Black Act

(624 words)

Historical Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : .

Receiving the Royal Assent on 27 May 1723, the Waltham Black Act (9 Geo I. c. 22) introduced fifty new criminal offences that were punishable by death. It became notorious because it gave legal authority for the capital punishment of mere poachers, and because through subsequent amendments the Act was extended to enable the execution of the poor for any number of minor infractions. At this time, only the gentry had the right to eat game from the fields of England, so the rural poor were practically denied the right to touch the best available sources of protein, a vexatious matter at times of plenty, and a cruel measure at times of scarcity. The Black Act was in effect an instrument of terror produced to defend the interests of the …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Citation:
Clark, Robert. "Black Act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 December 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=5479, accessed 28 August 2015.]