Page images
PDF
EPUB

ow inted.

thority to order and dispose of the fines, penalties, and
forfeitures mentioned in this act, in such manner as in
their discretions shall seem best, for paying therewith
a clerk, as aforesaid, and for furnishing the several
troups and companies belonging to the county, with ne-
cessary drums, colours, trumpets, leading-staffs, par-
tizans, and halberts, and after all those, for providing
arms and aminunition for the county's use.

XXIV. And be it further enacted, by the authority Clerks of caaforesaid, That every captain of a troop or company Vairy, within this colony, be permitted and allowed to take one of the soldiers under his command, to be clerk to his troop or company: And that such clerk, in consideration of his service in that respect, be excused from carrying arms at any muster, except in case of a rebellion, or an invasion; any thing in this act, to the contrary, potwithstanding.

XXV. And be it further enacted, by the authority Oaths and aforesaid, That every commission officer in the militia, test, shall, before he acts under, or executes any such commission, in the court of his county, take the oaths appointed by law to be taken, instead of the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, the abjuration oath, and subscribe the test; and that every colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, and captain, at the time of their meeting to fine offenders, shall also take the following oath, to

[ocr errors]

TA' B. do swear, That I will do equal right and jus....

courts marI tice to all men, to the best of my judgment, accor- dial. ding to the directions of the act, intituled, An act for the settling and better regulation of the militia.

Which oath shall be first taken by the presiding officer then present, and shall by him be administered to the rest of the said officers.

XXVI. And be it further enacted and declared, That Substitutes nothing in this act contained, shall hinder or debar any captain from admitting any able-bodied white person, who shall be above the age of sixteen years, to serve in bis troop or company, in the place of any person required by this act to be listed. . XXVII. And be it further enacted, by the authority Repealing aforesaid, That the act of assembly, made in the fourth clause. year of the reign of our late sovereigu lady Queen Anne,

intituled, An Act for settling the Militia, 'be, and is hereby repealed, and made void, to all intents and purposes.

CHAP. III.

An Act for reviving the Act, intituled, An Act for se

curity and defence of the country in times of dan

ger.

CHAP. IV.

From edit. An Act directing the trial of Slaves, committing capital 1733, p.339.) crimes; and for the more effectual punishing conspi

racies and insurrections of them; and for the beiter government of Negros, Mulattos, and Indians, bond or free.

Preamble. I.W HEREAS the laws now in force, for the bet

V ter ordering and governing of slaves, and for the speedy trial of such of them as commit capital crimes, are found insufficient to restrain their tumultuous and unlawful meetings, or to punish the secret plots and conspiracies carried on amongst them, and known only to such, as by the laws now established, are not accounted legal evidence: And it being found necessary, that some further provision be made, for detecting and punishing all such dangerous combinations

for the future, Slaves above II. Be it enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Coun

f five, con. cel, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and spiring to re- it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That bel, or make if any number of negros, or other slaves, exceeding five, or plotting,

Thino", shall at any time hereafter consult, advise, or conthe murder spire, to rebel or make insurrection, or shall plot or of any per. conspire the murder of any person or persons whatso

some ever, every such consulting, plotting, or conspiring, without clergy.

shall be adjudged and deemed felony; and the slave or slaves convicted thereof, in manner herein after directed, shall suffer death, and be utterly excluded the benefit of clergy, and of all laws made concerning the same.

[ocr errors]

III. And be it further enacted, by the authority afore- Proceedings said, That every slave committing such offence, as, by against

slaves com the laws, ought to be punished with death, or loss of mi member, shall be forthwith committed to the common ital crimes. goal of the county, within which the said offence shall be committed, there to be safely kept; and that the sheriff of such county, upon such commitment, shall forthwith certify the same, with the cause thereof, to the Governor or Commander in Chief of this His Majesty's Colony and Dominion, for the time being, who is thereupon desired and impowered to issue a commission of Oyer and Terminer, to such persons as he shall think fit: Which persons, forthwith after the receipt of such commission, are impowered and required to cause the offender to be publicly arraigned and tried, at the court-house of the said county, and to take for evidence, the confession of the offender, the oath of one or more credible witnesses, or such testimony of Negros, Mulattos, or Indians, bond or free, with pregnant circumstances, as to them shall seem convincing, without the solemnity of a jury: And the offender being by them found guilty, to pass such judgment upon such offender, as the law directs, for the like crimes; and on such judgment, to award execution. IV. And to the end, such Negros, Mulattos, or In

in In Punishment,

" for giving dians, not being christians, as shall hereafter be pro- false evi. duced as evidences, on the trial of any slave for capital dence. crimes, may be under the greater obligation to declare the truth, Be it enacted, That where any such Negro, Mulatto, or Indian, shall upon due proof made, or pregnant circumstances appearing before any county court within this colony, be found to have given a false testimony, every such offender shall, without further trial, be ordered by the said court to have one ear nailed to the pillory, and there to stand for the space of one hour, and then the said ear to be cut off; and thereafter, the other ear nailed in like manner, and cut off, at the expiration of one other hour; and moreover, to order every such offender thirty-nine lashes, well laid on, on his or her bare back, at the common whipping, post. : V. And be it further enacted,, That at every such trial of slaves committing capital offences, the person who shall be first named in the commission, sitting on such frial, shall, before the examination of every Negro,

Mulatto, or Indianr, not being a christian, charge such evidence to declare the truth; which charge shall be in the words following, viz:

IVOU are brought hither as a witness; and, by the Charge to witnesses.

'. I direction of the law, I am to tell you, before you

give your evidence, that you must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and that if it be found hereafter, that you tell a lie, and give false testimony in this matter, you must, for so doing, have both your ears nailed to the pillory, and cut off, and receive thirty-nine lashes on your bare back, well laid on, at the common whipping-post."

* Owners of VI. Provided always, and it is hereby intended, That slaves may the master or owner of any slave, to be arraigned and appear in their de. tried, by virtue of this act, may appear at the trial, fence.

and make what just defence he can for such slave, so that such defence do not relate to any formality in the

proceedings on the trial. Value of VII. And be it further enacted, by the authority aslaves con. foresaid, and it is hereby enacted, That when any slave demned, to be paid by

to shall be convicted, by virtue of this act, the commisthe public. sioners that shall sit on trial, shall put a valuation in

money, upon such slave so 'convicted, and certify such valuation to the next assembly, that the said assembly may be enabled to make a suitable allowance thereup

on to the master or owner of such slave. Unlawful VIII. And whereas many inconveniences have arimeetings of sen, by the meetings of great numbers of negros and

other slaves: For prevention thereof, Be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That from henceforth no meetings of negros, or other slaves, be allowed, on any pretence whatsoever, (except as is hereafter excepted.) And that every master, owner, or overseer of any plantation, who shall, knowingly or willingly, permit any such meetings; or suffer more than five negros or slaves, other than the negros

or slaves belonging to his, her, or their plantations or Penalty on quarters, to be and remain upon any plantation or quarthose suffer- ter, at any one time, shall forfeit and pay the sum of ing them.

five shillings, or fifty pounds of tobacco, for each negro or slave, over and above such number, that shall at any time hereafter so unlawfully meet or assemble, on his, her, or their plantation, to the informer: To be

slaves.

et at their

recovered, with costs, before any justice of the peace of the county where such offence shall be committed.

IX. Provided always, That nothing herein contain- Masters may ed, shall be construed to restrain the negros, or other licence their

slaves to slaves, belonging to one and the same owner', and seat-me ell at distinct quarters or plantations, to meet, by the quarters: licence of such owner, or his or her overscer, at any of the quarters or plantations to such owner belonging; nor to restrain the meeting of any number of slaves, on their owner's or overscer's business, at any public mill, so as such meeting be not in the night, or on a Sunday; nor to restrain their meeting on any other lawful occa. sion, by the licence, in writing, of their master, mis. tress, or overseers; nur to prohibit any slaves repair. ing to and meeting at church to attend divine service, on the lord's day, or at any other time set apart by law. ful authority, for public worship: But that all and every such meetings, shall be accounted lawful meetings; any thing in this act contained to the contrary therco notwithstanding.

X. And be it further enacted, by the authority afore- Penalty for said, That if any white person, free negro, mulatto, being at un. or Indian, shall at any time hereafter be found in com-lawhild meet pany with any such slaves, at any such unlawful meet." ings, as aforesaid, or harbor or entertain any negro, For harbour. or other slave whatsoever, without the consent of their ing slaves. owners, he, she, or they, so offending, upon being thereof lawfully convicted, shall forfeit and pay the sum of fifteen shillings, or one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco, to the informer: To be recovered, with costs, before any justice of the peace; and upon failure to make present paiment, shall have and receive, on his, her, or their bare backs, for every such offence, twenty lashes, well laid on. And every negro, mulatto, or indian slave, who shall come or assemble to such unlawful meetings, shall, upon information thereof made to any justice of the peace of the county where such offence shall be committed, for every such offence, have and receive, on his or her bare back, any number of lashes, not exceeding thirty-nine.

XI. And be it further enacted, by the authority afore- Offenders said, and it is hereby enacted, That every justice of the may be appeace of any county wherein such unlawful meetings prehended.

S by order of shall happen, upon his own knowledge, or upon infor-; mation thereof to him made, within ten days after such

R_Vol. 4.

« PreviousContinue »