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[152] when the legislators of Albemarle, ignorant of the
Chap. XIII.} 1669.
scheme which Locke and Shaftesbury were maturing, framed a few laws, which, however open to objection, were suited to the character, opinions, and manners, of the inhabitants, and which, therefore, endured long after the designs of Locke were abandoned in despair. New settlements invite the adventurer and welcome the needy. The strictest rule for the recovery of debts, so much desired in mercantile communities, where large trusts are necessarily reposed in individuals, and where delay becomes a failure, was not suited to the less anxious lives and the universal hospitality of a purely agricultural community. The planters of Albemarle, giving a five years security to the emigrant debtor, enacted that none should for five years be sued for any cause of action arising out of the country. Marriage was made a civil contract, requiring for its validity nothing more than the consent of parties before a magistrate with witnesses. New settlers were exempted from taxation for a year. Was it the care for peace, or the instinct of monopoly, which prohibited strangers from trading with the neighboring Indians? As every adventurer who joined the colony received a bounty in land, frauds were checked by withholding a perfect title, till the emigrant should have resided two years in the colony. The members of this early legislature probably received no compensation; to meet the expenses of the governor and council, a fee of thirty pounds of tobacco was exacted in every lawsuit. Such was the simple legislation of men, who, being destitute of fortune, had

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