Slave Punishments of 1857



Slave punishments of South Carolina.

Every person finding a slave abroad without a pass was to arrest him if possible, and punish him on the spot by "moderate chastisement," under a penalty of twenty shillings for neglecting it. All negro houses were to be searched once a fortnight for arms and stolen goods.

Young Black Boy in His Bare Slave Cabin, Us South

Young Black Boy in His Bare Slave Cabin, Us South
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Slave punishments for a slave guilty of petty larceny were,

for the first offense was to be "publicly and severely whipped;"

for the second offense was to have "one of his ears cut off," or be "branded in the forehead with a hot iron, that the mark thereof may remain;"

for the third offense was to "have his nose slit;"

for the fourth offense was "to suffer death, or other punishment," at the discretion of the court.

Slave-Branding, from "Leeds Anti-Slavery Series", 1853

Slave-Branding, from "Leeds Anti-Slavery Series", 1853
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Any justice of the peace, on complaint against any slave for any crime, from "chicken stealing" up to "insurrection" and "murder," was to issue his warrant for the slave's arrest, and, if the accusation seemed to be well founded, was to associate with himself another justice, they two to summon in three freeholders. The five together, or, by an additional act, the majority of them, satisfactory evidence of guilt appearing, were to sentence the culprit to death, or such lesser punishment as the offense might seem to deserve.

In case of lesser punishment, "no particular law directing such punishment" was necessary. In case of death, "the kind of death" was left to "the judgment and discretion" of the court, execution to be forthwith done on their sole warrant, the owner to be indemnified at the public charge.

This summary form of procedure in the trial of slaves remains enforce in slave punishments of South Carolina to this day, and a very similar form was also adopted, and still prevails, in North Carolina.







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