|Pages 414-428||Pages 453-479|
|HELD AT JAMES CITTIE, MARCH 13TH 1657-8.*||3d Revisal of the laws.|
|The MS. from which the acts of this session were printed, is now in the library of Congress, at Washington.|
|Major JOHN SMITH, Speaker.|
|The Burgesses elected and returned by the sherriffs for the severall plantations to sitt and act in this present Grand Assembly were as followeth:|
| * Mr. Burk, in his History of Virginia,
vol. 2, pa. 118, says that of the transactions from the period of which he was speaking (1656) to
the restoration (1660) "there is an entire chasm in the records." It is to be regretted that the
MSS. to which this author had access, did not furnish him with the documents which this
publication so abundantly supplies. In no portion of our history during the commonwealth, have
the materials been so copious, as from 1656 to 1660. Besides an entire revision of our laws in
1657-8, comprised in one hundred and thirty-one acts, and adapting them to our republican
institutions, various other proceedings of the assembly prove, that at no former period were the
civil and religious rights of the people so well secured (if we except the act "for suppressing
the Quakers." passed after the election of Sir William Berkeley, governor, in March 1659-60,) or
justice and humanity towards our neighbors, the Indians, so sacredly regarded. In the very first
act of this session for settling the church government, instead of enjoining obedience to the
doctrines and discipline of the church of England, as had been invariably the case in all former
acts upon this subject, no such injunction appears. On the contrary|
[This note concludes on the following page.]
|[This note began on the previous page and concludes
all matters relating to the church, the ministers and other parochial affairs, are left at the entire discretion of the people.
|During this period a severe conflict arose between the two branches of the government, as to the constitutional power of the governor and council to dissolve the assembly. A dissolution of the house of burgesses was ordered by the governor and council; but they peremptorily refused to be dissolved, and passed a resolution declaring that any member who should depart from his post, should be "censured as a person betraying the trust reposed in him by his country." Several other resolutions equally display the republican sentiments of the assembly; and the firmness of its members. They took an oath of secrecy; passed an order directed to the high sheriff of James City county, commanding him in the name of the Lord Protector, to obey no warrant or precept directed to him from any power, except the speaker of the house of burgesses, and finally declared "that they had in themselves the full power of the election and appointment of all officers in this contrary, from the supreme power in England;" and that they were "not dissolvable by any power yet extant in Virginia, bu their own." The house of burgesses had a complete triumph. They declared all former elections of governor and council null and void; re-elected coll. Samuel Mathewes, by whom, with his council, an attempt had been made to dissolve them; and prescribed the mode of electing the governor and council in future.|
| In March, 1645-6, (see ante pa. 321) the name of "Upper Norfolk" was changed to "Nansimum;" since which time the county of Nansimum and not Upper Norfolk appears to have been regularly represented in the grand assembly. In this and several of the succeeding assemblies Upper Norfolk has resumed its name and Nansimum disappears.|
|WHEREAS it appeares by act of Assembly held at James Cittie in May, 1652, That it was agreed vpon and thought best by the then comissioners for the parliament, and the Burgesses of the then assembly, That the right of election of all officers of this collony should be and appertaine to the Burgesses, the representatitives of the people, Now know yee, That wee the present Burgesses of this Grand Assembly have accordingly constituted and ordained the severall persons vnder written to be the Governour, Councill & comissioners of this country of Virginia vntil the next Assembly or vntill the further pleasure of the supreame power in England shall be knowne.||Recital of the provisional government.|
|* Part of the manuscript having been torn off the title of these members is obliterated; and by the same accident some words of the last act in the preceding session are necessarily omitted.|
| This was the third election of Governor and Council, under the Commonwealth. Richard Bennett was elected on the 30th of April, 1652, (see ante pa. 371;) Edward Diggs, on the 31st of March, 1655, (see ante pa. 408;) and Samuel Matthewes, this 13th of March, 1657-8.|
|The Honourable SAMUEL MATTHEWES, Esq'r,|
Governour and Captain Generall of Virginia.
RICHARD BENNETT, Esquire.
Coll. Wm. CLAIBORNE, Secretarie of State.
|Theise three last not to be sworne vntill the desolution of the Assembly|
|The preamble to the Acts of Assembly made by a Grand Assembly holden at James Cittie, March the 13th, 1657-8.|
|WHEREAS the acts of Assembly of this country through multiplicitie of alterations and repeales are become so difficult, that the course of justice is thereby obstructed and those that are by the lawes intrusted with power to execute them, may by such their vncertainety be drawne to comit vnwilled errors, this Grand Assembly takeing the same into their serious consideration have accordinge to the duty they owe to God, and the trust reposed in them by the countrey, endeavoured the remedie of the like inconveniencies by makeing a dilligent review of all the acts formerly in force, and have by theise presents enacted, That all acts be reduced into one body and after enterie thereof vpon the records, severall coppies sent into the severall counties respectively, And that those only here mentioned and expressed be esteemed and bee the lawes only in force, for all officers to proceed by in their judgments severally or in the courts of judicature, willing also and requireing all people to take notice hereof and accordingly to yield their due obedience therevnto.||Motives for this revisal.|
Church Government Settled.
|BEE it enacted by this present Grand Assembly concerning Church government as followeth, that all matters concerning the vestrey, their agreements with their ministers, touching the church-wardens, the poore and other things concerninge the parishes or parishoners respectively be referred to their owne ordering and disposeing from time to time as they shall think fitt, That register bookes be kept by their appointments of all christenings, burialls and marriages and the ministers only shall celebrate marriages and not without lycense as formerly or theire publication of banes vppon three severall dayes shall be fined tenne thousand pounds of tobacco to ease the leavye of that county: No lycense to be granted without certificate vnder the hands of the parents, masters or guardians of the parties to be married.||Of the vestry, ministers, church-wardens, poor and parochial
matters, the people have the disposal.|
Registers of births, marriages and deaths.
Marriages, how celebrated.
Against Drunkennes, &c.
|THAT all good meanes be vsed in the severall countie courts and parishes respectively for the suppressing of the odious sinnes of drunkenesse, blasphemous swearing and curseing, scandalous liveing in adultery and ffornication, And that all such person & persons of what degree or qualitie soever be seveerly punished and gennerally to be held incapable of being a wittnes between partie and partie, and of bearing any publique office in the government of this collony; Hee that shall be three times convicted in open court of either of the said offences shall be accounted a common drunkard, swearer, &c. the first offence of drunkeness to be fiftie pounds of tobacco, the first offence of swearing to be twelve pounds of tobacco, and for servants & people vnder age to be referred to the magistrates or com'rs. in the county courts to give them correction in case the parents or masters refuse to pay the fine, The second offence theise mulkts and punishments to be doubled.||Persons guilty of drunkenness, blasphemous cursing and swearing,
adultery and fornication, incapable of being a witness or of holding any public
Servants and minors how punished.
The Sabboth to bee kept holy.
|THAT the Lord's day be kept holy, and that no journeys be made except in case of emergent necessitie on that day, that no goods bee laden in boates nor shooteing in gunns or the like tending to the prophanation of that day, which duty is to be taken care of by the ministers and officers of the severall churches, &c by the comissioners in their places, and the partie delinquent to pay one hundred pounds of tobacco or layd in the stocks, and to take care that servants and others do repaire to their severall churches everie Lord's day.||No journey to be performed on the Lord's day, nor goods laden,
nor guns fired.|
Servants and others to attend church.
|THE lawes of England against biggamy or haveing more then one wife or husband shall be putt in execution in this countrie.||Laws of England against bigamy adopted.|
Warrants and Writts, how to issue.
|ALL warrants and other writts for suites in lawe shall ordinarielie issue vnder the secretarie or clarkes hand, either for quarter courte, countie court, and the sherriffes summons on the said actions as formerly and this be vnderstood to be noe prohibition of the Governours power.||Process to issue from under the clerk's or secretary's hands, or
by entry in the co'ty. court.|
Not to abridge the governor's power.
Against Divulgers of False Newes.
|IF any personn or persons shall forge or divulge any false or dangerous news tending to the disturbance of the peace of this collony vnder the government now established that vnles hee produce his author forthwith||Divulgers of false news concerning the present government|
|shall by the next com'r. for the peace be comitted to prison and if he brings not his said author the next quarter court hee shall be fined two thousand pounds of tobaccoe or less if the merritt of the cause deserve it.||to be fined & imprisoned if they produce not their author.|
Comissioners to determine causes to 350 or 1000 lb. Tobacco.
EVERIE comissioner of the severall counties respectively shall bee authorized to hear and determine all pleas and controversies to the value of one hogshead of tobacco not exceeding 350* pounds and to proceed to execution; two or more com'rs. whereof one to be of the quorum may determine to the value of 1000 pounds of tobacco, and to proceed to execution. Provided that either partie may appeale to the countie court, these comissioners appealed from, not to sitt or have votes, during the hearing of that cause.
|One justice may decide causes to the value of hogshead of
tobacco not exceeding 350 lb. two justices to the value of 1000 lb. and award
Appeal allowed to co'ty court, but the justice whose decision is appealed from not to sit as a member of the court.
Matters of Shipps to provide four monthes Victualls on their Voyage to Virginia.
| ALL masters of shipps shall bee obliged hereby to provide fower
monthes allowance of victualls for passengers at their setting forth from the Downes or other
parts of England and to give the passengers sufficient allowance of diett all the voyage, And
commanders of shipps repectively to take care that poor servants do not want cloathes and bedding
in the voyage, in which particulars aforesaid if any shall offend they shall be liable to
grievous censure here according to the merrit of the offence.
||Passengers to be provided with four months' provisions for a
voyage from England to this country.|
Poor servants to be provided with sufficient cloaths & bedding.
|* It would seem from this act that the ordinary weight of a hogshead of tobacco, at this period, was 350 pounds.|
Concerning Surveyors of High Waise.
THAT surveyors of highwaies and maintenance for bridges be yearly kept and appointed in each countie court respectively, and that all gennerall wayes from county to county and all churchwaies to be laied out and cleered yeerly as each county court shall think fitt, needfull and convenient, repect being had to the course vsed in England to that end.
|Surveyors of highways & support of bridges to be annually kept
General ways from county to county and church ways, how laid out and cleared.
Dispatch of Publique letters.
THAT all letters superscribed for the publique service shall be immediately conveyed from plantation to plantation, to the place and person directed, vnder the pennaltie of one hogshead of tobacco, for each default, and if any extraordinary charge arise thereby, the com'rs. of each county are hereby are hereby authorized to judge thereof and leavie payment for the same: These superscriptions are to be signed by the Governour, Councill or Secrettarie or any comission of the quorum or any of the committee appointed for the militia.
| Letters superscribed "for the public service" to be
immediately conveyed from plantation to plantation.|
Penalty for neglect.
Extraordinary charges to be defrayed by the counties.
By whom superscription to be signed.
Adjournement of Courts forbidden.
THAT all adjournements of quarter courts and countie courts be by all possible meanes avoided, and likewise that all possible dispatch for the determination of all causes bee made.
|Adjournment of courts to be avoided and business dispatched.|
Bee it alsoe enacted and confirmed that noe master of any shipp, vessell, boate or barque, shall transport any person or persons out of this collony except the said person or persons do produce a pass vnder the
|Masters of vessels transporting any person out of the collony.|
|hand of the secrettarie, or such whom he shall depute or appointe, vnder the pennaltie to pay all such debts as anie such person shall stand indebted to any person within this collonie at his or theire departure, And it is further enacted that before any such pass shall be signed to any person hee or they shall bring a certificate from the monthly court where hee or they reside, that he hath sett vp his name vppon a court day tenne daies at the least before his departure at the county court where he resides, or otherwise, shall putt in sufficient securitie for the payment of all debts, that are due or oweing from them to any person within the country.||without a pass liable for his debts.|
How such pass shall be obtained.
Against Shooting on other Men's Lands.
| WHEREAS the rights and interests of the inhabitants are very much
infringed by hunting and shooting of divers men vpon their neighbours' lands and dividents
contrary to the priviledges granted them by their pattents whereby many injuries do daily happen
to the greate damage of the owners of the said land whereon such hunting and shooting is vsed,
It is therefore enacted and confirmed that if any planter or person shall hunt or shoot
vpon or within the lymitts or precincts of his neighbour or others' dividents without leave first
obteined for his soe doeing and haveing bin warned by the owner of the land, to forbeare hunting
and shooteing as aforesaid: Hee or they so offending shall forfeit for everie such offence fower
hundred pounds of tobacco, the one halfe to the owner of the said land, to forbear hunting and
shooteing as aforesaid: Hee or they so offending shall forfeit for ever such offence fower
hundred pounds tobacco, the one halfe to the owner of the said land, and the other to publick
vses; Notwithstanding it shall be lawfull for any person or persons to hunte and shoote
vpon any divident of land not being planted or seated without any restraint or pennaltie,
Provided that the limitts of everie divident be founded with certain and noated markes,
Provided also that it shall be lawfull for any person haveing shott a deare or other game
without the limitts of other mens' lands, to pursue the said deer or game into the divident of
another mans', and freely to carry away the same.
[The rest worn out*]
Penalty for shooting on other mens' lands.
Not to extend to land not seated,
nor bounded, nor to persons who may pursue deer or other game shot off the land.
|* So marked in the MS. But see act XI, 1642-3, ante pa. 248 where the entire act may be found.|
Concerning secret Marriages.
|WHEREAS many greate abuses and much detriment hath been found to arise both against the lawe of God and likewise to the service of many masters of ffamilies in this collonie, occasioned through secret marriages of servants, their masters and mistresses not any waies made privie thereunto, As also by comitting of ffornication; for the prevention of the abuses hereafter, Bee it enacted, and confirmed by this Grand Assembly that what servant soever hath since January 1656, or hereafter shall secretly marrie with any maid or woman servant without the consent of her master or mistresse, (if she be a widowe) hee or they soe offending shall in the first place serve out his or their times with his or their said master or mistress, and after shall serve his or their said master or mistresse, one complete yeare more for such offence comited, And the maid or woman servant so marrying without consent as aforesaid shall for such her offence to her master or mistresse serve one year after her freedom by indenture, And a freeman so offending shall give satisfaction to the master or mistresse by doubling the valew of the service.||Preamble. |
Servants marrying without consent of master or mistress to serve one year after their respective terms.
Free man marrying a servant woman to pay double the value of the extra service.
| And it is also further enacted and confirmed by the authoritie
of this Grand Assembly that if any mans' servant shall hereafter comit the act of
ffornication with any maid [worne out]
appointed in like cases give satisfaction for the loss of her service to her said master or mistresse by his service of one compleat yeare, or pay fifteen hundred pounds of tobacco and give securitie to save harmeless the parish and her said master or mistresse, and defraye all charge of keeping the child, And a freeman so offending shall for his offence pay fifteen hundred pounds of tobacco or one year's service to the master or mistress of the woman or maid servant of whom hee
|Man servant committing fornication with a woman servant to serve
her owner one year or pay 1500 lb. tobacco, and give security to indemnify the parish
against the expenses of the child.|
Free man getting a bastard on a servant woman, how punishable.
| So in MS. −−− See act XX of 1642-3, ante pa. 252, of which this act is an amendment. −−− From the above act it would seem that the words torn out were "or woman servant, he shall for his offence, besides the punishment by law."|
|shall gett a bastard, As also give securitie to save the parish and her said master and mistress harmelesse & defray all charge about keeping the child, And the woman servant so offending to suffer according to lawe, Also be it enacted that every person comitting ffornication shall pay five hundred pounds of tobacco to the vse of the parish where the said act is comitted or be whipt.||To give security to maintain the child.|
Punishment of the woman.
Fornication generally, how punished.
Concerning Hireing of Servants.
|WHEREAS divers persons do enter into covenant with runnaway servants and freemen who have formerly hired themselves to others, to the great prejudice if not vtter vndoeing of diverse poore men thereby also encourageing servants to runnaway from their masters and absent themselves in some remote plantations, Vpon consideration had for the future preventing of the like injuries and vnjust dealings, Bee it enacted and confirmed that what person or persons soever shall entertaine any person as hireling, or sharer, or vppon anie other condition for any time without certificate from some comissioner of the place or his master that he or she is free from any engagement of service, the person soe hireing without certificate as aforesaid shall for every night that hee or shee entertaineth any servant either as hireling or otherwise forfeit to the master or mistresse of the said servant thirtie pounds of tobacco, and everie free man (by hee or shee entertained) formerly hired by another as aforesaid, hee or shee shall forfeit to the party who had first hired him thirtie pounds of tobacco, and every night as aforesaid, And in all theise cases the partie hired shall receive such censure and punishment as shall bee thought fitt by the court, Allwaies provided that if any such runnaway servants or hired ffreemen, shall produce a certificate wherein it appeares that they are free from their former masters service or from any other engagement respectively, If afterwards it shall be proved that such certificate be counterfeit, then the receiver not to suffer according to the penaltie of this act, but such punishment shall be inflicted vpon the fforger or procureors thereof as the court shall think fitt.||Preamble.|
Penalty for hiring a runaway servant or person formerly hired to another without a certificate that he is free from any engagement.
Party hired, how punished.
Against Runnaway Servants.
|WHEREAS there are divers loyteringe runnawaies in this countrey who very often absent themselves from their masters service, and some times in a long time cannot be found, whereby their said masters are at great charge in finding of them, and manie times even to the losse of their yeares labour before they be had Bee it therefore enacted and confirmed, that all runnawayes that shall absent themselves from their said master's service shall be liable to make satisfaction by service at the end of their times by indenture vizt. double the time of service so neglected and in some cases more if the com'rs. for that place appointed shall find requisite and convenient, And if such runnawaies shall be found so to transgresse the second time or oftner, if it shall be duely proved against them, then they shall be branded in the shoulder with the letter R. and alsoe double their time of service neglected, and likewise double his time if at any time afterwards hee shall neglect, and in some cases more if the court shall think fitt. And be it also further enacted, That he or shee that shall lodge or harbor any runnaway shall pay thirtie pounds of tobacco for everie night as long as they shall be prooved to entertaine them, contrary to the former act about hireing of servants; And it shall be lawfull for any servant giveing notice to his master, haveing just cause of complaint against their masters by harsh and bad vsage, or else for want of diett or convenient necessaries, to repaire to the next com'r. to make his or their complaint And if the said comissioner shall find by just proofe that the said servants cause of complaint is just, the said com'rs. is hereby required to give order for the warneing of the said master or mistresse before the com'rs. in the severall countie courts, where the matter in difference shall be decided, as they in their discretions shall think fitt, and that care be had that no servant or servants be misvsed by their master or mistresse where they shall find the complaint to be just.||Preamble.|
Penalty on runaway servants for the first offence.
For the 2d offence to be branded on the shoulder with the letter R. and serve double the time lost.
Penalty for entertaining them.
Remedy for servants complaining of harsh usage, or insufficient food or raiment.
How to proceed.
Power of courts.
No servant to be ill used.
No amunition to be Sent or Sold to the Indians.*
|BEE it also enacted and confirmed, that what person or persons soever shall barter or sell with any Indian or Indians for peice, powder or shott, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall forfeit his whole estate, The one halfe to the informer, and the other halfe to the countie where such fact shall be comitted: And be it further enacted, That what person or persons soever within this collonie shall lend any Indian either peice, powder or shott, it shall be lawfull for any person or persons meeting such Indian so furnished, to take away either peice powder or shott, so as the person takeing it away, carry the same to some com'r. of the county and acquaint him therewith, which said comissioner is hereby authorized to give possession to the informer of the said peice, powder or shott, so brought before him; And the said comissioner is further required to make strict enquiry and examination to find out such person by just proofe delinquent in the premisses hee or they are to binde over the partie to answer the same before the Governour and councill the ensueing quarter court, And in such case the partie delinquent, for his first offence, shall forfeit two thousand pounds of tobacco, The one halfe thereof to the informer and the other to the publique, And further it is enacted that such delinquent for his second offence shall forfeit his whole estate, The one halfe to the publique and the other halfe to the informer.||Person selling arms or ammunition to Indian, forfeits his whole
Lending such to Indian, it may be seized and appropriated by any one.
Duty of commissioner.
Penalty on person lending for 1st & 2d offence.
How long Servants without Indentures shall Serve.
|WHEREAS divers controversies have risen between masters and servants being brought into this collonie without indentures or covennants to testifie their agreements, whereby masters and servants have been often prejudiced, Be it therefore hereby enacted and confirmed for prevention of future controversies of the like nature, That such persons as shall be||Preamble.|
Servants imported without indentures,
|imported, haveing no indenture or covenant, either men or women, if they be above sixteen years old shall serve four yeers, If vnder fifteen to serve till hee or shee shall be one and twenty yeers of age, and the courts to be judges of their ages.||if over 16 years to serve four years; if under 15 to serve till
Courts to judge.
Appraisement vpon Execution.
|BEE it enacted for the equall appraisement of goods seized by execution, That the plaintiff and defendant, shall choose each of them two indifferent men for that purpose, and in case of disagreement the said four or any three of them shall choose an vmpire, which vmpire soe chosen shall be sworne by the next comissioner to appraise such goods indifferently and his vmpirage to be finall, And be it further enacted by the authoritie of this Grand Assembly, That if either plaintiff or defendant shall neglect to appoint appraisers within three dayes after execution is served, notice being given them by the sherriffe to whom the execution was directed, that then the sherriff in case of neglect as aforesaid to choose and appoint appraisers, either for plaintiff or defendant for the appraiseinge of any goods seized by execution as aforesaid.||Goods taken in execution, how appraised.|
If parties neglect to appoint appraisers for 3 days after execution levied, the sheriff to appoint.
How long Sherriffs are to continue
|BEE it also enacted and confirmed, That no sherriff nor vnder sherriffe for the future do remaine, continue or execute the office of a sherriffe or vnder sherriffe any longer then one whole yeere in one countie, and the said sherriffe of everie county respectively is at everie March quarter court to bring in and yeild vp an accompt yeerly to the Governour and council of all publique comands comitted to their charge, at which time they are to be discharged, And alsoe that all sheriffs do give good caution to the county courts for the performance of the trust comitted vnto them.||No sheriff or under sheriff to continue in office more than one
year in a county.|
To render to the gov'r. & council at March q'r. court annually, an account of public commands.
To give good security.
Noe Orphants' Land to be Alienated.
|BEE it also enacted and confirmed for future benefitt of all orphans, That the comissioners of the severall countie courts, do take into their serious consideration and care that noe land belonging to any orphan within their counties respectively be alienated, sold, estranged or taken vp as deserted land by anie persons during their minority vntill three yeeres after their full age, nor that they suffer nor any waies connive at that the overseers nor guardians intrusted for orphants as aforesaid do farme, sett or lett to lease any tennements or lands due to such orphants, for any longer tearme of yeeres then vntil the said orphants shall come of age as aforesaid, and in such lease provide against waste of the timber, and for keeping the houses in such repair as he finds them.||Co'ty. courts to protect orphans' lands from sale or location
till 3 years after full age.|
Not to suffer their guardians to rent it for a longer term than their attainment of full age.
Covenants against waste to be inserted in leases.
Concerning Seating of Land.*
|WHEREAS diverse suites are and have commenced in courtes depending on differrences of land to the greate trouble and molestation of the whole collony, ffor prevention whereof, Be it enacted and confirmed, That if any person or persons whatsoever have sett downe on any plantation or ground which did properly belong to any other man, and if it shall fall out by a just survey to bee the right of him, although it hath bin formerly peopled, cleered and builded vpon by another, that a valuable consideration be allowed by the judgement of twelve men vppon oath to the first that hath seated vpon it, but if the charge shall amount to more then the owner is willing to disburse, that hee that is in possession shall give satisfaction for the land what it may be judged worth, by twelve men before the seating thereof, which jurie is to be sworne by the next authoritie||Persons settling on lands of others to be allowed for their
improvements; but if they exceed the value of the land, the person in possession to take the land
at valuation, independently of the improvement.|
How the jury to be sworn.
|* This act, with the last proviso, is compounded of act XXXIII of 1642-3 (ante pa. 260) and act XV of November, 1647 (ante pa. 349.)|
|qualified to the administration of an oath, Provided that this act shall not extend to any orphan's land nor that such land be accounted diserted vntill three yeeres after the age of any orphans, Alsoe it is provided further that where it appeares there hath bin lawfull warning, noe consideration is to be allowed for building and clearing.|| Not to extend to orphans' lands.|
No compensation for improvements to persons having notice of a prior right.
Noe Burgesses to bee Arrested.
|FFOR the dispatch and reputation of the publique buisnes, Bee it enacted and confirmed that none of the Burgesses of this nor any following Assembly nor any of their attendance shall be arrested from the time of his election vntill tenne daies after dissolution of the Assembly wherein he serves as a Burgesse.||Burgesses & attendants privileged from arrests during each session & 10 days after wards.|
Concerning Prisons and Prisoners.
|BEE it enacted and confirmed by the authoritie aforesaid, That the sherriffes of the severall counties respectively shall deteyne and keep all such prisoners as shall from time to time happen to be within the severall counties as are to have their tryall before the Governour and Councill at James Cittie vntil the first daye of the courte which shall be appointed for their tryall, and that the said sherriffes or their deputies then are to deliver the said prisoners into the custody of the sherriffe of James Cittie, And be it further enacted and confirmed, That the commissioners of the severall counties do take care that sufficient prisons be built for the vse of the said severall counties respectively.|| Prisoners who are to be tried before the
gov. and council to be kept in their county prison till the 1st day of the court at Ja's.
Sheriffs then to deliver prisoners to sheriff of Jas. City.
Sufficient prisons to be built in the several counties.
Concerning Grants of Land.
|BEE it hereby enacted that nay person or persons clayming land as due by importation of servants they or each of them shall prove their title or just right, either before the Governour and Councill or produce certificates from the countie courts to the secrettaries||Head rights of land for servants imported, how obtained.|
|office before any grant be admitted, and that no pattents be made without exact survey produced in the secretaries office as aforesaid.||No patents to issue without exact surveys.|
Against Tradeing with Servants.
|WHEREAS divers ill disposed persons do secretly and covertly trade and truck with other mens' servants and apprentices which tendeth to the great injurie of masters of ffamilies their servants being thereby induced and invited to purloine and imbezill the goods of their said masters, Bee it therefore enacted for redresse of the like disorders and abuses hereafter that what person or persons shall buy, sell, trade or truck with any servant, for any comoditie whatsoever without lycence or consent of the master of any such servant hee or they so offending against the premises shall suffer one monthes imprisonment without bail or mainprize and also shall forfeite and restore to the master of the said servant fower times the value of the things so bought, sold, trucked or traded for.||Preamble.|
For trading with another man's serv't. 1 month's imprisonm't.
And 4 times the value of the article to be paid.
Councellors free from Levies.
IT is enacted by this present Grand Assembly, That each of the Council of State in this collony shall be freely exempted from all publique charges and taxes for them and ten tithables, church duties excepted.
|Members of council and ten tithables exempted from taxes, but not church duties.|
Comissioners to take Securitie of Sherriffes.
BEE it also enacted, That the comissioners of the severall counties respectively shall, before the admission of any sherriffes into their offices, take such securitie as they shall think fitt and sufficient of the severall countie sherriffes respectively, for the performance of their places, especially for the receiveing and dischargeing all publique duties and officers' ffees comitted to their charge of collection, and if the said comissioners respectively shall omitt the same, then they to be liable and responsible for the same or any part of the same.
|Co'ty courts to take sufficient security of sheriffs for the performance of their duty; particularly for the collection and payment of public taxes and officers' fees or be liable for the default of the sheriff.|
Wines and Strong Waters Retailed, how to be rated.
WHEREAS there hath bin a great abuse by the vnreasonable rates exacted by ordinarie keepers and retailers of wine and strong waters, Bee it enacted, That no person or persons whatsoever retaileing wines and strong waters shall exact or take for any Spanish wines, vizt. Mallaga, Canary, Sherry, Muscadine, Tent or Aligant above the rate of sixtie pounds of tobacco per gallon, And for Madera and ffiall wine above fiftie, and for all ffrench wines above thirtie lb. of tobacco per gallon: and for the best sorte of all English strong waters above the rate of one hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco per gallon, and for aqua vitæ or brandy above the rate of sixty per gallon, and if any person or persons retailing wines or strong waters as aforesaid shall fraudulently mix or corrupt the same, Vpon complaint and due proof made thereof before two comissioners, whereof one to be of the quorum, the said comissioners shall by warrant vnder their hands cause the constable to stave the same, And if any shall take more then such rates sett, they shall be fined double the value of such rates so exacted, and their rates to be considered on yearly by the Assembly according to the scarceness of the commoditie or as the price of tobacco shall rise or fall.
Rates of wine: Malaga, Canary, Sherry, Muscadine, Tent, Alicant 60 lb. of tob. per gallon. Madeira and Fayal 50 lb. French 30 lb.
Engl. strong waters 120 lb. tob. per gallon.
Aqua vitæ or brandy 60 lb. per gallon.
Penalty for mixing or corrupting liquors.
For exceeding the legal rates.
Rates of liquors to be fixed yearly by the assembly.
Countie Courts impowered to grant Probats and Administrations.*
|WHEREAS the estates of deceased persons in this collonie have bin much wronged by the great charge and expenses which have bin brought in by the administrators thereof, vpon pretence of their attendance at James Cittie, and the distance of their habitations from thence, for remedie whereof, and because the abuses may be the better knowne and prevented in the place where the decedent dwelt, and the estates||Preamble.|
|* See act IX of November, 1645, (ante pa. 302) of which this is an amendment.|
| belonging to orphans and absent men the better preserved, Be it enacted that
administrations may be granted at the county courts, where such person or persons did reside or
inhabitt; and a probate of wills there made and wills recorded together with the appraisements,
inventories and accompts belonging to the same there examined and allowed, and accordingly as the
comissioners of the said county courts shall se cause to give certificate to the secretary's
office at James Cittie, for a quietus est to be given to the adm'rators of course, Be it also
enacted that vppon judgement against the estate of any deceased persons, no execution issue
against the person or proper estate of the executor or administrator before a devastavit, that is
waste, be proved against him.
||Administrations may be granted by co'ty. courts where the
Appraisements, &c. how allowed.
Certificates from county courts to q'r courts for quietus.
On a judgm't against an executor as such, no execution to issue against his own estate till a devastavit be proved.
Orders of Courts and Proclamations not to contradict an Act.
| IT is enacted and confirmed that no act of court or
proclamation doe hereafter enjoyne any obedience contrary to an act of Assembly.
||No order of court or proclamation to contravene a law.|
Judgement before a Comissioner.*
|BEE it alsoe enacted for the lessening expence and trouble in courts that if any person or persons will acknowledge vnder his or their hand or hands a judgment for his or their just debt or debts and the same be recorded by the clarke of the countie court before one of the comissioners of the quorum, in a booke to be kept for that purpose, then such judgment shall be equally binding as if given by the court, and the execution to issue accordingly, and the clark's fee for entreing such judgment to be tenn pounds of tobacco, and for an authentique copy fower pounds of tobacco.||Judgm't. may be confessed by acknowledgm't in writing, and the
same being recorded by the clerk of the county court, before a magistrate execution may
|* Taken from act XI of November, 1645 −−− See ante pa. 301.|
|Certificate of Judgment.|
|BEE it alsoe enacted that a judgment being entered in any of the county courts and certified vnder the clarks hand into an other county. Judgment shall there issue, as if judgment had bin given in the said county.||Judg't in one county, how execution to issue in another.|
|Sherriffs to take sufficient Baile.|
|BEE it hereby enacted that all sherriffs shall take sufficient baile of all persons arrested with this condition to bring forth the partie arrested, or performe the award of the court, and if the sherriff shall neglect to take sufficient baile of the partie arrested or otherwise consent to be the cause of his escape, Then the said sherr: shall bee liable to pay the award of the court himselfe, and the sherriffe if he require it shall have an attachment against the estate of the partie arrested, and judgement the next court following; but if the partie arrested shall not appeare to answer the suite baile being given then judgment shall be awarded against the baile, and the baile so condemned, if it be required, shall have an attachment against the estate of the partie so arrested not appearing, and the court following judgment therevpon, Alwaies provided that if the said sherriff or baile at the next court after the first impleading do bring forth the body or goods of the said partie so arrested to satisfie the award of the court, then the said sherr: or baile shall be acquitted, And the com'rs. shall be precisely tied to keep the daies appointed for their meeting by act of Assembly, and for no cause alter the same, but it shall be lawfull for the comissioners to hold courts at other times if occasion shall require, And it shall be in the power of the severall courts to nominate and approve the clarkes of||Sheriff to take bail on arrests. Consequence of failure, or of
permitting an escape.|
When sheriff or bail may have attachment against the principal.
How sheriff or bail may discharge themselves.
Courts to be punctually held.
Courts to appoint their own clerks.
| The word "judgment" here is clearly a mistake. It should be "execution" −−− See act XIII of November, 1645 (ante pa. 304) from which this act is taken.|
| Altered from act XIV of Nov. 1645 −−− See ante pa. 305.|
| the county courts,* who are to pay the secretarie the vsuall composition
and fees as formerly, Provided none that is clarke at present be putt out of this place,
without manifest cause prooved against him.
||Their fees as formerly.|
Existing clerks not to be removed without good cause.
|Prisoners' Charges how to be raised.|
|BEE it enacted and confirmed, That the charges and fees of prisoners for criminall causes for life and death shall be defrayed by the severall counties respectively, where the ffact he was accused of was committed, in case the said prisoner shall be found guiltie, but if not guiltie of any accusation not tending to his life, he shall beare his owne charges, and discharge his ffees but the countie to pay the charge of the evidences.|| Criminal charges, when to be paid by the
prisoner, when by the county.|
Expense of witnesses to be paid by county.
|Accounts to be ballanced in Courts.|
|BEE it enacted for the avoideing of manie causeless suites in lawe, That where any suit shall be comenced either at quarter courte or county court, That if the defendant have either bill, bond or accompt of the plaintiff, wherein he prooves him debtor, that in such case the court shall ballance debts, consideration and allowance being had for charges to him that begunne the suite, as also to the time when such bills, bonds and accompts where due, to be compared to the accompts in ballance, Allwaies provided that no debts by bill or accompt whatsoever be passed or turned over without the knowledge of both parties, and that the bill and acco't. be of the like nature and value.||Discounts & set offs, how allowed.|
No assignm't of bills, &c. without the knowledge of both parties.
Debts set off must be of the like nature & value.
|* By act XIV of Nov. 1645 (ante pa. 305) the governor was authorised to appoint clerks of courts.|
| See act XVI of February, 1644-5, ante pa. 296 −−− Act XI of March, 1645-6, from which this act is taken, with an amendment at the end of the act.|
|FFOR the regulateing of the imoderate excessive rates and prices exacted by practitioners of phisick and chirurgery, Bee it enacted that it shall be lawfull and free for any person or persons where they shall conceive the account of the phisitian or chirurgeon to be vnreasonable either for his paines, druggs or medecines to arrest the said phisitian or chirurgeon either in the quarter court or county court where they inhabit, where the said phisitian shall declare vpon oath the true valew, worth and quantity of his druggs and medecines administred to or for the vse of the plaintiffe, Wherevpon the court where the matter is tried shall adjudge and allow the said phisitian or chirurgeon such satisfaction and reward as they in their discretions shall think fitt, And it is further ordered that where it shall be sufficiently proved in any of the said courts that a phisitian or chirurgeon hath neglected his patient, or that he hath refused (being therevnto required) his helpe and assistance to any person or persons in sicknes or extremitie, that the said phisitian or chirurgeon shall be censured by the court for such his neglect or refusall.||Physicians and surgeons, how compelled to declare, on oath, the value of their drugs and medicines.|
|Noe fees to be received by the Sherriff before the Levie.|
|BEE it further enacted, That no sherriff or sherriffs whatsoever do receive his owne or other officers' fees, due or sallary or any other debt belonging to private persons before payment be made by the party of the publique and county levies, vpon the pennaltie of one thousand pounds of tobacco for everie sherriffe or sheriffs that shall do or receive any tobaccoe contrary to the tenor hereof.|| Public and county levies to be first secured
by sheriffs before any private debt or fees.|
| This was probably taken from the act of October, 1639, which is recited and revised by act XV of March, 1654-6 −−− See ante pa. 316. [This last should have read 1645-6]|
| Act IX of October, 1646, ante pa. 330.|
|Concerning Land in five yeares possession without claime.*|
|WHEREAS sundry suites, controversies and debates in lawe have bin and dayly do arise about claimes and titles to land to the great impoverishing of divers persons for remedie and redresse of the like inconveniencies hereafter and for the better establishing the rights and possessions of the inhabitants, Bee it enacted that all persons whatsoever that have or doe pretend any title to any land shall prosecute their claime before the said land hath bin peaceably enjoyed ffive yeares, otherwise it shall be a good plea in barr for the possessor of such land claimed or pretended, to affirme he hath had peaceable possession without claime by comencement of suit, and prosecution to judgment to the time limitted by this said act, which shall be accompted a sufficient confirmation to the said possessor, and shall conclude the claime and title of the pretender; And this act is to extend to all such that have not prosecuted their titles within ffive yeares since the sixth day of October, 1646 −−− Allwaies provided that the limittation of ffive yeares in this act expressed shall not barr orphans from their titles, nor women vnder coverte, or persons of not sound mind, But that it shall be lawfull for them, within ffive years after orphans come of age, or those before mentioned to a legall capacity to comence suite for any land claimed by them, in which case it shall be no barr for the possessor to plead ffive yeares possession without claime, unles the suit bee commenced above ffive yeares after the orphant shall be at age or those before mentioned in a legall capacity as aforesaid.||Preamble.|
Suits for land to be commenced within five years or the claimant forever barred.
Act to operate from 6th of Oct. 1646.
Orphans, femes covert & persons of unsound mind allowed 5 years after their disabilities removed.
|* Altered from act XIII of October, 1646, ante pa. 331.|
| In the act of 1646 "his majesties subjects."|
| The proviso in favor of femes covert, &c. added in this act, which was not in the former.|
|Sherriffs to make returnes.|
|BEE it enacted, That such sherriff or sherriffs who shall make default of makeing sufficient returne of any warrant or precept directed to him and received by him, or for not doeing or performing any thing or things which shall be enjoyned or commanded by an Assembly, That such sherriff or sherriffs for everie default as aforesaid for the time to come shall forfeit one thousand pounds of tobacco.||Penalty on sheriff for not making returns of precepts or for omitting to do any thing commanded by an assembly.|
|Surveyors of Land regulated.|
|BEE it hereby enacted, That surveyors of land shall demand no more then twenty pounds of tobacco for measureing one hundred acres of land, if the parcell exceed five hundred acres, but if vnder to be allowed one hundred pounds of tobacco, and for the same shall deliver an exact plott of each parcell surveyed & measured, And if any surveyor vpon reasonable demand shall refuse to measure the divident of any person whatsoever for the consideration and satisfaction aforesaid such surveyor shall be liable to the censure of the court in that county where he liveth: and if any surveyor shall be desired to go further from his place of residence then he can returne in one day, such surveyor shall have the allowance of thirtie pounds of tobacco per day for everie day's absence from his dwelling, and if his passage cannot be but by water, then such persons as shall employ him shall provide for his transport out and home.||Surveyors' fees.|
To deliver a plat of each survey.
Penalty for refusing to survey for the legal fees.
Allowance for any day's absence from home.
His transportation by water to be provided by the person employing him.
|What Prisons are sufficient.|
|[This act contains the substance and almost the very words of act I. of November, 1647, ante pa. 340, and therefore need not be repeated.*]|
|* Many of the acts of this revisal, being mere transcripts of former laws, it is deemed unnecessary to insert them again.|
|Pages 414-428||Pages 453-479|