Viewing page 13 of 17
It looks like you're using a mobile device. We recommend using a physical keyboard for transcription entry.
APRIL, 1862 DOUGLASS MONTHLY. 637 [[line]] [[3 columns]] [[column 1]] States. A slave was capable of holding property in the character of devisee or legatee. He could also sue his master for immoderate chastisement, as in the case of an apprentice. The number of slaves gradually diminished until 1848, when an act was passed providing that no person should thereafter be held to slavery in the State; while another clause prohibited the introduction of any bondman within its limits. RHODE ISLAND. Rhode Island took her first step in the same direction in 1778, when she proclaimed freedom to all slaves who would enlist as soldiers. Many of them took advantage of this act and served with fidelity. Next year slaves were prohibited from being sold out of the State. In 1784 a law was passed for gradual abolition, declaring all children who should be born after that date, free. This was modified in part the next year; but the principal features remained untouched. In 1787 severe penalties were imposed on the foreign slave trade. The new Constitution, adopted in 1843, provided expressly against the longer existence of slavery in that State; yet it would seem that it still continued for a time, from the language of certain clauses in an act relating to the support of the poor. NEW YORK. The first constitution adoption by this State in 1777, prescribed no qualifications on the ground of color for exercising the franchise or serving on juries. An act of 1781 provided for emancipating such slaves as should serve in the Federal armies. Some other acts were passed about the same time, having an indirect bearing on the condition of the servile class, as the act of 1788, which enacted that the children of negroes should follow the condition of the mother, and imposed a penalty of £100 on any person who should sell a slave brought into the State after 1785. In this case the person sold became free. Some rules were then laid down for manumission by owners. The law for gradually abolishing slavery in New York was passed in 1799. Its main feature was this; any child born of a slave within this State, after the fourth day of July next, shall be claimed and adjudged to be born free," males however, being servants until the age of twenty-eight, and females until the age of twenty-five years, unless owners should see fit to abandon their rights. By an act passed two years afterwards, the provisions of the emancipation law were reaffirmed; and a prohibition was imposed on the sale of negroes out of the State. Non-residents might still travel in the State with their slaves, and citizens might take them to other States, if going on a visit, bringing them back on returning. By acts passed at various dates subsequently, these privileges were further restricted. In 1817, the law of 1799 was re-affirmed, and all the statutes on this subject reduced to a uniform system.——The same again took place in 1828, when the law took effect. One of its sections reads:——"Every person born within this State, whether white or colored, is free; every person who shall be hereafter born into this State, shall be free; and every person brought within this State as a slave except as authorized, shall be free." At various dates since then amendments have been passed, carrying out the intention of that most salutary statute. NEW JERSEY. The first constitution of New Jersey, adopted 1776, while it contains no provision defining natural rights as inalienable, did not restrict the right of suffrage to the white population. During the revolution a law was passed prohibiting the enlistment of slaves.——Some encouragement to individual manumission was given by an act passed in 1786; at the same time the importation of slaves was forbidden. This was followed up, in 1798, by a general law on the subject. It contained no clause looking toward general emancipation; but imposed fines for the cruel treatment of the slave, and obliged his owner to have him taught to read. [[/column 1]] [[column 2]] This act was probably designed to prepare the way for the "act for the gradual abolition of slavery," passed in 1804. Its main provisions were that children born of slaves after the fourth of July in that year should be free, but remain servants, males until reaching twenty-five and females until twenty-one years of age. The law was re-enacted in 1820. By various supplements slaves could not be removed out of the state except by their own consent or that of their parents; but slaves might be brought into New Jersy from other states for temporary residence.——The act of 1820 restricted the suffrage to free white male citizens; and a like provision was inserted in the constitution adopted in 1844. Two years subsequently was passed "an act to abolish slavery," providing that every person who is now holden in slavery by the laws thereof (New Jersey) be and hereby is made free." Children were to be absolutely discharged from all manner of service whatever from the time of their birth, except as bound apprentices for a time. Other sections provided how they might be discharged. Aged persons remained in a like relationship, to save the counties from being burthened with their support. PENNSYLVANIA. The first constitution of Pennsylvania, adopted in 1776, declared all men to be born equally free, and making no distinction as to the right of franchise on the ground of color. Four years later an act for the gradual abolition of slavery was passed. It provided that negroes and mulattoes born thereafter should not be held as slaves for life; but should remain as indentured servants until the age of twenty-eight years. Owners were made liable for the support for their slaves, unless the latter were emancipated before reaching that age. Negroes were to be tried by the courts like other persons; but in the event of one being sentenced to death, his value was to be settled by appraisement and the owner paid the amount. None were to be held as slaves except those "registered," or the domestics attendant upon Congress from other States, upon foreign ministers, consuls or other temporary sojourners. Provision was also made against selling slaves out of the State, with a view to avoid the operation of the law. The later regulations were amended in 1788, by which slaves brought into the State by persons intended to reside permanently, were declared free; while none could be removed out of it without their own consent, testified to by two justices. Vessels employed in the African slave trade were made liable to forfeiture; and penalties were imposed upon parties building vessels for it. Parents and children, husbands and wives, being servants for a number of years, could not be separated more than ten miles. In 1820 and 1826 acts were passed to prevent kidnapping, the crime being made felony. A fine of $500 was also imposed upon any person found guilty of bringing a slave into Pennsylvania from any State and there offering him for sale. The amended constitution, adopted in 1838, restricted the elective franchise to white male citizens. The law of 1846, to prevent kidnapping, &c., re-enacted that of 1823, making it more stringent. Aldermen and justices were forbidden to act under the United States law of 1793 for capturing fugitives; and any attempt to carry off by force a fugitive from service was a misdemeanor. The prisons of the State were also forbidden to be used for detaining fugitive slaves; and that portion of the act of 1780 was repealed, which allowed owners to bring into and retain in servitude slaves for a period of six months. The latter were at the same time allowed to give testimony in court. [[line]] WENDELL PHILLIPS IN WASHINGTON. [[short line]] A year ago Wendell Phillips would have been sacrificed to the Devil of Slavery anywhere on Pennsylvania Avenue. To day he was introduced by Mr. Sumner on the floor of the Senate. The Vice-President left his [[/column 2]] [[column 3]] seat and greeted him with marked respect.——The attentions of Senators to the apostle of Abolition were of the most flattering character. Marvelous conquest of prejudices, and marvelous movement of Northern ideas. Listening to Wendell Phillips's lecture this evening in the Smithsonian Institute, were Senator Powell of Kentucky, and many other Southern man of note, and the Vice-President of the United States, and Congressmen of both Houses thickly sat about the orator on the platform. During his lecture he was frequently interrupted by applause, which was at no time so hearty as when he spoke of Gen-Fremont, who, on the eve of victory, a thousand miles from the Capitol, at a word from the President, sheathed his sword. Then, said Mr. Phillips, America said to Europe, "I breed heroes; sit down at my feet." John Brown, first of all man, deserved the Mountain Department, next Fremont. Of the President's Emancipation message he said it was a voice from the holy of the holies. It meant just this: Gentleman of the Border States, now is your time to sell. The exigency may arise that will call me to take your slaves if you refuse to sell now. The old negro preacher said that if there were a text in the Bible bidding him go through a stone wall, he would jump at it, and trust to the Lord for getting him through. The President had gone at Slavery. It was for the nation to get him through. The message was a very little wedge, but it was a wedge when in 1823 Emancipation was initiated in the West Indies by a suggestion that the Colonial Legislatures should ameliorate the condition of the slave. It was a very little wedge, but it was driven home. The President had not entered Cannaan, but he had turned his face toward it, saying, if I can't conquer with cannon, I will with emancipation The message asserted the fitness to govern of the 19,000,000 who had shaken off their Southern masters——There was no doubt of the constitutional power to do what the President threatened. Anything could be done in time of war to save the State. In suspending the writ of habeas corpus, making Treasury Notes a legal tender, blockading Charleston with sunken stone vessels, the Constitution of Peace had been transgressed as it was in the embargo in 1812 in the purchase of the mouth of the Mississippi and of Florida, and the theft of Texas. To-day Abraham Lincoln was the most unlimited despot this side of China. He sits to-day surrounded by thunderbolts forced by South Carolina. He has but to put forth his word and hurl one at the system of Slavery. We must help the President to make this war of ideas. The South had marched up to the Potomac with neither men, munitions, nor money——an idea. We had men, munitions, money, and Major-Generals, but not yet an idea. Quaker guns on one side, a Quaker General on the other——[an allusion which was received with tumultuous applause]——still, Mr. Phillips said, fight. Every cannon fired by Halleck or heard by McClelaln [sic] (he never fired one) is a better Anti-Slavery lecturer than a thousand such as I. The end is sure. If Abraham Lincoln does not have the negro on his side Jefferson Davis will have him on his. Two paths lead to the end, one a true path, one a false one, which shall make the acute disease chronic. Appealing to his hearers to seize the golden moment, Mr. Phillips closed with words of burning eloquence which we will not mutilate by attempting to transcribe from memory.——N. Y. Tribune. [[line]] A SLAVE YOKE.——A slave yoke, with two antler-like prongs to hinder runaways from getting through the bushes, the whole contrivance weighing five pounds, is now on exhibition at the Boston Union Mission Fair. It was taken from the neck of a fugitive last September, on the Maryland side of the Upper Potomac, by a member of the First Massachusetts regiment, after two hours of hard filing of the iron collar. [[/column 3]]
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.