Edward McPherson (ed.), A Handbook of Politics for 1868 (Washington, DC: Philp and Solomons, 1868), 34-35.
John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
An Act to Amend the Criminal Law, December 19, 1665.
SECTION 1 provides that either of the crimes specified in this first section shall be felony, without benefit of clergy, to wit: For a person of color to commit any wilful homicide, unless in self-defence; for a person of color to commit an assault upon a white woman, with manifest intent to ravish her; for a person of color to have sexual intercourse with a white woman by personating her husband; for any person to raise an insurrection or rebellion in this State; for any person to furnish arms or ammunition to other persons who are in a state of actual insurrection or rebellion, or permit them to resort to his house for advancement of their evil purpose; for any person to administer, or cause to be taken by any other person, any poison, chloroform, soporific, or other destructive thing, or to shoot at, stab, cut, or wound any other person, or by any means whatsoever to cause bodily injury to any other erson, whereby, in any of these cases, a bodily injury dangerous to the life of any other person is caused, with intent, in any of these cases, to commit the crime of murder, or the crime of rape, or the crime of robbery, burglary, or larceny; for any person who had been transported under sentence to return to this State within the period of prohibition contained in the sentence; on for a person to steal a horse or mule, or cotton packed in a bale ready for market.
SEC. 10 provides that a person of color who is in the employment of a master engaged in husbandry shall not have the right to sell any corn, rice, peas, wheat, or other grain, any flour, cotton, fodder, hay, bacon, fresh meat of any kind, poultry of any kind, animal of an kind, or any other product of a farm, without having written evidence from such master, or some person authorized by him, or from the district judge or a magistrate, that he has the right to sell such product; and if any person shall, directly or indirectly, purchase any such product from such person of color without such written evidence, the purchaser and seller shall each be guilty of a misdemeanor.
SEC. 11 provides that it shall be a misdemeanor for any person not authorized to write or give to a person of color a writing which professes to show evidence of the right of that person of color to sell any product of a farm which, by the section last preceding, he is forbidden to sell without written evidence; and any person convicted of this misdemeanor shall be liable to the same extent as the purchaser in the section last preceding is made liable; and it shall be a misdemeanor for a person of color to exhibit as evidence of his right to sell any product a writing which he knows to be false or counterfeited, or to have been written or given by any person not authorized.
SEC. 13 states that persons of color constitute no part of the militia of the State, and no one of them shall, without permission in writing from the district judge or magistrate, be allowed to keep a fire-arm, sword, or other military weapon, except that one of them, who is the owner of a farm, may keep a shot-gun or rifle, such as is ordinarily used in hunting, but not a pistol, musket, or other fire-arm or weapon appropriate for purposes of war. The district judge or a magistrate may give an order, under which an weapon unlawfully kept may be seized and sold, the proceeds of sale to go into the district court fund. The possession of a weapon in violation of this act shall be a misdemeanor which shall be tried before a district court or a magistrate, and in case of conviction, shall be punished by a fine equal to twice the value of the weapon so unlawfully kept, and if that be not immediately paid, by corporeal punishment.
SEC. 14 provides that it shall not be lawful for a person of color to be the owner, in whole or in part, of any distillery where spirituous liquors of any kind are made, or of any establishment where spirituous liquors of any kind are sold by retail; nor for a person of color to be engaged in distilling any spirituous liquors, or in retailing the same in a shop or elsewhere. A person of color who shall do anything contrary to the prohibitions herein contains shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, may be punished by fine or corporeal punishment and hard labor, as to the district judge or magistrate before whom he may be tried shall seem meet.
SEC. 22 provides that no person of color shall migrate into and reside in this State, unless, within twenty days after his arrival within the same, he shall enter into a bond, with two freeholders as sureties, to be approved by the judge of the district court or a magistrate, in a penalty of one thousand dollars, conditions for his good behavior, and for his support, if he should become unable to support himself.
SEC. 24 provides that when several persons of color are convicted of one capital offence, the jury which tries them may recommend one or more to mercy, for reasons which, in their opinion, mitigate the guilt; the district judge shall report the case, with his opinion, and the Governor shall do in the matter as seems to him meet. The same may be done when one only is convicted of capital offence. Before sentence of death shall be executed in any case, time for application to the Governor shall be allowed.
SEC.27 provides that whenever, under any law, sentence imposing a fine is passed, if the fine and costs be not immediately paid, there shall be detention of the convict, and substitution of other punishment. If the offence should not involve the crimen falsi, and be infamous, the substitution shall be, in the case of a white person, imprisonment for a time proportioned to the fine, at the rate of one day for each dollar; and in the case of a person of color, enforced labor, without unnecessary pain or restraint, for a time proportioned to the fine, at the rate of one day for each dollar. But if the offence should be infamous, there shall be substituted for a fine, for imprisonment, or for both, hard labor, corporeal punishment, solitary confinement, and confinement in tread-mill or stocks, one or more, at the discretion of the judge of the superior court, the district judge, or the magistrate, who pronounces the sentence. In this act, and in respect to all crimes and misdemeanors, the term servants shall be understood to embrace an apprentice as well as a servant under contract.
SEC. 29 provides that, upon view of a misdemeanor committed by a person of color, or by a white person toward a person of color, a magistrate may arrest the offender, and, according to the nature of the case, punish the offender summarily, or bind him in recognizance with sufficient sureties to appear at the next monthly sitting of the district court, or commit him for trial before the district court.
SEC. 30 provides that, upon view of a misdemeanor committed by a person of color, any person resent may arrest the offender and take him before a magistrate, to be dealt with as the case may require. In case of a misdemeanor committed by a white person toward a person of color, any person may complain to a magistrate, who shall cause the offender to be arressted, and, according to the nature of the case, to be brought before himself, or be taken for trial in the district court.