United States Statutes at Large/Volume 1/4th Congress/1st Session/Chapter 38

May 28, 1796.
Chap. ⅩⅩⅩⅧ.—An Act for the relief of persons imprisoned for Debt.

1798, ch. 50.
1792, ch. 29.
Privileges of persons imprisoned in civil actions under U. States.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That persons imprisoned on process issuing from any court of the United States in civil actions, shall be entitled to like privileges of the yards or limits of the respective gaols, as persons confined in like cases, on process from the courts of the respective states, are entitled to, and under the like regulations and restrictions.

Oath to be administered to them.Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That any person imprisoned as aforesaid, may have the oath or affirmation herein after expressed, administered to him by any judge of the United States; and in case there shall be no judge of the United States residing within twenty miles of the gaol wherein such debtor may be confined, such oath or affirmation may be administered by any two persons, who may be commissioned for that purpose by the judge of the district court of the United States within whose jurisdiction the debtor may be confined; the creditor, his agent or attorney, if either live within one hundred miles of the place of imprisonment, Oath to be administered to persons imprisoned for debt, and by whom.or within the district in which the judgment was rendered, having had at least thirty days previous notice by a citation served on him, issued by the district judge to appear at the time therein mentioned at the said gaol, if he see fit, to shew cause, why the said oath or affirmation should not be so administered: at which time and place, if no sufficient cause, in the opinion of the judge, (or the commissioners appointed as aforesaid) be shewn, or doth, from examination, appear to the contrary, he (or they) may, at the request of the debtor, proceed to administer to him the following oath or affirmation, as the case may be, viz: “You, , solemnly swear (or affirm) that you have not estate, real or personal, nor is any, to your knowledge, holden in trust for you, (necessary wearing apparel excepted) to the amount or value of thirty dollars, nor sufficient to pay the debt for which you are imprisoned.” Which oath or affirmation being administered, the judge or commissioners shall certify the same under his or their hands to the prison keeper, and the debtor shall be discharged from his imprisonment on such judgment, and shall not be liable to be imprisoned again for the said debt, but the judgment shall remain good and sufficient in law, and may be satisfied out of any estate which may then or at any time afterwards belong to the debtor. And whenever the oath aforesaid shall be administered by commissioners, in addition to the certificate by them made and delivered to the prison keeper, they shall make return of their doings to the district court with the commission to them issued to be kept upon the files and records of the same court.

Penalty on swearing falsely.Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall falsely take the oath or affirmation aforesaid, such person shall be deemed guilty of perjury, and upon conviction thereof, shall suffer the pains and penalties in that case provided. And the court, upon the motion of the creditor, shall recommit the debtor to the prison from whence he was liberated, there to be detained for the said debt, in the same manner as if such oath or affirmation had not been taken.

1794, ch. 34.
Former act repealed.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the act, entitled “An act to continue in force the act for the relief of persons imprisoned for debt,” be and the same is hereby repealed.

Limitation of this act for three years.Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue in force for the term of three years.

Approved, May 28, 1796.