Primary Resource

"An act concerning Indians" (October 1665)

In "An act concerning Indians," passed in October 1665, the General Assembly, among other things, reserves to the governor the right to appoint tribal weroances, or chiefs, for Virginia Indians.

Transcription from Original

WHEREAS at a grand assembly held at James Citty, September 10th 1663, it was provided that where any murther was committed by the Indians upon the English, the next towne of the Indians was to use their utmost endeavours for discovering the actors and doers thereof, and in regard the said act was

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only lymitted upon the northern Indians. This grand assembly have thought fitt to enact and be it enacted that the said law be made a generall law against all Indians whatsoever, and where any murthers be committed upon the English, the next towne is to use all their care and diligence in finding the doers and actors of the said murthers. And be it further enacted that if any Englishman is murthered, the next towne shalbe answerable for it with their lives or liberties to the use of the publique, and that the right honourable the governour be humbly requested forthwith to impower such persons as his honour shall think fitt in each county on such occasions for putting the said law into imediate execution, and that it be made knowne to all Indians whatsoever by these persons soe commitionated within two months after the said law is in force. And be it further enacted by this grand assembly that the said Indians shall not have power within themselves to elect or constitute their owne Werowance or chiefe commander, but the present honourable governour and his successors from time to time shall constitute and authorize such person in whose fidelity they may finde greatest cause to repose a confidence to be the comander of the respective townes; And in case the Indians shall refuse their obedience to, or murther such person, then that nation of Indians soe refuseing or offending to be accompted enemies and rebells and to be proceeded against accordingly. And whereas the careles manner of the English in going unarmed into churches, courts, and other publique meetings may probably in time invite the Indians to make some desperate attempt upon them, It is further enacted that the honourable the governour be requested to issue his commands to the officers of the militia to take care to prevent the same; And it is further enacted that any person or persons that shall harbour, entertaine, or imploy any Indian, shalbe fined five thousand pounds of tobacco or suffer one yeares imprisonment without bayle or maineprise, unles such as shall give suffitient security to the county courts, and upon such security obteyne a certificate from the said court, and upon that certificate a lycence from the governour. And whereas by the former articles of agreement, it was provided that no Indians which are seated on the southside of James

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river should come over the Black water or the southerne branches thereof, It is hereby enacted that the said bounds from the head of Black water to the Apamatack Indian towne and thence cross the river to the Monikon towne be the bounds of the Indians on the southside of James river.