Principles not generally understood; or, he is not a slave, you cannot flog him.

by Lisa Y. Henderson


The Fall Term of the Superior Court for Rowan County, was held in this town week before last: Judge Badger presided. There were but two criminal cases tried at this term: on one which there was a conviction of grand larceny. – Lemuel Bealey was found guilty, and sentenced to receive 30 lashes; 15 of which he received on Monday after Superior Court, the other 15 to be given him on the week of our next County Court.

There was one case tried at this term, which involves principles perhaps not generally understood. Major Haskins, and others, were indicted for a misdemeanor, in flogging a free negro, for some mischief he had done.  Maj. Haskins, it appears, procured two Justices of the Peace to authorize the infliction of the corporal punishment on the negro, supposing, no doubt, that the transaction would thereby be legalized. There is an old law of our state empowering Justices of the Peace to authorize the summary punishment of slaves, in cases of this kind; it was this law which led Maj. Haskins, and the Justices referred to, into the fatal error. The negro doubtless deserved punishing; but as he was free, the law knows no distinction between him and a white man. He should have been indicted, and brought into Court for trial, in the same manner that free white citizens are.

The jury found a verdict against the defendants of all that was charged in the indictment. Maj. Haskins was fined twelve hundred dollars; one of the justices 100, the other 100, and the constable who acted as executioner 10 shillings.

The negro David Valentine, has now commenced an action for damages against the plaintiffs in the above case.  Western Carolinian.

Newbern Sentinel, 9 November 1822.