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and after the passing of this act, so much of the said recited act as points out and authorizes the mode of proceeding in suits wherein foreigners are parties shal! be, and the same is hereby repealed.

CHAP. XXXIV.
An act to repeal so much of all and

every act or acts of assembly as
prohibits the recovery of British
debts.

recover

[l'assed December 12, 1787 ]

I WHEREAS it is stipulated by the fourth article Acts prevent.

Crve of the treaty of peace between the king of Great of British Britain and the United States of America in congress debts, repeal, assembled, that creditors on either side shall meet with ed.

no lawful impediment in the recovery of the full value in sterling money of all bona-fide debts heretofore contracied; Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That such of the acts or paris of acts of the legislature of this commonwealth, as have prevented or may prevent the recovery of debts due to British subjects, according to the true intent and mea:ling of the said treaty of peace shall be and are hereby repealed.

II. Provided, That this act shall be suspended unSuspension til the governor with the advice of council shall by his of this act.

proclamation, notify to this state, that Great Britain hath delivered up to the United States the posts therein now occupied by British troops, which posts were stipulated by treaty to be given up to congress immediately after the conclusion of peace; and is also taking measures for the further fulGlinent of the said treaty by delivering up the negroes belonging to the citizens of this state taken away contrary to the seventh article of the treaty, or by making such compensation for them as shall be satisfactory to congress.

CHAP. Xxxvi.
An act concerning monies paid into

the public loan office, in payment
of British debts.

reimbur.

[Passed January 3, 1788.] 1. WHEREAS by an act of the general assembly entituled “An act for sequestering British property, Monies paid enabling those indebted to British subjects to pay off

into the loan

Freis "pay or office, on ac. such debts, and directing the proceedings in suits count of Britwhere such subjects are parties,” it is among other ish debts, how things provided, that it shall and may be lawful for any far rein

sed. citizen of this commonwealth owing money to a subject of Great Britain, to pay the same or any part thereof from time to time as he shall think fit, into the said loan office, taking thereout a certificate for the same, in the name of the creditor, with an indorsement under the hand of the commissioner of the said office, expressing the name of the payer, and shall deliver such certificate to the governor and council, whose receipt shall discharge him from su much of the debt, and the governor and council shall in like manner lay before the general assembly, once in every year, an account of these certificates, specifying the names of the persons by and for whom they were paid, and shall see to the sale keeping of the same, subject to the future direction of the legislature.

II. And whereas it belongs not to the legislature to decide particular questions, of which the judiciary have cognizance, and it is therefore unfit for them to determine whether the payments so made into the loan office as aforesaid, be good or void between the creditor and debtor, but it is expedient to declare to what aniount this commonwealth may be bound for the paymenis aforesaid, Be it enacted and declared, that this commonwealth shall, at no time nor on any event or contingency be liable to any person or persons whatsoever for any sum on account of the payments aforesaid, other than the value thereof when reduced by the scale of depreciation, established by one other act of the general asserably, intituled “An act directing the VOL. XII.

R 3

mode of adjusting and settling the payment of certain debis and contracis, and for other purposes," with interest thereon at the rate of six per centum per annum; any law, usage, custom, or any adjudication or construction of the first recited acı already made or herealier to be made notwithstanding.

Til. Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to affect or pri judice any process, plea or right, iu kisica citizen debtor would have been entitled against his creditor before the passing of this act, but that ail cowls of law and equity shali decide on such process, plea and right, in the same manner as if this art had never been made.

IV. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That no question between debtor and creditor respecting any sum of money so paid into the public loan office, shall be brought before any court of this commonwealth, during the suspension of the act envilled “An act to repeal so much of all and every act or acts of assembly as prohibits the recovery of British debts."

CHAP. XXXV.
Ao act to authorize the establishment

of fire companies.

[Passed January 7, 1788.) I. WHEREAS the danger to which the several Establishe towns within this commonwealth are exposed from fire ment of fire

is chiefly occasioned by the want of fire companies companies authorised. duly organized, and it is necessary that such compa

nies be incorporated, in order to give them their full effect, Be it enacted That it shall be lawful for any number of persons resident within any town, borough, or corporation within this commonwealth exceeding forty persons to form themselves into a company or companies for the purpose of extinguishing fire, who on having their names and subscriptions recorded in the court of the county or corporation where they reside, are hereby authorized to make such rules and re

gulations as to a majority of the said company or companies may seem proper and necessary for the procuring of engines and other necessary implements working the said engines, and exercising the companies raised. And that all fines and forfeitures for non-attendance or delinquency imposed by the said regulations not exceeding twenty-five shillings, shall be recoverable before a single magistrate on proof of such delinquency, which said fines and forfeitures shall be applied to the purposes of their institutions.

II. Provided always, That all bye-laws or rules to be made by virtue of this act, which are contrary to the constitution or laws of the commonwealth, shall be null and void.

CHAP. XXXVII.
An act for the punishment of persons

guilty of stealing or selling free
persons as slaves.

[Passed January 8, 1788.)
L WHEREAS several evil disposed persons have
seduced or stolen the children of black and mulaito,

Steal ng or free persons, and have actually disposed of the per personi fira sons so seduced or stolen as slaves, and punishment slave, felony, such crimes, not being by law provided without cler

gy. for such offenders,

II. Be it enacted, That any person who shall here. after be guilty of stealing or selling any free person for a slave knowing the said person so sold to be free, and thereof shall be lawfully convicted, the person so convicted shall suffer death without benefit of clergy,

CHAP. XXXVIII.
An act directing patents to issue upor

certain surveys mude by Richard
Rigg, deceased.

[Passed January 2, 1738.]

1. WHEREAS it is represented that Richard Rigg Patents to is, in his life time, as one of the surveyors of the right hosue upon sur nourable Thomas Lord Fairfax, in ibat part of this veys of land, made in

commouwealth called and known by the name of the Northern. Northern Neck, made a considerable number of surneck,by Rich• veys and entered them in a book for that purpose, and ard Riggs.

that before any plats and certificates thereof were made and returned to the land office, the said Richard Rigg deparied this life:

II. And whereas Jobn M Coole hath since the death of the said Richard Rigg, made out plats of such surveys from the said books and returned them to the land office with the respective fees upon oath, but no grants thereof can legally be issued; for remedy whereof, Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That the register of the land office shall, and be is hereby empowered and required to issue grants conformable to the plats of survey so returned into the land office in like manner as if the plats and certificates thereof bad been returned to the office in due form by the said Richard Rigg:

CHAP. XXXIX.
An act establishing District Courts.

[Passed January 2, 1788 ] 1. WHEREAS the delays inseparable from the District

ab. present constitution of the general court, may be osien lished. equal to a denial of justice, the expence of the crimi

This act nal prosecutions are unnecessarily burthensome to the never went into opera.

citizens of this conmonwealih, violations of the law ion; and was frequently pass with impunity, from the distance at

courts esta

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