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Federal Laws

State Laws


Federal Laws

1787 Constitution apportioned direct or capitation taxes and membership in the House of Representatives in accordance with population, but counted a slave as only three-fifths of a person. (Article 1 Section 2, Clause 3
Constitution required that escaped slaves be returned to their owners (Article 4, Section 2) .
Constitution forbade Congress from making slavery illegal until 1808 (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1)
1709 -98 Naturalization Laws that applied to free whites only
1790 Cowperthwaite v. Jones, 2 Dall. 55, 2 U.S. 55, 1 L.Ed. 287 ( Sct Pa.,1790)(The price of the slave is the proper measure of damages in a suit on a bond of sureties for the safe keeping of a negro slave. Such a result by a jury has the consequence of emancipating the slave)
1793 Act of Feb. 12, 1793, ch. 7, 3,4, 1 Stat. 302, repealed
by Act of June 28, 1864, ch. 166, 13 Stat. 200.
1793 Fugitive Slave Law Act, February 12 1793, c. 7, 4, 1 Stat. 305 (Provided that any person who should harbor or conceal a fugitive after notice that he was  a fugitive from labor should forfeit and pay to the claimant the sum of $500, to be recovered by action of debt, saving also to the claimant his right of action for any damages sustained)
1794 Slave Trade Act 1794, 1 Stat. 347 (the forfeiture attaches, where the original voyage is commenced in the United States, whether the vessel belong to citizens or foreigners, and whether the act is done suo jure, or by an agent, for the benefit of another person who is not a citizen or resident of the United States.)
1794 Act March 22, 1794, 46 U.S.C.A. 1351 et seq., which prohibits any citizen or resident of the United States from equipping vessels within the United States to carry on trade or traffic in slaves to any foreign country
1796 St.1796, c. 67, 13 (providing for manumission of slaves by will, made to take effect at the death of testator, the right to freedom may be tried at law in a suit against the executor at the instance of the manumitted slaves)
1799 Act March 2, 1799, 1 Stat. 696
1800 Act May 10, 1800, 2 Stat. 70 (prohibits the voluntary service of an American citizen on board of an American or foreign vessel on a voyage commenced with the intent of carrying slaves from one foreign country to another, though no slaves have been received on board.)
1801 Sylvia v. Coryell, 23 F.Cas. 591, 1 Cranch C.C. 32, 1 D.C. 32, No. 13,713 (C.C.Dist.Col.,1801); The plaintiff [Negro Sylvia] petition for freedom under Act Va. Dec. 17, 1792.  In 1779, Negro Sylvia  was born a slave in Virginia and she became the property of the defendant [George Coryell], a citizen of Virginia. In June, 1789, the defendant sent her to New Jersey, where she remained three years in the service of the defendant's mother, but continued all that time the property of the defendant. At the end of the three years, the plaintiff returned to Virginia, to the service of the defendant, and has so remained until the time of bringing her action. HELD: It is not such a bringing into the commonwealth as entitles the slave to freedom, under Act Va. Dec. 17 1792.
1802 Acts May 3, 1802,  2 Stat. 194
1803 U.S. v. Wright, 28 F.Cas. 790, 1 Cranch C.C. 123, 1 D.C. 123, No. 16,771 (C.C.Dist.Col.,1803)(Betty Wright, a slave in Alexandria, VA,., may be tried for larceny in the circuit court of the District of Columbia, though under the law of Virginia she would have been tried by five justices of the county court, without a jury. After consideration she was tried by a jury. VERDICT: guilty. Judgment, 20 lashes, 1 cent find.)
1805 The Sally, 2 Cranch 406, 6 U.S. 406, 2 L.Ed. 320 (U.S.Md.,1805)(A libel for a forfeiture under the slave trade act of March 22, 1794, 1 Stat. 347, is a cause of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction)
1806 Scott v. Negro London, 3 Cranch 324, 7 U.S. 324, 2 L.Ed. 455 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1806)(A slave was brought into Virginia by a person who claimed and exercised the right of ownership over him, though he did not take the oath prescribed by the law. Eleven months after, the real owner of the slave came into the state, and within the 60 days took the oath prescribed. Held, that the slave was not entitled to his freedom)
1807 Act March 2, 1807, 2 Stat. 429(An act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States; prohibiting the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction etc., is not that of importing or bringing persons to hold as slaves, but of hovering on the coast with such intent;  and though it forfeits the vessel, it is silent as to disposing of the colored people on board, any further than handing them over to the proper authorities)Slave Trade was legally ended BUT illegal trade began
1808 Spiers v. Willison, 4 Cranch 398, 8 U.S. 398, 2 L.Ed. 659(U.S.Ky.,1808)(Rebecca Willison, claimed title to the slaves under her grandmother, and at the trial offered parol proof that the grandmother, while Kentucky was a part of Virginia, had given them to her by a deed, which  was lost. By the Virginia act of assembly, no gift of a slave was valid unless in writing and recorded. Court Held:  parol evidence may be given of the existence of a deed of gift to show the nature of possession which accompanied the deed.)
Ramsay v. Lee, 4Cranch 401 (Mem), 8 U.S.  401, 2 L.Ed. 660 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1808) In Virginia, in 1784, no gift of a slave was valid unless in writing and recorded, although possession accompanied the gift.
1810 Scott v. Ben, 6 Cranch 3, 10 U.S. 3, 3 L.Ed. 135 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1810)(The right of freedom under Act Md.1783, which prohibits the bringing of slaves into that state, is not acquired by the neglect of the master "to prove, to the satisfaction of the naval officer or collector of the tax, that such slave had resided three years in the United States," though such proof is required by the act)
1812 Act June 24, 1812, 2 Stat. 755
1816 Davis v. Wood, 14 U.S. 6, 4 L.Ed. 22, 1 Wheat. 6 (U.S.,1816)(Evidence by hearsay and reputation is admissible only as to pedigree, but not to establish the freedom of a petitioner's ancestor, and thence to deduce his or her own)
1817 Beverly v. Brooke, 15 U.S. 100, 4 L.Ed. 194, 2 Wheat. 100 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1817)(Where the owner of slaves and part owner of a vessel hired the slaves to the master of the vessel, as mariners for a voyage, without a special contract, the master was not responsible for the escape of the slaves at a foreign port, which was one of the contingent termini of the voyage, if he acted with good faith, though it was doubtful if he had strictly pursued his orders in going to such port.)
1818 Slave Trade Act of April 20, 1818, 3 Stat. 450 (An act to prohibit the introduction of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States; The object of the statute prohibiting the importation of salves was to put an end to the slave trade and to prevent the introduction of slaves into the United States from other countries.)
1819 Act March 3, 1819, 3 Stat. 532
1820 The Missouri Compromise Act.,  March 6, 1820, 3 Stat. 545 (Provision prohibiting the holding and ownership of slaves in the territory of the United States north of the line)
Act May 15, 1820, 3 Stat. 600, 18 U.S.C.A. 1585;   18 U.S.C.A. 3238
The Josefa Segunda, 18 U.S. 338, 5 L.Ed. 104, 5 Wheat. 338 ( U.S.La.,1820)(Necessity, having been pleaded in justification of a violation of the law forbidding the importation of slaves, must, if real, and it can be fully and easily established, be proved by the most convincing and conclusive testimony. Evidence sustained decree against claimants to vessel which was sought to be forfeited for violation of Act of March 3, 1807, 2 Stat. 426, relating to importation of slaves into the United States, in view of lack of convincing conclusive testimony that violation of the law was necessary because perilous situation of the vessel and famishing condition of the people on board required vessel, which contained cargo of slaves, to enter the United States. In the execution of laws relating to the importation of slaves, restitution of property condemned by the United States ought never to be made except in cases which are purged of every intentional violation of the law by proofs of the most clear and most explicit and unequivocal nature.)
1822 Hill v. Low, 12 F.Cas. 172, 4 Wash.C.C. 327, No. 6494 (C.C.E.D.Pa.,1822)(Under Act February 12, 1793, c. 152, 1 Stat. 305, if the defendant knowingly obstructs the owner or his agent in seizing the fugitive, he cannot excuse himself against the penalty by pleading ignorance of the law, or an honest belief that the person was not a fugitive from service or labor. Mere obstruction, hindrance, or interruption is no offense, under Act February 12, 1793, c. 152, 1 Stat. 305, unless it be interposed to prevent a seizure in the first instance, or a recapture in case the fugitive, after seizure, should escape; and the offense in such case would be complete, although the owner should ultimately succeed in making the arrest.)
1823 The Mary Ann, 21 U.S. 380 5 L.Ed. 641, 8Wheat. 380 (U.S.La.,1823) A libel for forfeiture of a vessel which allegedly sailed from port of New York and Perth Amboy without delivering manifests to collectors or surveyors of ports of New York and Perth Amboy was defective in view of fact that law requires delivery of manifest to collector or surveyor of one port only or was defective for vagueness in not alleging with precision the port where offense was committed. Act March 2, 1807, c. 22, 2 Stat. 426. Statute requiring captain of any vessel of the burden of 40 tons or more, sailing coastwise, and having on board any negro, to make out and deliver duplicate manifests and requiring forfeiture of any ship departing without manifests having been executed comprehends forfeiture only of vessels of  40 tons or more. Act March 2, 1807, c. 22, 9, 2 Stat. 429.
1824 The Emily, 22 U.S. 381, 6 L.Ed. 116, 9 Wheat. 381(U.S.S.C.,1824)A seizure may be made, under Slave Trade Act 1794, 1 St. at Large, p. 347, 1, 46 U.S.C.A. 1351, before the vessel proceeds to sea, so soon as the intention of "preparing," etc., or of "causing to sail," etc., is manifest)
The Merino, 22 U.S. 391, 6 L.Ed. 118, 9 Wheat. 391 (U.S.Ala.,1824)(Under Act May 10, 1800, c. 205, 4, the owner of the slaves transported contrary to the provisions of that act cannot claim the same in a court of the United States, though they may be held to servitude according to the laws of his own country. But if, at the time of the capture by a commissioned vessel, the offending ship was in possession of a noncommissioned captor, who had made a seizure for the same offense, the owner of the slaves may claim them; the section only applying to persons interested in the enterprise or voyage in which the ship was employed at the time of such capture. The prohibitions in the slave trade acts of May 10, 1800, and April 20, 1818, extend to the carrying of slaves on freight as well as to cases where slaves belonging to citizens of the United States are transported, and to the carrying them from one port to another of the same foreign country as well as from one foreign country to another. In proceeding to forfeit vessel and cargo for carrying on slave trade, objections to irregularity with which proceedings were conducted were waived by appearance of parties and filing of claims to property seized. The acts of congress of 1800, 2 Stat. 70, and 1818, 3 Stat. 450, forbidding the employment of vessel belonging to citizens of United States in carrying slaves from one foreign country or place to another or taking on board or transporting from Africa or from any foreign country any negro for the purpose of holding or disposing of such person as a slave manifests intent of congress to prevent citizens of or residents within United States from affording any facilities to the slave trade although they should have no interest or property in the slaves themselves and although they should not be immediately instrumental to the transportation of them from their native country. In proceeding for forfeiture of vessels and their cargoes under information alleging that citizens of the United States who took slaves on board did so for purpose of holding them as slaves decree of forfeiture was required to be reversed where evidence showed that slaves were taken on board merely as passengers to be delivered to their owners or to those to whom they were consigned. Under act declaring forfeiture of any vessel belonging to citizen of United States employed in transporting slaves from one foreign country to another and providing that vessel may be libeled and condemned for the use of person who shall sue for it, the right to seize the vessel and slaves on board is a necessary consequence of the right to enforce forfeiture)
1825 The Josefa Segunda, 23 U.S. 312, 6 L.Ed. 320, 10 Wheat. 312 (U.S.La.,1825)(To constitute a valid seizure, so as to entitle the party to the proceeds of a forfeiture, there must be open visible possession claimed, and authority exercised under the seizure. A seizure not followed by prosecution or by a claim in the district court before a hearing on the merits, insisting on the benefit of the seizure, becomes a nullity. A seizure under the slave trade act once voluntarily abandoned becomes a mere nullity; The abandonment of a seizure or capture without the influence of superior force leaves the property open to the next occupant; An inspector rightfully on board vessel in pursuance of his ordinary duty did not make "seizure" of vessel for violation of slave act where inspector gave no notice of seizure to persons on board, exercised no authority and claimed no possession and had no force adequate to compel submission; In proceedings for condemnation of vessel and cargo for violation of slave act parties intending to insist on right as seizors had duty to interfere in court before hearing on merits; Under act providing for forfeiture of vessels engaged in slave trade "to the use of the United States" and providing that proceeds of vessels when condemned shall be divided equally between the United States and officers and men who shall make such seizure whether service be made by armed vessel of United States or revenue cutters thereof surveyor and naval officer of port of New Orleans were not entitled to share in proceeds of vessel seized by him and condemned for engaging in slave trade)
The Plattsburgh, 23 U.S. 133, 6 L.Ed. 284, 10 Wheat. 133 (1825)(Under Slave Trade Act 1794, c. 11, 18 U.S.C.A. 429, the forfeiture attaches, where the original voyage is commenced in the United States, whether the vessel belong to citizens or foreigners, and whether the act is done suo jure, or by an agent, for the benefit of another person who is not a citizen or resident of the United States; It is not necessary, to incur the forfeiture under the slave trade acts, that the equipments for the voyage should be completed. It is sufficient if any preparations are made for the unlawful purpose; Circumstances of a pretended transfer to a Spanish subject, and the commencement of a new voyage in a Spanish port, are not sufficient to break the continuity of an original venture and to avoid the forfeiture of a vessel engaged in the slave trade, under Act 1794, c. 11, 1 Stat. 347; Evidence justified decree condemning vessel for participation in slave trade on ground that voyage was originally undertaken from the United States and not by Spanish claimant who was resident of Cuba after bona fide purchase made by him disconnected from original enterprise)
1827 Mason v. Matilda, 25 U.S. 590, 6 L.Ed. 738, 12 Wheat. 590(U.S.Dist.Col.,1827)(The fact of the oath, required by statute of Virginia to be made by the owner of slaves brought into that state in 1792 on removing them, having been taken in accordance with the statute, may be presumed after the lapse of 20 years, accompanied by possession).
The Antelope, 25 U.S. 546, 6 L.Ed. 723, 12 Wheat. 546 (U.S.Ga.,1827)(Evidence warranted restoration to Spanish claimants of certain Africans out of large group captured under Slave Trade Act on ground that such Africans were sufficiently identified as belonging to Spanish claimants; In making restitution of African slaves who were taken from Spanish vessel by privateers and who were brought into ports of United States along with other Africans taken by privateer from other vessels, by a United States revenue cutter for adjudication under suspicion that slaves were to be smuggled in United States, Africans to be delivered to Spaniards must be designated by proof and not by lot; The slave trade is not piracy, unless made so by the treaties or statutes of the nation to whom the party belongs; The slave trade is not contrary to the law of nations; The right of visitation and search does not exist in time of peace. A vessel engaged in the slave trade, even if prohibited by the laws of the country to which it belongs, cannot, for that cause alone, be seized on the high seas, and brought in for adjudication, in time of peace, in the courts of another country. But if the laws of that other country be violated, or the proceeding be authorized by treaty, the act of capture is not, in that case, unlawful; Africans who are first captured by a belligerent privateer fitted out in violation of our neutrality, or by a pirate, and then recaptured and brought into the ports of the United States under a reasonable suspicion that a violation of the slave trade acts was intended, are not to be restored without full proof of the proprietary interest; for, in such a case, the capture is lawful; Africans who were first captured by belligerent privateer fitted out in violation of neutrality of United States or by a pirate and then recaptured and brought into the ports of the United States under reasonable suspicion that violation of slave trade act was intended would be delivered up to the United States to be disposed of according to law where no sufficient proof was made of the title of the real proprietor)
U.S. v. Gooding, 25 U.S. 460, 6 L.Ed. 693, 12 Wheat. 460(U.S.Md.,1827)(It is sufficient to sustain an indictment, under the slave trade act of 1818, 3 Stat. 450, if the vessel be fitted out with the intent to be employed in the illegal voyage, though no equipments for a slave voyage be actually on board. An averment in an indictment under the slave trade act of 1818, 3 Stat. 450, of the offense "with the intent that the vessel should be employed," is defective and fatal; the words of the statute being "with intent to employ the vessel."--Id. Evidence that the owner commanded, authorized, and superintended the fitment, through his agent, without his personal presence, will support a count, in an indictment under the slave trade act of 1818, 3 Stat. 450, that "he did fit out for himself, as owner," etc.)
Williamson v. Daniel, 25 U.S. 568, 6 L.Ed. 731, 12 Wheat. 568 (U.S.Ga.,1827)(The issue follows the mother, unless they be separated from each other by the terms of the instrument which disposed of the mother).
1829 Le Grand v. Darnall, 2 Pet. 664, 27 U.S. 664, 7 L.Ed. 555( U.S.Md.,1829)(The grandmother and mother of petitioner were slaves of M., and they and their descendants were at large, acting as free, from the year 1797 to 1832. They were permitted to own property, contract debts, rent farms, and support themselves and children until the death of M., in 1805, living during that time within three miles of his residence. He bequeathed all his property to his wife for life, remainder to his children, but neither she nor her children after her death asserted a claim to petitioner or her mother. Held, that the circumstances would justify the jury in presuming a deed of manumission; Where the exercise of freedom by persons of color by going at large may have had a lawful commencement, as by deed of manumission, or may have been an offense, under the act of 1787, which would subject the owner to a prosecution, in the absence of all evidence the presumption will be that the exercise of acts of freedom were of right; In Maryland, by statute of 1796, the owner of slaves was authorized to manumit them by will, provided that no such manumission should be effectual if the same should prejudice the creditors of the owner, "nor unless the slave or slaves shall be under the age of 45 years, and able to work and gain a sufficient maintenance and livelihood at the time the freedom given shall commence." Held, that the manumission of a slave, to take effect when he was 11 years old, was valid; A devise of property, real or personal by a master to his slave, entitles the slave to his freedom by necessary implication)
1830 U.S. v. Preston, 3 Pet. 57, 28 U.S. 57, 7 L.Ed. 601 (U.S.La.,1830)( The offense, under Act Cong. March 2, 1807, 7, 18 U.S.C.A. 1587; 46 U.S.C.A. 1355, 1357, 1358, prohibiting the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction etc., is not that of importing or bringing persons to hold as slaves, but of hovering on the coast with such intent; and though it forfeits the vessel, it is silent as to disposing of the colored people on board, any further than handing them over to the proper authorities).
1831 Menard v. Aspasia, 5 Pet. 505, 30 U.S. 505, 8 L.Ed. 207 (U.S.Mo.,1831)( The mother of A. was born a slave in Illinois prior to 1787, before that country belonged to Virginia. A., born after 1787, was sent as a slave to Missouri, where she claimed her liberty under the ordinance of 1787. The court declared her free, and, on a writ of error, under Act 1789, 25, 1 Stat. 85, to reverse the judgment, the case was held not to be within that section)
1833 Johnson v. Tompkins, 13 F.Cas. 840, Baldw. 571, No. 7416 (C.C.E.D.Pa.,1833)( On questions of slavery or freedom, the same rules of evidence prevail as in other cases concerning the right of property. A citizen of another state, whose slave absconds from him into Pennsylvania, may pursue and take him without warrant, using as much force as is necessarry to carry him back to his residence. And such proceeding is no offense against the laws of the state of Pennsylvania. If such opposition is made, or such order attempted to be executed, the master may use force in repelling it, and the officer who gives such order, and all concerned in its execution, are trespassers. No person has a right to oppose the master in reclaiming his slave, or to demand proof of his property. This right of the master to reclaim his fugitive slave results from his ownership, and right to the custody and service of his slave by the common law and by the laws of the state; and the constitution of the United States does not confer but secures this right.)
1834 McCutchen v. Marshall, 8 Pet. 220, 33 U.S. 220, 8 L.Ed. 923 (U.S.Tenn.,1834)(Two slaves were ordered by the will of their master to be manumitted at the death of his widow, or on reaching the age of 21. It was held that the children of the slaves, born after the death of their master, followed the condition of their parents; It is admitted to be a settled rule, in Tennessee, that the issue of a female slave follows the condition of the mother; So, where a testator, in Tennessee, bequeaths a female slave to one until the slave shall arrive at the age of 21 years, and then the slave to be free, and after the death of the testator, and before the slave arrives at that age, she has children, such children are absolute slaves, and will not be entitled to their freedom on their arriving at the age of 21 years, according to the decisions of the courts of that state; A declaration by a testator in his will that his slaves, after a certain time should be liberated from slavery, is an emancipation of such slaves, authorized by the laws of Tennessee as they were in 1810, when the will was made; Under Act of Tennessee of 1801, c. 27, 1, an executor is authorized to petition the court for manumission of slaves directed by the testator to be set free; Consideration of policy with respect to slaves may justify legislative regulations as to the guards and checks under which manumission shall take place, especially so as to provide against the public's becoming chargeable for the maintenance of slaves so manumitted)
1835 Fenwick v. Chapman, 9 Pet. 461 34 U.S. 461, 9 L.Ed. 193 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1835)(Under St.1796, c. 67, 13, providing for manumission of slaves by will, made to take effect at the death of testator, the right to freedom may be tried at law in a suit against the executor at the instance of the manumitted slaves)
1837 The Garonne, 11 Pet. 73, 36 U.S. 73, 9 L.Ed. 637 (U.S.La.,1837)(The object of the statute prohibiting the importation of salves was to put an end to the slave trade and to prevent the introduction of slaves into the United States from other countries. Act of April 20, 1818, 3 Stat. 450, 18 U.S.C.A. 1582, 1584, 1585, 3283; 28 U.S.C.A. 2462; 46 U.S.C.A. 1351, 1353; Under Act April 18, 1818, a vessel is not liable to condemnation for transporting slaves from the United States to Europe, and bringing them back to the United States, where they were again held in bondage; The statute prohibiting importation of slaves did not prevent a resident from going abroad and sojourning for a time in a foreign country, taking with her one of her slaves as an attendant and later bringing or sending the slave back home with intent to hold the slave as before in her service. Act of April 20, 1818, 3 Stat. 450, 18 U.S.C.A. 1582, 1584, 3283; 28 U.S.C.A. 2462; 46 U.S.C.A. 1351, 1353)
1840 U S v. Morris, 14 Pet. 464,39 U.S. 464, 10 L.Ed. 543 (U.S.N.Y.,1840)(Act May 10, 1800, 2 Stat. 70, is penal, and prohibits the voluntary service of an American citizen on board of an American or foreign vessel on a voyage commenced with the intent of carrying slaves from one foreign country to another, though no slaves have been received on board; A vessel sailing to African coast for purpose of taking slaves on board was "employed or made use of" in transportation or carrying of slaves within Act of Congress of May 10, 1800, 2, 3, 18 U.S.C.A. 427, penalizing persons serving on board such vessels)
1841 Groves v. Slaughter, 15 Pet. 449, 40 U.S. 449, 10 L.Ed. 800(U.S.La.,1841)(A contract made in violation of fixed and settled policy of state against allowing introduction of slaves as merchandise or for sale would be void)
The Amistad, 15 Pet. 518, 40 U.S. 518, 10 L.Ed. 826 (U.S.Conn.,1841)(Negroes who were kidnapped in Africa and carried to Cuba in violation of laws and treaties of Spain and who subsequently took possession of vessel and killed captain were not "pirates" or "robbers" so that restitution of negroes to Spanish claimants could be compelled under provisions of treaty with Spain for restitution of merchandise rescued out of hands of pirates or robbers on the high seas (Under law of Spain African slave trade is abolished and negroes thereby introduced into dominions of Spain are free; Slaves under the laws of Spain which were recognized by laws of Spain as property capable of being lawfully bought and sold would constitute "merchandise" within provision of treaty with Spain for restitution of "merchandise" rescued out of hands of pirates or robbers on the high seas; Negroes kidnapped in Africa and unlawfully transported to Cuba in violation of laws and treaties of Spain did not constitute property of Spanish claimants within provision of treaty with Spain for restitution of merchandise rescued out of hands of pirates or robbers on the high seas; Negroes who had been kidnapped in Africa by slave trader and who had seized ship and attempted to sail back to Africa but had sailed to United States where they were captured could not be returned to shore of Africa under provisions of prohibitory slave trade act since negroes were not taken from Africa or brought to the United States in violation of the laws of the United States).)
1842 Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 41 U.S. (16 Pet.) 536 (1842).
1842 Supreme Court Ruled federal agencies had to carry out Fugitive Slave Laws
1843 Williams v. Ash, 1 How. 1, 42 U.S. 1, 11 L.Ed. 25 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1843)(A testator bequeathed to her nephew certain slaves, with a proviso in her will "that he should not carry them out of the state of Maryland, or sell them to any one, in either of which events I will and desire the said negroes shall be free for life." After the decease of the testator, the legatee sold one of the slaves. Held, that the bequest of the testatrix of the slave to her nephew under the restrictions imposed by the will was not a restraint or alienation inconsistent with the right to the property bequeathed to the legatee, and that by the sale the slave became free; A slave is capable of receiving a bequest of freedom on the happening of a contingency which is not too remote. Such a bequest is a specific legacy)
1844 Adams v. Roberts, 2 How. 486, 43 U.S. 486, 11 L.Ed. 349 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1844)(On the trial of a petition for freedom, a paper was produced, which was a copy of a deed of manumission executed in December, 1801, by the owner of certain slaves in Virginia, among them the mother of the petitioner, to become free on the 1st of January, 1814, to which paper the names of two persons were attached as witnesses. In January, 1802, the grantor went into court in Fairfax county, Va., and ordered it to be recorded; but it did not appear whether the two witnesses were there with him or not. The grantor resided in the District of Columbia. Under these circumstances, and under the statute of Virginia passed December 17, 1792, a prayer to the court to instruct the jury that the petitioner was not entitled to freedom, was properly refused; The mother of the petitioner becoming free on the 1st of January, 1814, the exact time of the birth of the petitioner, whether before or after that day, was a fact for the jury; and a prayer to the court which would have excluded the consideration of that fact was properly refused)
Rhodes v. Bell, 2 How. 397, 43 U.S. 397, 11 L.Ed. 314 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1844)(The District of Columbia being still governed by the laws of Maryland and Virginia which were in force anterior to the cession, it is not lawful for an inhabitant of Washington county to purchase a slave in Alexandria county and bring him into Washington county for sale; if he does the slave will become entitled to his freedom)
1847 Jones v. Van Zandt, 5 How. 215, 46 U.S. 215, 12 L.Ed. 122, 3 Ohio Law Rep. 453 (U.S.Ohio,1847)(Under Act Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from the service of their master, on a charge for harboring and concealing fugitives from labor, the notice need not be in writing by the claimant or his agent, stating that such person is a fugitive from labor, under section 3 of the above act, and served on the person harboring or concealing such fugitive, to make him liable to the penalty of $500 under the act; Clear proof of the knowledge of the defendant, by his own confession or otherwise, that he knew that the colored person was a slave and fugitive from labor, though he may have acquired such knowledge from the slave himself or otherwise, is sufficient to charge him with notice; Such notice, if not in writing, and served as aforesaid, may be given verbally by the claimant or his agent to the person who harbors or conceals the fugitive; and a general notice to the public in a newspaper is not necessary to charge him under the statute; any overt act so marked in its character as to show an intention to elude the vigilance of the master or his agent, and which is calculated to attain such an object, is a harboring of the fugitive within the statute; A claim of the fugitive from the person harboring or concealing him need not precede or accompany the notice; In this case, the first and second counts were held to contain the necessary averments that the colored man escaped from the state of Kentucky into the state of Ohio, of notice that he was a fugitive from labor within the description of the act, and that the defendant harbored him. The counts were also held to be otherwise sufficient; Act Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, making it an offense to harbor or conceal fugitive from labor was designed merely to render effective the guaranty of constitution providing that no person held to service or labor in one state under the laws thereof escaping into another shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor but shall be delivered upon claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due; In Act of Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, making it an offense to harbor or conceal a fugitive from labor, the words and their derivatives must be construed in reference to the subject matter of the statute and the nature of the offense; As regards meaning of Act Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, making it an offense to harbor or conceal a fugitive from labor to harbor often means to secrete; Under Act Cong. Feb. 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, making it an offense to harbor or conceal a fugitive from labor the gist of the offense consists in the concealment of another's property under knowledge that it belongs to another and not in a claim being previously made and refused; Under Act Cong. February 12, 1793, 4, 1 Stat. 305, respecting the concealment of a fugitive from labor if the information given to party orally or in writing is such as ought to satisfy a fair minded man that he is concealing the property of another, it is his duty under the constitution and laws to cease to do it. The act of congress, approved February 12, 1793, respecting fugitives from justice and labor, is not repugnant to the constitution of the United States, nor to the ordinance of 1787; Receiving the fugitive at 3 o'clock in the morning, at a place in the state of Ohio about 12 miles distant from the place in Kentucky where the fugitive was held to labor, from a certain individual, and transporting him in a closely covered wagon 12 or 14 miles, so that the boy thereby escaped pursuit, and his services were thereby lost to his master, is a harboring or concealing of the fugitive within the statute; and this, though the boy should be recaptured by his master)
Miller v. Herbert, 5 How. 72, 46 U.S. 72, 12 L.Ed. 55 (U.S.Dist.Col.,1847)(Under a statute of Maryland, passed in 1796, a deed of manumission is not good, unless recorded within six months after its date; and this law is in force in Washington county, District of Columbia.)
1848 Sims v. Hundley, 6 How. 1, 47 U.S. 1, 12 L.Ed. 319 (U.S.Miss.,1848)(Contracts for the sale of slaves were valid in the State of Mississippi in the year 1835).
1850 Fugitive Slave Law, September 18, 1850, 9 Stat. 462(any person who shall harbor or conceal any fugitive from service or labor, escaping from one state into another, so as to prevent his discovery and arrest, after notice or knowledge that he was such a fugitive, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, and, on indictment and conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding six months, and shall forfeit and pay, by way of civil damages, to the party injured, the sum of $1,000 for each fugitive so lost, to be recovered by action of debt.)
Randon v. Toby, 11 How. 493, 52 U.S. 493, 13 L.Ed. 784 (U.S.Tex.,1850)(Crime committed by those who introduced negroes into country in violation of law did not attach to all who might afterwards purchase negroes).
Strader v. Graham, 10 How. 82, 51 U.S. 82, 13 L.Ed. 337 (U.S.Ky.,1850)(Every state may determine status, or domestic and social condition, of persons domiciled within its territory, except in so far as powers of states in this respect are restrained or duties and obligations imposed upon them by the federal constitution; State of Kentucky could determine for itself whether employment of slaves in Ohio should make them free on their return to Kentucky)
1851 Bennett v. Butterworth, 12 How. 367, 53 U.S. 367, 13 L.Ed. 1026 (U.S.Tex.,1851)(In proceeding to require accounting by mortgagee in possession of slaves, master properly rejected account rendered under management which showed gross negligence or wilful default by mortgagee in failing to keep slaves engaged in useful employment. In proceeding to require accounting by mortgagee in possession of slaves, master properly stated charge for hire of slaves as commencing three months after date of death of mortgagor, which occurred while mortgagee had possession).
Norris v. Crocker, 13 How. 429, 54 U.S. 429, 14 L.Ed. 210(U.S.Ind.,1851)(Act Cong. 1850, c. 60, 7, 9 Stat. 464, providing that any person who shall harbor or conceal any fugitive from service or labor, escaping from one state into another, so as to prevent his discovery and arrest, after notice or knowledge that he was such a fugitive, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, and, on indictment and conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding six months, and shall forfeit and pay, by way of civil damages, to the party injured, the sum of $1,000 for each fugitive so lost, to be recovered by action of debt, repeals by implication Act 1793, c. 7, 4, 1 Stat. 305, which provided that any person who should harbor or conceal any such fugitive after notice that he was such a fugitive from labor should forfeit and pay to the claimant the sum of $500, to be recovered by action of debt, saving also to the claimant his right of action for any damages sustained, and bars all actions pending under said act of 1793 at the time of the repeal.
Harris v. Runnels, 12 How. 79 53 U.S. 79, 13 L.Ed. 901 (U.S.Miss.,1851)A statute of Mississippi prohibited the bringing of convict slaves into that state, or the holding of them when brought in; and also declared that no slaves should be brought into the state without a certificate, signed by two freeholders in the county and state from which the slaves were brought, that the slaves had not, within their knowledge and belief, been convicted of felony, and, in a subsequent section, imposed a penalty of $100 on any person purchasing or selling a slave contrary to this statute. Held, that this statute did not enable the purchaser to set up illegality of consideration to avoid payment of the purchase money. A statute of Mississippi prohibited the bringing of convict slaves into that state, or the holding of them when brought in, and also declared that no slaves should be brought into the state without a certificate, signed by two freeholders in the county and state from which the slaves were brought, that the slaves had not, within their knowledge and belief, been convicted of felony, and, in a subsequent section, imposed a penalty of $100 on any person purchasing or selling a slave contrary to this statute. Held, that this statute did not make void a contract of sale of slaves brought into the state without the required certificate.
1852 Moore v. People of State of Illinois, 14 How. 13, 55 U.S. 13, 14 L.Ed. 306 (U.S.Ill.,1852)(A state statute, making it penal to harbor or secrete a fugitive slave, or otherwise hinder or prevent his lawful owner from retaking him, is constitutional and valid)
1853 Amis v. Myers, 16 How. 492, 57 U.S. 492, 14 L.Ed. 1029 (U.S.La.,1853)(Evidence that slaves were purchased by defendant in execution by procuring acceptance and discount of a draft, that the plaintiff, when defendant in execution was unable to provide funds for payment of draft, caused draft to be paid by his own factor and agreed to take slaves as his property, that plaintiff's name was inserted in bill of sale and that defendant exercised no act of master ship over slaves and denied any interest therein, justified judgment restraining sale of salves in execution of judgment against the defendant).
1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed Missouri Compromise
Wanzer v. Truly, 17 How. 584, 58 U.S. 584, 15 L.Ed. 216 (U.S.Miss.,1854)(Where a portion of slaves purchased were lost because of defect in vendor's title, and a process of garnishment had been served upon purchaser by creditors of vendor who had absconded in insolvent circumstances, purchasers, against whom judgment had been rendered in garnishment proceeding, were entitled to value of the slaves and the costs incurred in suit in connection with loss of slaves).
1856 Dred Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 60 U.S. 393, 15 L.Ed. 691 (U.S.Mo.,1856)(The provision in Act Cong. passed March 6, 1820, 3 Stat. 545, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise act, prohibiting the holding and ownership of slaves in the territory of the United States north of the line therein mentioned, is not warranted by the constitution, and is therefore void; Right of property in slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution. The federal government has no power over person or property of citizens except what citizens of the United States have granted and no laws or usages of other nations or reasoning of statesmen or jurists on relations of master and slave could enlarge powers of government or take from citizens rights reserved. No federal tribunal may deny the right of property in slave, or deny to slave owners benefit of provisions and guarantees provided for protection of private property by the Constitution, since the Constitution recognizes such right of property and makes no distinction between slaves and other property. Under federal Constitution, federal government has no right to interfere with reserved power of states to regulate slaves for any other purpose but that of protecting rights of owner).
1858 Ableman v. Booth, 21 How. 506, 62 U.S. 506, 16 L.Ed. 169 (US Wis 1858)(The District Court of the United States for the District of Wisconsin has exclusive and final jurisdiction of an offense committed in that district under the act commonly called the "Fugitive Slave Law."; The commissioner duly appointed by the District Court of United States for the District of Wisconsin had lawful authority to issue warrant and commit person accused of violating the fugitive slave law of September 18, 1850, 9 Stat. 462. Holding that Act Cong. Sept. 18, 1850, 9 Stat. 462, commonly called the "Fugitive Slave Law," is constitutional in all its provisions).
1860 Vigel v. Naylor, 65 U.S. 208, 16 L.Ed. 646, 24 How. 208 (1860)(On a petition for freedom, the petitioner proved that one Kirby had emancipated all his slaves by will, some immediately, and some at a future day. In order to bring herself within this category and show that she had been the slave of Kirby, she offered to prove that her mother and brother and sister had recovered their freedom by suits brought against George Naylor, whose administrator, Henry Naylor, was the defendant in the present suit, and that it was very unusual to separate from the mother a child so young as the petitioner was at the time of Kirby's death. Held, that the evidence offered was admissible.
1861- 65 US Civil War
1861- 62 Confiscation Acts
1862 Morrill Land Grant Act
1863 The Emancipation Proclamation


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