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annoyance of the adjacent inhabitants, Be it therefore to be cast infurther enacted by the authority aforesaid, That when to the water. any negroe, or other person whatsoever, shall die on board any ship or vessel, within this dominion, the master of such ship or vessel, shall cause the dead body to be brought on shore, and there buried, above high water mark, four feet deep at the least, upon penalty of forfeiting for his neglect herein, or suffering such dead body to be cast into the water, fifty pounds for every such offence: And that all forfeitures and penalties arising by this act, and not before appropriated, shall be one moiety to the king, his heirs How the pe and successors, to be paid to the treasurer, and ap be recover. plied to the uses last mentioned, the other moiety to ed and ap. the informer, recoverable with costs, by action of debt plied. or information, in any court of record of this dominion.

XVIII. And be it further enacted by the authority Repealing aforesaid, That one act made in the fourth year of the clause. reign of Queen Anne, intituled, An Art for preventing frauds in the customs, and in clearing of ships; for ascertaining collectors and naval officers fees; and to prohibit and prevent the casting of ballast and dead bodies into rivers and creeks: And every other act and acts, clause and clauses, heretofore made for or concerning any matter or thing within the purview of this act, shall be, and are hereby repealed.

XIX. And be it further enacted, by the authority commence. aforesaid, That this act shall commence and be in ment of this force, from and immediately after the tenth day of act. June, which shall be in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-one.

CHAP. XXXVII.

An Act to restrain the taking of excessive

Usury.

1. Whereas the high interest of money has been Preamble found in all countries where it lias prevailed, to im

cst.

poverish the people, and a great discouragement to

trade and industry. 5 per cent

11. Be it therefore enacted by the Lieutenant Govern. per annum, or, Council, and Burgesses of this present General Aslawful inter. sembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the

sume, That no person or persons whatsoever, from and after the commencement of this act, upon any contract hereafter to be made, shall take directly or indirectly, for loan of any monies, wares, merchandizes, or other commodities whatsoever, above the value of five pounds, for the forbearance of one hun. dred pounds, for a year, and so after that rate, for a

greater, or lesser sum, or for a longer or shorter All contracts time: And that all bonds, contracts, covenants, confor payment veyances, agreements, and assurances whatsoever', of a greater hereafter to be made, for payment of any principal, rate, void.

or money to be lent, or covenanted to be performed, upon or for any usury, whereby there shall be reseryed or taken above the rate of five pounds in the hun

dred, as aforesaid, shall be utterly void. Persons ta. lil. And that all and every person or persons whating more, forfeit dou.

soever', which shall upon any contract to be hereafter ble the value made; take, accept, and receive, by way or means, of of the sum any corrupt bargain, loan, exchange, shift, or interlent. est, of any monies, wares, merchandize, or other

thing, or things, whatsoever, or by any deceitful Way or ineals, or by any covin, device, or deceitful conveyance, for the forbearing or giving day of payment, for one whole year, of and for their inoney, or other thing, above the sum of five pounds for the forbearing of one hundred pounds, for a year; and so after that rate, for a greater or lesser sum, or for a longer, or shorter time, shall forfeit and lose, for every sucht offence, the double value of the monies, Wares, merchandizes, and other things so lent, bargained, exchanged, or shifted; one moiety thereof to our sovereign lord the king, his heirs and successors, for and towards the better support of this government, and the contingent charges thereof, the other moiety to the person or persons who shall inform or sue for the same, by action of debt, or information, in any court of record of this colony, wherein the same shall be cognizable.

IV. And that all bonds, contracts, covenants, con veyances, agreements, and assurances whatsoever, hud, made, or entered into at any time or tincs,

before the tenth day of November, in the year of our In what casJord one thousand seven hundred and thirty four, and es contracts

for more now subsisting, whereby any interest above the rate

than lawful of six in the hundred, for a year, is or was agreed to interest shall be taken, or paid; and all such bonds, and other as. be void. surances whatsoever, as aforesaid, had, inade, or entered into, at any time after the said tenth day of November, and before the time of the commencement of this act, and now subsisting, whereby any interest above five pounds in the hundred, for a year, is, or was agreed to be taken, or paid, shall be void and null, as to all interest, over and above the said several rates of six pounds, or five pounds in the hundred, for a year, as the case shall be, to be computed froin the respective times of the first lending, or contract.

V. And to the end people may not be oppressed How persons with the payment of exorbitant interest, for want of bound by

usurious con proof of an usurious contract, which is always made tracts may in secret, and with such caution, that it can seldom be be relieved. detected in the ordinary course of evidence, Be it fur. ther enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful for any borrower of rooney, hereafter to be lent, to exhibit a bill in the general court, or any county court of the said colony, against the lender, and to compel him to discover, upon his corporal oath, the principal money actually lent, and the contract made between them, for the payment of interest; and in such case, if it shall appear, that more than lawful interest was reserved, the lender shall be discharged from all the penalties of this act, but he shall lose, not only all such unlawful usury, but shall be obliged to accept the principal money, without any interest.

VI. And that in all cases hereafter, where judgment where costs shall be recovered for any penalty, not exceeding ten shall be re

covered. pounds current money, forfeited by virtue of this act, the plaintiff shall also recover his full costs: But no costs shall be allowed, where the penalty so recovered shall exceed the said sum.

Rates of broVII. And that all and every broker and brokers, kerage on sollicitor and solicitors, driver, and drivers of bar- loans. gains, for contracts, who shall at any time hereafter take or receive, directly or indirectly, any sum or sums of money, or other reward or thing, for brokage, soliciting or procuring the loan, or forbearing of any sum or sums of money, over and above the rate or value of five shillings, for the loan or forbearing of

one hundred pounds, for a year, and so rateably, or above one shilling for making, or renewing the bond, or bill, for the loan or forbearance thereof, or for any counter bond or bill, concerning the same, shall forfeit for every such offence, twenty pounds current money; one moiety to the king, bis heirs and successors, for the better support of this government, and the contingent charges thereof, the other moiety to the informer, to be recovered, by action of debt, or information, in any court of record of this dominion.

VIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforeRepealing saiit, That all and every other act and acts, clause and clause.

clauses heretofore made, for or concerning any matter or thing within the purview of this act, shall be, and are hereby repealed.

IX. And be it further enacted by the authority afore. Commence. saidt, That this act shall commence and be in force ment of this

from and immediately after the tenth day of June, which shall be in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty one.

act.

CHAP. XXXVIII.

An Act directing the trial of Slaves com

mitting capital crimes; and for the more effectual punishing conspiracies and insurections of them; and for the better government of negroes, mulattoes, and Indians, bond or free.

Preamble. I. Whereas it is absolutely necessary, that effectual

provision should be made for the better ordering and governing of slaves, free negroes, mulattoes, and Indians, and detecting and punishing their secret plots, and dangerous combinations, and for the speedy trial

of such of them as commit capital crimes. Conspiracy

II. BE it enacted, by the Lieutenant Governor, Counof slaves to cil, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, nurder felo. and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same,

That if any negroe, or other slaves, shall at any time ny without consult, advise, or conspire, to rebel or make insurrec- clergy. tion, or shall plot, or conspire the murder of any person, or persons whatsoever, every such consulting, plotting, or conspiring, shall be adjudged and deemed felony, and the slave or slaves convicted thereof, in manner herein after directed, shall suffer death, and be utterly excluded all benefit of clergy.

III. And whereas many negroes, under pretence or to pre. of practising physic, have prepared and exhibited poi- pare or ad. sonous medicines, by which many persons have been minister poi. murdered, and others have languished under long and medicine. tedious indispositions, and it will be difficult to detect such pernicious and dangerous practices, if they should be permitted to exhibit any sort of medicine, Be it therefore further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That if any negroe, or other slave, shall prepare, exhibit, or administer any medicine whatsoever, he, or she so offending, shall be adjudged guilty of felony, and suffer death without benefit of clergy.

IV. Provided always, That if it shall appear to the In what case court before which such slave shall be tried, that the clergy may medicine was not prepared, exhibited, or administer. be allowed. ed, with an ill intent, nor attended with any bad consequences, such slave shall have the benefit of clergy.

V. Provided also, That nothing herein contained Where me. shall be construed to extend to any slave or slaves dicines may administering medicines, by his, or her master's or be adminismistress's order, in his, or her family, or the family

tered. of another, with the mutual consent of the owner of such slave, and the master or mistress of such family.

VI. And be it further enacted, by the authority afore. The method said, That every slave committing such offence as by of commitlaw is punishable with death, or loss of member, shall ment, and

trial of crimbe forth with committed to the common goal of the

inal slaves. county wherein such offence shall be done, there to be safely kept: And upon such commitment, the sheriff of such county shall certify the same, with the cause thereof, to the governor, or commander in chief of this dominion, for the time being, who is thereupon desired and impowered to issue a commission of Oyer and Terminer, to such persons as he shall think fit; which persons,.forth with after receipt of such commission, are impowered and required to cause the of. fender to be publicly arraigned, and tried, at the courthouse of the said county, and to take for evidence the

0_Vol. 6.

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