Primary Resource

"An act to repeal part of an act, directing the trial of slaves committing capital crimes, and for the more effectual punishing conspiracies and insurrections of them, and for the better government of negroes, mulattoes, or indians, bond or free" (1788)

"In an act to repeal part of an act …," the General Assembly repeals an earlier law that protected masters from murder charges if they accidentally killed their slaves while punishing them. Masters were now legally responsible for the death.

Transcription from Original

BE it enacted, That so much of an act, intituled, "An act directing the trial of slaves committing capital crimes, and for the more effectual punishing conspiracies and insurrections of them, and for the better government of negroes, mulattoes, ad Indians, bond or free," as declares, that "Where any slave shall happen to die by reason of any stroke or blow during his or her correction, by his or her owner, or by reason of any accidental blow whatsoever given by such owner, no person concerned in such correction or accidental homicide, shall be liable to any prosecution, or punishment for the same, unless upon examination before the county court, it shall be proved by the oath at least of one lawful and credible witness, that such slave was killed wilfully, maliciously, or designedly; and no person indicted for the murder of a slave, and upon trial found guilty of manslaughter only, shall incur any forfeiture or punishment for such offence or misfortune;" shall be, and the same is hereby repealed.