Primary Resource

"Against ffornication" (1662)

In this law, "Against ffornication," passed in its March 1662 session, the General Assembly addressed the problem of indentured servants having sex that produced pregnancies that, in turn, cost masters money and labor.

Transcription from Original

— page 114 —

FOR restraint of the ffilthy sin of ffornication, Be it enacted that what man or woman soever shall commit ffornication, he and she soe offending, upon proofe thereof by confession or evidence shall pay each

— page 115 —

of them five hundred pounds of tobacco fine, to the use of the parish or parishes they dwell in, and be bound to their good behavior, and be imprisoned untill they find security to be bound with them, and if they or either of them committing ffornication as aforesaid be servants then the master of such servant soe offending shall pay the said ffive hundred pounds of tobacco as aforesaid to the use fo the parish aforesaid, for which the said servant shall serve half a yeare after the time by indenture or custome is expired; and if the master shall refuse to pay the ffine then the servant to be whipped; and if it happen a bastard child to be gotten in such fforication then the woman if a servant in regard of the losse and trouble her master doth sustaine by her haveing a bastard shall serve two yeares after her time by indenture is expired or pay two thousand pounds of tobacco to her master besides the ffine or punishment for committing the offence and the reputed ffather to put in security to keep the child and save the parish harmelesse.