revision approved April 15, 1846, Revision of 1846, Title XXI, ch.6, p.567-572
1. BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, That when a colored person, held to labor or service in any of the United States, or in either of the territories thereof, or in the District of Columbia, under the laws thereof, shall escape into this state, the person to whom such labor or service is due, his or her duly authorized agent or attorney constituted in writing, is hereby authorized to apply to any judge of any court of common pleas or justice of the peace, who on such application, supported by the oath or affirmation of such claimant or authorized agent or attorney as aforesaid, that the said fugitive hath escaped from his or her service, or from the service of the person for whom he is duly constituted agent or attorney, shall issue his warrant under his hand and seal, and directed to the sheriff" or any constable of the proper county, authorizing and empowering said sheriff or constable to arrest and seize the said fugitive, who shall be named in said warrant, and to bring said fugitive before a judge of the court of common pleas of the proper county; which said warrant shall be in the form or to the effect following: State of New Jersey,--------county, ss. The state of New Jersey, to the Sheriff or any constable of---------county, greeting: Whereas it Appears by the oath (or solemn affirmation) of--------that--------- Was held to labor or service to---------of---------county, in the State of--------- and that the said -------- hath escaped from the labor and service of the said---------. You are therefore commanded to arrest and seize the body of the said--------if he be found in your county, and bring him forthwith before any judge of the court of common pleas of said county, so that the truth of the matter may be inquired into, and the said--------be dealt with as the constitution of the United States and the laws of this state 4irect: Witness our said judge, (or justice, as the case may be,) at----------this---------day of---------A. D. one thousand eight hundred and---------. By virtue of such warrant, the person named therein may be arrested by the proper sheriff or constable, to whom the same shall be delivered within the proper county.
2. And be it enacted, That no judge or justice of the peace shall issue a warrant on the application of any agent or attorney as provided in the first section, unless the said agent or attorney shall, in addition to his own oath or affirmation, produce the affidavit of the claimant of the fugitive, taken before and certified by a justice of the peace or other magistrate, authorized to administer oaths in the state, district or territory in which such claimant shall reside, and accompanied by a certificate of the authority of such justice or other magistrate to administer oaths, signed by the clerk or prothonotary, and authenticated by the seal of a court of record in such state, district or territory; which affidavit shall state the said claimant's title to the service of such fugitive, and also the name, age and description of the person of such fugitive.
3. And be it enacted, That it shall be the duty of any judge or justice of the peace, when he grants or issues any warrant under the provision of the first section of this act, to make a fair record of the same upon his docket, in which he shall enter the name and place of residence of the person on whose oath or affirmation the said warrant may be granted; and also, if an affidavit shall have been produced under the provisions of the second section of this act, the name and place of residence of the person making such affidavit, and the age and description of the alleged fugitive contained in such affidavit; and shall within ten days thereafter, file a certified copy thereof in the office of the clerk of the court of common pleas of the proper county; and any judge or justice of the peace who shall refuse or neglect to comply with the provisions of this section, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor in office, and shall, on conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay, at the discretion of the court, any sum not exceeding one thousand dollars; and any sheriff or constable receiving and executing the said warrant, shall, without unnecessary delay, carry the person arrested before the judge, according to the exigency of the warrant; and any sheriff or constable who shall refuse or willfully neglect so to do, shall, on conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay, at the discretion of the court, any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, or shall also be sentenced to imprisonment at hard labor, for a time not exceeding six months or both.
4. And be it enacted, That when any person claimed as a fugitive slave shall be brought before any judge of the court of common pleas, agreeably to the provisions of this act, unless the said fugitive shall admit, before him, the claim of the claimant or claimants, it shall be the duty of the said judge to appoint a certain time and place for the hearing of the said claimant's title to the services of such fugitive, and shall thereupon call to his assistance two other judges of the said court of common pleas; which said judges, at the time and place appointed, shall proceed to hear and determine upon said claim, and pronounce judgment thereon; and if the said judgment shall be in favor of said claim, to give a certificate thereof; which certificate, signed by any two of said judges, shall be a sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive to the state, district or territory from which he or she fled; provided, that the oath of the owner or owners, or other persons interested, shall in no case be received in evidence before the judge on the hearing of the case.
5. And be it enacted, That if either party shall demand a trial by jury, then it shall be the duty of the said judge, before whom such fugitive shall be brought, instead of calling to his assistance the said judges, as provided in the preceding section, to issue a venire directed to the sheriff of such county, commanding him to summon a jury of said county, to be and appear before the said judge, at the time and place appointed, to inquire into and determine upon said claim; and upon the trial of the said claim, the same proceedings shall be had as in all other cases of trial by jury; and if the said jury shall find a verdict in favor of said claimant or claimants, the same shall be recorded; and it shall be the duty of the said judge to give a certificate thereof, which certificate shall be a sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive as aforesaid
6. And be it enacted, That in case of the non-attendance of any of the said judges, on the day appointed for the trial of the said claim as aforesaid, it shall and may be lawful for the judge or judges in attendance to postpone the said trial, and m Ins or then discretion to call to his or their assistance another judge 01 judges, so as to ensure a speedy trial of said claim; and in case a jury shall be demanded, and from any cause the sheriff shall be unable to obtain a jury on the day appointed, or the jury shall be unable to agree upon a verdict, then it shall be the duty of the said judge to issue a venire for another jury, at such time as he may appoint, so as to ensure a trial and verdict on said claim.
7. And be it enacted, That if the said judges shall decide, or the said jury find a verdict, against such claim, a record shall be made thereof, and the said fugitive shall be discharged from such claim and imprisonment under the same.
8. And be it enacted, That a record shall be kept of all the proceedings had upon the said claim, and final judgment thereon.
9. And be it enacted, That the said judge, for keeping the said record, shall be entitled to receive one dollar; for issuing the venire sixty cents; the sheriff, for serving the same, one dollar and fifty cents; the jurors the same fees as by law are- allowed to jurors in the courts of common law; and the said judge or judges, as the case may be, two dollars and fifty cents per day, each, for each and every day necessarily spent in said hearing; which fees shall be paid by the claimant, owner, agent or attorney, immediately on the performance of the duties aforesaid.
10. And be it enacted, That any judge or justice who shall give any certificate authorizing the removal of any fugitive slave out of "this state, without the title of the claimant or claimants to the services of such fugitive having been first decided upon in his, her or their favor, under the provisions of this act, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both; and any judge refusing to perform any of the duties required by this act, shall, on conviction thereof, be liable to pay any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, one half to the use of the person who shall prosecute for the same, and one half to the use of the county in which the same shall be prosecuted.
11. And be it enacted, That when the fugitive shall be brought before the judge agreeably to the provisions of this act, and either party shall make oath or affirmation, in writing, that he or she is not prepared for trial by reason of the absence of some material witness whom he or she shall name, it shall and may be lawful, unless security satisfactory to the said judge be given for the appearance of the said fugitive on a day certain, to commit the said fugitive to the common jail for safe keeping, there to be detained at the expense of the owner, agent or attorney, for such time as the said judge shall think reasonable and just, and to a day certain, when the said fugitive shall be brought before him by habeas corpus, in the court-house of the proper county, or in term time at the chamber of the said judge, for final hearing and adjudication provided, that if the adjournment of the hearing be requested by the claimant, his agent or attorney, such adjournment shall not be granted, unless the said claimant, his agent or attorney, shall give security satisfactory to the judge, to appear and prosecute his claim on the day to which the hearing shall be adjourned, or on failure thereof to pay and satisfy forthwith unto the person so taken as a. fugitive, all such damages, costs, charges and expenses, as may have been sustained or accrued by reason of having been so taken and committed; provided, that on the hearing last mentioned, if the judge committing the said fugitive or taking the security as aforesaid, should be absent, sick or otherwise unable to attend, it shall be the duty of either of the other judges, on notice given, to attend to the said hearing, and to decide thereon.
12. And be it enacted, That it shall be the duty of the judge of any court of common pleas of this state, when he grants or issues any certificate or warrant of removal of any negro or mulatto, claimed to be a fugitive from labor, to the state or territory from which he or she fled, in pursuance of an act of congress, passed on the twelfth day of February, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, entitled, " An act respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from the service of their masters," and of this act, to make a fair record of the same, in which he shall enter the name, age, sex and a general description of the person of the negro or mulatto for whom he shall grant such certificate or warrant of removal, together with the evidence, and the names of places of residence of the witnesses, and the party claiming such negro or mulatto, and shall, within ten days thereafter, file a certified copy thereof in the office of the clerk of the court of common pleas of the county in which he may reside.
13. And be it enacted, That if any person or persons shall seize, arrest or take any person, under pretence that such person is held to labor or service in any other of the United States or in either of the territories thereof, or in the District of Columbia, and hath escaped into this state, without having previously obtained the warrant herein before mentioned, or without having other legal authority for the purpose, under some act of the legislature of this state or of the congress of the United States, or if any two or more persons being armed, shall assemble together and enter the dwelling-house or place of abode of any other person, under pretence of searching for any person or persons held to labor 01 service in any other of the United States or either of the territories thereof, or in the District of Columbia, and who hath or have escaped into this state, without having previously obtained the warrant herein before mentioned or without having other legal authority for the purpose, under some act of the legislature of this state or of the congress of the United States, such person or persons so seizing, arresting or taking as aforesaid, and such persons so assembling as aforesaid and entering as aforesaid, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment at hard labor not exceeding two years, or both, at the discretion of the court before whom such conviction may be had.