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Rankin Family History Project



New Haven Colony Laws

Burglary, and Theft

It is Ordered, &c. That if any person shall commit Burglary, or break up any dwelling-house, or any thing equilant, or rob any person by force, or by using any threatning gestures, or other actions, in the fields, high-wayes, or other place the party so offending, shall for the first offence (beside such restitution and damage as the Court to which the cognizance belongs, shall see cause to order) be branded on the right with the Letter B if he shall offend in the like kind a second time (beside restitution and damage) he shall be branded on the left hand, and also be severely whipt; and if he fall into the like offence the third time, (beside restitution and damage out of his estate) he shall be put to death as incorrigible.

And if any person shall commit such Burglary, or so rob in any place on the Lords day, he shall (beside restitution and damage) for the first offence, be burnt on the right hand, as before, and severely whipt; for the second offence, he shall be burnt on the left, stand on the Pillory, be severely whipt, and wear a halter in the day time constantly and visibly about his neck, as a mark of infamy, till the Court of Magistrates see cause to release him from it; but if he fall into the same offence the third time, he shall be put to death as incorrigibly unrighteous, and presumptuously profane.

And to prevent or suppresse other thefts, and pilfrings, it is Ordered, That if any person shall be taken, or proved to have stollen, assisted, or any way have been accessary to the stealing of any Cattel of what sort soever, or Swine, he shall by way of forfeit make such restitution to the owner, as the Court considering all circumstances, shall judge most agreeable to the work of God.

And if any person shall be proved to have stollen any Goods of what sort soever, out of any mans dwelling-house, Warehouse, Barn, or other Outhouse, or left out in Court, Yard, Garden, Orchard, High-way, from the Waterside, or out of any Boat or Vessel or other place, or to have robbed any Garden or Orchard, or stollen, or hurt, any grafts, or fruit-trees, such further fine and punishment, as the Court considering all aggravating circumstances of time, manner, &c. shall judge meet.

If the thief in any part of the premisses be not able to make restitution (if the case require it) he is to be sold for a servant, till by his labour he may make due restitution.

And if any Children, or Servants, who cannot pay for themselves, shall transgresse, and trespasse in any part of the premisses, if their Parents or Masters will not pay the penalty for them, they shall be publickly whipt, or further proceeded against as the case may require, and all Servants, and workemen, imbezzeling pilfring or stealing the goods of heir Masters, or such as set them on worke, shall make such Restitution, and be liable to all Lawes and penalties as other men, and if any person shall be proved to pilfer or steale a second or third time, his punishment shall be increased by whiping or otherwise, as the Court shall see cause.

And forasmuch, as small thefts, trepassses, or other offences of a Criminall nature, are sometimes committed by the English or others in Townes or places remote from Prisons, or it may prove inconvenient to defer the Tryall, or to make stay of the person offending, or hard to get security for appearance at the Court, it is therefore Ordered, that any Magistrate, or Deputy intrusted to assist in Judicature, calling in such other help as the place affords for a Plantation Court (which help is hereby required to attend the service upon due warning) may upon complaint brought to him, when the case so requires, with the first conveniency, heare, and upon due proofe determine any such offence (the valew whereof either in point of fine, damage, or other punishment exceeds not the limits of that Plantation Court, according to the Lawes here established) and may give warrant to the Marshall, or other Officer, for answerable execution, but if the offender refuse to pay or have nothing to satisfie, the Magistrate, or Deputy with the help afforesaid, may punish by stocking, whiping, or otherwise; according to the nature of the offence, and import of this Law.

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The Rankin Family History Project began in 1997 with a simple 3 generation family chart.  When our grandmother found out we were researching our family tree, she loaned us her copy of Maryland Catholics on the Frontier by Timothy J. O'Rourke which helped us discover our St. Louis & Perry County roots.  We are also doing research in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

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Rankin Family History Project     Sonoma County, California
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Updated February 2000
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