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AN ACT relative to slaves and servants.
Passed March 31, 1817.
I. BE it enacted by the people of the state of New York, represented in senate and assembly, That every negro, mulatto or mustee, within this this state, who is now a slave, shall continue such, unless such slave shall be manumitted according to law; and that the baptizing of any such slave, shall not be deemed a manumission of such slave. Provided always, that every person born a slave within the United States, and who hath heretofore been, or shall hereafter be manumitted, shall be deemed, taken and adjudged to have been capable of taking by devise, descent or otherwise, all estates, real or personal, in the same manner as if he or she had been born free, and shall and may at all times hereafter, and in all courts, have the like remedy for the recovery of such estates, or for injuries done to the same, as if such person had been born free; but this act shall not be construed to create a cause of action against the former owner of such slave of his representatives.
II. And be it further enacted, That all marriages contracted, or which may hereafter be contracted, wherein one or both of the parties was, were or may be slaves, shall be considered equally valid as though the parties thereto were free, and the child or children of any such marriage shall be deemed or construed to manumit any such slave or slaves.
III. And be it further enacted, That no slave shall be a witness in any case, except for or against another slave, in criminal cases.
IV. And be it further enacted, That every child born of a slave within this state, after the fourth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine, shall be free, but shall remain the servant of the owner of his or her mother, and the executors, administrators or assigns of such owner, in the same manner as if such child had been bound to service by the overseers of the poor, and shall continue in such service, if a male, until the age of twenty-eight years; and if a female, until the age of twenty-five years; and that every child born of a slave within this state after the passing of this act, shall remain a servant as a foresaid until the age of twenty-one years and no longer.
V. And be it further enacted, That every person entitled to the services of any child, under and by virtue of this act, shall, before such child shall arrive at the age of eighteen years, teach such child, ar cause to be taught, to read, so that it may be able to read the holy scriptures, or shall give such child, between the ages of then and eighteen, four quarters schooling; and if the person so entitled to have such service, shall neglect to cause such child so to be taught, or to have such schooling, then such child shall be released from its servitude when it shall arrive at the age of eighteen years, any thing here in contained to the contrary notwithstanding: And further, that in every such case, the overseers of the poor of the city or town in which such child shall or may be reside, may, and it shall be their duty, forthwith to bind out such child, until it shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years, in the manner described by the fourth and fifth sections of the act concerning apprentices and servants.
VI. And be it further enacted, That every person, being an inhabitant of this state, who is or shall be entitled to the service of a child born of a slave, as aforesaid, shall, within one year after the passing of this act, or after the birth of such child, cause to be delivered to the clerk of the city or town whereof such person shall be an inhabitant, an affidavit in writing, containing the name and addition of such person, and the name, age and sex of the child so born; which affidavit, whether the same be delivered before or after the said one year, shall be recorded by the said clerk in a book to be by him for that purpose provided; and such record thereof shall be good evidence of the age of such child; and the said clerk shall receive from such person twelve cents for recording every such affidavit; and if such persons shall neglect to deliver such affidavit to the said clerk, within the said space of one year, then the child or servant, concerning whose birth such affidavit shall have been so neglected to be delivered, shall be released from his of her servitude at the age of eighteen years, any thing in any former law notwithstanding; and every servant so released, shall be bound to service by the overseers of the poor, as is directed in and by the preceding section of this act.
VII. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the owner of any slave, to manumit such slave, by last will and testament, or by any instrument in writing under his hand; but if such slave, at the time of such manumission, be above the age of forty-five years, or within that age and not of sufficient ability to provide for his of her support, the person manumitting such slave, and his or her heirs, executors and administrators, shall respectively be liable for the maintenance of the slave so manumitted, in case such slave shall become a charge to any city or town, shall and may from time to time, recover the amount of the monies expended for the maintenance of the person so manumitted, from the person by whom he or she was so manumitted, or form his or her heirs, executors and administrators, by an action of trespass on the case, for money expended for his ise or their use, in any court having cognizauce thereof: Provided nevertheless, that if the owner of such slave, at or immediately before the time of such manumission, shall obtain a certificate, signed by the overseers of the poor of the city or town where such owner shall reside, or the major part of them, or if in either of the cities of New York or Albany, by the mayor and recorder of such city, certifying that such slave appears to be under the age of forty-five years, and of sufficient ability to provide for himself or herself, or that the parent or parents of such slave is or are willing and able to maintain and provide therefor, and shall cause such certificate, or certified copy thereof, shall be conclusive evidence of the facts therein contained, and forever exonerate such owner and his representatives from the maintenance of such slaves; and incase of the refusal of such overseers, or mayor and record
|Title||Act relative to slaves and servants|
Slavery -- Law and legislation
|Publisher.Digital||Historic Huguenot Street|
|Digital.Collection||African American Presence in the Hudson Valley|
|Holding.Institution||Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection, Elting Memorial Library|
|Contact.Information||Elting Library, 93 Main Street, New Paltz, New York 12561|
|Rights||This digital image may be used for educational or scholarly purposes without restriction. Commercial uses of the item may be subject to fees and restrictions. Please contact the holding institution for information.|