Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Blair, John, Sr. (1687-1771) [Announcement of amendment to law on slave trials for capital crimes]

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03970 Author/Creator: Blair, John, Sr. (1687-1771) Place Written: Williamsburg, Virginia Type: Document signed Date: 15 November 1768 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Partially printed document signed by Blair as President of the Virginia Council and Commander in Chief of the colony to the justices of the peace of Buckingham County. Transmits amendments made to "An Act directing the Trial of Slaves committing Capital Crimes, and for the more effectual punishing Conspiracies and Insurrections of them, and for the better Government of Negroes, Mulattoes, and Indians, bound or free." Says the governor, and temporarily in Virginia the Commander in Chief, has the power to issue commissions of oyer and terminer to justices of each county empowering them "from Time to Time, to try, condemn, and execute, or otherwise Punish or Acquit, all Slaves committing Capital Crimes within their County."

People: Blair, John, 1732-1800.

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Keywords/Subjects: Death Penalty, African American History, Slavery, Law, Rebellion, Slave Rebellion, Government and Civics, American Indian History, Crime

Sub Era: Road to Revolution