Friday, May 24, 2013

Texas The Slave State

"An Act," Civilian and Galveston Gazette, November 4, 1840

Summary: Printed the text of a new law forbidding any free blacks from living in Texas. It stated that any free black caught entering Texas would be fined a thousand dollars; if he couldn't pay the sum, he would be sold into slavery for one year and then, if he still couldn't pay off the fine, be a slave for life. Also said that anyone helping a free black get into Texas would be fined as much as $10,000. Finally, the Texas Congress ordered all free blacks then living in the Republic to move out within two years or face enslavement.

Concerning Free Persons of Color.

SEC. I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, in Congress assembled: That from and after the passage of this act, it shall not be lawful for any free persons of color to emigrate to this Republic.

SEC. 2. Be it further enacted, That if any free person of color shall emigrate to this Republic, it shall be the duty of the sheriff, or any one of the constables of the county to which such emigration shall be made, to arrest such free person of color, after giving him ten days notice, and bring him before the Chief Justice of the county, or Judge of the District; and it shall be the duty of the Chief Justice, or Judge of the district, before whom such free person of color may be brought, to receive the bond of such free person of color in the sum of one thousand dollars, with the security of a citizen, to be approved by him, condemned for the removal of such free person of color out of the limits of the Republic.

SEC 3. Be it further enacted, That if any free person of color should be brought before any Chief Justice of any county, or District Judge, and shall not be able to give the bond as prescribed in the second section of this act, such Chief Justice, or district judge shall commit such free person of color to the public jail, with an, order to the sheriff to expose him to public sale, to the highest bidder, at the court house door of his county, after giving four weeks notice of the same, in the nearest public journal, and at least four public places in his county; and the said purchaser shall and may exercise all the rights of ownership over said free person of color for one year from such sale.

SEC. 4. Be it further enacted, And if any such free person of color shall, during the year of such slavery, be able to give his bounte contemplated in the second section of this act, to take effect the end of his slavery, he shall be permitted to do so; but if he [illegible word] fail to render the bond, until after the expiration of his slavery shall be the duty of the purchaser to return him into the hands the sheriff.

SEC. 5. Be it further enacted, It shall be the duty of the sheriff, upon the return of any such free person of color, upon giving six weeks notice in some public journal, and at least four public places in his county, to expose the free person of color so returned at public sale, to the highest bidder; and such free person of color so sold shall remain a slave for life: provided, that if any person of color so sold should be the property of any individual, he shall have his right of recovery by due course of law.

SEC. 6. Be it further enacted, All monies arising from the sale of such free person of color, shall be paid into the county treasury, subject to appropriation by the district court, for public purposes.

SEC. 7. Be it further enacted, Upon the forfeiture of the bond of any free person of color, the same shall be placed in the hands of the District attorney for collection, who shall prosecute the same against the securities only; and the amount of sale, if such shall have been made, of the free person of color, shall, in all cases, be subtracted from the amount adjudged against the securities, and the remainder only shall be recovered of them.

SEC. 8. Be it further enacted, That two years shall be allowed from and after the passage of this act, to all free persons of color who now are in this Republic, to remove out of the same; and all those who shall be found here after that time, without the permission of Congress shall be arrested and sold as provided in this act.

SEC. 9. Be it further enacted, That it shall not be lawful for any master of a vessel, or owner thereof, nor for any other person or persons whatsoever, to bring, import, induce, or aid or assist in the bringing, importing, or inducing any free person of color within the limits of Texas, directly or indirectly; and any person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and or conviction shall be fined in a sum of not less than one nor more than ten thousand dollars: provided, that cooks and other hands employed on board of vessels shall not be considered as coming within the provision of this act.

SEC. 10. Be it further enacted, That the President of the Republic do issue his proclamation, commanding all free persons of color who now are in the Republic, to remove from the same before the first of January, 1842, and the Secretary of State publish this act a number of times in all the journals of this Republic.

SEC. 11. Be it further enacted, That all laws contrary to the meaning and spirit of this act, are hereby repealed.


Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Approved, 5th February 1840. President of the Senate.


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  5. Good video on how the link of Texas annexation lead to the civil war. It gave credence to the North's suspicion that there was a slave power conspiracy to extend slavery to everywhere in the Union. The professor also argued that the annexation changed the abolition debate. It went from whether the institution could survive to the expansion of slavery to federal territories. Therefore abolition gained supporters from those who wanted to keep blacks out of the Federal Territories, which grew their ranks, which led to sectionalism and then to civil war over the issue of expansion.

    1. This history is absolutely fascinating! It's unfortunate that Texas wants to whitewash and expunge their history of enslavement and annexation. Personally, I don't understand what scares Texans about their history.

      --Ron Edwards, US Slave Blog

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