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Serf

slave, ed, law, master and rule

SERF.

In the elaveholding states the relation)) of husband and wife and parent and child were recognized by statutes in relation to public sales, and by the courts in all cases where such relations were material to elucidate the motives of their acts.

A slave had no political rights. His civil rights, though necessarily more restricted than the free men's, were based upon the law of the land. He had none but such as were by that law and the law of nature given to him. The civil-law rule, "par tus sequitur ventrem," was adopted in all the slave holding states, the status of the mother at the time of hirth deciding the statue of the issue ; Barring ton v. Logan's Adm'rs, 2 Dana (Ky.) 432; Rawlings v. Boston, 3 H. & McH. (Md.) 139; Overseers of Poor of Marb/etown v. Overseers of Poor of King ston, 20 Johns. (N. Y.) 1; Williamson v. Daniel, 12 Wheat. (U. S.) 568, 6 L. Ed. 731 ; Adams v. Roberts, 2 How. (U. S.) 496, 11 L. Ed. 349.

The slave could not acquire property: his acqui sitions belonged to his master; Jackson v. Lervey, 5 Cow. (N. Y.) 397; Jenkins v. Brown, 6 Humphr. (Tenn.) 299 ; Hall v. U. S., 92 U. S. 27, 23 L. Ed. 597. The peculium of the Roman slave was ex gratia, and not of right ; Inst. 2. '9. 3. In like manner, negro slaves in the United States were, as a matter of fact, sometimes permitted by their masters ex gratia, to obtain and retain property. The slave could not be a witness, except for and against slaves or free negroes. This was, perhaps, the rule of the common law. None but a freeman was othesworth. In the United States the rule of exclusion which we have mentioned was enforced in all cases where the evidence was offered for or against white persons ; Winn v. Jones. 6 Leigh, (Va.) 74. In most of the

states this exclusion was by express statutes, while in others it existed by custom and the decision of the courts ; Berry v. State, 10 Ga. 519. In the slave holding states, and in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, by statute, the rule was extended to include free persons of color or emancipated slaves ; Jordan v. Smith, 14 Ohio, 199 ; Rusk v. Sowerwine, 3 Harr. & J. (Md.) 97. The slave could be a suitor in court only for his freedom. For all other wrongs he ap peared through his master, for whose benefit the re covery was had ; Bland v. Dowling, 9 Gill & J. (Md.) 19 ; Berard v. Berard, 9 La. 156. The suit for freedom was favored ; Lee v. Lee, 8 Pet. (U. S.) 44, 8 L. Ed. 860; Rankin v. Lydia, 2 A. K. Marsh. (Ky.) 467. Lapse of time worked no forfeiture by reason of his dependent condition ; Gatliff's Adm'r v. Rose, 8 B. Monr. (Ky.) 631; Hudgins v. Wrights, 1 Hen. & AL (Va.) 141. The master was bound to maintain, support, and defend his slave, however helpless or impotent. If he failed to do so, public officers were provided to supply his deficiency at his expense. Cruel treatment was a penal offense of a high grade. Emancipation of the slave was the conse quence of conviction in Louisiana ; and the sale of the slave to another master was a part of the pen alty in Alabama and Texas.

It will be presumed that a person who was a slave before 1865 in this country is a ne gro ; McMillan v. School Committee, 107 N. C. 609, 12 S. E. 330, 10 L. R. A. 823.

The.enfranchisement of a slave was called manumission. See BONDAGE; MANUMISSION;