Monday, December 20, 2010

Virginia Land Laws (Part II) Importation Rights

Under Queen Anne (1702) the Crown took a new interest in the land laws of the colonies. By 1705, there was completed a general revival of the laws, with three acts passed prescribing the forms of patents.

The first was called "importation rights". Every free immigrant to the Colony, other than transient persons, had an importation right to fifty acres of land. It allowed that every imported servant, after the term of service expired, had the right to fifty acres. Every immigrant, bringing with him a wife and children, to fifty acres for his wife and each child. It clarified that the immigrant only, or those to whom he should assign his rights in the presence of two witnesses, should be entitled to such rights, or certificate. The proof of such importation rights should be made, on oath, before the general or a county court. A certificate was to be produced in the secretary's office; upon which the secretary should grant the claimant a certificate. Based upon this certificate, any surveyor might lay off the quantity expressed, on any vacant land. The survey was then to be returned to the secretary's office, and a patent could be issued.

This first "right" would certainly encourage those to come to the colonies.

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