1788-1798 Laws of Northwest Territory

Part of the Historic Indiana Law Project.

Abstracts of laws relating to the Northwest Territory from:
Laws of the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio Including The Laws of the Governor and Judges, The Maxwell Code, and the Laws of the Three Sessions of the Territorial Legislature, 1791-1802. Cincinnati : n.p., 1833. Google Books


Laws of the Governor and Judges.



Chapter 1. A law for regulating and establishing the militia. Published 25 July 1788.

Chapter 2. A law for establishing general courts of quarter sessions of the peace (and therein of the powers of single justices), and for establishing county courts of common pleas, (and therein of the power of single judges to hear and determine upon small debts and contracts), and also a law for establishing the office of sheriff, and for the appointment of sheriffs. Published 23 August 1788.

Chapter 3. A law establishing a court of probate. Published 30 August 1788.

Chapter 4. A law for fixing the terms of the general court. Published 30 August 1788.

Chapter 5. A law respecting oaths of office. Published 2 September 1788.

Chapter 6. A law respecting crimes and punishments. Published 6 September 1788.

Chapter 7. A law regulating marriages.

Chapter 8. A law in addition to a law, entitled, “A law for regulating and establishing the militia.” Published 23 November 1788.

Chapter 9. A law appointing coroners. Published 21 Dec 1788.

Chapter 10. A law limiting the time of commencing civil actions and instituting criminal prosecutions. Published 28 December 1788.



Chapter 11. An act to prohibit the giving or selling intoxicating liquors to Indians, residing in, or coming into the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio, and for preventing foreigners from trading with Indians therein.

Chapter 12. An act prohibiting the sale of spirituous and other intoxicating liquors to soldiers in the service of the United States, being within ten miles of any military post within the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio; and to prevent the selling or pawning of arms, ammunition, clothing and accoutrements.

Chapter 13. An act for suppressing and prohibiting every species of gaming for money or other property, and for making void all contracts and payments made in consequence thereof, and also for restraining the disorderly practice of discharging fire arms at certain hours and places.

Chapter 14. An act to alter the Terms of the General Court.

Chapter 15. An act to augment the Terms of the County Courts of Common Pleas from two to four terms in the year, and to increase the number of Judges of the said Court, and also of the Justices of the Quorum in the several counties.

Chapter 16. An act to authorize and require the Courts of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, to divide the Counties into Townships and to alter the boundaries of the same when necessary, and also to appoint Constables, Overseers of the Poor, and Clerks of the Townships, and for other purposes therein mentioned.



Chapter 17. An act supplementary to a law, entitled “A law respecting crimes and punishments.”

Chapter 18. An act for the punishment of persons tearing or defacing publications set up by authority.

Chapter 19. An act creating the office of clerk of the legislature.

Chapter 20. An act for rendering authentic as evidence in the courts of this territory, the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of courts in the United States.

Chapter 21. An act abolishing the distinction between the crimes of murder and petit treason.

Chapter 22. An act regulating the enclosures of grounds.

Chapter 23. An act to alter and amend the militia laws.



Chapter 24. An act granting licenses to merchants, traders, and tavern-keepers.

Chapter 25. An act creating the offices of treasurer-general of the territory and treasurers for the counties.

Chapter 26. An act directing the manner in which money shall be raised and levied, to defray the charges which may arise within the several counties in the territory.

Chapter 27. An act for opening and regulating highways.

Chapter 28. An act directing the building and establishing of a court-house county jail pillory whipping post and stocks in every county.

Chapter 29. An act for the better regulation of prisons.

Chapter 30. An act for the disposition of strays.

Chapter 31. An act to repeal certain parts of an act “creating the office of clerk of the Legislature.”

Chapter 32. An act supplementary to a law entitled “A law regulating marriages.”

Chapter 33. An act to regulate the admission of attorneys.

Chapter 34. An act empowering the judge of probate to appoint guardians to minors and others.

Chapter 35. An act prescribing forms of writs in civil causes and directing the mode of proceeding therein.

Chapter 36. An act establishing and regulating the fees of the several officers and other persons therein mentioned.


Laws of 1795 – Maxwell Code

Chapter 37. A law subjecting real estate to execution for debt.

Chapter 38. A law allowing domestic attachments.

Chapter 39. A law regulating domestic attachments.

Chapter 40. A law for the easy and speedy recovery of small debts.

Chapter 41. A law concerning defalcation.

Chapter 42. A law for the trial and punishment of larceny, under a dollar and a half.

Chapter 43. A law to prevent unnecessary delays in causes, after issue joined.

Chapter 44. A law establishing courts of judicature.

Chapter 45. A law for the limitation of actions.

Chapter 46. A law for the relief of persons conscientiously scrupulous to take an oath in the common form.

Chapter 47. A law for the recovery of fines and forfeitures, and directing how the same are to be estreated.

Chapter 48. A law ascertaining and regulating the fees of the several officers and persons therein named.

Chapter 49. A law for establishing orphans’ courts.

Chapter 50. A law for the settlement of intestates’ estates.

Chapter 51. A law to license and regulate taverns.

Chapter 52. A law establishing the recorder’s office.

Chapter 53. A law for raising county rates and levies.

Chapter 54. A law for the relief of the poor.

Chapter 55. A law concerning the probate of wills, written or nuncupative.

Chapter 56. A law regulating enclosures.

Chapter 57. A law as to the order of paying debts of persons deceased.

Chapter 58. A law concerning trespassing animals.

Chapter 59. A law directing how husband and wife may convey their estates.

Chapter 60. A law for the speedy assignment of dower.

Chapter 61. A law giving remedies in equity, in certain cases.

Chapter 62. A law against forcible entry and detainer.

Chapter 63. A law annulling the distinction between petit treason and murder.

Chapter 64. A law declaring what laws shall be in force.

Chapter 65. A law to prevent trespassing by cutting of timber.

Chapter 66. An act repealing certain laws and acts, and part of laws and acts.

Chapter 67. A law respecting divorce.

Chapter 68. A law for the partition of lands.

Chapter 69. A law allowing foreign attachments.

Chapter 70. A law concerning the duty and power of coroners.

Chapter 71. A law for continuing suits in the general and circuit courts.

Chapter 72. A law to suppress gaming.

Chapter 73. A law as to proceedings in ejectment, distress for rent, and tenants at will holding over.

Chapter 74. A law limiting imprisonment for debt, and subjecting certain debtors and delinquents to servitude.


Laws of 1798.

Chapter 75. A law to confer on certain associations of the citizens of this territory the powers and immunities of corporations, or bodies politic in law.

Chapter 76. A law for the punishment of maiming or disfiguring.

Chapter 77. A law vesting certain powers in justices of the peace in criminal cases.

Chapter 78. A law for the equal division and distribution of insolvent estates.

Chapter 79. A law to provide for the improvement of the breed of horses.

Chapter 80. A law directing the mode of proceeding in civil cases.

Chapter 81. A law in addition to a law entitled “a law ascertaining the fees of the several officers and persons therein named.”

Chapter 82. A law for the purpose of including all unsettled and unimproved tracts or parcels of land and subjecting them to taxation.

Chapter 83. A law rendering the acknowledgement of deeds more easy.

Chapter 84. A law for establishing a land office.

Chapter 85. An act repealing certain laws and parts of laws.