Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Slave Patrol Regulations
The other day while rummaging around online at the Duke University Digital Collections, I came across a handbill for a set of slave patrol regulations for the town of Tarboro[ugh], North Carolina, which were established in 1837. They are listed as follows:
"Rule 1st. Slaves residing in the country whose owners, masters or mistresses for the time being do not live in town, other than such as have wives in town, shall not come to town on the Sabbath day, unless to attend church, or in the night time without written permission from their owners, masters or mistresses for the time being, such permission stating the place or places such slaves shall visit
-Provided that they may at all times, come to town, or on the business of their owners, masters or mistresses for the time being without written permission
Rule 2nd. No slave after the hour of nine, P.M. (a reasonable time being allowed for him or her to go home or to the place designated in his or her written permission after the ringing of the bell,) shall be on the streets, or absent from the premises of his or her owner, master or mistress for the time being-or the premises of the owner, master or mistress for the time being of his wife-or the premises of the person, where he may be authorized by his written permission to go-unless he or she be on the business of his owner, master or mistress for the time being.
Rule 3rd. If any slave shall violate the foregoing Rules, the Patrol shall have the power and it shall be their duty (any two of their number being present) to whip the said slave, either at the time of the offense being committed or at any time within three months thereafter, the number of stripes not to exceed fifteen, unless the said slave shall be guilty of insolent behavior, or make his escape from the Patrol, in either of which cases the number of stripes not exceed thirty-nine."