Laws of Virginia

Laws of Virginia

For restraint of the filthy sin of fornication [sexual intercourse between partners who are not married], Be it enacted that what man or woman soever shall commit fornication , he and she so offending, upon proof thereof by confession or evidence shall pay each of them five hundred pounds of tobacco fine, (a) to the use of th e parish or parishes they dwell in , and be bound to their good behavior , and be imprisoned until they find security to be bound with them, and if they or either of them committing fornication as aforesaid be servants then the master of such servant so offending shall pay the said five hundred pounds of tobacco as aforesaid to the use of the parish aforesaid, for which the said servant shall serve half a year after the rime by indenture or custom is expired, and if the master shall refuse to pay the fine then the servant to be whipped; and if it happen a bastard child to be gotten in such fornication then the woman if a servant in regard of the loss and trouble her master doth sustain by her having a bastard shall serve two years after her time by indenture is expired or pay two thousand pounds of tobacco to her master besides the fine or punishment for committing the offence and the reputed father to put in security to keep the child and save the parish harm .

[December 1662]

Whereas by act of Assembly every woman servant having a bastard is to serve two years, and late experience show that some dissolute masters have gotten their maids with child, and yet claim the benefit of their service, and on the contrary if a woman got with child by her master should be freed from that service it might probably induce such loose persons to lay all their bastards to their masters; it is

therefore thought fit and accordingly enacted, and be it enacted henceforward that each woman servant got with child by her master shall after her time by indenture or custom is expired be by the churchwardens of the parish where she lived when she was brought to bed of such bastard, sold for two years, and the

tobacco to be employed by the vestry for the use of the parish …. 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 bourn 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.

[April 16911

…For prevention of that abominable mixture and spurious issue which hereafter may increase in this dominion , as well as by negroes, mulattos, and lndian intermarrying with English, or other white women, as by their unlawful accompanying with one another, Be it enacted …that . ..whatsoever English or other white man or woman being free, shall intem1any 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, with in one month after such bastard child shall be born, to the Church wardens of the parish … and in default of such payment she shall be taken into the possession of the said Church warden and disposed of for five years, and the said fine of fifteen pounds, or whatever the woman shall be disposed of for, shall be paid, one third pa rt to their majesties …and one other third part to the use of the parish …and the other third part to the in former, and that such bastard child be bound out as a servant by the said Church warden until he or she shall attain the age of thirty years , and in case such English woman that shall have such bastard child be a servant, she shall be sold by the said church wardens (after her time is expired that she ought by law serve her master) , for five years, and the money she shall be sold for divided as if before appointed, and the child to serve as aforesaid.

[I705] And be it further enacted, That no minister of the church of England, or other

minister, or person whatsoever, within this colony and dominion, shall hereafter willingly presume to marry a white man with a negro or mulatto woman; or to many a white woman with a negro or mulatto man, upon paid of forfeiting or paying, for every such marriage the sum of ten thousand pounds of tobacco; one half to our sovereign lady the Queen . ..and the other half to the informer.

Wilt Thou Not Drinke to Me? A woman’s life on early southern plantations was often far different from the genteel images of later generations. Except for d1e wealthy minority, most women-both black and white-mixed quite freely at work and in taverns.The result in this r68r case was, apparently, rape.Several men, including John Aust, testified that Katherine Watkins had brought it on herself; Humphrey Smith was the only man to testify in her behalf. Katherine he rsclf claimed that she had been raped by “Mulatto Jacke” on her way home.

The examination of Katherine Watkins, the wife of Henry Watkins of Henrico County in Virginia, taken this 13 of September 1681 before us William Byrd and John Farrar two of his Majesties Justices of the County aforesaid as followeth (vizt.)

A. The said Katherine aforesaid on her Oath and examination deposeth, That on fryday being in the Month of August aboute five weeks since, the said Katherine mett with John Long (a Mulatto belonging to Capt. Thomas Cocke) at or neare the pyney slash betweene the aforesaid Cockes and Henry Watkins house, and at the same tyme and place, the said John threw the said Katherine downe (He starting from behinde a tree) and stopped her Mouth with a handkerchief, and tooke up the said Katherines Coates [petticoats], and putt his yard into her and ravished her; Upon which she the said Katherine Cryed out (as she deposeth) and afterwards (being rescued by another Negroe of the said Cockes named jack White) she departed home, and the said John departed to his Masters likewise, or that way; after which abuse she the said Katherine declares that her husband inclinable to the quakers, and therefore would not prosecute, and she being sicke and her Children likewise, she therefore did not make her complaint before she went to Lt. Col. Farrars (which was yesterday, Morning) and this day in the Morning she went to William Randolphs’ and found him not at home, But at night met with the gentlemen justices aforesaid at the house of the aforesaid Cocke in Henrico County in Virginia aforesaid before whom she hath made this complaint upon oath. . . .

B. The deposition of John Aust aged 32 yeares or thereabouts Deposeth, That on fryday being the twelvth of August or thereabouts he came to the house of Mr. Thomas Cocke, and soe went into his Orchard where his servants were a cutting downe weeds, whoe asked the deponent to stay and drinke, soe the deponent stayed and dranke syder with them, and jacke a Mulatto of the said Thomas Cocke went in to draw syder, and he stay’d something long whereupon the deponent followed him, and coming to the doore where the syder was, heard Katherine the wife of Henry Wakins say (Lord) jacke what makes thee refraine our house that you come not oftner, for come when thou wilt thou shalt be as well come as any of My owne Children, and soe she tooke him about the necke and Kissed him, and jacke went out and drawed Syder, and she said jack wilt thou not drinke to me, who sayd yes if you will goe out where our Cupp is, and a little after she came out, where the said Thomas Cockes Negroes were a drinking and there dranke cupp for cupp with them (as others there did) and as she sett Negroe dirke passing by her she tooke up the taile of his shirt (saying) Dirke thou wilt have a good long thing, and soe did several tymes as he past by her; after this she went into the roome where the syder was and then came out againe, and between the two houses she mett Mulatto jacke a going to draw more syder and putt her hand on his codpiece, at which he smil’d, and went on his way and drew syder and she came againe into the company but stay’d not long but went out to drinking with two of the said Thomas Cockes Negroes by the garden pale, And a while after she tooke Mingoe one of the said Cocke’s Negroes about the Necke and fling on the bedd and Kissed him and putt her hand into his Codpeice, Awhile after Mulatto jacke went into the Fish roome and she followed him, but what they did there this deponent knoweth not for it being near night this deponent left her and the Negroes together, (He thinking her to be much in drinke) and soe this deponent went home about one houre by sunn. . . .

C. The Deposition of William Harding aged about 35 yeares, Deposeth, That he came to the house of Mr. Thomas Cocke to speake with his brother, where he see Katherine the wife of Henry Watkins, and soe spoke to one there and sayd, that the said Henry Watkins wife had been a drinking; And that this deponent see the said Katherine Watkins turne up the taile of Negroe Dirks shirt, and said that he would have a good prick whereupon this deponent sayd is that the trick of a quaker, who made him answer, that what hast thou to say to quakers, It being acted on fryday the 12 of August or thereabouts and further saith not. . . .

D. The Deposition of Mary Winter aged about 22 years. Deposeth, That Mr. Thomas Cocks Negroes and others being in company with them drinking of syder, Then came in Katherine Watkins the wife of Henry Watkins and went to drinking with them, and tooke Mulatto jack by the hand in the outward roome and ledd him into the inward roome doore and then thrust him in before her and told him she loved him for his Fathers sake for his Father was a very hansome young Man, and afterwards the said Mulattoe went out from her, and then she fetched him into the roome againe and hugged and kist him. And further saith not. . . .

E. The Deposition of Lambert Tye aged about 26 yeares. Deposeth That being at Worke at Mr. Thomas Cocks on fryday being the twelvth of August or thereabouts, and coming into the house with William Hobson and the rest of Mr. Thomas Cocks servants and others in Company with them to drinke syder, and being a drinking then comes in Katherine Watkins the wife of Henry Watkins having a very high Colour in her face whereupon this deponent asked Humphrey then servant to the said Thomas Cocke; what made his Countrywoman have such a high Colour; whereupon he made this answear; That the [said] Katherine was at Old Humphrey’s drinking and he gave her a Cupp or two that had turned her braines, and soe being a drinking with their company she went into the Chimney (as this deponent thinketh) to light her pipe, and soe made a posture with her body as if she would have gone to danceing, and then afterwards coming into their company againe, she told Mulatto jack, that she loved him for his father’s sake, And then having left the Company and she together a drinking, This deponent went home to his owne house, and afterwards coming from home towards the house of the said Thomas Cocke, he mett with the said Katherine Watkins about halfe an houre by sun in the pathway homewards neare to this deponents house. And further saith not.

F. Humphrey Smith aged 26 yeares, deposeth, That he heard John Aust say (about September last past) what Matter is it what I swore to and likewise the deponent saw Katherine’s Mouth (the wife of Henry Watkins) torne and her lipps swell’d, And the handkerchief that she said the Mulatto Stopt her Mouth with very much bloody And the deponent heard the Mulatto confess that he had beene to aske the said Watkins wife forgiveness three tymes, and likewise the Mulatto sayd that Henry Watkins (the last tyme he went) bidd him keepe off his plantation or else he would shoote him and further saith not.

The Laws of Virginia-2
Wilt Thou Not Drinke to Me
Laws of Virginia



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *