Primary Resource

"How long Servants without Indentures shall Serve" (1658)

In the act "How long Servants without Indentures shall Serve," passed in its 1658 session, the General Assembly addressed the problem of men and women arriving to Virginia without negotiated contracts, or indentures, for their labor. This law revised a similar one passed in the 1643 session. Some spelling has been modernized.

Transcription from Original

WHEREAS divers controversies have risen between masters and servants being brought into the collonie without indentures or covennants to testifie their agreements, whereby masters and servants have been often prejudiced, Be it therefore enacted and confirmed for prevention of future controversies of the like nature, That such persons as shall be

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imported, haveing no indentures or convenant, either men or women, if they be above sixteen years old shall serve four yeers, If under fifteen to serve till hee or shee shall be one and twenty yeers of age, and the courts to be judges of their ages.