|Pages 523-540||Pages 559-568|
|[From edit. 1752.]|
|I. FOR establishing one certain and uniform method for the trial of criminals, for capital offences, Be it enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That when any person, not being a slave, shall at any time hereafter be committed to any county goal, by precept from a justice of the peace, for any criminal offence, and such justice shall forthwith issue his warrant, to the sheriff of his county, requiring him to summon the justices of the same county, to meet at their court house, on a certain day in such warrant to be appointed, not less than five nor more than ten days after the date thereof, to hold a court for examination of the prisoner, and of the witnesses, and circumstances of the fact, wherewith he, or she stands charged, and to consider, whether, as the case shall appear to them, he, or she, may be discharged from further prosecution, or may be tried in the county, or must be removed from thence, to be tried in the general court, or court of oyer and terminer: Which warrant the sheriff is hereby required to obey, and execute, and by virtue thereof the said justices shall and may lawfully meet, and hold court for the purposes aforesaid; and if upon examination before such court, they shall be of opinion, that the prisoner ought to be tried before the general court, or court of oyer and terminer, they shall enter such their opinion upon record, and remand the prisoner to the county goal; and thereupon it shall be lawful for any two justices of the said court whereof one shall be of the quorum, by warrant under their hands and seals, directed to the keeper of the public goal, to remove such prisoner, and him, or her to commit to the said public goal, there to be safely kept, until he, or she, be thence delivered, by due course of law: By virtue of which warrant, the sheriff shall, as soon as he conveniently may, remove such prisoner, and deliver him, or her, together with such warrant, to the keeper of the said goal, for the time being, who is hereby required|| |
Method of proceeding against criminals, not being slaves committed by a justice.
A court to be summoned.
Commitment to the public goal.
|to receive such prisoner, and him, or her, in his safe custody to keep, pursuant to such warrant, to him directed: And for the better enabling the sheriff safely to convey, and deliver such prisonor, or prisoners, it shall be lawful for the said two justices, by warrant under their hands and seals, to impower the sheriff, as well in his own county, as in all other counties, and places he shall pass through, with such prisoner or prisoners, to impress such and so many men, horses, sloops, or boats, as shall be necessary for the save conveying him, her, or them, to the public goal aforesaid: Which warrant the sheriff, or officer, is hereby authorised and impowered to execute, and all persons are required to give due obedience thereto; such sheriff, or officer, proceeding therein as the law directs, upon impressing in other cases for the public service: But where the court held for examination of any such prisoner, as aforesaid, shall be of opinion that the fact may be tried in the county, in such case, he, or she, shall be bound over to the next grand jury court, to be held for that county, for trial, or upon refusing to give sufficient bail, shall be remanded to the county goal, there to remain until such court, or until he, or she, shall be bailed.|| |
Sheriff may impress necessary assistance.
Proceedings where the fact may be tried in the county.
|II. Provided always, That where any person under criminal prosecution, is by law bailable, he, or she, shall not be removed from the county, to the public goal, in less then twenty days after recommitment, or being remanded as aforesaid, but shall and may be admitted to bail within that time, or at any time afterwards before trial.||Prisoner may be bailed, if legally bailable.|
|III. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That upon every commitment of any person for any capital or criminal offence, the justice, or justices committing him, or her, shall cause all the witnessess to enter into recognizance for their appearance, to give evidence at the trial: And if upon the first commitment, the prisoner shall desire any witnesses on his, or her behalf to appear, before the court to be held for his, or her examination, the sheriff, upon request, shall forthwith summon such witnesses to attend the said court; and if after being remanded, or committed to the public goal, the prisoner shall desire any witness, or witnesses to be summoned the sheriff, or goaler, shall immediately give notice thereof to the|| Witnesses to be bound to appear. |
Prisoner may have his witnesses summoned.
|county court clerk, or to the clerk of the secretary's office, as the case shall require, who shall thereupon forthwith issue one or more subpoenas, for such witnesses to appear, and give evidence at the trial.|
|IV. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That when any general court or court of oyer and terminer, shall be sitting, it shall be lawful for the keeper of the public goal, by order of such court, to impress a guard for the safe keeping all such prisoners in his custody, and that the fee due to the sheriff, or public goaler, for keeping and dieting any such prisoner, shall be five pounds of tobacco per day, and no more: And where the criminal shall be convicted, and hath estate sufficient to defray the charge of prosecution, the whole shall be paid out of the delinquent's estate, and the county, and public, only then chargeable, where no estate, or not sufficient, can be found or discovered.|| Public goaler may impress guard. |
Prison fee for keeping a prisoner.
Criminal's estate liable to defray the costs of prosecution.
|V. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful for the sheriff of the county of York, and the sheriff of the county of James City, for the time being, upon writs to them directed out of the secretary's office: Which writs the clerk of the said office is hereby impowered and required to issue six days, at least before the day of holding every court of oyer and terminer, to summon, each of them, twelve good and lawful men, being freeholders of their respective counties, to appear, and attend at such court of oyer and terminer; which twenty four freeholders, or so many of them as shall appear, shall be of a grand jury, and it shall be lawful for such grand jury to enquire of, and present, all treasons, felonies, and other offences, cognizable by the justices of oyer and terminer, which shall have been committed, or done, in any county or counties, within this colony of Virginia; and if any of the freeholders so summoned, shall fail to appear, and attend the said court, it shall be lawful for the justices thereof, to fine every freeholder, so failing, not exceeding four hundred pounds of tobacco.|| Grand jurors at the court of oyer and terminer. |
Fine, if they fail to appear.
|VI. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That when any person shall be committed to the public goal of this colony, for treason, or felony, for which such person may be tried before the court of oyer and terminer, or before the general court, the||Notice of commitments to the public goal.|
|sheriff, or other officer bringing such person to the public goal, shall immediately give notice to the clerk of the general court, for the time being, of such commitment, and the cause thereof, and the parish and county where the fact, for which such person was committed, shall be alledged to be done; and thereupon the said clerk shall issue a writ, directed to the sheriff of the county where such fact was committed, thereby commanding him to cause to come, twelve good and lawful freeholders of his county, residing as near as may be to the place where the fact is alledged to have been committed, before the justices of oyer and terminer, on the first day of that court, or the justices of the general court, on the sixth day thereof, then next coming, and to return a panel of their names; which twelve freeholders so returned, or so many of them as shall appear, not being challenged, together with so many other good and lawful freeholders of the by-standers, as shall make up the number of twelve men, shall be, and are hereby declared to be a lawful jury, for the trial of any person or persons, indicted of treason, or felony, committed or done in any county or counties of this colony, before the justices of the court of oyer and terminer, and the justices of the general court respectively: And every venire man, so summoned, appearing and attending such court, shall be intitled to the same allowance for travelling and attendance, as by law is provided for witnesses at the general court: And if any person so summoned, and returned on the panel to serve on the petit jury, before the justices of oyer and terminer, shall fail to appear and attend, it shall be lawful for the justices of the said court, to fine every person so failing, not exceeding four hundred pounds of tobacco: Which said fines, herein before mentioned, shall be to our sovereign lord the king his heirs and successors, for the better support of the government of this colony, and the contingent charges thereof.|| Venire, for 12 jurors of the vicinage. |
Venire man's pay.
Fine, on failure of appearance.
|VII. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That in all trials for capital offences, the prisoner upon his petition to the court, shall be allowed counsel; and that no person shall be qualified to be of the petit jury, for the trial of treason, felony, or other criminal offence, in the court of oyer and terminer, who shall not be a freeholder, and possessed of an estate, real and personal, of the value of one hundred pounds|| Prisoner may have counsel. |
Qualification of a juror.
|current money, at the least: But no exception taken to a juryman for the insufficiency of his estate, shall be allowed, unless the same be made before he is sworn of the jury: And if any challenge shall be made for the king, of any of the twelve jurors, so as aforesaid returned by the sheriff of the county where the fact is alledged to be done, good cause of such challenge shall be shown.|| Insufficiency of estate no cause of challenge after a juror is
Challenge for the king shall be upon good cause.
|VIII. But forasmuch as the summoning twelve freeholders, from the county where the fact is committed, is very burthensome and expensive to the public, as well as grievous to many of his majesty's subjects, who live in the remote counties, and most of the felonies and other capital offences committed in this colony, are perpetrated and done by persons who have been convicted of felony, or other crimes in Great Britain, or Ireland, and there sentenced to be transported for the same, and it can be no benefit to such persons; who are commonly servants, and little known in the neighbourhood where they live, to have a jury of the vicinage, but they may be as fairly and impartially tried by a jury of the by-standers: Be it therefore further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That when any person charged with a capital offence, shall be examined before the court for that purpose to be summoned and held, such court shall have full power and authority to inquire, by such means as they shall think necessary, whether such person has been convicted in Great Britain, or Ireland, of any felony, or other crime, and there sentenced to be transported for the same, and whether the time for which such person was sentenced to be transported, be expired, and if it shall appear to such court, that the criminal has been so convicted and sentenced, and that the term of transportation is not expired, the court shall cause the same to be recorded, and the clerk of the court shall certify such record; upon the back of the warrant of commitment to the public goal, and upon such certificate, so endorsed, the clerk of the general court shall not issue any writ to summon a jury of freeholders of the county where the fact is alledged to be committed, but such person shall be tried by a jury of the by-standers, in the general court, or court of oyer and terminer.|| Rules in trials of convicts, for capital offences. |
|Provided nevertheless, That no person shall be qualified to be of such jury, unless he be a freeholder, and possessed of an estate, real and personal, of the value of one hundred pounds current money, at least.|
|And that upon every such trial the prisoner shall have benefit of challenges, and all other advantages which he, or she, might or could have, if the trial was by a jury of the vicinage.|
|IX. And for settling the law in relation to the benefit of clergy, to be allowed to felons convict, It is hereby further enacted, and declared, That where by any act of the parliament of England, made before the fourth year of the reign of the late king James the first, the benefit of clergy is taken away from any offence, the same shall be adjudged to be taken away from the like offence committed in this colony, in respect to principals, and accessories, standing mute or challenging a greater number of the jury than the law allows; and that where a man, convicted of felony, may demand the benefit of his clergy, if a woman be convicted of the same, or the like offence, upon her prayler to have the benefit of this act, judgment of death shall not be given against her, upon such conviction, nor execution awarded upon any outlawry for such offence, but she shall suffer the same punishment as a man should suffer, that has the benefit of clergy allowed him, in the like case: That is to say, shall be burnt in the hand by the jaylor, in open court, and shall be afterwards dealt with, as a man in like case might be: And if any person be convicted of a felony, for which he ought to have the benefit of this act, he shall not be required to read, but without any reading shall be allowed, taken, and reputed to be, and punished as a clerk convict, which shall be as effectual to all intents and purposes, and as advantageous to him, as if he had read as a clerk, any law, or statute, to the contrary notwithstanding.||Where felons convict shall have the benefit of clergy, without reading.|
|X. And whereas convicts, as well as negroes, mulattos, and Indians, are commonly of such base and corrupt principles, that their testimony cannot be depended upon: To prevent the mischiefs which may happen, by admitting such precarious evidence, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That no person convicted, and sentenced to transportation, as||Convicts under sentence of transportation, free negroes, mulattos, and indians, shall not be witnesses except for|
|is herein before recited, shall be admitted in any court of this colony, or before any justice of peace, to be sworn as a witness, or to give evidence in any cause, civil, or criminal, except against or between any other convicts, until the term for which such person was sentenced to be transported, shall appear to be fully expired: And that no free negroe, mulatto, or Indian, shall be admitted or sworn a witness, in any cause whatsoever, except against or between negroes, mulattos, or indians.||or against convicts, negroes, &c.|
|XI. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That all and every other act and acts, clause and clauses, heretofore made, for or concerning any matter or thing within the purview of this act, shall be and are hereby repealed.||Repealing clause.|
|XII. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That this act shall commence and be in force from and immediately after the tenth day of June, which shall be in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty one.||Commencement of this act.|
| CHAP. XIV.
An Act concerning Servants, and Slaves.
|[From edit. 1752. This act was repealed, by proclamation. See note to chap. 2.]|
|I. BE it enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That all servants, except convicts, imported into this colony without indenture, if they be christians, of christian parentage, and above nineteen years of age, shall serve but five years; and if they be under nineteen, 'til they become twenty four years of age, and no longer: But every such servant, under nineteen, shall be brought, within six months after his, or her importation, before the court of the county where the master lives, and his, or her age adjudged by the court, otherwise shall be a servant no longer than the accustomary five years, altho' under the age of nineteen; and the age of such servant, so adjudged and recorded, shall be accounted his, or her true age, in respect to the time of service.|| |
How long servants imported without indenture, shall serve.
|II. And that all persons who have been, or shall be imported into this colony, by sea or land, and were not||Who shall be slaves.|
|christians in their native country; except turks and moors in amity with his majesty, and such who can prove their being free, in England, or any other christian country, before they were shipped for transportation hither, shall be accounted and be slaves, and as such be here bought and sold, notwithstanding a conversion to christianity after their importation.|
|III. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That if any person shall import into this colony, and here sell as a slave; any person or persons who have been free, in any christian country, island, or plantation, such importer and seller shall forfeit and pay, to the party from whom such free person shall recover his or her freedom, double the sum for which such free person was sold, to be recovered in any court of record of this colony, with costs, according to the course of the common law, wherein the defendant shall not be admitted to plead in barr, any act or statute, for limitation of actions.||Penalty for selling freemen as slaves.|
|IV. Provided always, That a slave's being in England shall not be a discharge from slavery, without further proof of being manumitted there; and that baptism of slaves doth not exempt them from bondage: And that all children shall be bond, or free, according to the condition of their mothers, and the particular directions of this act; and where any female mulatto, or Indian, by law obliged to serve till the age of thirty one years, hath been or shall be delivered of any child, during the time of her servitude, such child shall serve the master, or mistress of such mulatto or Indian, until it shall attain the same age the mother of such child was obliged by law to serve unto.|| What shall be no discharge from slavery. |
Children bond or free according to their mother's condition.
|V. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That all masters and owners of servants, by act of parliament, indenture, or custom, shall find and provide for them, wholesome and competent diet, cloathing, and lodging, and shall not give immoderate correction, nor whip any christian white servant naked, without order from a justice of peace: And if any person shall presume to whip a christian white servant naked, without such order, he, or she, so offending, shall forfeit and pay fifty shillings current money, to the party injured, recoverable with costs, upon complaint made to the county court, within six months after such whipping.||Master's duty to servants.|
|VI. And that all complaints of servants made to a justice of peace, shall be by him received, and if thereupon he shall see cause, he may bind over the master, or owner, to appear before the next court held for his county, to answer such complaint, where the same shall be heard and determined: And all petitions of servants, to the court of the county wherein they reside, for diet, cloathing, lodging, correction, whipping, freedom, or freedom dues, shall be received at any time, without the formality of an action, and such court is hereby declared to have jurisdiction and authority, (the master or owner of the petitioner being first summoned to appear) to hear and determine the matter of every such petition in a summary way, and to award execution thereupon: And where the same shall relate to diet, cloathing, lodging, or correction, the court may make such order as to them shall appear just and necessary; and if the master, or owner, will not comply with such order, the court may, upon a second complaint, or petition, order the servant, so petitioning, to be immediately sold by the sheriff at public auction, for the residue of his, or her time of service, then unexpired, and the money, or tobacco, arising by such sale, after charges deducted, shall be paid to the owner, when demanded; and if such servant be sick, lame, or disabled, so that he, or she, cannot be sold for so much, at least, as will satisfy the fees and other incident charges, the court shall order the church wardens of the parish to take care of, and provide for such servant, 'till the expiration of his, or her time of service, or until he, or she, can be sold for defraying all charges, and moreover, the court shall, from time to time, order the charges of keeping such servant to be levied, by distress upon the goods and chattels of the master, or owner.|| Justices shall receive servant's complaints. |
Proceedings upon servants petitions to the court.
|VII. And that no master or owner shall, during the time of service, make any contract, or bargain, with his, or her servant, for further service, or other matter or thing relating to liberty, or personal profit, unless the same be made in the presence, and with the approbation of the court of the county wherein the master or owner resides: And if any servant shall at any time bring in goods, or money, or during the time of their service shall, by gift, or any other lawful means, acquire goods or money, they shall have the property|| No contracts between masters and servants, unless in court.
Servants shall have the property of their own effects.
|and benefit thereof to their own use: And if any servant shall be sick, or lame, and so becomes useless or chargeable, his or her master or owner shall maintain such servant, until his or her whole time of service shall be expired; and if any master or owner shall put away a lame, or sick servant, under pretence of freedom, and such servant becomes chargeable to the parish, such master or owner shall forfeit and pay ten pounds current money to the churchwardens of the parish wherein such offence shall be committed, to the use of their parish recoverable with costs, by action of debt, in any county court of this colony, and moreover shall be liable to the action of the said churchwardens, at the common law for damages.|| Sick or lame servants may not be discharged. |
Penalty 10l. & damages.
|VIII. And that every servant, male or female, not having wages, shall, at the expiration of his, or her time of service, have and receive three pounds ten shillings current money, for freedom dues, to be paid by his, or her master, or owner; and in case of refusal, recoverable with costs, by petition to the county court, in manner herein before directed.||Freedom dues.|
|IX. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That no negroe, mulatto, or indian, altho' a christian, or any Jew, Moor, Mahometan, or other infidel, shall at any time purchase any christian servant, nor any other, except of their own complexion, or such as by this act are declared slaves: And if any of the persons aforesaid shall nevertheless presume to purchase a christian white servant, such servant shall immediately become free, and be so held, deemed and taken: And if any person, having such christian servant, shall marry with a negroe, mulatto, indian, jew, moor, mahometan or other infidel, such servant shall thereupon become freed from all service then due to such master or mistress.||Who may not have a christian servant.|
|X. And that no person whatsoever shall buy, sell, or receive of, to or from any servant, or slave, any coin or commodity whatsoever, without the leave or consent of the master or owner of such servant, or slave: And if any person shall presume to deal with any servant, or slave, without such leave or consent, he or she so offending, shall be imprisoned one calendar month, without bail or mainprize, and then remain in prison, until he or she give sufficient security, in the sum of ten pounds current money, for the good behaviour for||Penalty upon dealing with a servant, or slave, without leave.|
|one year following, wherein a second offence shall be a breach of the bond; and moreover, such offender shall forfeit and pay four times the value of the thing so bought, sold, or received, to the master or owner of such servant, or slave; to be recovered with costs by action upon the case, in any county court of this dominion: And when any person, convict as aforesaid, shall not immediately give such security, for the good behaviour, the court shall order thirty nine lashes, well laid on, upon the bare back of such offender, at the common whipping post, and he or she to be thereupon discharged of giving such bond and security.|
|XI. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That all servants shall faithfully and obediently, all the whole time of their service, do all their masters or owners just and lawful commands; and if any servant shall resist his or her master, mistress, or overseer, or offer violence to any of them, such servant shall, for every such offence, be adjudged to serve his or her master or owner one whole year, after the time by act of parliament, indenture, custom, or former order of court shall be expired.|| Duty of servants. |
Their punishment, in case of resistance.
|XII. And that in all cases of penal laws, where free persons are punishable by fine, servants shall be punished by whipping, after the rate of twenty lashes for every five hundred pounds of tobacco, or fifty shillings current money. so that no servant shall receive more than forty lashes at one time; unless such offender can procure some person to pay the fine.||And where they transgress penal laws.|
|XIII. And to the end poor people may not be destitute of employment, under suspicion of their being servants, as well to prevent servants running away: It is hereby further enacted, That every servant, upon expiration of his or her time, and proof thereof made before the court of the county where he or she last served, shall have his or her freedom recorded, and a certificate thereof under the hand of the clerk; which shall be sufficient to indemnify any person for entertaining or hiring such servant, and if such certificate shall happen to be torn or lost, the clerk, upon request, shall issue another, reciting therein the loss of the former: And if any person shall harbour or entertain a servant, not having and producing such certificate, he or she shall pay to the master or owner of such servant, thirty pounds of tobacco, for every natural|| |
Servants when free, shall have a certificate.
Penalty on harbouring servants without certificate.
|day, he or she shall so harbour or entertain such runaway, recoverable with costs, by action of debt, in any county court of this dominion: And if any runaway shall make use of a forged certificate, or after delivery of a true certificate, to the person hiring him or her, shall steal the same and thereby procure other entertainment, the person entertaining or hiring, shall not be liable to the said penalty, but such runaway, besides making reparation for loss of time and charges of recovery, in the manner herein after directed, shall stand two hours in the pillory, on a court day, for making use of such forged or stolen certificate; and the person forging the same shall forfeit and pay ten pounds current money, one moiety to the king, his heirs and successors, for the better support of this government, and the contingent charges thereof, the other moiety to the owner of such runaway, or the informer, recoverable with costs, in any county court of this dominion; and on failure of present payment, or security for the same within six months, such offender, shall receive thirty nine lashes on his or her bare back, well laid on, at the common whipping post: And where a runaway shall happen to be hired upon a forged certificate, and afterwards denies the delivery thereof, the onus probandi shall lie upon the party hiring such runaway.|| |
Punishment of servants using a forged or stolen certificate.
And on persons forging.
|XVI. And to encourage all persons to take up runaways, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That for every runaway servant, or slave, taken up ten miles, or more, from his or her usual place of abode, the taker up shall be entitled to a reward of two hundred pounds of tobacco; but if under ten, and above five miles, one hundred pounds of tobacco; which shall be paid by the public, in the county where such taker up resides, and be levied by the public upon the master or owner of the runaway: But the taker up shall forthwith bring such runaway before a justice of peace, of the county where he or she shall be taken, to be examined; and if thereupon such servant, or slave, appears to be run away, the justice shall grant the taker up a certificate reciting his or her proper name and surname, the county of his or her residence, the name of the runaway, the proper name and surname of his or her owner, and the county wherein he or she resides, the time and place when and where the runaway|| Rewards for taking up runaways. |
The method of proceeding with them.
|was taken, and the distance of miles, in the judgment of the justice, from the house or quarter where the runaway was usually kept; and such justice shall also issue his warrant to the next constable, requiring him to receive such runaway, and give him or her such a number of lashes as the said justice shall think fit to direct, not exceeding thirty nine, and then him or her to convey and deliver to the next constable, and so from constable to constable, until the runaway be delivered to his or her owner or overseer: And every constable to whom such runaway and warrant shall be produced, shall execute the same, and give a receipt upon delivery of the ruaway [runaway] to him, under penalty of forfeiting and paying two hundred pounds of tobacco, to the churchwardens of the parish wherein such constable lives, recoverable with costs, by action of debt, in any county court, to the use of such parish: But the corporal punishment, herein before directed to be given to runaways, shall not deprive the master or owner of any servant, from the satisfaction by this act required to be made by servants for running away.|| |
|XV. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every negroe, or other person, taken up and brought before a justice of peace, and who cannot, or will not, declare the name of his or her owner, shall be committed to the goal of the county where taken, by warrant under the hand of such justice; and the sheriff or goaler, to whose custody such runaway shall be committed, shall forthwith cause notice thereof, and a description of such runaway, and his or her cloathing, to be publickly affixed at the door of the court-house, and there continued two months, if no owner appears within that time: and shall also send a copy thereof to the clerk or reader of every church within his county, to be by him published, and affixed in some open and convenient place near his church, every Sunday during two months after the date thereof, unless the owner appear sooner, under penalty of five hundred pounds of tobacco, on every sheriff or goaler, and two hundred pounds of tobacco on every clerk or reader failing, one moiety to the king, his heirs and successors, for the better support of this government and the contingent charges thereof, the other moiety|| Runaway not declaring the name of his owner, shall be committed.
|to the informer, recoverable with costs, by action of debt, or information, in any county court: But such runaway shall be delivered to his or her owner when demanded, he or she satisfying the sheriff's fees, and also two hundred pounds of tobacco, or twenty shillings for the taking up: And that if within two months after such commitment, no owner appears or claims, the sheriff shall deliver such runaway to the next constable, to be conveyed from one constable to another, 'til brought to the public goal of this colony, and delivered to the keeper thereof, by such warrant, and to receive such punishment as is herein before directed; and the said keeper is hereby required to receive such runaway into his safe custody, and give a receipt, and shall also publish advertisement, and a description of the person and cloaths, in the Virginia Gazette, and continue the same three months, if no owner appears; and it shall be lawful for the said keeper, upon application to the nearest county court to the said goal, with consent of the said court, to let such runaway to hire, to any person by them approved of, for money or tobacco, and for such term as shall be by them directed, and out of the hire arising thereby, all charges for taking up, imprisonment, conveying to goal, maintaining, and releasing such runaway, shall be first paid, and the overplus disposed of as such court shall direct; but the said keeper shall cause a strong iron collar, with the letters P. G. stamped thereon, to be put on the neck of every runaway so hired out, at the time of delivering him or her to the person hiring, which shall indemnify him from any escape afterwards: and for every runaway so hired out, the keeper of the said public goal shall be allowed one fee for the commitment, and the same for releasement, and no more: and if any such runaway shall happen to die in goal, the reward for taking up, and all other fees incident, shall be defrayed by the public. Provided always, That when the owner of such runaway shall demand him or her, the person of [to] whom he or she was hired shall forthwith deliver the same, into the custody of the keeper of the public goal, and shall then also pay the hire, in proportion to the time the runaway hath served; and if that be not sufficient to satisfy all charges, the owner paying down the residue, shall have him or her delivered.|
|XVI. But whereas the continuance of runaway slaves some time in the public goal, may induce dishonest persons to pretend themselves owners, and thereby obtain possession to the prejudice of the true owner, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That before any such slave shall be delivered by the keeper of the public goal, the person claiming such slave, shall first apply to the court of the county where he resides, and make proof of his having lost a slave, answering the description published by the said keeper in the Gazette, and obtain certificate thereof, and also there give security to answer all damages if it shall thereafter appear, that the slave he shall thereupon receive from the said keeper, doth really belong to some other person: And upon producing such certificate to the keeper aforesaid, and making oath before the mayor, or some other magistrate of Williamsburg, that the slave who shall be there present, is his, or the slave of for whom he appears, it shall be lawful for the said keeper, to deliver, the slave so described and sworn to, and not otherwise.||Owner claiming a runaway slave in the public goal, must prove his property.|
|XVII. And if no owner shall appear to claim such runaway, the county court shall, after the charges aforesaid are paid and satisfied, cause such runaway to be sold at public auction, by the sheriff, and the money arising by the sale shall be paid to the treasurer of this colony, and applied by him for the use of the public; but in case the owner shall, at any time afterwards, prove his property in the said runaway, the said treasurer shall repay him or her, the money so received, and be allowed the same in his account.||Where no owner appears.|
|XVIII. And that when any runaway shall have crossed the bay of Chesapeak, and be brought before a justice of any county lying upon the said bay, such runaway shall be committed to the sheriff, and not to a constable; but if he or she, after crossing the bay, shall get up into some other county, more remote, in such case the runaway shall be committed to a constable, and so from constable to constable, 'till delivered to the sheriff of some county adjoining to the bay aforesaid: And every such sheriff is hereby required to receive the runaway so to him committed, and shall forthwith cause him or her to be transported again across||Where runaways have crossed the bay.|
|the bay, and delivered to a constable there, to be conveyed as is herein before directed; and for his trouble and charge herein, such sheriff shall have and receive five hundred pounds of tobacco, for every runaway so transported and delivered, to be paid by the public and repaid by the owner of the runaway: And if any sheriff, or his officer shall cause or suffer such runaway to work, so as to occasion any delay, such sheriff, or officer, shall forfeit and pay one thousand pounds of tobacco, to the owner of the runaway, recoverable with costs, by action of debt, or information, in any county court of this dominion.|
|XIX. And where a runaway, belonging to an inhabitant of Maryland or Carolina, shall be taken and brought before a justice, such runaway shall be by him committed to the goal of the county where taken, and the sheriff, or goaler, shall cause advertisements to be published in the same manner, and for the same time, as is herein before directed to be done by the keeper of the public goal, and if no owner appears, may, with consent and approbation of his county court, hire out such runaway, and shall pay the reward for taking up, which shall be reimbursed out of the hire, or by the owner, together with all other charges, if the hire be not sufficient. And all money or tobacco arising by such hire of the runaway, 'till claimed by his or her owner, shall be to the use of such sheriff or goaler, and he may demand and take of the owner, the like fees and charges, as are or shall be then demandable of the inhabitants of Virginia, for runaways taken up, in the province where such owner resides.||Where they belong to Maryland or Carolina.|
|XX. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every sheriff, constable, or other officer, charged with conducting runaways, shall be, and is hereby impowered to impress men and horses, where necessary, for the safe conveying the person or persons wherewith he stands charged: And if such officer shall suffer such runaway to escape, he shall be liable to the party grieved, for recovery of damages and costs, at the common law.||Officer may impress assistants, and liable for escapes.|
|XXI. And that the keeper of the public goal may demand and take, for the commitment of every runaway, two shillings current money, or twenty pounds of tobacco, and the same for releasement, and for every||Prison fees.|
|twenty four hours keeping him or her in goal, six pence, or five pounds of tobacco, and no more: And if he, or any sheriff, or goaler, shall demand and take any other or greater fee, than is, or shall be by law allowed for runaways, he or they so offending shall, for every such offence, forfeit and pay twenty shillings to the party grieved, and shall also refund and pay back all money or tobacco received over and above the legal fees, recoverable with costs before any justice of peace, of the county where such offence shall be committed.|
|XXII. And that every runaway servant, upon whose account any reward shall be paid for taking up, shall serve his or her master, or owner, after all other time of service due shall be expired, one month and a half for every hundred pounds of tobacco so paid, or to be paid, and for all necessary disbursements and charges expended in pursuit and recovery of such runaway, and moreover shall serve double the time of his or her absence, to be adjudged and allowed by the court of the county where the owner resides, or where the runaway is kept, at the next court held after his or her recovery, he or she being also brought before them; but if the owner neglects so to do, the court may allow, or reject such claim, as to them appears just, without any appeal. Provided always, That if any servant, at the time of such judgment, shall repay, or give good security before the court, for repayment of all charges and disbursements, within six months after, the master or owner shall accept thereof, in lieu of service.||Runaway servants to repay all charges,& loss of time.|
|XXIII. And whereas many abuses have been committed by persons, who, under pretence of understanding trades and mysteries, have procured large sums of money to be advanced to them, and entred into convenants with merchants and others, in Great Britain or elsewhere, for the payment of yearly wages, tho' they were really ignorant of, and unable to perform such trades or mysteries: Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That all and every person or persons already imported, or who shall be imported into this colony, as a tradesman or workman on wages, and shall be found not to understand such trade or employment, may be brought, by his or her master or owner, before any county court of this||Remedy against servants imported as tradesmen, or mechanics, upon wages, & found ignorant.|
|colony, who are hereby impowered and directed, upon complaint of such deceit to them made, to enquire into the same, and upon finding any such fraud, may order and direct such satisfaction to be made to the master, or owner of such servant, either by defalcation of the wages, or part thereof, or by such further time of service for the money advanced, as to them shall seem just: And that if any such tradesman or workman, on wages, shall refuse or neglect to perform his duty, or absent himself from his master's service, without leave, the justices of the county court wherein such master resides, upon complaint and proof to them made, may order such satisfaction to be made to such master or owner, as to them shall seem just; and that for every days absence, such servant shall serve two days, without wages, after his time by indenture, or former order of court is expired.||Or, where they refuse to work, or absent themselves.|
|XXIV. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every person who at any time or times hereafter shall be bound by indenture, to serve as an apprentice in any trade, art, mystery, or occupation, with the consent and approbation of any court of record within this colony, altho' such person be within the age of twenty one years at the time of making his indenture, shall be obliged to serve the full time in such indenture contained, as amply and largely to every intent, as if such apprentice were of full age at the time of making the same.||Apprentices shall serve out their full time.|
|XXV. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons shall steal any negroe, mulatto, or Indian slave, whatsoever, out of or from the possession of the owner or overseer of such slave, the person or persons so offending shall be, and are hereby declared to be felons, and shall suffer death, without benefit of clergy.||Stealing slaves, felony, without clergy.|
|XXVI. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That all and every other act and acts, clause and clauses heretofore made, for or concerning any matter or thing within the purview of this act, shall be and are hereby repealed.||Repealing clause.|
|XXVII. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That this act shall commence and be in force from and immediately after the tenth day of June, which shall be in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty one.||Commencement of this act.|
|Pages 523-540||Pages 559-568|