AN ACT for the gradual abolition of slavery, and other purposes respecting slaves.

Passed the 24th of February, 1820.

1. BE IT ENACTED by the Council and General Assembly of this state, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That every child born of a slave within this state, since the fourth day of July, one thousand eight hundred and four, or which shall hereafter be born as aforesaid, shall be free, but shall remain the servant of the owner of his or her mother, and the executors, administrators, or assigns of such owners, in the same manner as if such child had been bound to service by the trustees or overseers of the poor, and shall continue in such service,if a male, until the age of twenty-five years, and if a female, until the age of twenty-one years.


 

2.And be it enacted, That every person being an inhabitant of this state, who shall be entitled to the service of a child born as aforesaid, shall, within nine months after the birth of such child, deliver or cause to be delivered to the clerk of the county whereof such person shall be an inhabitant, a certificate in writing, subscribed by him or her, containing the name and addition of such person, and the name, age, and sex of such child so born,and the name of the mother of such child, which certificate, whether the same be delivered before or after the said nine months, shall be, by the said clerk, recorded in a book provided by him for that purpose, and such record thereof shall be good evidence of the age of such child, and the clerk of such county shall receive from said person twelve cents for every child so registered;and if any person, directed by this act to deliver or cause to be delivered such certificate to the said clerk, shall hereafter neglect to deliver or cause to be delivered to the clerk as aforesaid, such certificate within the said nine months, such person shall forfeit and pay for every such offence, the sum of five dollars, and the further sum of one dollar for every month such person shall neglect to deliver or cause to be delivered the same, to be sued for and recovered by any person who will sue for the same, one half' to the use of such prosecutor, and the other half to the use of the poor of the township in which such delinquent shall reside: Provided, That the sum so forfeited shall not exceed the sum of one hundred dollars.


 

3. And be it enacted, That if any person directed by this act, to deliver or cause to be delivered to the county clerk, a certificate as aforesaid, shall knowingly and wilfully deliver or cause to be delivered to the county clerk as aforesaid, any certificate containing a false relation of the time of the birth of such child, such person so offending shall forfeit and pay the sum of one hundred dollars for every such offence, to be prosecuted for, recovered; and applied in manner aforesaid; and in favor of such child, or of the township in which such child's residence shall be, the true time of the birth of such child may be inquired into, before any, court or magistrate, in any case where the true time of the birth of such child shall become material, notwithstanding the record of such certificate.


 

4. And be it enacted, That in case it shall happen in. any of the townships of this state, that only one overseer of the poor for such, township shall be elected, in such case it shall be lawful for one overseer of the poor of such township to sign the certificate required by the twenty-first section of the act, entitledďAn act respecting slaves," which certificate shall be as good, valid, and "effectual as if it should be signed by two overseers, of the poor.


 

5. And be it enacted, That in case any instrument or deed of; manumission heretofore made and executed, or hereafter made and executed, shall be acknowledged by the party or parties who shall have executed the same, or be proved by one or more of the subscribing witnesses to it, that such party or parties signed, sealed, and delivered the same, as his or her voluntary act and deed, before one of the officers authorized by law to take the, acknowledgment or proof of deeds of conveyance of lands, tenements, hereditaments, and real estate, or before one of the justices of the peace in any of the counties of this state, and such certificate of such acknowledgment or proof shall be written un­der or upon such deed, and subscribed by the officer before whom made, then, and in that case, every such instrument or deed of manumission so acknowledged or proved, and certified, shall be received in evidence in any court of this state, in like manner as if the same were then and there proved by two witnesses.


 

6.Andbe it enacted, That it shall be the duty of the clerk of the court of common pleas of the county in which the owner of any slave shall reside at the time of manumitting such slave, to record in a well bound book of good paper, to be provided for that purpose, and well preserved, every instrument or deed of manumission acknowledged or proved, and certified as aforesaid, together with the acknowledgment or proof, and the certificate written on, or under the same, which shall be delivered to him to be recorded, to which book, every person shall have access at proper hours, and be entitled to transcripts from the same, on paying the fees allowed by law.


 

7. And be it enacted, That the record aforesaid, of such instrument, or deed of manumission, or a copy of such record, certified to be a true copy by the clerk, in whose office the said record is kept, shall be received in evidence in any court of this estate, and be as good, effectual and available in law, as if the original instrument or deed of manumission were then and there produced and proved.


 

8.And be it enacted, That the clerk shall deliver a receipt to the person who shall deliver to him any instrument or deed of manumission as aforesaid, mentioning therein the time when it was delivered to him, or brought to his office to be recorded, its date, and the names of the parties to it, and shall certify on, or under the said instrument, the time it was received, and the name and number of the book, and page or pages in which it is recorded; and when recorded, shall deliver it to the party entitled to it, or to his or her order, and the said clerk shall be entitled to receive for recording every deed of manumission, with the acknowledgment or proof, and certificate, for every sheet five cents, and for every copy of the same five cents, for every receipt six cents, and for every search seven cents.


 

9.And be it enacted, That if any clerk of the common pleas in any of the counties of this state, shall neglect or refuse to perform any service or duty required of him by this act, he shall for every such neglect or refusal, forfeit and pay fifty dollars, to be recovered with costs, in an action of debt, by the county collector, and on recovery by him, to be paid over to the treasurer ofthis state, for the use of the state, and shall also be liable for all damages which the party aggrieved shall have sustained by reason of the non-performance of such service or duty.


 

10.And be it enacted, That no negro, indian, mulatto or mestee slave, or servant, for life or years, shall hereafter be removed, exported, or carried out of this state, except as hereinafter provided.


 

11. And be it enacted, That if any person shall send to sea, or export, or attempt to send to sea, or export from this state, of send or carry out of, or attempt to send or carry out of this state, except ashereinafter provided, any negro, indian, mulatto, mestee, slave or servant for life or years, every person so exporting, or attempting to export, or sending or carrying out of this state, or attempting to send or carry out of this state, such slave or servant, and his or her aiders or abettors, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction in due course of law shall be punished by fine not less than one thousand dollars; not more than two thousand dollars, or imprisonment at hard labor, for any term not less than two years, nor more than four years, or both, at the discretion of the court before whom such conviction shall be had; and further, that every such slave or servant, so exported or carried out of this state, or attempted to be exported or carried out of this state, or sent to sea, shall be free.


 

12. And be it enacted, That if any person shall hereafter shall transfer or assign, any such slave or servant, to any non?resident, or person not being an inhabitant of this state, or to any person intending to remove, or export, or carry such slave or servant out of this state, every person so knowingly selling, transferring or assigning such slave or servant, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be punished by fine not less than five hundred, nor more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment at hard labor, not less than one year, nor more than two years, or both, at the discretion of the court before whom such conviction shall be had: and further, that every such slave or servant so sold, transferred or assigned to any non-resident; or person not being an inhabitant of this state, or to any person intending to remove, or export, or carry away such slave or servant, out of this state, shall be free. 


 

13.And be it enacted, That if any person shall purchase or take a transfer or assignment of any negro, mulatto, indian, or mestee slave or servant, for life or years, with a design or intent to export, or send, or carry, such slave or servant out of this state. such person shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be punished by fine not less than one thousand dollars, nor more than two thousand dollars, or by imprisonment: at hard labor, not less than two, nor more than four years, or both, at the discretion of the court before whom such convictionshall be had; and further, that such slave or servant so purchased, transferred or assigned, shall be free.


 

14.And be it enacted, That if any person or persons shall fit out, equip or man, or otherwise prepare any ship or other vessel; to sail from any port or harbor of this state, for the purpose of exporting or carrying out of this state, or sending to sea, any negro, mulatto, indian or mestee slave or servant for life or years, such ship or vessel, her cargo, tackle, furniture and apparel shallbe forfeited, and shall and may be seized by any justice of the peace, sheriff or coroner within this state, and prosecuted by such justice, sheriff or coroner, making such seizure, by information, in rem, in the supreme court of this state, or in the inferior court of common pleas of the county in which such seizure shall be made, to which courts, jurisdiction of such causes is hereby given.


 

15.And be it enacted, That every ship or vessel, with her cargo, tackle, furniture and apparel, so seized as aforesaid, and against which judgment shall be had and obtained, shall, by order of, the court in which such judgment shall be had, be sold by the sheriff of the county in which seizure was made, or in case the said sheriff be a party to the prosecution, then by one of the coroners of such county, having no interest therein, who, after deducting all legal costs and charges, to be taxed by the Court in which such judgment was had, and two per cent. on the amount of such sale, for his fees on the same, shall pay one half of the nett proceeds thereof to the collector of the county in which the seizure was made, for the use of the state, and the remaining part thereof to the person or persons making such seizure and prosecuting the same to effect.


 

16. And be it enacted, That it shall be lawful for any justice of the peace, sheriff or coroner, of any county within this state, to go on board of or enter any ship or vessel lying in any port or harbor of this state, for the purpose of making the seizure aforesaid, and if any master, seaman or other person, on board such ship or vessel, shall refuse or not suffer to enter, or resist before or after entering on board such ship or vessel, any justice of the peace, sheriff or coroner, attempting to enter on board, or being already on board such ship or vessel for the purpose of making seizure as aforesaid, every person so refusing or resisting such justice, sheriff or coroner, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be punished by fine not less than one thousand, nor more than two thousand, dollars, or imprisonment at hard labor, not less than two, nor more than four, years, 'or both, at the discretion of the court before whom the conviction shall be had.


 

17. And be it enacted, That it shall be lawful for every person who shall have resided five years within this state, and who shall be about to remove permanently therefrom, to carry with him or her every such slave as shall have been the property ofsuch person during five years next preceding: Provided always,that before such person shall attempt to carry away such slave put of this state, he or she shall make satisfactory proof before the court of common pleas of the county in which he or she last resided, that such slave hath been his or her property during five years next preceding the time of such application to the court, and shall also prove, to the satisfaction of the said court, by the oath or affirmation of two credible witnesses, that such person so intending to carry away such slave out of this state hath resided within this state five years next preceding, and that such slave hath been in the service or employ of such person as a slave during that time, and shall obtain from said court a license, un­der the seal of the court, to carry such slave out of this state;And provided also, That such slave be of full age, and shall have consented to be carried out of this state upon private examination before the presiding judge of said court, or in case of his absence, or in case there be no presiding judge of said court, before two of the judges of said court, whose certificate of such consent shall, be then and there produced to the court, before the granting such license as aforesaid.


 

18.And be it enacted, That every master of a ship or other vessel, who shall knowingly receive on board any ship or other vessel, of which he is master, for the purpose of carrying out of this state any slave, for whose exportation a license hath not been obtained, as herein before directed, or who having ignorantly received on board of said ship or other vessel such slave, shall suffer such slave to depart from his ship or other vessel, in any place out of this state, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be punished by fine not less thanone thousand, nor more than two thousand dollars, or imprisonment :at hard labor, not less than two, nor more than four years, or both, at the discretion of the court.


 

19. And be it enacted, That it shall be lawful for any inhabitant of this state, going out of the same on a journey to any other part of the United States, or for necessary business, to take with him or her any such slave orservant as aforesaid, but it shall be the duty of such inhabitant to bring back such slave or servant; and in default thereof he or she shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction, shall be punished by fine not less than live hundred dollars, nor more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment at hard labor, not less than one year nor more. than two years, or both, at the discretion of the court before whom the conviction shall be had, unless such inhabitant shall make proof, within six months after his or her return, to the satisfaction of two of the judges of the court ofcommon pleas of the county in which he or she shall reside, that such slave or servant not brought back as aforesaid, could not be brought back,by reason of some unavoidable accident, and obtain a certificate, thereof, subscribed by the two judges before whom such proof; shall be made, and file the same in the office of the clerk of the said county; and further, that every such slave or servant so ta­ken out of this state, and not brought back as aforesaid, shall be free: Provided nevertheless, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize or allow the taking away such slave or servant in any ship or vessel going to sea.


 

20.And be it enacted, That nothing herein contained shall be understood, construed or taken as intending to prevent the sending or exporting out of this state, any slave who hath been or hereafter may be sentenced to transportation on conviction of any crime or crimes, by virtue of any statute of this state now in force or hereafter enacted.


 

21. And be it enacted, That it shall he lawful for any person not an inhabitant of this state, who shall be travelling to or from or passing through this state, or coming into this state from any other of the United States, and having a temporary residence in; this state, to bring with him or her any such slave or servant as aforesaid, and on removal or leaving this state, to take such slave or servant: Provided, That the number of such slaves or servants shall not exceed the usual number of personal or household slaves or servants kept and maintained by said traveller ortemporary resident.


 

22.And be it enacted, That the twentieth section of an act, entitledďAn act respecting slaves," passed the fourteenth day March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight; andthe act, entitled "An act for the gradual abolition of slavery," passed the fifteenth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and four; and the act, entitled "An act supplementary to the act respecting slaves," passed the third day of December; one thousand eight hundred and four; and the act, entitled "An act supplemental to the act, entitled an act respecting slaves," passed the first day of February, one thousand eight hundred and twelve; and the act, entitled "An act to prohibit the expor­tation of slaves or servants of color out of this state," passed the fifth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and eighteen; and the supplement thereto, passed the nineteenth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen, be, and the same are hereby repealed: Provided always, That such repeal shall in no way affect or annul any indictment or other proceeding had or to be had under the said acts or arty of them, for offences against the same, but that the same may be proceeded in and prosecuted to effect in regard to all or any offences heretofore comm­itted against those acts thus repealed, or any of them, in the sane manner as if this repealing section had not been made; andprovided also, that all rights acquired, or transactions legally had and done under said repealed acts, or any of them, shall be as valid and effectual as though this repealing section had not been made.