Primary Resource

"An ACT to empower the governor to transport slaves condemned, when it shall be deemed expedient" (1801)

In " An ACT to empower the governor to transport slaves condemned, when it shall be deemed expedient," passed on January 15, 1801, the General Assembly empowered the governor to sell condemned slaves out of state rather than execute them. The act came in the wake of Gabriel's Conspiracy (1800).

Transcription from Original

1. Be it enacted by the general assembly, That the governor with the advice of council, be, and is hereby authorized, when it shall be deemed expedient, to contract and agree with any person or persons for the sale and purchase of all those slaves who now are or hereafter may be under sentence of death, for conspiracy, insurrection, or other crimes. The person or persons, at the time of making such purchase, shall enter into bond, with sufficient security, in the penalty of five hundred dollars for each slave, payable to the governor and his successors, for the use of the commonwealth, with condition that he or they will carry out of the United States all the slaves by him or them purchased, who are now, or who hereafter may be under sentence of death; and the sale and disposal of every such slave shall amount to a reprieve of him or them from such sentence of death: Provided always, That if any slave, sold pursuant to this act, shall return into this state, he shall be apprehended and executed under the condemnation of the court, as if no reprieve had taken place. And in all cases where any slave or slaves shall be tried and convicted for any crime which may affect life, the court before whom such trials shall be had, shall cause the testimony for and against every such slave to be entered of record, and a copy of the whole proceedings to be transmitted forthwith to the executive.

2. The owners of all slaves so sold or transported shall be paid in the same manner as for slaves executed.

3. This act shall commence and be in force from the passing thereof.