New Slave Laws in Freedom’s Journal in 1827

Freedom’s Journal was the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. Founded by Peter Williams, Jr. and other free black men, it was published weekly in New York City from 16 March 1827 to 28 March 1829. The journal was edited by John Russwurm and co-editor Samuel Cornish.

Freedom’s Journal provided international, national, and regional information on current events. Its editorials opposed slavery and other injustices, and also discussed current issues, such as the proposal by the American Colonization Society to resettle free blacks in Liberia, a colony established for that purpose in West Africa.

The Journal published biographies of prominent blacks, and listings of the births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American community in New York. It circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada.

Happiness Of Being Flogged

The following is extracted from the Trinidad Gazette:

“We did and do declare the whip to be essential to the West Indian discipline. The COMFORT, WELFARE, and HAPPINESS of our labouring classes cannot subsist without it.”

The new SLAVE LAW of Barbados proceeding, we conclude on this principle, enacts, that:



Any person may apprehend any slave having in his possession any sugar canes, sugar, rum, cotton, ginger, aloes, plate, wrought or cast iron, lead, copper, pewter, brass, tin, or other article or thing, of what nature or kind soever, without a note descriptive of the same; who, on conviction of any Justice of the Peace, shall be WHIPPED at his discretion, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes.

Any slave guilty of quarreling or fighting with another, or of insolent language or gestures to or of any white person; or of swearing, or uttering any obscene speeches; or drunkenness; or making or selling, throwing, or firing squibs, serpents, or other, fire-works; or of cock-fighting or of gaming; or of riding on a faster gait than a walk, or driving upon a faster gait than a gentle trot, on any road, street, or lane, of the island; or of cruelly whipping, beating, or ill using any horse, ass, mule, or other cattle; or of negligently driving any wagon, cart, carriage, &c: or of any disorderly conduct or misbehavior; shall, on conviction before any Justice of the Peace, be whipped, at his discretion, not exceeding thirty-nine stripes.”


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: Freedom’s Journal
Date: October 5, 1827
Title: Happiness Of Being Flogged
Location: New York, New York

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