Colonial House Picture of the colony
Meet the Colonists Behind the Scenes Interactive History Media Gallery
About the Project
Introduction The Rules About the Series About the Experts Credits

The Rules
General Background
The Offices
Matters of the Council
For the Ordering of Society
Worship and the Sabbath
Trade and Indians
Of Masters and Servants
Other Matters
The Punishments

Matters of the Council
Photo of Goats and colonists
Complaints and Disputes
Colonists may bring any concerns or matters of dispute to the attention of the Governor. The Governor will determine if these matters should be brought before the Council.

Council Meetings
The Governor shall call a Council meeting at least once every seventh day, to discuss any issues within the Colony. The Council shall consist only of the Governor, the Assistant and the Councilor.

Responsibilities of the Assistant and Councilor during Council meetings:

The Assistant and Councilor will give their best advice for the good of the Colony, at the Governor's summons.

The Assistant and Councilor are not to disclose but keep secret such things that the Governor wishes, for the concern of the public good.

Keeping Order
The Assistant and Councilor shall report any wrongdoings to the Governor and help him to administer justice.


Court Meetings
The Court shall convene as and when deemed necessary by the Governor to hear any criminal and civil matters.

The Governor shall sit as presiding justice of the Court.

The Governor may request the advice of the Assistant and Councilor as he wishes.

Until the year when a fit place for Court is constructed, the Court shall convene in the largest household, that of the Governor's.

In a Trial, whether civil or criminal, no judgment shall pass unless the accused party confesses to the crime, or at least two witnesses of the event step forward.

It shall be lawful for the Governor to arrest any offenders of the laws provided that the case is brought before the Court with due haste.

Crime and Punishments
All colonists in the 17th Century would have understood the laws back in England and would have known they were in effect. The recorded punishments, although rarely carried out, were often brutal. Of course, we will not endorse such violent acts.

In your Colony, only the punishments clearly listed below are acceptable to the Company. These punishments remain inspired by actual 17th Century ways of dealing with offenses, but are less severe.

The Governor, as presiding justice, shall have the authority to allocate punishments to fit 1the nature of the crime. He can seek the advice of his Council as and when he deems necessary.

Punishments endorsed by the Company that the Governor may choose from:

- Loss of free movement. Criminals may be tied to a post or tree by a loose fitting rope around the ankle.

- Being placed in stocks, to be built by the Colony. For no longer than two hours between sunrise and sunset.

- A ceremony of public humiliation. The offender must confess his wrongdoing and beg forgiveness from the Colony gathered before him.

- A paper or cloth label, no smaller than an adult's hand, with the inscription of the crime, to be pinned to one's hat or clothing. The offender must sit in a public space on shameful display for no less than two hours.

- A day's labor of servitude towards an individual or family be imposed, despite the current status of the offender.

The following laws and their corresponding punishments are drawn from the court records of the early colonies. They give a sense of how society was ordered and the ways in which transgressors were dealt with.

Although only the punishments endorsed by the Company are applicable in your Colony, the laws still provide your Governor with a framework for his leadership, and guide you all in how to live life according to the period.

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