Laws of Virginia, December, 1656
Concerning orphans estates, Be it from henceforth enacted, That all will and testaments be firme and inviolable, but in case the executors or overseers refuse to execute their trust, then the estates disposed of by will to be liable to such rules as are laid down for the management of estates of persons intestate.
That noe accounts be allowed on orphans estates, but they to be educated upon the interest of the estate, if it will beare it, according to the proportion of their estate, But if the estate be so meane and inconsiderable that it will not reach to a free education then that orphan be bound to some manuall trade till one and twenty yeares of age, except some ffriends or relations be willing to keep them with the increase of that small estate, without diminution of the principall, which whether greate or small allways to returne to the orphans at the yeares appointed by law.
That all cattell, horses and sheep be returned in kind by the guardians, according to age and number, whereat he received them, as all household stuff, lumber and the like to be prized in money, And by the guardians to be paid in the country comodity (whatsoever it shall be) to the orphans as it is then currant in the country and in the perticular place where the orphan's estate is managed.
That the court take able and sufficient security for orphans estates, and enquire yearly of the security, & if the court sees cause, to have it changed or called in and placed as the court shall think best, The said court also to enquire whether orphans be kept and maintained and educated according as their estates will beare, And if they find any notorious defect to remove the orphans to other guardians, As also for those that are bound apprentices to change their master if he use them rigourously or neglect to teach them his trade.
That such orphans as are not bound apprentices shall after seaventeen yeares of age have the produce of their owne labours and industry and to dispose of as they list, besides the maintenance from their guardians, Allwaies provided that nothing be infringed.
That no more be allowed to guardians for collecting of debts due to the estate then what is allowed usually by merchants to their ffactors or____________________