Table of Contents
CHAPTER III - OF SLAVES
Art. 15. The rules prescribing the police and conduct to be observed with respect to slaves in this territory, their enfranchisement and the punishment of their crimes and offences are fixed by special laws of the legislature.
Art. 16. The slave is entirely subject to the will of his master who may correct and chastise him, though not with unusual rigor, nor as to maim or mutilate him, or expose him to the danger of loss of life, or cause his death.
Art. 17. The slave is incapable of contracting any kind of engagement. He possesses nothing in his own right and can transmit nothing by succession, legacy or otherwise; for whatever he possesses, is his master's property.
Art. 18. The slave is incapable of exercising any public offices or private trusts, he cannot be tutor, curator, executor, nor attorney, he cannot be a witness in either civil or criminal matters, except in cases provided for by the particular laws of this territory. He cannot be a party in any civil action either as plaintiff or defendant, except when he has to claim or prove his freedom.
Art. 19. Slaves may be prosecuted in the name of the government for crimes or offences by them committed without making their masters parties, unless the master shall be accessary to such crime or offence.
Art. 20. Masters are bound by the acts of their slaves, done by their command, as also by their transactions and dealings with respect to the business in which they have entrusted or employed them; but in case they should not have authorised or entrusted them, they shall be answerable only for so much as they shall have thereby benefitted.
Art. 21. Independently of the public punishment which may be pronounced against slaves having committed crimes or offences, their masters shall be bound to indemnify those who shall have suffered any damage by such crimes or offences.
Art. 22. The master however, may discharge himself from such responsibility by abandoning his slave to the person injured:- in which case the said person shall sell such slave at public auction in the usual form to obtain payment of the damages and costs; and the balance, if any, shall be returned to the master of the slave, who shall be completely discharged although the price of the slave should not be sufficient to pay the whole amount of the damages and costs; provided that the master shall make the abandonment within three days after the judgment awarding such damages shall have been rendered; provided also that it shall not be proved that the crime or offence was committed by his order, for in case of such proof the master shall be answerable for all damages resulting therefrom whatever be the amount, without being admitted to the benefit of the abandonment.
Art. 23. Slaves cannot marry without the consent of their masters; nor do their marriages produce any of the civil effects which result from such contract.
Art. 24. Children born of a mother then in a state of slavery whether married or not, follow the condition of said mother, they are consequently slaves and belong to the master of their mother.
Art. 25. A master may manumit his slave in this territory, either by an act inter vivos or by a disposition made in prospect of death, provided such manumission be made with the forms and under the conditions prescribed by the special law enacted thereupon by the legislature. But an enfranchisement when made by a last will must be express and formal, and shall not be implied from any other circumstances of the testament, such as a legacy, an institution of heir, testamentary executorship or other like dispositions which in such case shall be considered as not written and void.
Art. 26. Any enfranchisement made in fraud of creditors, or of the portion reserved by law to forced heirs, is null and void; and such fraud shall be considered and proved when it shall appear that at the moment of executing the enfranchisement, the person granting it, had not sufficient property to pay his debts or to leave to his heirs, the portion to them reserved by law; the same rule will apply, if the slave thus manumitted, was specially mortgaged.
Art. 27. No master of slaves shall be compelled either directly or indirectly, to enfranchise any of them; except only in cases where the enfranchisement shall be made for services rendered to the territory by virtue of an act of the legislature of the same, and on the territory satisfying to the master, the appraised value of the manumitted slave or slaves.
In like manner, no master shall be compelled to sell his slave or slaves, but in one of two cases, to wit:
1stly, when being only co-proprietor of the slave, his associates demand the sale, in order to distribute the property.
2ndly, when the master shall be convicted of cruel treatment of his slave and the judge shall deem proper to pronounce, besides the penalty established for such cases, that the slave shall be sold at public auction, in order to place him out of the reach of the power which his master has abused.
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