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Lynching

Information about Lynching

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Charles Lynch was a Virginia Quaker, :23ff planter, and American Revolutionary who headed a county court in Virginia which imprisoned Loyalist supporters of the British for up to one year during the war. Although he lacked proper jurisdiction for detaining these persons, he claimed this right by arguing wartime necessity. Subsequently, he prevailed upon his friends in the Congress of the Confederation to pass a law that exonerated him and his associates from wrongdoing. He was concerned that he might face legal action from one or more of those he had imprisoned, notwithstanding the American Colonies had won the war. This action by the Congress provoked controversy, and it was in connection with this that the term "Lynch law", meaning the assumption of extrajudicial authority, came into common parlance in the United States. Lynch was not accused of racist bias. He acquitted blacks accused of murder on three separate occasions. He was accused, however, of ethnic prejudice in his abuse of Welsh miners.