The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938 Page: 91
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The Free Negro in the Republic of Texas
access was denied. The opposition of non-slaveholders to uncom-
pensated service patrolling their rich neighbors' slaves, and dif-
ferences among the slaveholders themselves, made impossible the
framing of a bill which would satisfy all factions and the several
attempts met with no success until after annexation."6
The criminal code when completed discriminated against the
free Negro by prescribing special offences and more severe pun-
ishment for common crimes.37 In accordance with the constitu-
tional declaration against cruel and unusual punishment, the pen-
alties for Negroes while more severe in degree did not vary in kind.
Whipping, branding, imprisonment, fines and hanging were usual
punishments for black and white alike. Additional offences and
increased punishment did not actually work a hardship on Negroes,
since they were peaceable residents, and their offences few."3
In social matters, legislation definitely impressed Negroes with
their own inferior status. By arbitrary ethnological definition
persons were prohibited from "obeying the divine precepts and laws
of morality" since they could not legally marry those whom they
took "in the fervour and integrity" of their desires if those per-
sons happened to be on the opposite side of an unscientific color
"Bills No. 2497, File 27, Sixth Congress; No. 2668, File 29, Seventh
Congress; No. 2632, File 29, Seventh Congress; Senate Journal, Ninth
Congress, 129, 139; House Journals, Eighth Congress, 171; Ninth Con-
gress, 194. The slave patrol was finally created on May 9, 1846. Gam-
mel, The Laws of Texas, II, 345.
"7See Chapter IV, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XL, 187, note.
'For the character of offences previous to February 5, 1840, see Chap-
ter TV, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XL, 188-189. In the remain-
ing five years, offences were few and continued to be reported in a
humorous vein, indicating that they were not a serious menace. Henry
Tucker was arrested for assault and battery upon another barber, Price,
"a mongrel, a cross of the Chinese and Maltee." Tucker endeavored to
"lather" Price, who, he accused, "had shaved him out of . . . [some]
pictures." Tucker employed a lawyer who frequently honored his client
by referring to him as Mr. Tucker. "But the Marshall and Recorder
were determined that if there was any shaving done, they would handle
the brush and razor, so the Recorder fined Tucker $10 and costs." The
barbers of Houston "put shaving up to four bitts," which the editor con-
sidered "barber-ous." The Weekly Times (Houston), April 9, 1840. One
Negro claiming to be free was sentenced at Galveston on October 21,
1840, to be hung on November 13, for burglary. He confessed on the
gallows that he was a slave in the United States and that a white man
in Texas forged free papers for him. Daily Picayune, October 28; No-
vember 18, 1840. Perry, a free man of color, was indicted for larceny
but given a verdict of not guilty, indicating that an accusation against
a free Negro was not tantamount to conviction. Harrisburg County Dis-
trict Court Records, D, 351. Harris County Court House, Houston.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938, periodical, 1938; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101103/m1/99/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.