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Louisiana's Code Noir (1724)

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To regulate relations between slaves and colonists, the Louisiana Code noir,or slave code, based largely on that compiled in 1685 for the French Caribbeancolonies, was introduced in 1724 and remained in force until the United Statestook possession of Louisiana in 1803. The Code’s 54 articles regulated thestatus of slaves and free blacks, as well as relations between masters andslaves. The entire body of laws appears below.


I. Decrees the expulsion of Jews from the colony.

II. Makes it imperative on masters to impart religious instruction to theirslaves.

III. Permits the exercise of the Roman Catholic creed only. Every other modeof worship is prohibited.

IV. Negroes placed under the direction or supervision of any other personthan a Catholic, are liable to confiscation.

V. Sundays and holidays are to be strictly observed. All negroes found atwork on these days are to be confiscated.

VI. We forbid our white subjects, of both sexes, to marry with the blacks,under the penalty of being fined and subjected to some other arbitrarypunishment. We forbid all curates, priests, or missionaries of our secular orregular clergy, and even our chaplains in our navy to sanction such marriages.We also forbid all our white subjects, and even the manumitted or free-bornblacks, to live in a state of concubinage with blacks. Should there be anyissue from this kind of intercourse, it is our will that the person sooffending, and the master of the slave, should pay each a fine of three hundredlivres. Should said issue be the result of the concubinage of the master withhis slave, said master shall not only pay the fine, but be deprived of theslave and of the children, who shall be adjudged to the hospital of the locality,and said slaves shall be forever incapable of being set free. But should thisillicit intercourse have existed between a free black and his slave, when saidfree black had no legitimate wife, and should said black marry said slaveaccording to the forms prescribed by the church,