRITAIN FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE. Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, wishing to give fuller effect to the principles which form the basis of the Treaties which have been concluded between Great Britain and several other European powers, for the suppression of the African Slave Trade, and the Republic of Texas being likewise desirous of rendering effectual the fundamental article in her Constitution, which declares the said trade piracy, have determined to negotiate and conclude a Treaty for the more effectual extinction of this traffic. For this purpose the Republic of Texas and Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, have named as their Plenipotentaries, that is to sav:-The Republic of Texas, Gen. James Hamilton, &c. &c.; and Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Right Honorable Henry John, Viscount Palmerston, Baron Temple, a Peer of Ireland, a member of Her Britannic Majesty's Most Honorable Privy Council, a Member of Parliament, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order Treaty Between Texas of the Bath, and Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; who, after having communicated to each other their respective Full Powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon and concluded the following articles: ARTICLE I. The Republic of Texas and Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, engage to prohibit African Slave Trade, either by their respective citizens or subjects, or under their respective flags, or by means of capital belonging to their respective citizens or subjects, and to declare such trade piracy. And the high contracting parties further declare, that any vessel attempting to carry on the slave trade shall, by that act alone, lose all right to claim the protection of their flag. ARTICLE II. In order more completely to accomplish the object of the present treaty, the high contracting parties mutually consent that those ships of their respective navies which shall be provided with special warrants and orders, according to the form in Annex A, to this treaty, may visit such merchant vessels of either of the high contracting parties as mayj upon reasonable grounds, be suspected of being engaged in the aforesaid traffic in slaves, or of having been fitted out for that purpose, or of having, during the voyage on which they are met with by the said cruisers, been engaged in the aforesaid traffic; and that such cruisers may detain, and send or carry away such vessels, in order that they may be brought to trial in the manner hereinafter agreed upon. But the above mentioned right of searching merchant vessels of either of the high contracting parties, shall be exercised only by ships of war, whose commanders shall have the rank of captain, or at least that of lieutenant in the navy, unless the command shall, by reason of death or otherwise, be held by an officer of inferior rank, and the commander of such ship of war shall be furnished with a warrant according to the form annexed to this treaty, letter A, and the said right shall not be exercised within the Mediterranean sea, nor within those seas in Europe which lie without the Straits of Gibralter, and to the northward of the 37th parallel of north latitude, and within and...........

 Treaty between the Republic of Texas and Great Britain, for the suppression of African Slave Trade, signed at London, November 16th, 1840.


AN ACT 

Supplementary to "An Act regulating the sale of Runaway Slaves,'" approved January fifth, one thousand eight hundred and fortyone.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives bf the Republic of Texas in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful, hereafter, for any person, or persons, who may apprehend and commit to jail any runaway slave, or slaves, on or west of the San Antonio River, to demand and receive the sum of fifty dollars for each and every slave, so apprehended, provided, said slave, or slaves be so secured that the property come safely to the possession of the owner, to be paid upon the delivery of such slave or slaves to the owner thereof, or his authorized agent; and the person, or persons, apprehending such slave, or slaves, shall have a lien on the same, until the reward specified, as aforesaid, be paid. 

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That in all cases where any slave or slaves shall be apprehended and delivered to the owner at his residence, it shall be lawful for the person, apprehending and delivering such slave or slaves, to demand and receive, for each slave so apprehended and delivered, in addition to the sum specified, as aforesaid, the further sum of two dollars for every thirty miles he may travel in going to, and returning from, the residence of said owner, the distance to be computed over the shortest route travelled at the time, and to have a lien upon the slave, or slaves, for the payment of the same, as provided for in the first section of this act. 

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That the provisions of the second section of this act shall extend to persons apprehending runaway slaves in any part of the Republic, provided, said slaves are delivered by the apprehender to the owner thereof, at his or her residence. 

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That if no owner appears and claims any slave or slaves so apprehended, and the same be sold under the provisions of the act to which this is a supplement, then and in that case, it shall be the duty of the sheriff to pay over to the person, or persons, apprehending such slave, or slaves, the reward prescribed by the provisions of the first section of this act; provided, that the sheriff shall take, in writing, the testimony on which the claim to the reward is admitted, and that the same be filed in the office of the.Clerk of the County Court. 

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That this act take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

 Approved, January 27th, 1844.


AN ACT

To provide for the appointment of Patrols and to prescribe their duties and powers. 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the  State of Texas, That the county court of every county and five men shall upon application, when necessary, appoint a patrol detachment to consist of one captain and not more than five privates nor less than three, for each or any district or company division in the county, whose term of service shall be three months from the time of their appointment: Provided, that one half of the patrol appointed shall be owners of slaves, or their substitutes. 

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That the captain and privates of each detachment shall be appointee from among the citizens of the district or division, who are subject to perform militia duty, and-who are to patrol the same, and that they shall patrol said district at least once in every month, and as much oftener as the tranquility thereof may require, by visiting the negro quarters and all other places in said district, where it may be suspected that slaves are improperly or unlawfully assembled. May punish' Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That whenever a detachment, or part of one, may find any slave or slaves off the plantation or other premises of his, her or their master, mistress, or employer, strolling about without a pass or other written permission from some person authorized to give the same, said detachment, or part thereof, may give to every slave so offending, any number of lashes not exceeding twenty-five. May search 

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That any detachment, or part thereof, shall be authorized under such rules may be prescribed by law, to search suspected places for harbored, runaway or fugitive slaves,  apprehend and carry the same before a justice of the peace in the district, or the nearest justice out of said district, to be dealt with as the law may direct, and also to apprehend any white person who may be found in any assemblage of slaves, or in or about any negro quarter, associating with, or participating in common with the slaves of such assemblage or quarter, in amusements or associations, without having the permission of the master or owner of such slaves, and carry such person or persons before any justice of the peace in such district, who shall be fined for the first offence a sum not less than five nor more than fifty dollars, and imprisoned not more than thirty days; and for a second offence, shall be liable for double the penalty; and for a third offence, shall be bound by said justice, to the next district court, and be subject to indictment and punished as for a misdemeanor. 

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That no detachment shall do patrol duty out of the limits of its own fined to their district or division, unless by special permission of the county court, or in case of insurrection or insubordination among slaves, or in case of their assembling at an improper time or place, or unlawfully, or for an improper purpose. 

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That the captain may divide his detachment, when on duty or about to. engage in it, and may require each division thereof to patrol in such part of the district as he may designate: Provided, however, that no division shall consist of less than two patrols. 

Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That it shall be the Duties of the captain to notify the members of his detachment of their appointment, and of -the times when and the places where they will be required to perform patrol duties, and also to prevent each one of them from committing trespasses and all other unlawful acts while engaged patrolling, but if any member thereof should be guilty of any thing herein forbidden, it shall be the duty of said captain to report his name and offence to some justice of the peace in his district, or to the nearest justice in the county, that the offender may be dealt with according to law; and for a failure of said captain so to do, he may, on complaint to said justice, be fined not less than ten nor more than fifty dollars, for each and every such failure. 

Sec. 8. Be it further enacted, That if any person liable to patrol duty, shall after being appointed and  notified thereof, fail or refuse to discharge the duties required of him by this act, or shall fail or refuse, when on duty, to obey the detachment officer, he may on conviction before the justice of the peace of his district, or the nearest justice in his county, be fined a sum not less than five nor more than twenty dollars, for each and every failure or refusal: Provided, however, that the person so charged shall have the privilege of being heard in his defence. 

Sec. 9. Be it further enacted, That in case of the death or removal from the district of any member patrol company. of a detachment, any other member thereof may, on application to the county court, have the vacancy thus occasioned, filled if necessary, and that any three members of a detachment may on application in writing, for sufficient cause therein shown to said court, have the officer, or any other member thereof removed from said detachment and the vacancy filled as hereinbefore specified. Captains of Sec. 10. Be it further enacted, That every captain militia or commanding officer of a militia company, shall within ten days after his muster, file in the office of the clerk of the county in which he resides, a full and correct list of the persons in his district or division who are liable to do militia- duty, from among whom shall be appointed a patrol detachment, as in this act is provided, and for a failure of said captain or commanding officer so to do, he shall be subject to a fine of not less than twenty nor more than fifty dollars, recoverable on conviction before a justice of the peace, as is provided in this act. 

Sec. 11. Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the county court to commission the officer of said detachment, furnish him with a list of the members thereof, and notify him of the time for which the same were appointed to serve as patrols. 

Sec. 12. Be it further enacted, That any detachment shall be allowed, for apprehending and taking before a justice of the peace, and from thence to the owner or the jail of the county, any runaway slave, the same fees that may be allowed by law to any other person for similar services, and the amount when received shall be equally divided among those who may have performed the services. 

 Sec. 13. Be it further enacted, That the informer against any patrol for malfeasance or for disobedience of orders, shall be a competent witness in the case, and that all fines for breaches of this act, shall when collected, be paid into the county treasury, for county purposes and that this act shall take effect from and after its passage

Approved, 9th May, A. D. 1846.


Regulating hire of slaves, 

AN ACT

 To prevent Slaves from hiring their own time, or their owners from hiring them to other Slaves, free Negroes or Mulattoes. 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of Owner of the State of Texas, That any owner or master of a slave or slaves, who shall hire such slave to any other slave, or to any free negro or mulatto, or shall permit or suffer such slave to go at large upon a hiring of his own time, for more than one day in the week, except in the Christmas holidays, and to act or deal as a free person, within this State, shall be fined in a sum not to exceed one hundred dollars for every such offence. 

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That if any sheriff, or constable shall discover within his county, any slave going at large or hiring contrary to this act, it shall be his duty, and it shall be lawful for any other person to arrest any such slave and take him before any justice of the peace in his county, without warrant. 

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That if any justice of the peace shall receive satisfactory evidence or information that a slave or slaves are going at large, or hiring their own time within his county, contrary to. the provisions of this act, he shall immediately issue his warrant to apprehend and bring such offenders before him. 

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That when any slave or slaves shall be brought before any justice of the peace under the provisions of this act, said justice shall  enquire into the facts, and if it shall appear that such slave or slaves have been going at large or hiring, contrary to any of the provisions of this act, he shall commit such slave to the county jail, there to remain until discharged as hereinafter provided. Discharged Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That any slave apprehended or committed under this act may be released upon application, made by the owner of the same, at any time before said slave is sold, under the provisions hereinafter provided, upon the payment of all costs and fine that may have accrued or be assessed against the same. 

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the justice of the peace committing any slave under this act, to report the same to the county court at its next session, also the amount of fine and costs assessed in each case. 

Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That the county court shall at its regular sessions, if any slave shall have been committed to jail under this act, since the last session of the same, order that the clerk of the county court publish by written notices posted up at three or more public places in his county, and by publishing an advertisement in some newspaper in this State, for one month, giving a fair and full description of such slave, the cause of commitment and the name of the owner, if known. 

Sec. 8. Be it further enacted, That at the next term of the court, after the above notice is given, if the slave so advertised is not proven away by the owner, the court shall order a sale to be made of the same, on a certain day to be mentioned, not less than three nor more than six months, and that publication be made in some newspaper published in this State, at least for three months next before the said day of sale, and the sheriff shall sell the said slave for cash, under the same regulations that govern sales under execution, unless the said slave be proven away by the owner, under the provisions of the fifth section of this act.

 Sec. 9. Be it further enacted, That all fines arising under this act, shall be paid into the county treasury, and all monies arising from a sale under this act, after paying the costs of apprehending, trying, committing, advertising, and five per cent. to the sheriff for selling, and all other costs necessarily accruing, shall be paid into the county treasury, and all monies paid into the treasury under this act, shall be subject to the orders of the county court for county purposes. 

Sec. 10. Be it further enacted, That if any person, within five years after the sale of a slave paid to under this act, shall come forward and make sold. satisfactory proof to the county court, that said slave was his property at the time of such sale, the court shall order that the county pay out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, to said person, the balance of such sale after deducting all costs and fine that had accrued against the same.

 Approved, 11th May, A. D. 1846.


 
Extracted from the Gammel's The Laws of Texas website.

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