This 1696 law stated that the gathering of more than three enslaved men or women was dangerous and unlawful. Slaves accused of assembling or gathering would be publically whipped or their enslavers ordered to pay a fine.
The following is a transcription of the document:
Whereas the grand Inquest for ye: body of this County Brought in an agrievence for that the Negros of said County doe asemble together upon the Sabbath and at other unreasonable howres against ye: peace of our Souveraign Lord the king y+ Now is &c __ ,The Court haveing taken into Consideration who Dangerous it is the Assembling of Negros and their wondering at onseasonable ^howres the Court therefore orders y+; if at any ____ ho____ above ye ; number of three Negros bee found together uppon ye: Lords Day or at any unseasonable howres Except they bee uppon their Masters Lawfull occasions that such Negros shall bee publicly wipt or the Master to pay ae pss of Eight for Each Negros ffredom, and this order to Continue in forev untill the next Court of Sessions------
Image- Courtesy of Ulster County Clerk's Office.