African American Laws III
Joint Resolution requesting the Senators and Representatives of Texas in Congress of the United States to protest against the relinquishment of the Mexican Provinces or States, conquered by, and in possession of the United States, without indemnity, and also to protest against any law which shall be intended to prevent the citizens of slave-holding States from taking their property with them, in emigrating to said acquired territory.
Section 1. Be it resolved by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That in the opinion of this body, the existing war between the United States and Mexico, was rendered necessary, and was brought on by the acts and outrages of the latter; that its moral responsibilities therefore, must devolve upon that nation alone; and that it would be, under such circumstances, derogatory to. the rights and dignity of the United States, to surrender to Mexico, by treaty or otherwise, the Provinces or States of Mexico which she has been compelled to take possession of, and now holds, by right of conquest, unless Mexico shall make complete and full indemnity for the injuries and aggressions which provoked the war, and also for the expenses incurred by the United States in the prosecution of it.
Sec. 2. Be it further resolved, That while such a course on the part of the United States is demanded by every consideration of justice and self respect, it is at the same time the opinion of this Legislature that the territory which may be permanently held by the United States, belongs equally to all the States. and that any attempt by the Federal Government to prevent the citizens of the slave-holding States from taking their property of whatever description with them in emigrating to, and settling in said acquired territory, would be a violation of the Constitution, an insult to the southern people, and an outrage upon the sacred rights and privileges, which it is the object of all good governments to protect.
Sec. 3. And be it further resolved, That our Senators and Representatives in Congress be requested to protest against and oppose such a relinquishment of territory, and such an unlawful restriction upon the South as alluded to above, and that said members be furnished, each, with a copy of these Resolutions.
Approved, February 2, 1848.
An Act to amend the third section of an Act, entitled "an Act concerning Slaves," approved February 5th, 1840.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the third section of an Act, entitled an Act concerning slaves, approved February 5th, 1840, be so amended as to read as follows, to. wit: That if any person or persons shall cruelly or unreasonably treat or abuse any slave belonging to him, her or them, or to another or others, he she, or they and each of them shall be liable to indictment or presentment, as for a misdemeanor, in the District Court, and on conviction thereof, may be fined for each and every such offence, not less than twenty dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars.
Approved, February 14, 1848.
Joint Resolution, on the "Proviso," Slavery, the Tariff, and the War against Mexico.
Section 1. Be it resolved by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That any attempt on the part of the Congress of the United States to interfere with the domestic and internal policy of the States or Territories, is unwarranted by the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of the rights of the States. The "Proviso," if submitted to, would prevent the slaveholding States from enjoying the full benefits of any territory which may be hereafter acquired, by the United States. The Constitution of the United States recognizes slavery, as one of our domestic institutions, and we acknowledge no right to abolish it, but that which belongs to the slaveholding States themselves. We will not submit to any law, which prohibits the citizens of the Southern States, from taking their property to any territory which may be acquired from Mexico. We are willing to submit to the compromises of the Constitution, but we will never submit to a usurpation of power which robs us of our rights. Resolved further, That we deny the right of the Congress of the United States, to pass any law prohibiting any State, that may hereafter be admitted into the Union, from coming in, either with or without slavery, as the popular voice of such State may determine. This principle we will not yield. Resolved further, That the just and equitable mode of raising revenue, is to levy a tariff on the adv alorem principle, for purposes of revenue, as contra distinguished from the protective policy. That we believe that the tariff of 1846, will yield more revenue to the United States, than could be derived from the tariff of 1842, and that the former is at the same time, less burdensome to the people than the latter would be; and believing it to be a cardinal principle of government, that the burdens should be equally borne by all classes of the community, we hope that the general principles of the tariff of 1846, will not be altered. We are willing to pay for "Revenue," but not for "Protection." Resolved further, That we consider the war with Mexico, as necessary to the vindication of our national honor, as a war which was brought on by Mexico, by making an attack upon the army of the United States, at a time when the Mexican government expected to destroy that gallant band-who have added fresh lustre to the American name. After the bad faith, which has characterized the Mexicans, we have nothing to hope for, but that justice which we must compel them to grant by force of arms. We recommend, therefore, a vigorous prosecution of the war, until we obtain full indemnity for the wrongs and injuries done us. If it be necessary to appropriate some of the most valuable portions of Mexican Territory, we recommend that it be done. We should never give up California. We should secure a communication between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, across the Isthmus, for all time to come. We should take possession of the Mexican ports, collect her revenues, and levy a tax upon all the property of the nation, to support our armies. As long as Mexico compels us to keep an army there, we should make her support it. Resolved further, That our Senators be instructed, and our Representatives in Congress be requested, to support the principles set forth in the foregoing resolutions, and to use all just and Constitutional means to resist encroachments upon the rights of the slaveholding States. Resolved further, That the Governor be requested to forward a copy of these Resolutions to the President of the United States, the Governors of each of the States in the Union, and to our Senators and Representatives in Congress, under the seal of the State, and with his signature of approval.
Approved, March 18, 1848.
Resolutions of the Legislature of the State of Texas on the subject of Slavery.
Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the territories of the United States, belong to the several States composing the Union, and are held by them as their joint and common property. Resolved, That Congress, as the joint agent and representative of the Union, has no right to make any law, or do any act whatever. that shall directly or by its effects, make any discrimination between the States of this Union, by which any of them shall be deprived of its full and equal right in any territory of the United States, acquired or to be acquired. Resolved, That the enactment of any law which should directly or by its effects, deprive the citizens of any of the States of this Union, from emigrating with their property into any of the territories of the United States, will make such discrimination, and would therefore be a violation of the constitution, and the rights of the States from which such citizens emigrated, and in derogation of that perfect equality which belongs to them as members of the Union, and would tend directly to subvert the Union itself. Resolved, That as a fundamental principle in our political creed, a people in forming a constitution have the unconditional right to form and adopt the government, which they may think best calculated to secure liberty, prosperity and happiness; and that in conformity thereto, no other condition is imposed by the Federal Constitution on a State, except that its constitution be republican, and that the imposition of any other by Congress, would not only be in violation of the constitution, but in direct conflict with the principle upon. which our political system rests. Resolved, That the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, involving as it does, an exercise of power not granted by the constitution, and designed as it is, as a means of affecting the institution of slavery in the States, and against which it is aimed as a blow, should be resisted on the part of the South, by whatever means are best adapted to the protection of the constitution, the defence of herself, and the preservation of the Union. Resolved, That knowing no party names or political divisions upon questions involving in their nature and consequences, the character, property and political existence of those we represent, we are prepared to make common cause with our sister States of the South in defence of the Federal Constitution; that our rights being identical, we will cordially co-operate with the rest of the South, in any measure of defence of our constitutional rights, that may be best calculated to preserve their integrity. Resolved, That the Governor be required to transmit a copy of these Resolutions to the Governor of each of the States of the Union, and to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress.
Approved, January 30, 1850.
An Act to enable part owners of Slaves and other personal property to obtain partition thereof.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That part owners of slaves and other personal property may be compelled to make partition between them.
Sec. 2. The separate value of the slaves or other personal property, and the allotment in kind, to which each party claiming partition shall be entitled, shall be ascertained by the verdict of the Jury.
Sec. 3. Where partition, in kind, of slaves or other personal property, shall be ordered by the judgment of the Court, execution or executions shall be issued to the proper officer or officers of the county or counties where the property may be, commanding him or them to put the parties in possession of the property allotted each respectively.
Sec. 4. When slaves or other personal property will not admit of partition in kind, the jury shall so find by their verdict, and at the same time ascertain the proportion of the value of such slaves or other personal property, to which each party shall be entitled respectively.
Sec. 5. In cases provided for in the next preceding section, execution or executions shall be issued to the proper officer or officers of the county or counties where the property may be, commanding him or them to sell the property as in other cases of ,execution, and pay over the proceeds of sale to the parties, in proportion ascertained by the judgment of the Court.
Sec. 6. This act shall not effect the mode of proceeding prescribed by law for the partition of estates of deceased persons among the heirs and legatees.
Sec. '7. This act shall be in force from its passage.
Approved, December 24, 1851.
An Act to indemnify the owners for the loss of Slaves executed for Capital Offences.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That in all cases where a slave, the property of a citizen of this State shall be convicted of a capital offence by a Court of competent jurisdiction, the jury rendering the verdict shall assess the value of such slave.
Sec. 2. That the transcript of the judgment of the court, together with the verdict and appraisement of the jury, and the return of the Sheriff, or other officer authorized to execute the process of said Court, that such slave has suffered the penalty of death in accordance with the sentence of the Court, shall be sufficient evidence to entitle the owner of any slave so executed to receive from the Treasury of the State, one half of the appraised value of said slave: Provided that the appraisement shall, in no case, exceed one thousand dollars; and provided, also, that the owner of said slave shall not attempt to evade or defeat the execution of the law on said slave, which fact shall be found by the jury trying such slave, nor shall a slave be so paid for, who may be condemned for any offence, in the commission of which his owner was either principal or accessory.
Sec. 3. That this act shall take effect from and after its passage.
Approved, January 24, 1852.
An Act to permit Mary Madison to remain in the County of Galveston, in this State.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That Mary Madison, a free woman of color, in consequence of her age, and the length of time that she has resided in the State, during which time she has demeaned herself with becoming propriety, and a strict observance of the laws, and also, in consequence of the services she has rendered as a nurse to the sick; shall be, and is hereby permitted to remain and reside within the limits of the county of Galveston, in this State; and that this act take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Approved, December 3, 1851.
An Act granting Thomas Cevallos permission to remain in the County of Bexar in this State.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That in consideration of Thomas Cevallos, a free man of color, having resided in the State of Texas since the year 1835, and having been wounded in the defence of the country, the said Thomas is hereby permitted to remain a resident of the county of Bexar in this State.
Sec. 2. That this act take effect from and after its passage.
Approved, December 13, 1851.
An Act concerning offences committed by Negroes.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That if a free negro plot or conspire the murder of a white person, or maliciously shoot, stab, cut or wound, or by any means cause bodily injury to a white person with intent to kill, he shall be punished at the discretion of the jury, either with death, or by confinement in the Penitentiary, not less than three nor more than ten years.
Sec. 2. That if a free negro carnally know a white female of the age of twelve years or more, by force or fraud, or carnally know a white female child under that age, or attempt by force or fraud to have carnal knowledge of a white female, he shall be -punished with death.
Sec. 3. That if a free negro take away or detain against her -will a white female, with intent to marry or defile her, or cause her to be married or defiled by another person, or take from any person having lawful charge of her, a white female child under twelve years of age, for the purpose of prostitution or concubinage, he shall be punished with death.
Sec. 4. That if a free negro commit any other offence not specified in this act, he shall be punished as a free white person.
Sec. 5.' That if a slave plot or conspire to rebel or make insurrection, or commit an offence for the commission of which a free negro is punishable with death. or by confinement in the penitentiary for not less than three years, he shall be punished with death.
Sec. 6. That if a slave commit an offence for which a free negro, if he had committed it, might be punished by confinement in the penitentiary for a period less than three years, such slave shall be punished by stripes, not exceeding fifty, at the discretion of the jury.
Sec. 7. That if a slave commit an offence, the commission of which, by a free person, is punishable as a misdemeanor, he shall be punished by stripes not exceeding thirty-nine.
Sec. 8. That a negro shall be punished with not exceeding thirty- nine stripes, for the commission of the following offences: first, if he use provoking language or menacing gestures to a white person; if he punish a slave, without the consent of his owner or manager, any pass, permit or token of his being from home with authority; if he keep or carry fire-arms, sword, or other weapon, or balls, or ammunition, besides forfeiting to the county any such articles in his possession; fourth, if he be guilty of being in a riot, rout, unlawful assembly, or of making seditious speeches; fifth, if he sell or attempt to sell, or prepare, or administer any medicine, except where a slave administers medicine by his master's order, in his family, or in the family of another with the consent of such other, and except also, when a free negro administers medicine in his own family, or in the family of another person with the consent of such other.
Sec. 9. That the word negro, in this or any other statute of this State, shall also be construed to mean mulatto, and every person who has one-fourth part or more of negro blood, shall be deemed a mulatto.
Sec. 10. That the punishment of a negro by stripes, when assessed by a jury, shall be at their discretion, so as not to affect life; and when assessed by a justice, shall not exceed fifty lashes. Of criminal proceedings against Negroes and Slaves.
Sec. 11. That the trial of negroes charged with felonious homicide, or any offence punishable with death, shall be in the District Courts, where the proceedings shall be as in the case of white persons.
Sec. 12. That on any indictment of a negro in the District Court, the accused may be found not guilty of the offence charged. but guilty of any offence of which a free white person might be found guilty on such indictment, and the jury may find and assess such punishment against him as the offence would justify, if the negro had been charged therewith in the county court as is hereinafter provided.
Sec. 13. That the county courts of each county, to consist of the Chief-Justice and two Commissioners, at least, or of three Commissioners at least, in case of disability or absence of the Chief- Justice or vacancy in that office, shall be a criminal tribunal for the trial of negroes and slaves charged with felony, except in the cases provided for in the two preceding sections.
Sec. 14. That such trials in the county courts shall be on sworn information, or charge in writing entered of record, stating the offence and verified by affidavit, but without a grand jury, or a presentment or indictment.
Sec. 15. That free negroes charged with any offence in the county courts, and slaves charged with offences punishable by death, shall be entitled to trial by a jury of twelve good and lawful men, freeholders of the county, summoned for the purpose, and shall have the same right of challenge allowed by law to white persons.
Sec. 16. That no one interested in a slave charged with crime shall sit on his trial as a member of the court, or as a juror.
Sec. 17. That in all criminal cases before the county court, if no counsel be employed to prosecute by private persons, the court may employ some competent attorney to perform that duty, who shall be entitled to such compensation as may be agreed on, to be paid out of the county treasury.
Sec. 18. That on trial of slaves for felony, the court shall assign counsel to defend, if none be employed, and allow him such fee, not to exceed one hundred dollars, which shall be paid by the owner of the slave.
Sec. 19. That a regular term of the county court for the trial of negroes, may be had on the first Monday in every month, when the court shall deem it necessary, and any such term may continue until all business of the court be disposed of.
Sec. 20. That the clerk of the county court shall be the clerk of the tribunal established by this act, shall issue all process ordered to enforce the jurisdiction conferred, and keep a correct record of all the proceedings of the court in a separate book provided for that purpose, and shall be entitled to receive the same fees and compensation that the clerk of the district court would be entitled to receive for similar services.
Sec. 21. That for good and satisfactory cause shown and verified by affidavit in open court, the trial of negroes may be continued from term to term not exceeding two continuances.
Sec. 22. That on a charge against a negro for felony, the court or jury may find the accused not guilty of the offence charged, but guilty of any offence for which a free white person might be found guilty on an indictment for such felony, and may assess the punishment therefor where it is not fixed by law, and give judgment accordingly.
Sec. 23. That if a slave or negro condemned to death escape before his or her execution, and be retaken, the jailor or sheriff of the court by which the slave was condemned, shall promptly inform the said court of the fact, and the court on being satisfied of his or her identity, shall cause the sentence to be carried into effect on a day appointed by it.
Sec. 24. That a slave shall be tried for a misdemeanor by a justice of the county in which the offence is committed.
Sec. 25. That a free negro shall be tried by such justice for a misdemeanor punishable by stripes. For any other misdemeanor he or she may be tried in the county court, but a justice before whom a free negro is charged with a misdemeanor punishable by fine and imprisonment, or either, may try him or her and inflict such punishment as he would inflict on a slave for the same offence, or commit or recognise him for trial at the next court of the county.
Sec. 26. That in the case of a negro convicted of a misdemeanor by a justice, the decision may be removed by certiorari to the county court by the negro, if free, or if he be a slave, by his owner; such negro shall, unless let to bail, be committed by the justice to jail, until the next term of such court, and the witnesses shall also be recognized to appear at the same time.
Sec. 27. That every such certiorari shall be tried in the county court without pleadings in writing, and without a continuance, except for good cause shown, and the court shall hear all the evidence on either side, and give such judgment as seems to it proper, and enforce the execution thereof.
Sec. 28. That the chief justices of the several counties shall. have power to issue writs of certiorari in any case arising under this act.
Approved, February 3, 1853.
24th day of January, A. D. 1852
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the sum of five thousand dollars, ($5,000 00,) or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby set aside and appropriated out of any money not otherwise appropriated in the Treasury, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of "an act entitled an act to indemnify the owners for the loss of slaves executed for capital offences," approved January 24th. 1852.
Sec. 2. That this act take effect from and after its passage.
Approved, January 26, 1854.
An Act supplemental to "An Act concerning Crimes and Punshments," approved March twentieth, A. D., eighteen hundred and forty-eight.
Sec. 4. Every person who shall unlawfully sell any free person for a slave, or hold any free person as a slave against his will, knowing the person so sold or held to be free, shall be punished by confinement to hard labor in the Penitentiary not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year.
Sec. 5. If any person shall mingle any poison with any drink, food or medicine, with intent to kill or injure any other person, or shall wilfully poison any spring, well, cistern or reservoir of water with such intent, he shall be punished by confinement to hard labor in the Penitentiary not less than one year nor more than ten years.
Sec. 6. Murder or manslaughter committed upon the body of a slave shall be punished in the same manner as murder or manslaughter committed upon the body of a free white person.
Sec. 38. If any white person shall knowingly marry a negro, or the descendant of a negro. or being married to a negro or the descendant of a negro, shall continue to cohabit with such negro or descendant of a negro within this State, such person shall be punished by confinement to hard labor in the Penitentiary not less than one year nor more than five years.
OFFENCES AGAINST SLAVES AND SLAVE PROPERTY.
Sec. 46. If any person advise or conspire with a slave to rebel or make insurrection, or with any person to induce a slave to rebel or make insurrection, he shall be punished with death, whether such rebellion or insurrection be made or not.
Sec. 47. The master of any steamboat or other vessel who shall carry or cause to be carried out of any county a slave, without the consent of the owner or employer, with intent to deprive the owner of such slave, or who shall knowingly receive on board any runaway slave, and permit him to remain on board without proper efforts to apprehend him, shall be confined in the Penitentiary not less than two, nor more than ten years.
Sec. 48. Every person who shall steal, take and carry away or entice away any slave, the property of another, shall be punished by confinement to hard labor in the Penitentiary not less than three nor exceeding fifteen years.
Sec. 49. Every person who shall attempt to steal or entice away a slave from the owner or employer, shall be confined in the Penitentiary not less than one nor more than ten years.
Sec. 50. If a free person advise any slave to abscond from his master or employer, or aid such slave to abscond, by procuring for or delivering to him a pass or other writing, or by furnishing him money, clothes, provisions or other facility, he shall be confined in the Penitentiary not less than three nor more than five years.
Sec. 51. If any master of a vessel or other person shall knowingly import or bring into this State any slave who shall be a fugitive from justice, or shall have been sold or convicted for crime beyond the limits of this State, he shall be confined in jail not less than six months, and fined one hundred dollars.
Approved, February 9, 1854.
|Extracted from the Gammel's The Laws of Texas website.|