In 1667, Virginia Passed A Law Which?

In 1667, Virginia Passed A Law Which
1667: Virginia law enacted, declaring that baptisme of slaves doth not exempt them from bondage.

What was the Virginia law of 1660?

Colonial Virginia Laws on Slavery and Servitude – From the earliest days of the Virginia colony, laws governing the ownership of slaves were put in place to define the legal status of slaves and their masters and regulate interactions between them. In this series of laws dating from 1639 to 1705, the legal foundations of colonial slavery are established and codified.

The slaves’ status as property is established early on, as is their masters’ complete legal dominion over them (including the freedom to murder runaway or insubordinate slaves without fear of punishment), while laws forbidding the “abominable mixture” of the races and defining the legal status of mixed-race children suggest both the frequency of such liaisons and the increasing enmity with which they were viewed.1639: All persons except negroes to be provided with arms and ammunition or be fined at pleasure of the Governor and Council.1660: Be it enacted that in case any English servant shall run away in company with any negroes who are incapable of making satisfaction by addition of time, Be it enacted that the English so running away in company with them shall serve for the time of the said negroes absence as they are to do for their own by a former act.1662: WHEREAS some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman should be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall commit fornication with a negro man or woman, he or she so offending shall pay double the fines imposed by the former act.1667: WHEREAS some doubts have risen whether children that are slaves by birth, and by the charity and piety of their owners made partakers of the blessed sacrament of baptism, should by virtue of their baptism be made free; It is enacted and declared by this grand assembly, and the authority thereof, that the conferring of baptism doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedom; that diverse masters, freed from this doubt, may more carefully endeavour the propagation of christianity by permitting children, though slaves, or those of greater growth if capable to be admitted to that sacrament.1669: WHEREAS the only law in force for the punishment of refractory servants resisting their master, mistress or overseer cannot be inflicted upon negroes, nor the obstinacy of many of them by other then violent means suppressed, Be it enacted and declared by this grand assembly, if any slave resist his master (or other by his masters order correcting him) and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be accounted felony, but the master (or that other person appointed by the master to punish him) be acquit from molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prior malice (which alone makes murder felony) should induce any man to destroy his own estate.1670: WHEREAS it hath been questioned whither Indians or negroes manumitted, or otherwise free, could be capable of purchasing christian servants, It is enacted that no negro or Indian though baptised and enjoined their own freedom shall be capable of any such purchase of christians, but yet not debarred from buying any of their own nation.1691: WHEREAS many times negroes, mulattoes, and other slaves unlawfully absent themselves from their masters and mistresses service, and lie hid and lurk in obscure places killing hogs and committing other injuries to the inhabitants of this dominion,

it is hereby enacted, in case any aforesaid shall resist, runaway, or refuse to deliver and surrender him or themselves, it shall and may be lawful for to kill and destroy such negroes, mulattoes, and other slave or slaves by gun or any otherwise whatsoever.

  1. And for prevention of that abominable mixture and spurious issue which hereafter may increase in this dominion, as well by negroes, mulattoes, and Indians intermarrying with English, or other white women, as by their unlawful accompanying with one another,
  2. It is hereby enacted, that for the time to come, whatsoever English or other white man or woman being free shall intermarry with a negro, mulatto, or Indian man or woman bond or free shall within three months after such marriage be banished and removed from this dominion forever.

And be it further enacted, That if any English woman being free shall have a bastard child by any negro or mulatto, she pay the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, within one month after such bastard child be born, to the Church wardens of the parish where she shall be delivered of such child, and in default of such payment she shall be taken into the possession of the said Church wardens and disposed of for five years,

  • And that such bastard child be bound out as a servant by the said Church wardens until he or she shall attain the age of thirty years.
  • And forasmuch as great inconveniences may happen to this country by the setting of negroes and mulattoes free, by their either entertaining negro slaves from their masters service, or receiving stolen goods, or being grown old bringing a charge upon the country; for prevention thereof,,

it is hereby enacted, That no negro or mulatto be after the end of this present session of assembly set free by any person or persons whatsoever, unless such person or persons, their heirs, executors or administrators pay for the transportation of such negro or negroes out of the country within six months after such setting them free,

.1705: VI. Provided always, That a slave’s being in England, shall not be sufficient to discharge him of his slavery, without other proof of his being manumitted there. XV. 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, license, or consent of the master or owner of the said servant, or slave.

XIX. And for a further prevention of that abominable mixture and spurious issue, which hereafter may increase in this her majesty’s colony and dominion,,That whatsoever English, or other white man or woman, being free, shall intermarry with a negro or mulatto man or woman, bond or free, shall, by judgment of the county court, be committed to prison, and there remain, during the space of six months, without bail; and shall forfeit and pay ten pounds current money of Virginia, to the use of the parish, as aforesaid.

XX. That no minister of the church of England, or other minister, or person whatsoever, within this colony and dominion, shall hereafter wittingly presume to marry a white man with a negro or mulatto woman; or to marry a white woman with a negro or mulatto man, upon pain of forfeiting and paying, for every such marriage the sum of ten thousand pounds of tobacco,

XXXV. That no slave go armed with gun, sword, club, staff, or other weapon, nor go from off the plantation and seat of land where such slave shall be appointed to live, without a certificate of leave in writing. XXXVI. 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 direction of this act.

  • XXXVII. And in case any slave,,
  • As aforesaid, stay out, and do not immediately return home, it shall be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever, to kill and destroy such slaves by such ways and means as he, she, or they shall think fit, without accusation or impeachment of any crime for the same: And if any slave, that hath run away and lain out as aforesaid, shall be apprehended by the sheriff, or any other person, upon the application of the owner of the said slave, it shall and may be lawful for the county court, to order such punishment to the said slave, either by dismembering, or any other way, not touching his life, as they in their discretion shall think fit, for the reclaiming any such incorrigible slave, and terrifying others from the like practices.

XXXVIII. Provided Always, That for every slave killed, in pursuance of this act, or put to death by law, the master or owner of such slave shall be paid by the public, Source | Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, ed. William Waller Hening, vol.1 (Richmond, Va.: Samuel Pleasants, 1819–23).

What law did Virginia pass in 1705?

The Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 (formally entitled An act concerning Servants and Slaves ), were a series of laws enacted by the Colony of Virginia ‘s House of Burgesses in 1705 regulating the interactions between slaves and citizens of the crown colony of Virginia,

  • Established new property rights for slave owners
  • Allowed for the legal, free trade of slaves with protections granted by the courts
  • Established separate courts of trial
  • Prohibited slaves from going armed, without written permission
  • Whites could not be employed by any blacks
  • Allowed for the apprehension of suspected runaways

The law was devised to establish a greater level of control over the rising African slave population of Virginia. It also served to socially segregate white colonists from black enslaved persons, making them disparate groups hindering their ability to unite.

What laws were passed in the 1660s?

During the 1660s and 1670s, Maryland and Virginia adopted laws specifically designed to denigrate blacks. These laws banned interracial marriages and sexual relations and deprived blacks of property. Other laws prohibited blacks from bearing arms or traveling without written permission.

What laws did Virginia colonists pass to protect slavery?

2. What laws did Virginia colonists pass to protect slavery in response to freedom suits? Virginia’s leaders passed two laws: one establishing that a child’s status would be derived from their mother and another establishing that enslaved Christians could not sue for their freedom based on their Christianity.

Who wrote laws of Virginia 1610?

Dale’s Code Legal system of colonial Virginia Dale’s Code (the Lawes Divine, Morall, and Martial, also known as the laws of 1612 ) is a code enacted in 1612 by the deputy-governor of Virginia, Sir, The code, among other things, created a rather system of for the Colony of Virginia.

  1. It established a “single ruling group” that “held tight control of the colony.” The word “martial”, contained in Dale’s Code, referred to the duties of, while the terms “divine” and “morall” related to and,
  2. The code prescribed for any colonist who endangered the life of the colony by theft or other crimes.

Dale’s Code remained in force until 1618. Four centuries later, one scholar came up with a theory that it strongly influenced the justice system for decades afterwards, particularly in the governing and punishment of slaves. In the “Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660,” the following unattributed commentary on the said code is present:

On 12 May following arrived Sir Thos. Dale, with three ships, 300 persons, and provisions “for the most part, such as hogs refused to eat.” He immediately published most tyrannous and cruel laws sent over by Sir Thos. Smythe.

When did Virginia privacy law pass?

Virginia passes the Consumer Data Protection Act After an extension into the 2021 special session, Gov. Ralph Northam, D-Va., signed the into law March 2, 2021. In doing so, Virginia became the second state to enact comprehensive privacy legislation and the first to do so on its own initiative (California led the way in 2018.

What was the significance of establishing laws in Virginia by 1619?

NCSL staffer Megan McClure sat down with Yuri Milligan, associate director for marketing and communications at American Evolution, which is teaming up with NCSL to present a session at Summit titled “Roots of American Legislatures: Virginia in 1619.” What is American Evolution? American Evolution commemorates the 400th anniversary of key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured events, programs, and legacy projects inspire local, national, and international engagement in the themes of democracy, diversity, and opportunity.

  • Why is 1619 such an important year for American representative democracy? In the summer of 1619, 22 legislators made history.
  • Their gathering marked the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, which became the model for other English colonies and eventually the basis for the democratic government of the United States.

The year 1619 was pivotal in the establishment of the first permanent English Colony in North America. Along with the the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, 1619 also marked the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers, the first official English Thanksgiving in North America, and the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the Virginia Colony.

The first “General Assembly,” composed of men from each of Virginia’s eleven major settlements, met for the first time at Jamestown from July 30-Aug.4, 1619. Members of the General Assembly were formed into several committees, tasked with reviewing aspects of the Great Charter sent from the Virginia Company in England, as well as working on new laws based on concerns brought by the burgesses to the Assembly.

This first meeting planted the seeds for representative democracy in America. What upcoming events about the unique democratic history of Virginia in 1619 does American Evolution have planned in 2019? In 2019, American Evolution will host two events that will examine democracies and democratic leadership.

Please save the date for these events. The Global Emerging Leaders Summit, March 6-13, 2019 in Charlottesville, Richmond, and Williamsburg, Virginia. Young political, governmental, civic leaders and students will reflect on the challenges of leadership, governance, and civic engagement in 21st-century democracies.

The International Forum on Representative Democracy, Jul y 31-August 1, 2019 in Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia will feature heads of state and representatives from democracies around the world in a forum to highlight the historic impact of democracy on our nation and the world.

Along with the session you are sponsoring at the 2017 Legislative Summit do you have any other activities planned in Boston during the meeting? We will have a video booth in the Exhibit Hall where conference attendees can record a video about the evolution of democracy and share it on social media. Attendees will also have the opportunity to have their picture taken with a character interpreter dressed as a burgess from 1619.

For more information and a full list of events, visit, Join the conversation about the evolution of democracy, diversity and opportunity in American, follow us @Commemorate2019. Megan McClure is a senior staff assistant with NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services program.

What did the 1671 law in Maryland say about slaves converting to Christianity?

chapter 4 – Blacks before the Law in Colonial Maryland BLACKS BEFORE THE LAW IN COLONIAL MARYLAND Chapter IV FREEDOM OR BONDAGE – THE JUDICIAL RECORD The statutes of colonial Maryland established an absolute equation between blackness and slavery. In the words of Maryland’s first slave law, passed in 1664, “all Negroes and other slaves already within the Province And all Negroes and other slaves to bee hereafter imported into the Province shall serve Durante Vita.” The blackness-equals-slavery precept was reenacted several times thereafter.

Much is made in historical literature about the legal status of blacks as chattels, indistinguishable from cows and sheep insofar as the law was concerned. But statutory law only reflects how certain people in a society, usually the priviledged class, think things should be in an idea world. Reality often times betrays a great disparity between itself and the way some people would like things to be.

So it is with slavery in colonial Maryland. Although the statutes prescribed lifelong servitude and chattel status for blacks, there was also implicit recognition that blacks were human beings and, in some cases, had legal means to freedom. A common-law tradition which recognized these factors evolved.

An example of this ambivalent attitude have been previously cited in law of 1671. Nothing that, “Several of the good people of this Province, have to the great displeasure of Almighty God and to the prejudice of the Soules of those poore people Neglected to instruct them in the Christian faith.” the 1671 law stated that baptism and Christianization of blacks would not be grounds for their manumission.

A cynical interpretation of this law would hold that its real purpose was to attract more slave labor to Maryland by removing a troublesome obstacle, namely the long-held English notion that only non-Christians could be enslaved. No doubt that objective played a part in the law’s passage.

  • But, can its clear reference to black slaves as “people” with “Soules” be ignored as mere window dressing? No.
  • Obviously, the whole matter troubled the minds of white Marylanders or the question of Christianizing blacks would have been moot and the law unnecessary.
  • Certainly, the law had the added benefit that Christian slaves could be taught to be dutiful and obedient slaves.

Therein lie the implicit assumption that slaves were different from cows and sheep. No Maryland law ever provided for the baptism and Christian instruction of livestock. While statutory law helps us somewhat to understand the legal status of blacks in colonial Maryland, it is really only a point of departure.

Case law, on the other hand, provides a closer look at the legal dynamics of race relations. The numerous surviving freedom petitions filed by blacks and mulattoes, for example, show that, despite a clearly stated statutory presumption that blackness meant slavery, there evolved in Maryland a common law presumption that exceptions could be made.

The Provincial Court, the county courts, and the other special courts which heard slave freedom suits showed a consistent tendency to judge each case on its individual merits and to grant petitioners their freedom when the eveidence warranted it. The earliest known slave freedom petition for Maryland is that of John Babtist, the “moore of Barbary,” in 1653, discussed above, Chapter II, pp.

  • Although Babtist’s petition came eleven years before the first slave law, there is clear evidence that Marylanders were practicing black slavery even then.
  • Babtist’s case reveals the mechanism by which they were doing it, holding black indentured servants as slaves because they were black.
  • Babtist presented his case to the Provincial Court arguing for his freedom on the grounds that his original master, Simon Overzee, had not sold him “for his lyfe time,” as his then-present master, unnamed, intended to hold him.

Although Babtist could produce no written indenture, he did have a number of witnesses to the sale who testified on his behalf. The Court decided in his favor although it ordered him to serve another two years to bring his total time in service to seven years.

  1. The Court clearly disapproved of the master’s attempt to hold a black servant indefinitely in view of clear evidence that this particulaar servant was protected by contract.
  2. Thus, the Court established a precedent that would last at least through the Revolution: blacks, though presumed to be slaves, could use the courts to prove prior legal protection against enslavement.

The second earliest surviving black freedom petition is that of Thomas Hagleton. Of all the seventeenth-century black Maryland freedom petitions, the Hagleton case is the most extensively documented, and, from that standpoint, it is the most important.

  • Hagleton was born free of black parents in Southwark, England, sometime in the mid-seventeenth century.
  • He was baptized an Anglican.
  • By some unexplained train of events, he came into the service of a Catholic woman in London named Margery Dutchesse.
  • He seems not to have been her slave, however.
  • Madam Dutchesse apprenticed Hagleton to William Jordan, an alderman in Durham, England.

Under Jordan’s tutelage, Hagleton was to learn the “Trade of working Tobacco.” Madam Dutchesse had young Hagleton rebaptized a Catholic while he was in Durham. Later, Jordan died and Hagleton returned to his mistress in London. In about 1671, she “consigned” him to a Thomas Kemp “to serve for the terme of foure years and no longer.” Kemp brought Hagleton to Maryland and sold his indentre to Major Thomas Trueman.

  1. In May 1676, twelve years after the durante vita law of 1664, and one year after his indenture expired, Hagleton requested the Provincial Court to hear his petition that Trueman release him.
  2. With Trueman represented in absentia by his attorney, Speaker of the Lower House Kenelm Cheseldyn, the court heard “all evidences,

Severall depositions and letters” on Hagleton’s behalf, and on the basis of all that, ordered him freed. On the face of it, Hagleton’s case appears not much different from the Babtist case, other than the fact that it occurred after the 1664 law. A black servant was presumed a slave until he proved to the court’s satisfaction that he was not.

Although the records are not clear, it is reasonable to assume that Trueman’s attorney cited the law of 1664 to justify holding Hagleton beyond the date of his indenture. The court’s decision, then, suggests that the durante vita clause operated not to establish an absolute parity between blackness and slavery.

The court was still willing to entertain exceptions to that assumption. There were, however, extenuating circumstances surrounding the Hagleton case. Hagleton’s master, Thomas Trueman, was a prominent figure in Maryland in the 1670’s. He sat on both the Governor’s Council and the Provincial Court (although he did not sit in judgment of himself in this case) and held the militia rank of major.

  • But, at the time Hagleton sued for his freedom, Trueman was temporarily out of favor with the Proprietary establishment.
  • In September, 1675, he had led a force of Maryland militia to join with Virginians and friendly Indians on a punitive expedition against the Susquehannocks.
  • At one point during the campaign, the force captured five Susquehannocks chiefs whom some of the militamen believed responsible for murdering several whites.

The chiefs proclaimed their innocence and displayed a peace medal in their possession which bore the seal of Lord Baltimore as a pledge of Proprietary protection and amity. Nevertheless, Trueman, in a weak moment of leadership, permitted some hotblooded militiamen to execute summarily the five Indians.

For this breach of Baltimore’s faith with the Indians, the Proprietary government later moved against Trueman. The Lower House of the Assembly prepared articles of impeachment (which, incidently, included the signature of Trueman’s attorney, Kenelm Cheseldyn) and the Upper House tried him on various charges of malfeasance.

In the same month Hagleton went to court, the Upper House found Trueman guilty. Despite the Lower House’s demand that he be executed, the Upper House simply ejected him from his seat on the Council. In view of Trueman’s standing at the time, it is significant that membership in the Upper House was the same as membership in the Provincial Court and that three of the five Court Justices who presides over the Provincial Court when it heard the Hagleton petition were pro-Baltimore: Charles Calvert, Lord Baltimore himself; Philip Calvert, one of Baltimore’s brothers and Chancellor of Maryland; and William Calvert, another brother and Secretary of Maryland.

It is also significant that Trueman’s attorney, Kenelm Cheseldyn, was to become an arch-conspirator against the Proprietor during the rebellion of John Coode and the Protestant Association in 1689. One of the Association’s chief grievances was to be unfair dispensation of justice by the Baltimore faction.

Is it possible that the Provincial Court’s judgment in the Hagleton decision was actually a contrived effort to debilitate Trueman by depriving him of his property without due process of law? Trueman thought so. In May 1670, he entered a scire facias and a writ of error over the case in the Chancery Court.

Chancery, perhaps wary that the issues had political overtones, deferred hearing Trueman’s complaint for several years. Finally, in 1681, it handed the case over to the Governor and Council, the supreme court of appeal in Maryland. The Council did not hear the case for another two years. When it did, Trueman, through his attorney, Cheseldyn, assigned three errors to the Provincial Court’s original decision.

The errors were: that Trueman had not been personally present to “Answer the Plaint by due Process at Common Law”; that the proceedings were executed by way of mere petition, “whereas no freeman ought to be Outed of his Goods and Chattels,” unless by presentment and indictment, or other due process; and, finally, that the court reached its verdict without the concurrence of a jury.

Cheseldyn summed up Trueman’s complaints by charging that “the whole Proceedings Defective as to the due formalitys required by Course of Common Law.” The Council was, of course, representative of the same Proprietary interests that has “outed” Trueman of his property in Hagleton in the first place.

After hearing Trueman’s appeal, the Council decided that his case was “not Sufficient in Law” to invalidate the Provincial Court’s original judgment. In addition, it ordered Trueman to pay Hagleton’s costs of attending several years of litigation. Hagleton’s meanwhile, not the least cowed by any of the foregoing, was determined to get whatever satisfaction he could for that extra year of service which Trueman owed him.

  1. In November, 1676, only five months after he became a free man, Hagleton initiated a new suit in the Provincial Court to recover from Trueman the freedom dues owed him – corn and a suit of clothes.
  2. The court ordered Trueman to pay, but Trueman appears to have foisted the responsibility to Thomas Kemp, Hagleton’s original importer.

Kemp could not pay. Coming before the Provincial Court in April, 1677, to take the pauper’s oath, he stated that his estate was worth less than £5 sterling after satisfying all his debts, “besides the thing in question about Thomas Hagleton a negro.” Hagleton immediately reentered suit against Trueman.

  • The Court continued the case for years, during which time Trueman was one if its justices.
  • Not until after Trueman’s death did Hagleton finally exact his pound of flesh.
  • In February, 1686/86, over a decade after he had won his freedom, Hagleton initiated action against the administrators of Trueman’s estate.

In April, after a plea by Hagleton’s attorney, Robert Carvile, the Provincial Court ordered 3,496 pounds of tobacco out of the estate to pay Hagleton for his cost of attorney and issued a writ of inquiry to determine what damages were due Hagleton for one year’s wages and the corn and clothes.

The Hagleton case is significant in several respects. While it is conjectural to assume that Trueman thought the durante vita clause of the 1664 law invalidated Hagleton’s indenture, it is clear that the Provincial Court did not think so. Whether the court reached its decision strictly on the basis of legal propriety or more out of partisan motives is also conjectural.

But, it is interesting that Trueman, in his appeal, made no reference to the 1664 law, but rather went solely on the basis of technical error. This suggests that there was a widely-based understanding that the law of 1664 was open to rebuttal in specific cases where extenuating circumstances might prevail.

  1. In this case, like the Babtist case, the petitioner presented sufficient evidence of his being a term servant and not a slave.
  2. Thus, legal contracts could take precedent over skin color.
  3. It is important to note that Hagleton was not a typical tobacco colony field hand.
  4. Born an English subject, raised in London and Durham, no stranger to white man’s religion (in which he, in fact, seems to have been unusually accomplished), and clearly aware of the legal channels open to him, he possessed an obvious advantage over the black field hand imported diretly from Africa or by way of the West Indies, or who was born of parents who had been so imported.

While he seems not to have been literate, Hagleton enlisted the aid of one of the colony’s most active attorneys, Robert Carvile. Once the court freed him, it showed him the consideration accorded any free man. Although it dragged his suit for corn and clothes out for years, possibly due to Trueman’s continued tenure as a justice, it did not drop the matter altogether and did finally give him the satisfaction he sought.

  1. In a similar case nearly four years after Hagleton’s, the Provincial Court again entertained the possiblity that a contract could negate the legal dictate of skin color as directed by law.
  2. This time, the results were less decisive.
  3. In February, 1679/80, Charles Cabe, a black, sued for his freedom from Thomas Sprigg.

Cabe claimed that Captain Thomas Cornwallis originally bought twenty-one years of his service in England twenty years previous to the petition. The price Cornwallis supposedly paid was £25 sterling. Sprigg, who evidently came to possess Cabe, announced his intention of holding Cabe a slave.

Unlike Hagleton, however, Cabe did not present impressive evidence. Four whites who had come to Maryland on the same ship as Cabe testified. Two of the four were formerly indentured servants to Cornwallis. Two of the witnesses disclaimed any knowledge of the terms of Cabe’s service. The other two said they had heard Cabe and some of the seamen on the ship talk about a twenty-one year indenture, but never heard Cornwallis confirm it.

The court’s decision was to the point, “the said Charles Cabe is a Slave.” Like Hagleton, Cabe had an exceptional background for a Maryland black. Likewise, Cabe contended that the 1664 law was open to rebuttal, and the court admitted his contention. Unlike Hagleton, however, Cabe could not produce adequate evidence and, thus, lost his suit.

  • In a third case, a Baltimore County black named Edward English also petitioned the court for his freedom on the basis of a contract.
  • In May, 1682, English testified that he originally belonged to Nathaniel Utie.
  • After Utie died, his widow married Henry Johnson.
  • Johnson assumed that English belonged to him and subsequently sold him by terms of a five-year indenture that expired on April 10, 1682.

English came to the Provincial Court in May, 1682, to petition for his freedom, which, according to the terms of his indenture, should have been granted the previous month. Aside from the indenture, English offered additional reasons why he should not be a slave:,

  • Your poore Petitioner being borne and baptized in your Province in the feare of God and doe learne to read the Gospell hopeth your honor will be pleased to consider your poore Petitioner and that he may have his freedome.
  • In view of the fact that, by 1682, Christianity was no longer legal grounds for manumission, it is strange that English would have bothered with this final appeal.

If Christianity operated to negate slavery, the court could have ended the affair at this point and freed English. It did not. More concerned with legal technicalities than with broad concepts, the court, upon learning further that English had rightfully belonged to Utie’s orphan and not to Johnson, who made the indenture, ordered the petition referred to the Baltimore County Court which it directed to “doe therein as to Justice appertaineth with due regard had to the Orphan to whom the Pet’r (as this Board is informed) of right belongeth.” Unfortunately, Baltimore County Court records do not exist prior to November, 1682, six months after the Provincial Court’s decision.

If the Baltimore justices ever dealth with the case, they did so before November, for no record of it exists after that date. Henry Johnson was a justice on Baltimore County Court at the time. If the court never took up the English case, Johnson’s tenure as justice might explain why it did not. Nevertheless, the Provincial Court’s action in the matter does warrant important observations.

As in the earlier cases, the court considered the durante vita clause open to rebuttal in view of the possibility that the petitioner was protected by an indenture. When evidence indicated that the indenture might have been contracted fraudulently, the court’s primary concern was determining rightful title to property in English’s body.

The Baltimore Justices, presumably, would be more familiar with the disposition of Utie’s estate than were the Provincial Justices, and for that reason could better straighten out the matter. As with Babtist, Hagleton, and Cabe, proof of a master’s intention, based on a legal contract, was the critical issue.

As with Hagleton and Cabe (and possibly Babtist), English was a exceptional Maryland black; not only was he baptized and possessed of an English name, but he was literate as well. The first case in which a master clearly appealed to the durante vita clause was the freedon petition of another Anglicized black, Ralph Trunckett “now detained a Slave by Gilbert Turberfield,” in September, 1692.

Trunckett was born in Madagascar sometime in mid-century and was taken to England at a very young age. In England he lived in the service of a Mr. Trunckett, who had him baptized and raised a Christian, and from whom he took his surname. Ralph stayed with Trunckett until he was over twenty-one years old.

In 1668, he shipped on board a Maryland-bound vessel as a self-indentured servant to the captain, Edward Prince. Ralph claimed he was only to serve “according to the custom of the Country,” common terminology for a four-or-five year indenture. After the ship reached the province, Prince sold Trunckett to his brother Thomas.

  1. Thomas Prince refused to honor the indenture claiming vindication under the “lawes of this province.” Thomas died and his widow married Gilbert Turberfield.
  2. Turberfield, like Prince, appealed to the durante vita clause and refused to free Trunckett.
  3. After much argument, Turberfield evidently relented somewhat and agreed to free Trunckett if he would serve an additional twelve years.

Trunckett claimed in his petition that he had served that twelve years faithfully, but that Turberfield still refused to release him. Like English, Trunckett appealed not only to the terms of legal indenture, but also claimed baptism and education in the Christian faith.

  1. On the basis of the two indentures and his baptism, Trunckett maintained that, by the laws of England, he was “absolutely manumitted from all Slavery of this nature.” Turberfield countered Trunckett’s position by simply appealing to the durante vita clause.
  2. Trunckett contended, in effect, that the law of England, which proscribed the enslavement of Christians, took precedence over the law of Maryland, which did permit enslavement of Christians.

The court seems to have sidestepped that issue. It impaneled a jury to find a special verdict on the validity of Trunckett’s various claims. The jury returned a verdict favorable to Trunckett, whereupon the court ordered him freed and ordered Turberfield to pay him freedom dues and the cost of suit.

  1. How much bearing Truncketts’ baptism had on his winning the suit is problematic.
  2. Likely, it had little; the jury’s opinion probably proceeded solely upon the merits of Trunckett’s claim to protection by indenture.
  3. To declare Trunckett free upon the basis of his baptism would have been grossly inconsistent with the obvious desire among Marylanders to maintain black Christians as slaves.

As Hagleton might have taken advantage of his master’s political ill fortune for the purpose of gaining his freedom, so too might have two of Henry Darnall’s slaves during the turbulent years of the Protestant Association and the Crown’s seizure of Maryland.

Darnall had been a militia colonel, a Council member, and a Justice of the Provincial Court until the Coode rebellion in 1689. After that, though devested of office, Darnall remained a staunch advocator of the Lord Proprietor. He organized an anti-Coode force in 1689 and later represented Baltimore’s cause before the King and Queen.

While Darnall was in England, the Saint Mary’s County Court, firmly under the control of the Associators, freed a slave woman of his. Unfortunately, that county’s court records are lost, but, in 1692, after he returned to Maryland, Darnall complained of the action to the Governor’s Council, perhaps sensitive to provoking the ire of the still powerful Associators, decided it would be improper for it “to intermeddle therewith,” but advised Darnall to seek “his Remedy at Law if he have been aggrieved.” Darnall took that advice.

In the following September session of the Provincial Court, the case of Joyce Giddy versus Herny Darnall came up for a hearing. The court continued the case until May, by which time Darnall’s attorney, William Dent, Ralph Trunckett’s former defender, entered a writ of error, evidently on the Saint Mary’s County Court decision.

The two parties agreed to “proceed upon the Merritts of the cause,” and Giddy agreed to pay six witnesses, presumably all whites, 30 pounds of tobacco per diem court attendance for an aggregate of ninety-six days. Her commitment totaled 2,880 pounds of tobacco, or something more than t 12 sterling.

The court heard the case in October. Giddy entered her petition which stated that she was born in New England and came to Maryland sixteen years previously as a servant for ten years to Thomas Brooks of Calvert County. Brooks died and Darnall married his widow. Giddy completed her term under Darnall. She said she have evidence that “she was sold for terme of yeares and not durante vita as Colo Darnall intends to keepe her.” Her evidence was, presumably, the testimony of six witnesses for whom she indebted herself for 2,880 pounds of tobacco.

Their testimony was not recorded, but it did not outweigh Darnall’s simple retort that Brooks bought her “for and as a Negro slave” and that she belonged to Brooks’ administrators. A special jury found for Darnall. The court ruled “Joyce Giddy remaine a Slave,

  • According to the law of this province.
  • As the petitioners before her, Joyce Giddy appears to have been an exceptional black Marylander.
  • Originally from New England, where blacks, even slaves, fared better than in the South, possessed of an English name, and aware of the legal options available to her, she seems to have much the same advantages over the common field hand.
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The court’s confidence in her ability to repay the witnesses’ costs is unusual. It is unfortunate that their testimony was excluded from the records, for it would be instructive to know what sort of evidence they offered and to speculate why it did not outweigh Darnall’s claim.

  1. Meanwhile, another of Darnall’s slaves, Peter Morris, brought his freedom petition before the Provincial Court in May, 1693, the same month that Joyce Giddy’s case was first heard.
  2. The court suspended judgment on Morris’s claim for five months.
  3. In October, it finally decided that “Peter Morris is a Slave according to the laws of this province.

,” The court clerk spared little ink to record Morris’s case. Therefore, little else of its substance can be said. Judging by the court’s final pronouncement, however, Morris had evidently claimed that something precluded his being considered a slave; quite possibly he referred to an indenture.

  • Only two other black freedom petitions occurred before the end of the century.
  • In a case referred to the Kent County Court by the Governor in December, 1694, Negro Tom Blaines’ testimony on his own behalf was found so fraudulent that the court dismissed his claims and ordered him to receive twelve lashes “well laid on his bare back.” In January, 1697/98, Negro Bently petitioned the Prince Georges County Court against his master, George Plowden.

The court continued the case, but no subsequent record of it exists. Of the nine black freedom petitions to come to the courts between 1664 and the end of the seventeenth century, three were successful, four were failures, and the outcomes of two remain uncertain.

  • The three successful petitioners, Babtist, Hagleton and Trunckett, were remarkably alike in circumstances.
  • Babtist was probably not a non-Christian African.
  • Hagleton and Trunckett spent their early lives in some sort of an apprenticeship or servitude, but not slavery, in England.
  • Both were baptized and probably spoke English as a native language.

Trunckett was literate. In short, Hagleton and Trunckett were black Englishmen. Babtist may have been Hispanic. All three came to Maryland under an indenture and could prove it to the Provincial Court’s satisfaction thus winning their freedom. Their backgrounds seem atypical of the background of the average Maryland black.

  • Of the four unsuccessful petitions, only two, those of Charles Cabe and Joyce Giddy, were recorded with sufficient detail to warrant conclusions.
  • Both petitioners followed the rule of exceptional background as Babtist, Hagleton and Trunckett.
  • Both claimed benefit of a legal indenture, but neither petitioner could prove it to the Provincial Court’s satisfaction.

Cabe’s evidence was, at best, flimsy. Giddy’s was not recorded. Of the two uncertain petitions, only Edward English’s is complete enough to draw conclusions. In his case, the court showed at least an equal disposition to protect an orphan’s possible claim to property in English’s body as to permit a black his freedom.

In two of the cases which were at all well recorded, the petitioners cited their baptisms as, at least, secondary justifications for their manumission. One of them was successful, the other was not. It is unlikely that their religious conditions exerted any influence over the court’s decisions. In view of the post-1664 freedom petitions, the durante vita clause of the 1664 law and its subsequent reenactments can be put in a more accurate perspective.

At face value, the clause categorized all black residents of Maryland as slaves. But in practice the categorization rested not quite so definitely on color. Within a limited perspective, the law, while presuming all blacks to be slaves, did allow for some exceptions upon petition.

  • In all of the five detailed cases, the petitioners claimed exception under contracts which they felt put them into a different category than specified by the law.
  • Two won their cases on those grounds.
  • Obviously, this way around the 1664 law was not open to most Maryland slaves.
  • Probably ignorant of the means to challenge the law in the first place, they could not hope to do so unless they had strong claims to contractual protection.

If they had been sold as slaves with no document involved, other than, perhaps, a bill of sale held by their masters, then slaves they would remain. Only two options to avoid lifelong service were available to black servants with no indentures. Their masters were free to manumit them, and this happened, as we shall see.

Or, as a last resort, the slave could always run away, and some chose that alternative, as we shall also see. There can be no doubt, however, that the durante vita clause effectively blocked the road to freedom to the vast majority of Maryland slaves in the seventeenth century. Besides dealing with the status of blacks, the various durante vita laws also sought to settle the condition of mulattoes.

Court cases touching upon these are not as extensive as those dealing with blacks, but they are nonetheless worthy of investigation. As with the durante vita clauses, clauses specifying the terms of service for mulattoes could be superseded in individual cases by legal instruments.

Thus, in December, 1682, Richard Chandler conveyed to his niece, Anna, a mulatto girl named Susanna who was to serve for thirty years, then be “free from all manner of service.” The precise date and circumstances of Susanna’s birth are not clear. But, no matter what they were, Chandler’s provision for her length of service was not supported by any law.

If Susanna had been born prior to the law of 1681 to a white mother, then she should have served for life according to the law of 1664. If she was born before 1681 to a black mother, then the 1664 law at least implied that she should be free. If she was born after 1681, the law of that year would have held her free no matter which of her parents was white.

In any case, Chandler’s provision for her thirty-year service had no basis in law. In the same way that the indentures of Thomas Hagleton and Ralph Trunckett conflicted with the durante vita clause, so did Chandler’s instrument conflict with the mulatto provisions. In 1697, Chandler specified in his will that two of his mulatto boys and two of his mulatto girls should be parceled out among various of his relatives and serve forever.

A third mulatto boy was to be freed at age sixteen. Neither life servitude nor sixteen-year servitude for mulattoes was sanctioned in law. Similarly, an Anne Arundel County woman conveyed a five- or six-year-old mulatto “servant” boy in 1697 specifying that he was to serve until age twenty-five, a specification that was also inconsistent with the mulatto law.

  1. In another such case which occurred earlier, Elizabeth Brewer of Talbot County specified in her will of 1667 that her two mulatto boys, Richard and Jeffrey, were to be baptized and taught to read and write.
  2. Jeffrey, furthermore, was to go to her son William and serve until he reached age thirty, “provided he do true Faithful Service until then.” Which of Jeffrey’s parents was black is unclear.

If his father was black, then Elizabeth’s will also operated against the durante vita law of 1664. If his mother was black, then the will provided a term of service not specified by law. Jeffrey, however, had trouble claiming his freedom when he reached thirty and his case is the best recorded seventeenth century mulatto freedom petition.

  1. Jeffrey, who had since claimed the surname Lisle, entered his freedom petition against Elizabeth Blackiston in the Provincial Court in May, 1696.
  2. He cited his original mistress’ will, but complained he had since been sold as a slave to Madam Blackiston.
  3. The court listened to, but did not record, the testimony of several witnesses and found Jeffrey Lisle to be free.

Madam Blackiston immediately entered a motion to appeal the decision to the Governor and Council. The court hesitated to grant the motion since it was unconvinced that Lisle was worth the minimal amount of £50 sterling or 10,000 pounds of tobacco, as required by law for appeals over matters regarding property disposition.

The justices put the question to the Attorney and Solicitor Generals, William Dent and George Plater. They reported back that Lisle was, indeed, worth the minimal amount because they received a bid of 10,000 pounds of tobacco from a courtroom spectator who offered to buy Lisle if he were declared a slave.

The court permitted the appeal. In her appeal petition, Madam Blackiston restated the facts recorded by the court as described above, but added some interesting new facts. Her husband bought Lisle in 1692 from John Edward of Anne Arundel County. How Lisle had gotten into Edward’s hands was not explained.

  1. Madam Blackiston also pointed out the contingency in Elizabeth Brewer’s will that Lisle “do true Faithfull Service” for his freedom and then stated that she had evidence that Lisle had once run away, thus defaulting on the condition for his freedom.
  2. She also complained that the proceedings of the Provincial Court lacked the concurrence of a jury.

In the end, Lisle decided his own fate without waiting on the Governor and Council. When the case came before the appeals board in October, 1696, it was promptly dismissed by reason that “the Defendant is Run away.,” As in the black freedom petitions, the outcome hinged on the terms of a specific legal instrument and whether or not its conditions had been duly observed.

  1. In a final case involving prior legal agreement, the Charles County Court took cognizance in 1699 (before the law of that year), of a certain legal instrument and ordered a mulatto girl freed if she could prove her age to be sixteen, as the agreement specified.
  2. In view of a law of 1678 which excluded mulattoes from birth records, the girl was at an obvious disadvantage.

The court, however, agreed to admit the testimony of the midwife who attended her birth, if the midwife could be found. If the girl was as old as she claimed, she would have been born in 1683 when the law implied freedom for all mulattoes. Only two seventeenth century cases have survived wherein a mulatto born of an English woman came to court to seek his freedom on that ground.

  1. In May, 1696, Richard Caven, claiming birth by an English woman thirty-two years previously, petitioned the Provincial Court for his freedom from Thomas and Elizabeth Coursey.
  2. If he could prove his contention, his case was good since his birth would have occurred before the September, 1664 law.
  3. That law provided for the offspring of English mothers born before the act’s passage to serve for thirty-one years.

The law of 1681 repealed the 1664 law on that account, but did not affect marriages and births which had occurred before 1681. The court deferred judgment on Caven’s petition until three witnesses could be summoned. However, three months later, when the matter again came before the court, the justices dismissed it because Caven failed to appear.

Evidently, like Jeffrey Lisle, Caven had some reason to believe he had a better chance for freedom by fleeing. In the same breath as it dismissed the case, the court issued a special commission on Madam Coursey’s behalf “for taking of Richard Caven a mulatto.” If Caven was ever recovered, the event is unrecorded.

The Charles County Court settled a final case by means of simple appeal to law governing mulattoes. In March, 1702/03, John Glover, the mulatto servant of Samuel Luckett, petitioned for his freedom on the grounds that he was born over twenty-one years earlier to a white woman, at a time, he claimed, when the law provided in such cases that the child should go free at age twenty-one.

  1. Glover was mistaken in his final assertion about the law.
  2. In February, 1680/81, when he was born, the law of 1664 was still operative.
  3. It stated that mulattoes such as Glover were to serve for life.
  4. After considering Glover’s case, the justices ordered Glover to serve until age thirty-one.
  5. Thus, they applied the 1699 law to his case rather than the 1664 law which in effect when he was born and which had never been declared null and void.

The court added, however, that it would grant Glover a new hearing if he could find a law, or even a court precedent, justifying his claim. A few months later, Glover returned with his mother, who confirmed his date of birth. But, since he had turned up no law or precedent, as the court had stipulated, the justices reaffirmed their earlier decision that he serve until age thirty-one.

Of the four mulattoes who petitioned the courts for their freedom before the early eighteenth century, none clearly won. Two of them resorted to flight, probably for fear of losing their cases on appeal by their masters. Three of the four claimed freedom on the basis of prior legal contracts. Only one appealed to law, but displayed a pitiful ignorance of it, as did the court that heard his case.

As with the laws regarding blacks, the laws governing the status of mulattoes seem to have been open to challenge and written contracts could take precedent over them. As with blacks, the burden of proof laid upon the petitioner, who, in this respect, could be disadvantaged since his or her case often hinged upon establishing their date of birth, a task complicated by the 1678 law’s excluding mulattoes from having their births duly recorded.

Although the judical records are replete with cases of white/black fornication and bastardy, only three marriages between whites and blacks are recorded. The marriage of Eleanor Butler will be discussed below. Another such marriage was alluded to in a 1698 dispute over the ownership of a black man, a white woman and a mulatto child who was “by the Law of This Province,

a Servant.” Clearly, the man and woman were married and the child was a servant for twenty-one years as prescribed by the 1692 law. The third marriaage was that of Francis Peters, the Negro slave of Jonathan Baptista Carbury, and Mary, a white woman. The marriage occurred about 1680 and Mary thus became the servant of her husband’s master for the duration of her husband’s life, as prescribed by the 1664 law.

  • After the 1692 law changed the servitude penalty for white wives of slaves to seven years, Mary began an eleven-year campaign to gain her freedom.
  • In May, 1693, after hearing her case, the Provincial Court ordered her to return to her master “and remain as a slave according to law untill her husband a Negro dies.” As we have seen, the 1681 law officially repealed the 1664 law.

But, the 1681 law seems never to have been enforced. Even so, the 1692 law clearly superseded 1664 and was, no doubt, Mary Peters’ reason for going to court. The court, however, recognized that 1664 was never declared null and void and, therefore, any mixed marriages occurring under it, such as Mary’s, were still subject to its provisions.

  1. Eighteen months later, Mary tried again, and with the same results: “Mary peeters return to her master,
  2. And so serve his soe long as her now husband an Negro shall live.” Around the turn of the century, she evidently took her case to the Governor, but he returned it to the Provincial Court for another hearing.

The court agreed to accept the case but wanted to wait until it could summon Carbury. “In the mean time,” the court warned him in the summons, “use and intreat the said Mary Peters Civilly as becomes a Master.” In October, 1704, having exhausted her right to appeal, Mary had her last chance.

  1. He argument was not recorded, but it was insufficient to counter Carbury’s appeal to the 1664 law.
  2. For the last time, the court ordered “that the said mary Continue a slave during the life of Francis Peters her negroe husband according to the same Law.” The Peters case and the Glover case, cited previously, together reveal some inconsistency in law enforcement in seventeenth century Maryland.

Whereas the Provincial Court applied the 1664 law in the Peters case, as was proper, the Charles County Court applied the 1699 law in the Glover case when, technically, the 1664 law should have applied. Furthermore, the Peters case contains the only seventeenth century Maryland reference to white slavery.

Despite the laws, masters were free to manumit their slaves. Elizabeth Brewer, in the same will that provided for Jeffrey Lisle’s eventual freedom, stated that a certain black woman of hers should be allowed to buy her freedom, if she so chose. In another instance, John Godwyn freed his black woman, Catherine, as a jesture of goodwill.

In an unusual case, Peter Doutery provided his slave Sambo and his wife Betty their freedom upon Doutery’s death. In addition, Doutery provided them with a tract of land, cattle, pigs, clothing, bedding and “provisions of all sorts for one whole year.” The statutes of colonial Maryland said little about manumission until a law of 1752 prohibited the manumission of elderly slaves who could not care for themselves.

  • From the foregoing, however, it is clear that in common law, masters could free their slaves.
  • As we have seen, in 1715, when the Assembly was considering a major new slave law, the subject of manumission came up.
  • Apparently the Upper House proposed some sort of constraint upon the practice, but the Lower House objected on the following grounds:,

and as to that part relating to the manumission of negro or molatto Slaves We think it is hard to restrain any master or Owner to sett free any well deserving negro or molatto Slave, for probity in such Person is by means discouraged, no master or Owner being at Liberty Otherwise to recompence the good Actions of a well deserving Slave.

  • The final version of the law contained no restraints on manumission and thus that common law practice continued.
  • By the beginning of the eighteenth century, we can say the following about the law of slavery.
  • The statues provided in absolute terms that all blacks were slaves.
  • But case law revealed a common law practive of admitting petitions of blacks who felt they could prove exception to the rule on the basis of legal contract.

On the subject of mulattoes there was more equivocation. The law of 1692 provided that the children of mixed couplings, whether legitimate or not, would be servants for twenty-one years. The law of 1715 outlawed interracial marriage and imposed a thirty-one year period of service on children born of mixed parentage.

  1. The status of mulattoes must have been getting very confusing by the early eighteenth century.
  2. What for instance would be the status of a mulatto born of two mulattoes? It is well-known that the American colonies, unlike Carribean and Latin American colonies, did not recognize precise categories for people of mixed racial ancestry.

The evidence above suggests the development of a common law tendency to let masters decide the fate of mulattoes as they saw fit. For the period between 1700 and the American Revolution, evidence survives for thirty slave freedom petitions brought into Maryland courts.

  • Most of them fall into three broad categories based upon the plaintiffs’ grounds for freedom: intentions of a previous master not recognized by a present master; descent from a free white woman; and improper enslavement of blacks who lived as freemen in England before coming to Maryland.
  • Eight other petitions were so scantily recorded that in most cases, only the outcomes are clear.

One suit had to do with fraudulent indenture; another involved an East Indian who was really not of African descent; and one pertained to a black Spaniard captured in the Seven Years War. Three of the thirty petitioners claimed to have been illegally enslaved in Maryland after coming to the colony voluntarily from England where they had lived as free men.

  1. All three lost their cases.
  2. In 1720, Richard Tanty, who is not specifically identified by race, explained to the Anne Arundel County Court that he was born and baptized in England and at age 10 was brought as a servant to Maryland.
  3. Once he was here, he claimed, he was illegally sold as a slave.
  4. Seven years prior to his petition, he said he was sold to Charles Carroll, since deceased, who, upon hearing Tanty’s tale, promised to free him after seven years’ service, now expired.

On the basis of the foregoing, Tanty petitioned for his freedom. The court summoned Charles Carroll’s executors, listened to but did not record their testimony, and rejected Tanty’s petition. Why they rejected it is unclear, but the action probably resulted from the lack of written or strong testimonial evidence bearing upon Carroll’s intentions.

The burden of proof lie with the black, and his failure to offer iron-clad evidence meant the durante vita precept took precedence. In 1742, Negro Morat entered a petition before the Prince Georges County justices against Margaret Dick. Morat claimed to have come to Maryland from England as a cabing boy to Captain Joseph Beezly, who promptly sold him into slavery.

At the time of the suit, Morat was in the service of Dick, from who he petitioned for his freedom. The court listened to Morat’s case, as presented by his attorney Henry Darnall, and ordered him freed. Dick appealed to the Provincial Court, which, in 1744, declared the lower court’s decision in error and pronounced Morat a “slave.

During life.” The court did not record its reason for the decision. Presumably it had to do with lack of evidence. In the third such case, Negro Pompey petitioned the Prince Georges Justices for his freedom in 1754 claiming that 14 years previously he had indentured himself freely in England to Captain William Richards for seven years.

Richards brought Pompey to Maryland and held him as a slave. At the time of suit, Pompey belonged to Richards’ widow, Christian, and her new husband, George Gordon, from whom he wanted his freedom. The court summoned the Gordons, listened to but did not record their testimony, and declared Pompey a slave, presumably for lack of evidence on his behalf.

  • Tanty, Morat and Pompey, like Hagleton and Trunckett in the previous century, claimed to be English blacks who were exempt from the slave law of Maryland by virtue of their previous condition in England.
  • Unlike Hagleton and Trunckett, they lost their suits.
  • It would be tempting to say a trend is present here, but the number of cases involved is so small that such a conclusion is not warranted.

If six surviving freedom petitions in which the plaintiffs sued for their freedom on grounds of their original masters’ intentions, three were successful, three were not. In 1702, Mingoe, “a Negro man belonging to Mr. William Stone,” petitioned the Charles County Court for his freedom on the grounds that his former master, Joshua Doyne, deceased, “Did by Deed of Guift” grant Mingoe his freedom.

It is not clear what, if any, evidence Mingoe offered for his case, but he lost. Probably, he had no written copy of the supposed deed of gift. In a similar case twenty years later, Negro Bess successfully sued for her freedom from Ruth Howard in the Anne Arundel County Court only to have the Provincial Court reverse the decision.

Bess claimed that her former mistress, Anne Lambert, deceased, intended her to go free at age 25. Ruth Howard in her appeal argued first that the lower court’s decision was contrary to the durante vita laws “to the great Annoyance of his Majestys Christian Subjects within this Province by allowing these Affricans the Enjoyment of liberty and of previledges Equall to those of English men,

.” Howard further argued that Anne Lambert had disposed of Bess to her without anything said regarding freedom for the slave. Anne Lambert’s will of 1703 survives and throws a little light on the matter. She specified that:, my Negroe man Mingoe and my Negro woman Bess and my Negro boye Mingoe and the childe Bess goes withall shall be free when Compleatly finnisshed which is or may be in hand at the time of my Decease my will is That my Negro girle Nan be free at The age of Twenty years which will happen in the 1711.

Lambert also left land to her freed slaves. It is possible that the Bess in the petition was the same Bess mentioned in the will. Or she could conceivably be the child that “Bess goes withall.” It is not clear to us today and perhaps it was not clear to the Provincial Court justices in 1722 when they declared Bess “a Slave to the said Ruth Howard during her life.” In the two cases above, blacks unsuccessfully sued for their freedom on the basis of what they claimed, without proof, were the intentions of former masters.

  • In a third case in 1723, a different Negro Bess was able to prove her former master’s intention and thereby won her freedom.
  • She filed suit in the Somerset County Court against the Horsey family.
  • Bess claimed to have been born a slave to Colonel David Brown who, before his death, stipulated that Bess would go free if she served through her twenty-first year.

In fact, Brown’s will did provide that “black Beette be learned to Read the bible and to sow with needle weell to have good clothes and two cowes and calves when set free which I desire to be at the twenty Second year of her age she being Eight years of age last aprill,

  1. In her petition, Bess claimed to have faithfully served and accordingly been freed.
  2. She then engaged herself freely to Mrs.
  3. Hannah Horsey of Backcreek who subsequently refused to acknowledge Bess’s free condition and treated her as a slave.
  4. Bess complained that Horsey did not provide her sufficient food and drink, threatened to sell her and her child, and that Horsey’s son threatened to shoot her.

It is significant to note that Bess signed her petition “Bess Negro” indicating that she was literate, as her first master has intended. The court summoned Hannah and John Horsey, examined them, and decided the case in Bess’s favor. Thus the Somerset justices upheld a master’s will to free his slave.

The most interesting freedom suit involving the will of a master is that of 19 Eastern Shore blacks who, dissatified with a Prerogative Court decision handed down by Daniel Dulany the Younger, were actually able to prevail upon Governor Samuel Ogle to convene a “Special Court of Delegates” to hear their case.

The suit is extremely well recorded and offers a rare look at the interpersonal relationships that could exist between master and slave. The 19 blacks were slaves to John Gibb of Queen Anne County, deceased. Their opponent in the suit was Gibb’s niece, Janet Cleland.

  • In the original suit in Prerogative Court, Cleland successfully challenged the executors of Gibb’s estate, James Massey and John Hadley, for probating a will of Gibb’s dated 1740 in which Gibb freed his 19 slaves and divided his holdings among them.
  • Cleland claimed that the will was invalid and that the slaves and property were hers.

Prerogative Court decided in her favor declaring the will null and void. The slaves, no doubt through an attorney, filed a writ of errors before the Governor, who impanelled a special court of the leading men of the colony: Benjamin Tasker the Younger, Charles Hammond, Benedict Calvert, John Brice and George Steward.

  • They continued the case until June, 1752, when it was heard by a slightly different set of delegates: George Plater, Charles Hammond, Benjamin Tasker and Philip Thomas.
  • Janet Cleland’s side of the story went like this.
  • She was the daughter of Gibb’s sister and left Scotland to join her uncle in Maryland to help him manage his estate.

She agreed to give her inheritance in Scotland to John Gibb’s brother, William, and in return she was to inherit John’s Maryland estate. She said her uncle many times expressed his gratitude for her help. Unfortunately, in his last years, he was given to drink and had spells of “frantick madness.” During these fits, John would write various wills, although he was clearly incompetent to do so.

  • When sane, Cleland claimed, John would make it clear that his true will was that Janet should inherit his entire estate.
  • John’s slaves always tried to take advantage of his periods of indisposition.
  • During his last sickness in 1740 they refused to do any work unless he would write a will freeing them and dividing his estate among them.

It was this will that Massey and Hadley probated to Janet Cleland’s prejudice. Hadley and Massey’s side of the story was quite different. Yes, they acknowledged, Cleland was Gibb’s niece from Scotland and probably his closet surviving kin. But, they said, she had not given up any estate in Scotland, that in fact she had immigrated against Gibb’s will and he took her in only because she “appeared to be in very low Condition at home.” They denied that she had taken any prominent role in managing Gibb’s estate, that Gibb’s wife, who predeceased him by only a few years, had done most of the managing.

  1. The executors described Cleland as a wastrel who often ran off to live the high life in Philadelphia and elsewhere at John Gibb’s expense.
  2. Gibb at one time or another wrote wills in her favor but destroyed them because of her “undutiful and headless carriage.” They once heard him express his intention to “Cutt the Libellant off with a Shilling.” Yes, they heard stories about the slaves trying to take advantage of Gibb but discounted them saying Gibb trusted his slaves more than he did his niece.

They witnessed John write the will in question (giving the date as 1747) and said he was perfectly competent. The will was entered in as evidence. In it, John clearly freed his slaves and divided his clothing and land among them. He left a horse, watch, gun, and some plate to various friends and a shilling each to Janet, brother William, and to William’s son, John.

  1. Depositions from numerous people confirmed bits and pieces of both sides of the story.
  2. Many acknowledged the strong influence that the slaves exercised over their master.
  3. The Special Court heard all evidence and proclaimed valid the will favoring the slaves.
  4. This is a simply astounding case.
  5. It shows us a particular situation where 19 chattel slaves had a very close relationship with their master.

Either they won his love and respect above what he felt for his own family, or they were able to manupulate him incredibly to the point that he favored them over his own kin in his will, depending on whose side of the story one finds moer persuasive.

Likely, the truth fell in somewhere between. Gibb related to his slaves as though they were his family. What is more astounding is that these 19 slaves were able to appeal a Prerogative Court ruling directly to the governor who impanelled a jury of the colony’s top legal minds to hear the appeal. And the jury found for the blacks.

We see illustrated here not only evidence that the courts of colonial Maryland were still willing to entertain exceptions to the durante vita clause as late as 1751, we also see that the provincial government was willing to go to exceptional lengths to decide a point of law strictly on its own merits without regard to social convention.

The will clearly freed the slaves, and several white people testified to the testator’s competence to write the will thus confirming the slaves’ case. On that strictly legalistic basis, the Special Court made its ruling. In two final suits involving claims of freedom on a master’s original intentions, the plaintiffs lost.

Negro Ann lost a 1761 suit against Charles Smoot in the Provincial Court. Ann claimed through her attorney, William Brown, her mistress, Ann Smoot, intended her to go free upon the mistress’s death. The executor, Charles Smoot (relationship to the decedent not stated), refused to honor any such commitment.

Negro Ann originally brought the suit in Charles County, but the defendant sought and received a change of venue. The Provincial Court found for Charles Smoot. It appears that Negro Ann, like other blacks who did not get their masters’ promises in writing, lost on that account. Ann Smoot’s will names ten Negro slaves and to whom each was to go after her death.59 The name of Negro Ann does not appear on the list, possibly because Smoot did in fact intend for her to go free.

Likewise, Negro Ann is not enumerated in a list of eleven slaves in Ann Smoot’s inventory. But there is no statement in the will providing for Negro Ann’s freedom. That omission may be the factor that mitigated against her. A final case in 1775 may indicate a hardening of liberal attitudes toward manumissions.

Four blacks petitioned the Somerset justices for their freedom on the basis of their master, Arsbald Stitt’s will. The will does indeed seem to intend that they fo free: “I leave also in this will that Hager shall be Free and Athaliah Zepheniah I leave to Hager there Mother and rose to Live with hager if she Pleases and to be Free.

,” Stitt also left a horse, tackle, clothing and other effects to the blacks and to Hager a 50 acre plot. Stitt was illiterate and appears to have dictated the will. William Knox and John Pollit, who were apparently the executors of Stitt’s estate, answered the petition which the court then ordered “dismist and held for Nothing.” Stitt, who it seems had no immediate family, obviously had a strong emotional bond with his slaves.

We can, of course, speculate upon the possibility that a blood relationship existed between master and slaves, but there is no supporting evidence. The court did not specify the grounds upon which it rejected the petition. Possibly the justices felt the stream-of-consciousness quality of the will was not sufficient in law to establish the blacks’ freedom.

Perhaps they just did not approve of a master freeing his slaves and bequesting his estate to them. Of the nine cases in which persons of mixed race petitioned for their freedom on the basis of descent from a free white woman, five were successful, two failed, and three are uncertain.

  • The two clear failures occurred within two years of each other in the second decade of the century and seem both to relate to the confusion noted above over the validity of the 1681 law.
  • The law of 1681 repealed the law of 1664 and thereby implied that the offspring of a black male voluntarily wedded to a white female would be free.

The law of 1664 has specified slavery for such offspring. In the first case, 1713, Negro Lewis Mingo won a freedom suit against Henry Wharton in the Charles County Court on the grounds that he was the 31 year old son of a white woman. That would put the year of his birth as 1682.

  • On appeal to the Provincial Court the following year, Wharton argued that Mingo was the son of a white woman and black man lawfully wedded in the Church of England (date of marriage not specified) and was therefore a slave by terms of the law in effect when he was born.
  • Now, if Mingo was born in 1682, the law of 1681 implied that he was free.

As we have seen, there appears to have been wholesale refusal to recognize the law of 1681 by the courts of colonial Maryland. No exception here, the Provincial Court found for Wharton. The other case, two years later, involved a mulatto named Rose, the daughter of a white woman, Mary Davis, deceased.

Rose sued Henry Darnall in Anne Arundel County and based her claim on a very interesting document, apparently written in the end pages of a Bible. The document was written by Rose’s mother and may be summarized. Mary was the daughter of a London man and had a brother named John. She gave the Bible to her son Thomas who was fathered in wedlock by a black named Domingo, once the servant of a Calvert County man.

Mary and Domingo were married in Calvert County and, at the time of writing (circa 1685) lived with the Lord Proprietor. Son Thomas was born in 1677 and was baptized by Mr. Weakley in the House of Richard Masome. James Thompson and his wife Ann were godparents.

  1. This is here Inserted to Satisfy any and to whome it May Concern that my said son Thomas Came from a Christian Race-by his Mother,” she wrote.
  2. Later she inserted record of Rose’s birth which was in St.
  3. Marys County on August 11, 1684.
  4. Rose was baptized at Notley Hall by Mr.
  5. Richard Hebert, a priest, and Mr.

Henry Wharton was godfather and Rose Hunt godmother. This fascinating document illustrates the paradoxical relationship that existed between whites and blacks in seventeenth century Maryland. While the process of black enslavement and black degradation was in progress, one particular English woman voluntarily married a black, described as a former servant, and had at least two children by him who were routinely baptized and received into the Christian faith with white godparents.

And yet the mother feared enough for her children’s future that she proclaimed in writing in a Bible that they were descended from Christians through her. Unfortunately for Rose, the Anne Arundel justices were not impressed and declared that she “serve Dureing Life as a slave.” In another case of 1728, the Baltimore justices freed a woman who was probably mulatto and who had outlived her black husband, a slave.

Thus, as the law of 1715 provided, she served her husband’s master for the duration of her husband’s life but had to go to court to prevent her husband’s master from wrongfully enslaving her and her five children. As we have seen, the status of mixed race offspring was a constant problem.

The law of 1715 finally settled upon 31 years of service for persons descended of mixed parentage. By the second quarter of the eighteenth century, 31 seems to have been pretty well accepted as the magic number. Thus James Russells, a mulatto born of a white woman more than 31 years previously, sued for his freedom in 1721.

No record of the case’s final disposition was located. In 1742, Negro Toby (actually a mulatto) complained to the Baltimore justices that he was born of a free white woman over 31 years previously and should be freed. The court ruled his age to be 30 and specified he should go free the following year.

In 1769, Frances Peck informed the Talbot justices that her mother had served seven years for having her by a black, as the law of 1715 provided, and that she, Frances, was to serve until 31. Her mother went free when her time was up leaving Frances in the clutches of a mistress and master who intended to keep her a slave.

The justices found for Frances and she was freed. Another mulatto named Newmal successfully sued his master for freedom in Prince Georges County in 1739, but age is not listed as a factor, only that his mother was white. The most interesting of all colonial Maryland slave freedom petitions is that of William and Mary Butler against Richard Boarman.

  1. The Butlers were distant cousins descended from a free white Irish servant, Eleanor Butler, and her husband, Negro Charles.
  2. William and Mary filed their first suit in 1763 and thereby began a legal odyssey that lasted 28 years.
  3. Their case is the best documented slave freedom petition and tells us much about the nature of race relations in colonial Maryland.
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We learn from it the particular circumstances that led to the enactment of the universaly ignored law of 1681. We see in it strong evidence of an extended web of kinship in a certain Southern Maryland family of blacks and mulattoes. We see a black family with a 100 year history that was well-known to its members.

We see evidence of easy social intercourse that existed across color lines in Southern Maryland. And we see the extent to which the legal establishments of colonial Maryland could go in the name of justice for blacks wrongfully enslaved. In the course of the case, the Provincial Court collected and recorded depositions and testimony from sixteen white people who were personally familiar with the Butler family.

Many of these deponents were very old (from their sixties to eighties) when the depositions were taken in 1767. They reported things from their own memories back to early childhood. For events before their time, they retold stories they had heard from their parents and other acquaintances.

From these depositions emerge an amazingly consistent set of stories about the Butleres. We get second hand eyewitness accounts of Eleanor Butler’s wedding to Negro Charles, accounts of who their children were as well as their children’s children down to 1767, commentary upon how the Butler family, particularly Eleanor, lived, and what kind of work they did.

Samuel Abell, Jr., was called upon in court to relate a conversation he had in an Annapolis tavern in 1764 with Richard Boarman, the defendant, and a Mr. Edwards. According to Abell, Boarman related the following: Lord Baltimore a good many years ago, came into this Country to live and brought with him a woman named Butler.

  1. To wash and Iron and boarded with his Grand Father, and that some time after they had been there, the said woman called Butler fell in Love with one of his Grand Fathers Negroes and wanted to marry him, and upon my Lord being informed.
  2. Sent for her and Chid her, and told her that if she Married the Negro she would by that means enslave herself, and her posterity, upon which the woman told him that she had rather marry the Negro under them circumstances, than to marry his Lordship with his Country, upon which he told her she might go marry him, and be damned.

Abell futher testified that Boarman said the marriage did occur and from it, “came these two Negroes William and Mary Butler.” Abell inquired of Boarman if “there were not a good many of that Family?” Boarman replied that there were “about 120 of them, but that the Negroes by their Count made near three hundred of them, for that they had taken some Salt water negroes into their count.

The implications of the case were far reaching. If William and Mary Butler were freed, as many as 300 of their relatives had claims to freedom. One can imagine many Southern Maryland blacks frantically searching for proof that they were part of the Butler clan. The case must have been widely known and talked about at the time.

Obviously many whites who owned slaves named Butler had a stake in it. Boarman apparently made no secret of the situation. One comtemporary justified retelling the story of himself on the grounds that “it was no secret, Mr. Boarman had told it to fifty people.

Boarman said he claimed the Butler progeny as slaves by terms of “a Law of this province whereby white women marrying of Slaves, should become slaves to the house of their Husbands master.” This is a reference to the law of 1664, which was in effect when Eleanor and Charles married in 1681. The story of the wedding was well known.

Several of the deponents were able to give accounts of it as they heard the story from their elders who were either present or heard the story from Eleanor, herself. Eleanor had arisen early on the wedding day to clean the house of Major Boarman, where the ceremony was to take place.

  1. The Lord Proprietor, Charles Calvert, was also staying at Boarman’s, and he summoned Eleanor, or Irish Nell as she was commonly known, to him to inquire if she in fact intended to marry Negro Charles.
  2. She said she did and, by all accounts, he “chided” her and told her that she would thus enslave herself and her posterity.

Her reply was equally well-known. “She answered him that she rather go to bed with Charles than his Lordship.” The wedding was officiated by a priest named Hubbert. It appears that numerous whites witnessed the ceremony. One deponent recounted how his father, a little boy at the time, remembered being kissed by the bride and then running away from embarassment.

Nell and Charles bore at least six children: John or Jack, Sarah, Catherine (commonly called Kate), Elizabeth (commonly called Abigail), Moll, and Nan. Jack ran away to Virginia and, when overtaken, bought his freedom. Of Sarah we know little besides her approximate date of birth, 1690. Catherine ws born about 1691.

She lived to adulthood and had four children: Jenny, Jack, Ned, and Pegg. One account said Kate, too, bought her freedom. Kate’s daughter, Pegg, was the mother of Mary Butler, or Moll, as she was also known, one of the plaintiffs in the freedom suit. Charles and Nell’s daughter Elizabeth was the mother of William Butler, the other plaintiff.

  • Of daughters Moll and Nan nothing has been recorded.
  • One of the deponents, who knew Nell well, described a daughter of Nell’s who died “as a slave of Mr.
  • Boarman.” The justices asked how he knew she was a slave.
  • He replied that “she worked among the other slaves and lived as they did.” He described how, upon her death, Boarman called for a spade with which he dug a grave to bury her.

Nell was present and, in a distraught condition, cried out that her daughter’s death “was the greatest loss she had met with since she was married.” The justices who heard William and Mary Butler’s suit were quite interested to know how Nell and her children were treated, whether as slaves or as free people.

They seemed to be searching for evidence of usage to guide them in their decision. The deponents were agreed that Charles remained a slave, but that Nell seemed to be treated as a free woman. She made a livlihood as a laundress, by spinning and midwifing and was also a field hand. One deponent, who remembered her, said Nell “appeared to do as she pleased, that she was a hard laboring body and made Good Crops.” Others said Nell was free to move about and travelled frequently to visit and stay with her various children.

The children, however, were regarded as slaves, the deponents agreed. One deponent remembered as a young man being put to work with Jack and being told that Jack was a slave. Another said that “all the Descendents of, Nell that he knew lived and died Slaves they working and living as such except Kate,” who had bought her freedom.

Charles and Nell’s marriage apparently remained in tact. Several deponents knew them for years as husband and wife. One remembered them calling each other “my old man” and “my old woman.” William Boarman’s 1709 inventory lists “1 Elderly Negro man named Charles” and “1 old Irish woman.” The Provincial Court mulled the case over for quite some time.

Then, in 1770, it declared William and Mary Butler free. Richard Boarman, their master, filed an appeal to the Maryland Appeals Court. In 1771, that body reversed the Provincial Court’s decision. In 1787, however, Mary Butler succeeded in getting another hearing before the Appeals Court.

Finally, in 1791, she was declared a free person. The court gave its grounds as follows. Since Eleanor Butler was a freeborm English woman, she would have to have been tried and convicted in a court of law of the crime of marrying a Negro before the penalty of the law of 1664 could be applied. Since there was no record of a conviction, neither she nor her children could have rightfully been held as slaves.

Harris and McHenry report that the main point of agrument in the Butler Case was whether the law of 1664 (which provided for the enslavement of both white women who married blacks and of the children of such marriages) or the law of 1681 (which repealed 1664 and implied freedom for such women and children) applied in the marriage of Irish Nell and Negro Charles.

  1. The marriage occurred when the law of 1664 was still in force, but the children were all born when 1681 was in force.
  2. Harris and McHenry also report that 1681 was passed right after Nell and Charles’ marriage at the instigation of Lord Baltimore.
  3. It seems his Lordship did not really mean for Nell to “be damned” for marrying Charles.

He intended for 1681 to benefit her and her children. The Court of Appeals’ 1771 reversal of the Provincial Court’s decision freeing William and Mary Butler was based on the fact that 1681 only repealed 1664 but did not declare it null and void. Since 1664 was in force at the time of the wedding, it applied to Nell and her progeny.

The Court noted that 1681 was framed by men not well-trained in law. As we have seen, 1681 was not consistently enforced in Maryland anyway. The Appeals Court showed some ingeniuos reasoning when it freed Mary Butler. The long delay between first petition (1764) and the final outcome (1792) may have been caused by apprehensions that a finding favorable to Mary Butler would lead to an avalanche of suits from others claiming descent from Irish Nell.

Besides Richard Boarman’s statement that between 120 and 300 people claimed such descent, the Charles County Court records contain several references to people named Butler (some identified as black or mulatto, others not) in a variety of legal matters: breach of peace, trespass, suits of debt, for concealing taxables, and others.

The Maryland Gazette has 1771 and 1772 runaway notices for Stephen Butler “a relation to Will and Moll Butler, who were Cleared at the Provincial Court; he says he will not serve, nor has any Mulatto a right.” The ads describe Stephen as a wheelwright, sawyer, tight cooper and house carpenter who played the fiddle.

Stephen was an inveterate runaway who had “so great a Correspondence amongst white People that he was never taken only by himself.” His master, Leonard Boarman, said Stephen had “confessed to me and many others where he has been harboured and whose Houses he resorted ; That he has worked for several by Stealth, whose names I shall pass over in Silence this Time, but for the future, If I can possibly make Proof either against White or black, I will proceed against them as the law directs.” Stephen, like his family for nearly a century before, seems to have been pretty well integrated into the rest of society.

There is no sense of physical separation by race. Obviously, the Butlers of Southern Maryland were well-established in society at large. It is not certain whether Mary’s freedom in 1792 brought freedom for her kin. It may be significant that her freedom came at a time when tobacco was in a severely depressed state.

Perhaps freedom for the Butlers relieved many plantation owners from maintaining an increasingly useless work force, but that can only be speculation. The importance of the Butler case, aside from the rare insights it gives us into the lifestyle of one particular slave family, is that the courts of Maryland could still be used as late as the end of the colonial period by blacks or mulattoes to petition for their freedom.

There were three freedom petitions in the eighteenth century that show the crafty machinations of unscrupulous masters who would use any means to make servants or slaves of free people. In 1721, Margaret Quando, a member of another large Southern Maryland family of free blacks and mulattoes, complained to the Provincial Court that Thomas Wheeler of Charles County was by foul means making seven year servants of her daughters, Mary and Elizabeth.

According to Margaret, Wheeler had been bound by the Charles County Court for the appearance of a white woman named Anne Reny, who was suspected of bastardly. Wheeler then persuaded the young and impressionable Quando girls to agree to seven year indentures enforceable upon Reny’s failure to appear.

  1. Then, to get the indentures enforced, Margaret charged, Wheeler spirited Reny into Virginia so she would not appear in court.
  2. Wheeler then got a court order putting the indenture into effect.
  3. He took the girls to his house as servants and has thwarted efforts of the Quandos to get relief in the county court.

Two Provincial Court justices, James Stoddart and Daniel Dulany the Elder, endorsed the petition and returned it to the Charles County Court for consideration. The county court mulled the matter over then ordered the Quando girls to be freed and their mother to receive 2,148 pounds of tobacco for costs.

It appears that Wheeler had some help from the Charles County justices in his little scam, but Margaret Quando successfully invoked the power of the Provincial Court for redress. The second case illustrates the complications arising over the status of mulattoes who were not born of one white and one black parent.

In 1731, Mary Beneta, a mulatto, pleaded for the freedom of her three children before the Provincial Court. Beneta stated that she was the daughter of a free white woman and served John Newman of Baltimore County until age 31, as prescribed by law. During her servitude, she bore three children for whom the Baltimore justices awarded Newman 7,000 pounds tobacco to support.

  1. To satisfy that debt, Beneta went before the county justices in 1727 and bound the children, Sarah, Zachariah, and Deborah Lett, to William Rogers as servants until age 16 in return for which Rogers was to pay the debt to Newman.
  2. Rogers got the county justices to declare the three children servants until age 31.

Sarah Lett was above 16 at the time of Mary Beneta’s petition. Beneta asked the Provincial justices to declare the Baltimore justices in error. The Provincial justices ordered William Rogers to appear at the next court. No susequent record of the case exists.

  • As in the Quando case, a white master seems to have used a county court to confer legal respectability upon his attempt to exact illegal service out of black or mulatto children.
  • As in the Quando case, an aggrieved parent sought redress from the Provincial Court.
  • The third case also illustrates the confusion arising over second and third generation mulattoes.

In 1756, Mulatto Daphne complained to the Prince Georges County justices that she and her three children were illegally held as slaves by Henry Watson. Daphne stated that she was the daughter of a mulatto woman named Mary Brent who was the daughter of a free white woman.

Therefore, she, Daphne, was “born in a State of Freedom,” which was technically correct since the laws said nothing about the status of the children of mulattoes. Daphne pleaded for the freedom of herself and her three children, Sarah, Dick, and Hannah. Her master was summoned to appear in the next court, but no subsequent record exists.

In another freedom suit recorded well enough that we have some sense of the issue involved, and East Indies native named William Creek, who was “reckoned as a Slave,” successfully petitioned the Anne Arundel Court for his freedom in 1736. Creek had been brought to England at a young age, Christianized, and put to work as a servant to an apothecary.

  1. When he incurred his master’s wrath by “giving Some Person a Dose of Cantharides for a Love Powder,” Creek was sold to a Mr.
  2. Chew, grandfather of his present master, for seven years.
  3. That seven years had stretched to 19 and Creek wanted his freedom.
  4. The court decided in his favor.
  5. The case is reminiscent of those of Thomas Hagleton and Ralph Trunckett.

One case that stands by itself is that of Juan Domingo Lopez, a black shoemaker from the city of Santo Domingo in the Spanish colony of Hispaniola (now in the Dominican Republic). In 1761, during the Seven Years War, Lopez and several friends of his, all free black subjects of the King of Spain, shipped out as crewmen on the Spanish privateer “Polena.” They were captured by an English privateer captained by Henry Brown.

Brown hauled his prize and her crew before the English Court of Admiralty in Jamaica, which authorized him to sell the vessel and its appurtenances and also to sell the black crewmen as slaves. Lopez ended up being sold to the Principio Iron Company in Baltimore County and it was that company he sued for his freedom before the Baltimore justices in 1768.

The company’s attorney, Francis Phillips, got a change of venue to the Provincial Court, which heard evidence in 1770. Lopez’s argument was that, as a free subject of the Spanish king, he could not be rightfully sold in slavery in the British colonies.

His petition referred to Lopez’s “Natural Right” as a free person and called his state of slavery “odious to the British Constitution.” Samuel Chase was Lopez’s attorney and it seems appropriate that Chase would use language typical of the patriot cause during the Revolutionary period. The Provincial Court continued the case for several sessions then dismissed it.

Chase entered an appeal. Unfortunately, no Appeals Court records have survived for this period so Lopez’s fate is a mystery. His case touched upon slavery issues that had been important early in the colonial period; he was captured in time of war but was obviously a Christian and a subject of a soverign monarchy recognized by England.

  1. The reasoning of the Provincial Court in dismissing his case would be very interesting, but it is not recorded.
  2. Likewise, the action taken by the Appeals Court would be interesting to know.
  3. The eight remaining freedom petitions are so scantily recorded that all we really know is the outcome of each.
  4. They date from 1752 to 1775.

Of the eight, seven were successful and resulted in the freeing of a total of five blacks and five mulattoes. The eighth failed and resulted in the continued enslavement of a black. For the entire colonial period, we have evidence of 44 court actions initiated by individuals who felt they had legal justification for release from servitude under the slave laws of Maryland.

  • Nineteen cases resulted in decisions favorable to the plantiffs and freedom for a total of 46 individuals.
  • Sixteen decisions were unfavorable and resulted in continued servitude for 19 individuals.
  • The results of nine cases affecting 14 individuals are not known.
  • The balance between favorable and unfavorable decisions (19 to 16) suggests a general trend of even-handedness throughout the colonial period.

We may fairly speculate that there was an overall tendency in the courts of colonial Maryland to consider slave and mulatto freedom suits on their own merits and to render decisions free of bias. It may be significant to note that half of the unfavorable decisions fall between the years of 1692 and 1715 with no favorable decisions during that same time.

This period corresponds directly to the period during which Maryland was administered as a royal colony. Considering the general English aversion to slavery, one might expect the trend in this period to be quite the opposite. The again, this is also the period of the Protestant ascendency in Maryland.

Carl Degler and others have argued that the presence of Catholocism in Latin American colonies served to mitigate the conditions of slavery there. Is it possible that Maryland’s 23 year period of unfavorable decisions represents a temporary hardening of attitudes during the Protestant revolt against the Catholic policies of the Proprietary? While that is interesting speculation, the general tendency of fair dispensation of justice cannot be denied.

The statutes provided for across-the-board enslavement of blacks and mulattoes who could prove exemption by virtue of previous contracts, descent from free white women, intentions of masters to manumit, previous condition in England, and fraudulent maneuvers of would-be masters. Thus a common law tradition existed which puts a different light on the slave law of colonial Maryland.

We have records of 79 blacks, mulattoes, and white spouses of blacks who used the courts of colonial Maryland to seek their freedom. In view of the number of court records lost to us, that number may have in reality been double. Even so, the total number could still only be a fraction of one percent of the total number of blacks and mulattoes who lived out their lives as slaves and were never able to use the courts to their advantage.

  1. This chapter, therefore, tells us more about the courts than it does about the condition of slaves.
  2. It tells us that while very few black servants had the means to use the courts, those who did were given treatment consistent with fair dispensation of justice as it was understood in the English-speaking world of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

One can easily dispute the morality of slavery in the first place, but it was legal. Morality and legality are not always the same thing. Given that slavery was legal under the statutes of colonial Maryland, we can say that the courts, acting within that perspective, applied to blacks the same concept of justice that was considered due English subjects under the British Constitution.

When did it become illegal to own slaves in Virginia?

In 1667, Virginia Passed A Law Which Edwin Forbes’s drawing of African Americans escaping slavery in Hanover County during the Civil War. The end of slavery occurred incrementally in Virginia. Throughout the history of slavery in the state, enslaved people used different strategies to attain freedom. In 1667, Virginia Passed A Law Which Community built by contrabands at Hampton known as Slabtown. With the start of the Civil War, enslaved people sought refuge with United States troops. In May 1861, at Fort Monroe, General Benjamin F. Butler declared such runaways as “contraband of war” (in effect, confiscated property) to deprive the Confederate States of America of their labor.

During the war, as the number of “contrabands” increased, the federal government moved toward granting them freedom. Refugees formed large communities in Hampton and also on the grounds of the Lee family mansion, Arlington, in northern Virginia. The Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1, 1863, freed enslaved people only in areas “in rebellion” against the United States.

As Union troops captured parts of Virginia, commanders used the authority of the Emancipation Proclamation to declare enslaved people free. On April 7, 1864, a constitutional convention for the Restored Government of Virginia, then meeting in Alexandria, abolished slavery in the part of the state that remained a loyal member of the United States. Emancipation Oak, Hampton Emancipation by Thomas Nast Text of the Thirteenth Amendment

What laws were passed in 1967?

1999 House Passes Bill To Limit States’ and Localities’ Power To Curb Religious Activities
1967 Supreme Court Strikes Down Racial Marriage Ban, Upholds Fair Housing Case; Medicare Oath Falls
1967 Senate Hearings Held on 1967 Civil Rights Act
1967 Negroes Gain Seat on Court, Other High Offices

Were there laws in the 1600s?

There was no international law in the colonial era, only the law of power. Disputes by different peoples were settled either through negotiation or through war. Sometimes different legal cultures would be blended, as in New York in the late 1600s when the English took the colony from the Dutch.

What was the first law ever passed?

On May 5, 1789, the Senate passed its first bill—the Oath Act. That first oath, for members and civil servants, was very simple: “I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States.” Seventy-two years later, the outbreak of the Civil War quickly transformed the routine act of oath-taking into one of enormous significance.

  1. At a time of shifting and uncertain loyalties, when members believed the nation had more to fear from northern traitors than southern soldiers, Congress responded with several new oaths.
  2. The first one, enacted at the end of the July 1861 emergency session, is nearly identical to the one that members and federal employees take today.

In July 1862, during the war’s darkest hours, Congress passed a much tougher “Ironclad Test Oath” for civil servants requiring not only a pledge of future loyalty, but also an affirmation of past fidelity. In 1864, the Republican-controlled Senate, over the strenuous objection of the chamber’s few Democrats, adopted a rule requiring members to swear to the 1862 Test Oath and, for the first time, to sign a printed copy.

What laws were passed to help the slaves?

Fugitive Slave Act Passed on September 18, 1850 by Congress, The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was part of the Compromise of 1850. The act required that slaves be returned to their owners, even if they were in a free state. The act also made the federal government responsible for finding, returning, and trying escaped slaves.

  • Section 1
  • Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the persons who have been, or may hereafter be, appointed commissioners, in virtue of any act of Congress, by the Circuit Courts of the United States, and Who, in consequence of such appointment, are authorized to exercise the powers that any justice of the peace, or other magistrate of any of the United States, may exercise in respect to offenders for any crime or offense against the United States, by arresting, imprisoning, or bailing the same under and by the virtue of the thirty-third section of the act of the twenty-fourth of September seventeen hundred and eighty-nine, entitled “An Act to establish the judicial courts of the United States” shall be, and are hereby, authorized and required to exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this act.
  • Section 2
  • And be it further enacted, That the Superior Court of each organized Territory of the United States shall have the same power to appoint commissioners to take acknowledgments of bail and affidavits, and to take depositions of witnesses in civil causes, which is now possessed by the Circuit Court of the United States; and all commissioners who shall hereafter be appointed for such purposes by the Superior Court of any organized Territory of the United States, shall possess all the powers, and exercise all the duties, conferred by law upon the commissioners appointed by the Circuit Courts of the United States for similar purposes, and shall moreover exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this act.
  • Section 3
  • And be it further enacted, That the Circuit Courts of the United States shall from time to time enlarge the number of the commissioners, with a view to afford reasonable facilities to reclaim fugitives from labor, and to the prompt discharge of the duties imposed by this act.
  • Section 4
  • And be it further enacted, That the commissioners above named shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the judges of the Circuit and District Courts of the United States, in their respective circuits and districts within the several States, and the judges of the Superior Courts of the Territories, severally and collectively, in term-time and vacation; shall grant certificates to such claimants, upon satisfactory proof being made, with authority to take and remove such fugitives from service or labor, under the restrictions herein contained, to the State or Territory from which such persons may have escaped or fled.
  • Section 5
  • And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of all marshals and deputy marshals to obey and execute all warrants and precepts issued under the provisions of this act, when to them directed; and should any marshal or deputy marshal refuse to receive such warrant, or other process, when tendered, or to use all proper means diligently to execute the same, he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined in the sum of one thousand dollars, to the use of such claimant, on the motion of such claimant, by the Circuit or District Court for the district of such marshal; and after arrest of such fugitive, by such marshal or his deputy, or whilst at any time in his custody under the provisions of this act, should such fugitive escape, whether with or without the assent of such marshal or his deputy, such marshal shall be liable, on his official bond, to be prosecuted for the benefit of such claimant, for the full value of the service or labor of said fugitive in the State, Territory, or District whence he escaped: and the better to enable the said commissioners, when thus appointed, to execute their duties faithfully and efficiently, in conformity with the requirements of the Constitution of the United States and of this act, they are hereby authorized and empowered, within their counties respectively, to appoint, in writing under their hands, any one or more suitable persons, from time to time, to execute all such warrants and other process as may be issued by them in the lawful performance of their respective duties; with authority to such commissioners, or the persons to be appointed by them, to execute process as aforesaid, to summon and call to their aid the bystanders, or posse comitatus of the proper county, when necessary to ensure a faithful observance of the clause of the Constitution referred to, in conformity with the provisions of this act; and all good citizens are hereby commanded to aid and assist in the prompt and efficient execution of this law, whenever their services may be required, as aforesaid, for that purpose; and said warrants shall run, and be executed by said officers, any where in the State within which they are issued.
  • Section 6

And be it further enacted, That when a person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the United States, has heretofore or shall hereafter escape into another State or Territory of the United States, the person or persons to whom such service or labor may be due, or his, her, or their agent or attorney, duly authorized, by power of attorney, in writing, acknowledged and certified under the seal of some legal officer or court of the State or Territory in which the same may be executed, may pursue and reclaim such fugitive person, either by procuring a warrant from some one of the courts, judges, or commissioners aforesaid, of the proper circuit, district, or county, for the apprehension of such fugitive from service or labor, or by seizing and arresting such fugitive, where the same can be done without process, and by taking, or causing such person to be taken, forthwith before such court, judge, or commissioner, whose duty it shall be to hear and determine the case of such claimant in a summary manner; and upon satisfactory proof being made, by deposition or affidavit, in writing, to be taken and certified by such court, judge, or commissioner, or by other satisfactory testimony, duly taken and certified by some court, magistrate, justice of the peace, or other legal officer authorized to administer an oath and take depositions under the laws of the State or Territory from which such person owing service or labor may have escaped, with a certificate of such magistracy or other authority, as aforesaid, with the seal of the proper court or officer thereto attached, which seal shall be sufficient to establish the competency of the proof, and with proof, also by affidavit, of the identity of the person whose service or labor is claimed to be due as aforesaid, that the person so arrested does in fact owe service or labor to the person or persons claiming him or her, in the State or Territory from which such fugitive may have escaped as aforesaid, and that said person escaped, to make out and deliver to such claimant, his or her agent or attorney, a certificate setting forth the substantial facts as to the service or labor due from such fugitive to the claimant, and of his or her escape from the State or Territory in which he or she was arrested, with authority to such claimant, or his or her agent or attorney, to use such reasonable force and restraint as may be necessary, under the circumstances of the case, to take and remove such fugitive person back to the State or Territory whence he or she may have escaped as aforesaid.

  1. Section 7
  2. And be it further enacted, That any person who shall knowingly and willingly obstruct, hinder, or prevent such claimant, his agent or attorney, or any person or persons lawfully assisting him, her, or them, from arresting such a fugitive from service or labor, either with or without process as aforesaid, or shall rescue, or attempt to rescue, such fugitive from service or labor, from the custody of such claimant, his or her agent or attorney, or other person or persons lawfully assisting as aforesaid, when so arrested, pursuant to the authority herein given and declared; or shall aid, abet, or assist such person so owing service or labor as aforesaid, directly or indirectly, to escape from such claimant, his agent or attorney, or other person or persons legally authorized as aforesaid; or shall harbor or conceal such fugitive, so as to prevent the discovery and arrest of such person, after notice or knowledge of the fact that such person was a fugitive from service or labor as aforesaid, shall, for either of said offences, be subject to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisonment not exceeding six months, by indictment and conviction before the District Court of the United States for the district in which such offence may have been committed, or before the proper court of criminal jurisdiction, if committed within any one of the organized Territories of the United States; and shall moreover forfeit and pay, by way of civil damages to the party injured by such illegal conduct, the sum of one thousand dollars for each fugitive so lost as aforesaid, to be recovered by action of debt, in any of the District or Territorial Courts aforesaid, within whose jurisdiction the said offence may have been committed.
  3. Section 8

And be it further enacted, That the marshals, their deputies, and the clerks of the said District and Territorial Courts, shall be paid, for their services, the like fees as may be allowed for similar services in other cases; and where such services are rendered exclusively in the arrest, custody, and delivery of the fugitive to the claimant, his or her agent or attorney, or where such supposed fugitive may be discharged out of custody for the want of sufficient proof as aforesaid, then such fees are to be paid in whole by such claimant, his or her agent or attorney; and in all cases where the proceedings are before a commissioner, he shall be entitled to a fee of ten dollars in full for his services in each case, upon the delivery of the said certificate to the claimant, his agent or attorney; or a fee of five dollars in cases where the proof shall not, in the opinion of such commissioner, warrant such certificate and delivery, inclusive of all services incident to such arrest and examination, to be paid, in either case, by the claimant, his or her agent or attorney.

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The person or persons authorized to execute the process to be issued by such commissioner for the arrest and detention of fugitives from service or labor as aforesaid, shall also be entitled to a fee of five dollars each for each person he or they may arrest, and take before any commissioner as aforesaid, at the instance and request of such claimant, with such other fees as may be deemed reasonable by such commissioner for such other additional services as may be necessarily performed by him or them; such as attending at the examination, keeping the fugitive in custody, and providing him with food and lodging during his detention, and until the final determination of such commissioners; and, in general, for performing such other duties as may be required by such claimant, his or her attorney or agent, or commissioner in the premises, such fees to be made up in conformity with the fees usually charged by the officers of the courts of justice within the proper district or county, as near as may be practicable, and paid by such claimants, their agents or attorneys, whether such supposed fugitives from service or labor be ordered to be delivered to such claimant by the final determination of such commissioner or not.

Section 9 And be it further enacted, That, upon affidavit made by the claimant of such fugitive, his agent or attorney, after such certificate has been issued, that he has reason to apprehend that such fugitive will he rescued by force from his or their possession before he can be taken beyond the limits of the State in which the arrest is made, it shall be the duty of the officer making the arrest to retain such fugitive in his custody, and to remove him to the State whence he fled, and there to deliver him to said claimant, his agent, or attorney.

  • And to this end, the officer aforesaid is hereby authorized and required to employ so many persons as he may deem necessary to overcome such force, and to retain them in his service so long as circumstances may require.
  • The said officer and his assistants, while so employed, to receive the same compensation, and to be allowed the same expenses, as are now allowed by law for transportation of criminals, to be certified by the judge of the district within which the arrest is made, and paid out of the treasury of the United States.

Section 10 And be it further enacted, That when any person held to service or labor in any State or Territory, or in the District of Columbia, shall escape therefrom, the party to whom such service or labor shall be due, his, her, or their agent or attorney, may apply to any court of record therein, or judge thereof in vacation, and make satisfactory proof to such court, or judge in vacation, of the escape aforesaid, and that the person escaping owed service or labor to such party.

Whereupon the court shall cause a record to be made of the matters so proved, and also a general description of the person so escaping, with such convenient certainty as may be; and a transcript of such record, authenticated by the attestation of the clerk and of the seal of the said court, being produced in any other State, Territory, or district in which the person so escaping may be found, and being exhibited to any judge, commissioner, or other office, authorized by the law of the United States to cause persons escaping from service or labor to be delivered up, shall be held and taken to be full and conclusive evidence of the fact of escape, and that the service or labor of the person escaping is due to the party in such record mentioned.

And upon the production by the said party of other and further evidence if necessary, either oral or by affidavit, in addition to what is contained in the said record of the identity of the person escaping, he or she shall be delivered up to the claimant, And the said court, commissioner, judge, or other person authorized by this act to grant certificates to claimants or fugitives, shall, upon the production of the record and other evidences aforesaid, grant to such claimant a certificate of his right to take any such person identified and proved to be owing service or labor as aforesaid, which certificate shall authorize such claimant to seize or arrest and transport such person to the State or Territory from which he escaped: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed as requiring the production of a transcript of such record as evidence as aforesaid.

What was the first law against slavery?

America’s First Anti-Slavery Statute Was Passed in 1652. Here’s Why It Was Ignored S lavery in the United States wasn’t abolished at the federal level until after the Civil War, but on this day in history, May 18, 1652, in the U.S. colonies was passed in what’s now the state of Rhode Island.

  1. The statute only applied to white and black people, but in 1676, the enslavement of Native Americans was also prohibited in the state.) While it sounds like Rhode Island was ahead of its time — and, in some ways, it was — what actually happened was complicated.
  2. Though Rhode Island’s Quaker population was starting to question slavery and the relatively young colony was looking for ways to differentiate itself from neighboring Massachusetts, the statute was very limited.

For one thing, the law, which only applied to Providence and Warwick, banned lifetime ownership of slaves. For periods of 10 years or less, it was still permitted to essentially own another person, as an indentured servent. And it’s not as if, 10 years after the statute was passed, people let their slaves go.

“There’s no evidence that it was ever enforced,” says Christy Clark-Pujara, author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island and professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. One possible reason is that Rhode Island also couldn’t afford to enforce a ban on slavery.

The colony dominated the North American trade of slaves, with Newport is the major slave-trading port in North America. New England farms at this point weren’t producing anything that England wasn’t already producing, so England didn’t need these things, which meant that the region served as supplier instead for the West Indies and the large slave population of that region. For your security, we’ve sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don’t get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder. More importantly, laws at this time tended to contradict themselves because there is no uniform slave code that the colonies were supposed to follow.

So for the rest of the 17th century, the colonies were in the process of fleshing out what their laws for slavery were going to look like, debating between enslaving Native Americans, using an indentured servitude system that was common in Europe, or relying on African slavery, says Clark-Pujara. By the 18th century, many colonial officials had settled on a system of race-based slavery.

That 1652 municipal law was superseded by a 1703 law passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly that legally recognized black and Native American slavery and whites as their owners. “By 1750 Rhode Island had the highest percentage of enslaved people in New England.

Ten percent of Rhode Islanders lived in bondage, which was twice the northern average,” Clark-Pujara explains. “We all know the end of the story, that black slave labor becomes the dominant, but I think people forget that there was nothing inevitable about that. Conscious choices were made to make it that way.” Write to Olivia B.

Waxman at, : America’s First Anti-Slavery Statute Was Passed in 1652. Here’s Why It Was Ignored

What law allowed slavery?

Further reading –

  • Basinger, Scott J. (2003). “Regulating slavery: Deck-stacking and credible commitment in the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850”. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization,19 (2): 307–342. doi : 10.1093/jleo/ewg013,
  • Campbell, Stanley W. (2012). The Slave Catchers: Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, 1850–1860, U North Carolina Press.
  • Hummel, Jeffrey Rogers; Weingast, Barry R. (2006). “The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850: Symbolic Gesture or Rational Guarantee”. Unpublished Paper, SSRN 1153528,
  • Landon, Fred (1920). “The Negro Migration to Canada after the Passing of the Fugitive Slave Act”, Journal of Negro History,5 (1): 22–36. doi : 10.2307/2713499, JSTOR 2713499, S2CID 149662141,
  • Smith, David G. (2013). On the Edge of Freedom: The Fugitive Slave Issue in South Central Pennsylvania, 1820–1870, Fordham University Press.
  • Snodgrass, M.E. (2008). The Underground Railroad Set: An Encyclopedia of People, Places, and Operations,M.E. Sharpe.
  • Walker, Christopher David (2013). The Fugitive Slave Law, Antislavery and the Emergence of the Republican Party in Indiana (PhD thesis). Lafayette: Purdue University.

What happened in 1610 in Jamestown?

Deliverance – Bermuda petrel (cahow). Smithsonian photo Bones can sometimes pinpoint and prove an event in history. Archaeologists also recovered remains of a particular bird species from the early trash pits at Jamestown. These birds could have come only from one place.

What was the purpose of the ordinance of Virginia?

Transcription Source: Ordinance of Secession, 1861. Virginia. Convention (1861). Records, 1861–1961. Accession 40586. State Government Records Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. FULL TEXT An Ordinance To repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, by the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution. The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution, were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slaveholding States.

Now, therefore, we the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain,That the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified; and all acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the Union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty, which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.

And they do further declare,That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the Citizens of this State. This ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day when ratified by a majority of the votes of the people of this State, cast at a poll to be taken thereon, on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a Schedule hereafter to be enacted Done in Convention in the City of Richmond, on the seventeenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Who created the laws of Virginia?

What is constitutional law? – In Virginia, laws of two constitutions apply to you: first, the United States Constitution and, second, the Virginia Constitution. The U.S. Constitution was written in 1787, after the American Revolution, when the new nation was being established.

  1. Legislative branch – creates laws
  2. Executive branch – implements and enforces laws
  3. Judicial branch – interprets laws

A decade before the U.S. Constitution was written, the Constitution of Virginia was written by George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Like the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia established three branches of Virginia government. The three branches and their primary responsibilities are:

  1. Legislative branch – General Assembly, made up of the Senate and the House of Delegates – creates laws
  2. Executive branch – The governor – implements and enforces laws
  3. Judicial branch – The Virginia Supreme Court and lesser state courts – interprets laws

What is the Virginia Privacy Act?

What does the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act protect? – The VCDPA also provides consumers with certain rights related to their personal data. Under the Act, these rights include:

The right to know, access and confirm personal data. The right to delete personal data. The right to correct inaccuracies in personal data. The right to data portability (i.e., easy, portable access to all pieces of personal data held by a company). The right to opt out of the processing of personal data for targeted advertising purposes. The right to opt out of the sale of personal data. The right to opt out of profiling based upon personal data. The right to not be discriminated against for exercising any of the foregoing rights.

Practically speaking, in order to comply with the VCDPA, companies need to inform consumers of their rights under the Act and create a process through which consumers can exercise those rights. The Act also implements other business obligations with regard to personal data.

For example, companies subject to the Act must obtain consent prior to collecting and processing certain categories of sensitive personal data such as precise geolocation data, data about protected characteristics and genetic or biometric data. Like the CCPA, the VCDPA also requires that when a company uses service providers to process data on the company’s behalf, the company must enter into a special contract with that service provider which implements the requirements of the Act and makes clear the service provider’s responsibilities with respect to the personal data that they process.

Additionally, the VCDPA requires that companies only hold the pieces of data they need for a specific purpose and for only as long as is necessary to achieve that purpose; these principles are commonly referred to as purpose limitation and data minimization.

The VCDPA also requires that companies implement and maintain reasonable data security practices to protect the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of personal data. Although it is still unclear how this reasonableness standard will be enforced, a company’s data security measures are likely sufficient if they follow a recognized industry standard, taking into account the size and sophistication of the company and the personal data it processes.

Finally, unlike the CCPA but like the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”), the Act requires companies to conduct and document a data protection assessment when processing sensitive data or conducting certain activities with the personal data such as targeted advertising, selling or profiling.3 The VCDPA will be enforced by the Virginia Attorney General and allows for a 30-day cure period, but uncured non-compliance can result in a civil penalty of up to $7,500 per violation.

  • Unlike the CCPA, the Act does not create a private right of action for citizens.
  • In order to prepare for enforcement of the VCDPA, we recommend that companies review their personal data processing activities, data security measures, privacy policies and service provider contracts.
  • We also recommend considering an overall strategy for fulfilling requests by consumers who wish to exercise their rights under either the CCPA or the VCDPA.

If you have any questions or would like assistance with any of these items, please don’t hesitate to to email me or connect with me on LinkedIn, 1 For an in depth look at the current status of various state law data privacy bills, see,2 It is worth mentioning that Nevada and Maine have both enacted data privacy laws, but they are not considered “comprehensive,” as that term is used by the International Association of Privacy Professionals.3 Under the GDPR, these are known as Data Privacy Impact Assessments (DPIAs) and are similarly only required when a company is engaging in higher risk data processing activities.

What is the privacy law Act?

Who has rights under the Privacy Act? – The Privacy Act regulates the way individuals’ personal information is handled. As an individual, the Privacy Act gives you greater control over the way that your personal information is handled. The Privacy Act allows you to:

know why your personal information is being collected, how it will be used and who it will be disclosed to have the option of not identifying yourself, or of using a pseudonym in certain circumstances ask for access to your personal information (including your health information ) stop receiving unwanted direct marketing ask for your personal information that is incorrect to be corrected make a complaint about an organisation or agency the Privacy Act covers, if you think they’ve mishandled your personal information

What is the new Privacy Act?

  1. Home
  2. Privacy
  3. California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) gives consumers more control over the personal information that businesses collect about them and the CCPA regulations provide guidance on how to implement the law. This landmark law secures new privacy rights for California consumers, including:

  • The right to know about the personal information a business collects about them and how it is used and shared;
  • The right to delete personal information collected from them (with some exceptions);
  • The right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information; and
  • The right to non-discrimination for exercising their CCPA rights.

Businesses are required to give consumers certain notices e xplaining their privacy practices, The CCPA applies to many businesses, including data brokers,

What was the significance of establishing laws in Virginia by 1619?

NCSL staffer Megan McClure sat down with Yuri Milligan, associate director for marketing and communications at American Evolution, which is teaming up with NCSL to present a session at Summit titled “Roots of American Legislatures: Virginia in 1619.” What is American Evolution? American Evolution commemorates the 400th anniversary of key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured events, programs, and legacy projects inspire local, national, and international engagement in the themes of democracy, diversity, and opportunity.

Why is 1619 such an important year for American representative democracy? In the summer of 1619, 22 legislators made history. Their gathering marked the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, which became the model for other English colonies and eventually the basis for the democratic government of the United States.

The year 1619 was pivotal in the establishment of the first permanent English Colony in North America. Along with the the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, 1619 also marked the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers, the first official English Thanksgiving in North America, and the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the Virginia Colony.

The first “General Assembly,” composed of men from each of Virginia’s eleven major settlements, met for the first time at Jamestown from July 30-Aug.4, 1619. Members of the General Assembly were formed into several committees, tasked with reviewing aspects of the Great Charter sent from the Virginia Company in England, as well as working on new laws based on concerns brought by the burgesses to the Assembly.

This first meeting planted the seeds for representative democracy in America. What upcoming events about the unique democratic history of Virginia in 1619 does American Evolution have planned in 2019? In 2019, American Evolution will host two events that will examine democracies and democratic leadership.

Please save the date for these events. The Global Emerging Leaders Summit, March 6-13, 2019 in Charlottesville, Richmond, and Williamsburg, Virginia. Young political, governmental, civic leaders and students will reflect on the challenges of leadership, governance, and civic engagement in 21st-century democracies.

The International Forum on Representative Democracy, Jul y 31-August 1, 2019 in Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia will feature heads of state and representatives from democracies around the world in a forum to highlight the historic impact of democracy on our nation and the world.

  1. Along with the session you are sponsoring at the 2017 Legislative Summit do you have any other activities planned in Boston during the meeting? We will have a video booth in the Exhibit Hall where conference attendees can record a video about the evolution of democracy and share it on social media.
  2. Attendees will also have the opportunity to have their picture taken with a character interpreter dressed as a burgess from 1619.

For more information and a full list of events, visit, Join the conversation about the evolution of democracy, diversity and opportunity in American, follow us @Commemorate2019. Megan McClure is a senior staff assistant with NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services program.

Did Virginia have religious freedom in the 1600s?

Religious Toleration/Intolerance in Colonial Virginia – in 1772, the sheriff of Culpeper County was ordered to arrest a Baptist minister for “unlawfull preaching” Source: Library of Congress, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, Summons to Nathaniel Saunders, August 22, 1772 American citizens now assume they have an “inalienable right” to worship however they please or to choose not to worship at all.

  • One standard joke illustrates the flexibility of American religious thought: 1 A man was stranded alone on a desert island for many years.
  • When he was rescued there were three buildings on the island.
  • What are these three buildings? the rescuers asked.
  • This one is my home and the second one is my church.” “And the third building?” “That’s the church I used to go to.” Religious freedom, or even tolerance, was not supported by Virginia’s government until 1776.

Just as in England across the Atlantic Ocean, the power of Virginia’s government was united with the power of the Church of England (Anglican church) as an “established” religion. Quakers were expelled from the colony by Gov. William Berkeley after he was restored to office in 1659, and non-Anglican preachers had to be licensed by the county court.

  1. The American Revolution disrupted that traditional government structure and led to disestablishment of the Anglican church and official separation of church and state.
  2. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison led the charge to create legal guarantees for freedom of religious thought and practice.
  3. Modern courts must interpret their language to assess whether a law crosses a line and unconstitutionally assumes governmental power to interfere with a religion, or to support a particular religion.

Virginia was not settled by Europeans seeking to create a haven for religious liberty. The long history of European colonization in North America reveals that the desire for property and profit was the primary incentive for crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Though Virginia ended up being settled by members of the Church of England (Anglicans), the first colonists in North America and what became Virginia were Catholics.
  • Ponce de Leon brought Catholic priests with him to Florida in 1521, as part of the first European colonization effort in North America.

Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon brought Dominicans in 1526, when he started the San Miguel de Guadalupe colony in what is now Georgia.2 The first Europeans who tried to settle in Virginia also were Catholics. Spanish Jesuits led by Father Juan Baptista de Seguera started the Ajacan settlement, near modern-day Yorktown, in 1570.

  1. The Native Americans there killed 10 of the 11 Spaniards in 1571; the teenage boy they let survive was rescued by a Spanish ship in 1572.3 English colonization in Virginia was equivalent to Protestant colonization.
  2. One of the first actions by the initial English settlers when they arrived at Virginia was to build a wooden cross at Cape Henry.

When Jamestown was founded in 1607, the Church of England (Anglican) was “established” in the colony of Virginia as the official church with King James I as the Defender of the Faith. Catholics would not be allowed to worship openly in Virginia until 1781, when French troops involved in the siege of Yorktown celebrated Mass in Alexandria.4 in 1935, National Society Daughters of the American Colonists installed a granite replica of the wooden cross erected in 1607 at Cape Henry Source: National Park Service, Cape Henry Memorial Cross Virginia’s Protestant gentry became well-entrenched in county courts, the House of Burgesses, and also in Anglican vestries The vestry was the governing board of a parish.

  • Members of the vestry consisted of the wealthy elite living within that parish.
  • Because the vestry hired Anglican ministers on short term contracts, few ministers gained enough power to become independent of vestry control.
  • If sermons within worship services or other activities of the minister were not sufficiently aligned with the perspectives of the local gentry, the minister’s contract was not renewed.

With a few exceptions, Puritan ministers were pushed out of Virginia quickly. In the colonial period, the Anglican church had a key role in what today would be considered fundamental government services. The vestry set the parish tax rates for maintaining the church buildings, paying the minister, and funding social welfare expenses such as caring for orphans, the indigent, and others unable to support themselves.

  1. Parish taxes were collected by the county sheriffs, along with the other taxes imposed by the county courts (equivalent to a combination of today’s Board of County Supervisors and District judges).
  2. There was no separation of church and state; everyone, no matter what their personal beliefs, was required to pay taxes that funded Anglican activities.

There also was no acceptance within the Virginia gentry of non-Anglican beliefs in the 1600’s. Throughout the colonial period, only one Catholic family gained wealth and power, the Brents in Westmoreland and (after 1664) Stafford County. George Brent and his family had to worship privately.

The county court in Stafford sought to increase acceptance of the Brents by issuing a certificate in 1668 stating that the Brent family had not tried to convert anyone to their Catholic faith for the last two decades.5 After George Brent had been elected to serve in the House of Burgesses, King James II was forced to leave England during the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

In 1689, the Anglican minister of Overwharton Parish in Stafford County, Parson John Waugh, inflamed suspicion of the local Catholic leader. During the “tumult” created by his agitation, the Stafford County Court ordered the Brent family to stay at the home of a prominent local Protestant, William Fitzhugh, in a form of house arrest.6 Protestant and Catholic rivalries dated back a century to the reign of Henry VIII.

He split from the church based on Rome in order to legitimize his first divorce, and declared that the King of England rather than the Pope was the top authority for religious decisions in England. Claiming that the national religion was based on the sovereign ruler’s religion led to conflict when Henry VIII’s daughter assumed the throne in 1553 She was Catholic, and married the Catholic son of the king of Spain.

She had religious dissenters burned to death, and became know as “Bloody Mary” after graphic accounts and images were published in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, When she died in 1588, Henry VII’s second daughter became queen. Elizabeth I was a Protestant, and the definition of heresy changed dramatically as she punished heretics who supported Catholic dogma and the role of the Pope.

  • Catholic Spain tried to invade and conquer Protestant England in 1588, but the Spanish Armada was dispersed in the English Channel.
  • Anti-Catholic bias became closely associated with English nationalism.7 Virginia was settled initially when James I was king, and grew during the reign of his brother Charles I.

They were the head of the Church of England, but the forms of worship and the words used during religious services were contested by different factions within the church. In contrast to Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania were more tolerant of diverse religious beliefs.

  • Maryland had been chartered in 1732 because King Charles I owed favors to the George Calvert, Baron of Baltimore, and his son Cecil Calvert.
  • The Virginians based in Jamestown viewed Maryland as a rival, rather than as an ally in the isolated wilderness of North America.
  • Virginians objected to the loss of land included within the boundaries of Virginia’s 1612 charter and the seizure of William Claiborne’s lucrative fur trading business based on Kent Island,.

Virginians also objected because the Calverts were Catholic, and would fill Maryland with Catholic colonists. The Virginians had made their dislike of Catholics clear to Sir George Calvert clear in person. When Lord Calvert sailed from his failed colony in Newfoundland to Jamestown in 1629, he was unwilling to take the Oath of Supremacy that Charles I was the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

  1. Acting Governor John Pott forced Lord Calvert to sail back to England, where he then proceeded to obtain the charter for a new colony.
  2. Calvert named his new colony after Henrietta Maria, the Catholic wife of Charles I.8 Religious disputes between Puritans and the traditional Anglican leaders would lead to civil war in England and the execution of Charles I in 1649.

Those conflicts were carried across the Atlantic Ocean to Maryland, which attracted a mix of both English Catholics and English Protestants. In 1649, the Maryland legislature approved the 1649 Maryland Act Concerning Religion, or Maryland Toleration Act which Calvert had prepared.

  • By then, Catholics were a minority of the population in Maryland.
  • Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore, had not defined an established church in his colony.
  • The law applied the same punishment to Puritans, Anglicans, Catholics, and others who criticized a Christian faith: 9,whatsoever person or persons shall from henceforth upon any occasion of offence otherwise in a reproachfull manner or way declare call or denominate any person or persons whatsoever inhabiting, residing, traficking, trading or comercing within this province or within any ports, harbours, creeks or havens to the same belonging, an Heretick, Schismatick, Idolator, Puritan, Independent Presbyterian, Antenomian, Barrowist, Roundhead, Seperatist, Popish Priest, Jesuit, Jesuited Papist, Lutheran, Calvenist, Anabaptist, Brownist or any other name or term in a reproachful manner relating to matters of Religion shall for every such offence foreit and lose the sum of ten shillings Sterling or the value thereof to be levied on the goods and chattels of every such offender and offenders.

The Maryland Toleration Act was not sufficient. By 1676, only 25% of the residents in Maryland were Catholics, but they controlled most of the colony’s political offices and collected fees from everyone. Colonists in Tidewater feared that the Catholics in the western backcountry might ally with French raiders because of a shared religion.

  • The Calverts lost control over their proprietary colony in a Protestant-led coup in 1688.
  • That occurred the same year as James II, England’s last Catholic ruler, was forced from his throne in the Bloodless Revolution.
  • In 1710, the Church of England became Maryland’s established church, and Catholics were excluded from office.10 In Pennsylvania, William Penn managed to encourage religious toleration throughout the life of that colony.

He issued a formal Charter of Privileges in 1701. Pennsylvania attracted a diverse set of settlers in addition to immigrants from England, including Swedes, Dutch, Finns, and refugees from many small principalities which would ultimately become part of Germany.

Penn’s charter gave monotheists the freedom of conscience, and allowed any Christian to hold public office: 11 Because noe people can be truly happy though under the Greatest Enjoyments of Civil Liberties if Abridged of the Freedom of theire Consciences as to theire Religious Profession and Worship.

And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience Father of Lights and Spirits and the Author as well as Object of all divine knowledge Faith and Worship who only Enlighten the mind and perswade and Convince the understandings of people I doe hereby Grant and Declare that noe person or persons Inhabiting in this Province or Territories who shall Confesse and Acknowledge one Almighty God the Creator upholder and Ruler of the world and professe him or themselves Obliged to live quietly under the Civill Governement shall be in any case molested or prejudiced in his or theire person or Estate because of his or theire Conscientious perswasion or practice nor be compelled to frequent or mentaine any Religious Worship place or Ministry contrary to his or theire mind or doe or Suffer any other act or thing contrary to theire Religious perswasion.

Virginia suppressed Quakers and Puritans as well as Catholics. What may be the first Society of Friends meetinghouse was built at mouth of Nassawaddox Creek in 1657, during the English Civil War. The Eastern Shore was physically isolated from Jamestown, and the extensive international trade brought sailors of different backgrounds to small communities along the Chesapeake Bay.

Virginia officials did not tolerate the Quakers. By 1662, Col. Edmund Scarborough forced those on the Eastern Shore to move north of the Pocomoke River into Maryland. A year later, he led a raid across the border and attacked the Quaker settlements. That triggered a dispute with Lord Calvert in Maryland, followed by a 1668 survey to define the Virginia-Maryland border on the Eastern Shore.

After George Fox came to Virginia in 1672, what is now ” the oldest continuous congregation in Virginia ” of Quakers started near the Dismal Swamp. That isolated area was a haven for Puritans as well. It was distant from the gentry who created plantation in Tidewater and ruled from Jamestown. South of the James River, tobacco grew poorly.

Colonists traded less with England and more with other colonies in North America and with Caribbean islands. Greater business dealings with non-Anglicans led to a less-traditional culture around Suffolk and Norfolk.12 Puritans concentrated there as well.

Philip and Richard Bennett came to Warrosquyoake around 1630 and developed Bennett’s Welcome plantation. Puritans came to both Maryland and Virginia as conflicts in England grew more heated, and concentrated along the Nansemond River. They sought the freedom for themselves to worship in the Puritan style, but were not advocating that other religious groups have the freedom to worship in their own way.

In 1642, Philip Bennett went to Massachusetts to recruit Puritan ministers to serve in parishes in Isle of Wight, Upper Norfolk/Nansemond, and Lower Norfolk counties. However, Governor William Berkeley came to Virginia in 1642. He was a strong supporter of Charles I, and viewed religious nonconformity as both heresy and political disloyalty.

Under Berkeley, the colonial government in Jamestown began to demand standard use of the Book of Common Prayer in worship services. He forced the three Puritan ministers recruited by Philip Bennett to return to Massachusetts, and later banished other Puritan leaders. Most followers also left, migrating to Maryland by 1650.

The 1649 Maryland Act of Toleration offered a clear contrast to Gov. Berkeley’s religious intolerance. In 1652, after Parliament had seized power in England and executed Charles I, Gov. Berkeley was forced to step down. The General Assembly selected Richard Bennett to become the next governor, so between 1652-1655 a Puritan was the top official in Virginia.

  1. Bennett sought to impose Puritan control in Maryland as well.
  2. That triggered the Battle of the Severn between Catholic royalists and Puritans, while in Virginia there was no open warfare between the Anglican royalists and Puritans because most dissenters had left the colony.13 The Great Awakening began to affect Anglican domination of religious activity in Virginia in the 1740’s.

Unlicensed preachers began to offer independent services in private homes and scattered outdoor locations. Hierarchical control of culture by the gentry was threatened by evangelical preaching, emotional behavior during worship services, and new philosophies (such as baptizing believers only as adults, after they made a conscious choice).

The outreach of dissenting religious leaders to African-American slaves was perceived as a particular challenge to the status quo,14 Colonial officials actively recruited non-Anglican Protestants to come to Virginia. Presbyterians dominated the Shenandoah Valley, after Scotch-Irish migrated to that region with encouragement in the 1720’s from Governor Spotswood (who sought a buffer population between Native Americans and French Catholics in the Ohio River valley.

Other immigrants west of the Blue Ridge belonged to German sects, including the Mennonites. Baptist groups developed in the Piedmont, plus areas of Tidewater dominated by traditional Anglican churches. Anglicans reacted by disrupting Baptist services, plus arresting – and even attacking – dissenting preachers.

When did texting and driving become illegal in Virginia?

Cell Phone Use – Effective January 1, 2021 Virginia law prohibits drivers from holding cell phones or any other wireless communication devices while driving except in a driver emergency or the vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped.

What is Virginia tort law?

What is a tort? – Tort refers to action that harms another person or his property. Tort usually refers to injuring a person, causing damage to his or her property or reputation, or harming someone’s commercial interest. A person who is injured or harmed may sue the person who committed the tort in civil court.