Author: Parliament

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“An Act for Exempting their Majestyes Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certaine Lawes” (1688)

In “An Act for Exempting their Majestyes Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certaine Lawes,” better known as the Act of Toleration, passed in 1688, Parliament for the first time made accommodations for those Protestants in England and, eventually, in Virginia who dissented from the established Church of England.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“An Acte towching dyvers Orders for Artificers Laborers Servantes of Husbandrye and Apprentises” (1563)

In this excerpt from the beginning of the otherwise long “Acte towching dyvers Orders for Artificers Laborers Servantes of Husbandrye and Apprentises,” passed in 1563, the English Parliament compiles and revises two hundred years worth of law regarding indentured servitude. When colonists needed labor in Virginia, the General Assembly looked to the Statute of Artificers in order to create more Virginia-specific legislation. The full act is in 40 parts. Some spelling has been modernized and contractions expanded.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“An Acte against Conjuration Witchcrafte and dealing with evill and wicked Spirits” (1604)

In this act, “An Acte against Conjuration Witchcrafte and dealing with evill and wicked Spirits,” passed by Parliament in the session that began on March 19, 1603, and ended July 7, 1604, the English government, not for the first time, outlawed witchcraft. It was the this law, however, that authorities used to prosecute accused witches in Virginia. Some contractions have been expanded. The last witchcraft trial in the mainland colonies took place in 1730, and Parliament repealed the law in 1736. Some spelling has been modernized and contractions expanded.

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