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Act of the Commonwealth of Virginia
1669
Cited in William Walter Henning. THE STATUTES AT LARGE; BEING A COLLECTION OF ALL THE LAWS OF VIRGINIA, FROM THE FIRST SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE IN THE YEAR 1619. vols I and II. (New York: R & W & G Bartow, 1823)
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Document Description
Overseers liberally applied violent punishments such as whippings to slaves they perceived to be transgressive. This 1669 act declared that, should a slave be killed as a result of extreme punishment, the master should not face charges for the murder.

Transcript
October 1669
Act I, 2:270
Charles II, King of England


An act about the casuall killing of slaves.

WHEREAS the only law in force for the punishment of refreactory servants (a) resisting their master, mistris or overseer cannot be inflicted upon negroes, nor the obstinacy of many of them by other then violent meanes supprest, Be it enacted and declared by this grand assembly, if any slave resist his master (or othe by his masters order correcting him) and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be accompted ffelony, but the master (or that other person appointed by the master to punish him) be acquit from molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prepensed malice (which alone makes murther ffelony) should induce any man to destroy his owne estate.

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