Limiting rights of free negroes, 1807
IN COUNCIL, March 20, 1807.
ORDERED, That the act, entitled, An act to prevent free negroes from selling any corn, wheat or tobacco, without having a license for that purpose from a justice of the peace, and the Act to restrain the evil practices arising from negroes keeping dogs, and to prohibit them from carrying guns or offensive weapons, be published once in each week, until the first day of May next, in the Maryland Gazette, at Annapolis, the American and Federal Gazette, at Baltimore, the Republican Advocate, at Frederick-town, the Maryland Herald, at Hagers-town, and Republican Star, at Easton.
By order, NINIAN PINKNEY,
Clerk of the council.
An ACT to prevent free negroes from selling any corn, wheat or tobacco, without having a licence for that purpose from a justice of the peace.
WHEREAS great inconvenience is felt in this state in consequence of free negroes receiving stolen corn, wheat and tobacco, from slaves, and selling the same as the production of their own labour; therefore,
Be it enacted, by the general assembly of Maryland, That from and after the first of May next, no free negro shall sell any corn, wheat or tobacco, unless, at the time of his or her so selling the said article or articles, he or she shall be possessed of a certificate, under the hand and seal of a justice of the peace of said county, that he or she is a peaceable and orderly person, and of good character, which certificate shall be of force for one year, and no longer.
And be it enacted. That if any free negro shall act contrary to the provisions of this act, the person so offending shall incur the penalty of five dollars for every such offence, one half to the informer, the other half to be applied to the use of the county, and to be recovered as other fines and forfeitures, before a justice of the peace in the county where such an offence shall be committed.
And be it enacted, That any person who shall purchase or receive from any free negro any corn, wheat or tobacco, contrary to the provisions of this act, shall forfeit and pay, for every offence, the sum of ten dollars, one half to the informer, the other half to be applied to the use of the-county in which such offence was committed, and to lie recovered and applied in the same manner as other fines and forfeitures are by this law directed to be recovered and applied.
And be it enacted. That it shall be the duty of every justice of the peace, sheriff and constable, to give information of every violation of this act that shall come to his knowledge.
An Act to restrain the evil practices arising from negroes keeping dogs, and to prohibit them from carrying guns or offensive weapons.-
Be it enacted, by the general assembly of Maryland, That after the first clay of May next, it shall not be lawful for any negro or mulatto within this state to keep any dog, bitch or gun, except he be a free negro or mulatto, and in that case he may be permitted to keep one dog, provided such free negro or mulatto shall obtain a licence from a justice of the peace for that purpose, and that the said licence shall be in force for one year, and no longer ; and if any dog or bitch owned by any negro, not possessed of such licence, shall be seen going at large, it shall and may be lawful for any person to kill the same, and in case of any suit instituted therefor, the person or persons killing the said dog or bitch may plead the general issue, and give this act in evidence.
And be it enacted, That after the said first day of May next, it shall not be lawful for any free negro or mulatto to go at large with any gun, or other offensive weapon; and in case any free negro or mulatto shall be seen going at large carrying a gun or other offensive weapon, he shall be liable to be carried before any magistrate, in virtue of a warrant to be issued by any justice of the peace, directed to a constable of the county, and on conviction of having violated the provisions of this section of the act, such offender shall thereupon forfeit, to the use of the informant, such gun, or other offensive weapon, which shall thus have been found in his or her possession, and be subject to the payment of the costs which shall have accrued in such prosecution; provided that nothing in this act shall extend to prevent any free negro or mulatto from carrying a gun, or other offensive weapon, who shall, at the time of his carrying the same, have a certificate from a justice of the peace, that he is an orderly and peaceable person, which certificate shall be in force for one year from the date thereof, and no longer.
And be it enacted, That it shall be the duty of the constable of every hundred to repair; once a month, and oftener if information be given him of tumultuous meetings of mulattoes, negroes or slaves, to all suspected places within his hundred, and if he shall find any mulatto or negro not a slave, at any such meeting it shall be the duty of the constable forthwith to carry such mulatto or negro, so offending, before some magistrate of the county, who shall thereupon commit such person to the common gaol, unless he or she shall enter into a recognizance, with such security as said justice shall require, for his or her good behaviour, and also to appear before the next county court, to answer for such offence in such manner as is prescribed by law for trial of crimes and misdemeanors within this state, and if such person shall be found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this act he shall be fined, or imprisoned, for such offence, at the discretion of the court; and if such constable shall find at any such meeting as aforesaid, any slave besides those belonging to the owner of such place, not having permission in writing from his owner or overseer, it shall be lawful for the constable, and he is hereby authorised and required, to whip every such slave, at his discretion, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes.
And be it enacted, That before any constable shall be entitled to receive the allowance granted by the fourth section of the act, entitled, An act to prevent the tumultuous meetings and other irregularities of negroes and other slaves, he shall produce a certificate from at least two respectable citizens of his hundred, of his industry and fidelity in the discharge of his duty under this act and the act above recited.
And for further encouragement to take up runaways, Be it enacted, That in lieu of two hundred pounds of tobacco, allowed by the act, entitled, An act relating to servants and slaves, any person seizing and taking up such runaways, shall have and receive six dollars.
Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Advertiser
Maryland Herald and
Slaves, Western Maryland
Western Maryland, 1800-1864