The Trial of Several Negroes Manumitted by Friends
The North Carolina Yearly Meeting's Standing Committee believed that the new law should apply only to slaves set free after the Act to Prevent Domestic Insurrections was passed. The committee engaged three lawyers on behalf of blacks who had been apprehended and jailed. The lawyers for the blacks argued that because North Carolina's constitution prohibited ex post facto laws, slaves freed before the new act passed could not be seized. They also argued that according to the act of 1741 that had set the requirements for manumission, including meritorious service by the slave and approval by the county court, manumitted slaves should be allowed six months to leave the state before they could be re-enslaved.
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