May 10, 1768, 4 Bush 480-481
WHEREAS the present Mode of trying Negro and Mulatto Slaves, for Murder and other capital Crimes, by Three or more Justices, and Five of the principal Freeholders of the County, hath on Experience, been found inconvenient: Therefore,
[§1] BE IT ENACTED by the Governor, Council, and General Assembly, and it is hereby Enacted by the Authority of the same, That from and after the Publication of this Act, every Negro, Indian, or Mulatto Slave, who shall murder or conspire, or attempt the Death of any of his Majesty's Liege People in this Colony; or shall commit any Rape on any of the said Subjects; or shall wilfully burn any Dwelling-House, Barn, Stable, Out-House, Stack or Stacks of Corn or Hay; or shall wilfully mutilate, maim or dismember, any of the Subjects as aforesaid, not being Slaves; or shall murder any Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, and be thereof convicted, by Confession or Verdict, in the Supreme Court, Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Goal Delivery, or Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, of the County wherein the Fact shall be committed, shall suffer Death without Benefit of Clergy: And that every Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, who shall in either of the said Courts be convicted of Manslaughter, or of stealing any Sum or Sums of Money, above the Value of Five Pounds, from any Person or Persons whatsoever, or shall commit any other Felony or Burglary, and be thereof legally convicted, in either of the said Courts, shall suffer Death, or such other Pains and Penalties, as the said Justices of the said Supreme Court, Court of Oyer and Terminer and General Goal Delivery, or Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, shall think proper to inflict; any Law, Usage or Custom to the Contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
[§2] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Justices of the said Courts, who by Virtue of this Act, shall try such Offender or Offenders, shall upon Conviction, by Warrant under the Hand and Seal of them, or any Three of them, to the Sheriff of the County directed, command him to execute the Sentence or Judgment of the said Court, or cause the same to be executed, at such Time and Place as they shall direct.
[§3] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That there shall be paid to the Sheriff, the Sum of Five Pounds, for executing any Negro, Indian or Mulatto Slave, found guilty in either of the Courts aforesaid, and condemned to Death by the Justices of the said Courts, or either of them, and such other Fees as by Law are given to Sheriffs and other Officers, for their Services in criminal Cases; to be paid by the County Collector, by Order from the Justices and Freeholders of the County where the Offence is committed; and to be assessed, levied, and raised by Order of any Three Justices (one being of the Quorum) equally on the Owners of Slaves, in Manner following, to wit, The Constable of every Town and District within this Province, shall deliver a List of all the Negro, Indian and Mulatto Slaves, within their and each of their several and respective Districts, both Men and Women, above the Age of Fourteen, and under Fifty Years, which are not disabled or incapable of performing their Master or Mistress's Service, unto the Justices at one of their Courts of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace in every County, yearly and every Year; who shall order the Clerk of the Peace to file the same: And when any Negro, Indian and Mulatto Slave, shall be executed, or punished for any Crime or Crimes, the Justices of the Peace of the County where the Fact is committed, or any Three of them (one being of the Quorum) at the Desire of the said Sheriff, shall meet together, and call for the aforesaid List, from the Clerk of the Peace; and according to the said List, they shall assess the Value of the said Costs of the Prosecution, equally on the Heads contained in the said List, and shall appoint a Collector to collect and receive the same; and when so collected and received, the same to pay to the said Sheriff for his Fees and Services, and the Fees and Services of the Prosecution or Prosecutions aforesaid: And upon a Refusal or Delay of Payment, the said Collector shall deliver a List of the Person or Persons so refusing or delaying, to any Justice of the Peace of the said County, who shall make out Warrants to the Constables of the several Towns and Districts, to distrain for the same; and the said Distress to sell at a publick Outcry, and pay the said Assessment to the said Collector, and Eighteen Pence to himself for the Charges of such Distress, and return the Overplus (if any be) to the Owner: And the said Collector shall pay the said Money so collected, to the said Sheriff, and take his Receipt for the same, which he shall deliver to the Justices at their next Sessions of the Peace, to be filed by the Clerk of the said Court.
[§4] AND BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Sections of the Act, entitled, An Act to regulate Slaves, shall be, and hereby are repealed and made void, and of no Effect; any Thing in said Act to the Contrary in any wise notwithstanding.