Primary Resource

Irish Servants (1655)

This law, passed by the General Assembly in its March 1655 (New Style) session, establishes the terms of service specifically for immigrants from Ireland who arrive in Virginia without indentures. During the March 1658 session, the assembly revised the law so "that at the end of the act these words are added, 'and all aliens to be included in this act.'" The law was repealed five years later, with special mention made of this final clause. Some spelling has been modernized.

Transcription from Original

BE it enacted by this Grand Assembly That all Irish servants that from the first of September, 1653, have bin brought into this collony without indenture (notwithstanding the act for servants without indentures it being only the benefitt of our own nation) shall serve as followeth, (vizt.) all above sixteen yeares old to serve six years, and all under to serve till they be twenty-four years old and in case of dispute in that behalfe the court shall be judge of their age.