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Vexatious Suits, Vice.
Perfons re aforesaid, attempt to remove the same ;. or without first paying reasonable moving im., Damages, and said Sum for recording as aforesaid : such Person or Persons fo ou ease, to offending, Mall forfeit and pay to the Owner or Portessor of such Lands or Meaforteit the va dows, the Value of such Timber, 'Logs, Staves or Shingles fo attempted to be
removed ; to be recovered by Bill, Plaint or Information.
An Act for preventing and punishing vexatious Law-Suits.
BE it rnalied by the Governor, Council and Representatives, in General Court Penalty 40. shall wittingiy and willingly wrong any Defendant, by commencing and prosesuits, and to curing any Action, Suit, complaint or Indictment in his own Name, or in the pay treble
Name of others, with Intent unjustly to vex and trouble fuch Defendant, luch damages. Plaintiff being legally convicted thereof, shall pay treble Damages to the Party
grieved, and be fined the Sum of Forty Shillings, to the Treasurer of the
County. Third offence how punish
And for the third Offence in that Kind, he shall be judged and proceeded against as a Common Barrator.
An Act for the more effectual putting in Execution the Laws
against Vice, Immorality and Profaneness, and for promoting
training, punibing and supprefing profane, immoral and irreligious PracTisamble. tices in this State, and promoting Christian Knowledge, will greatly tend to the
honor of Religion, tbe Peace and good'Order of buman Society, and to suppress
Therefore, that the same may be more generally and effe&tually done ;
afsembled, and by the Autbority of the fame, That all Judges and Justices meting of the Peace in the respective Counties in this state, be, and they are hereby 1.ry herein,
required to be diligent and careful in putting in Execution all such Laws and Acts as are or shall be made in this state, for the punishing, reftraining or Supprefing any Profanenels, Immorality, or irreligious Practices or Disorders,
that thereby the good Ends propoled in such Ads and Lawo may be attained. Of the Select. That the Seled-men
from time to Time, shall make diligent Enquiry of men. all Housholders within their respective Towns, how they are furnished with Housholders
Bibles : and if upon such Enquiry any Houshoider be found without one Bible to have bibles at least, then the Select-men shall warn the said Houlholder forthwith to proin their fami- cure one Bible at leaft, for the Use and Benefit of their Families respectively :
And if the same be neglected, then the said Select-men, fall make Return for negle&,
thereof to the next Authority, who may deal with such Houfholder's Family how dealt according to the directions of the Law relating to the educating and governing with &c. of Children.
And all such Families as are numerous, and whose Circumstances will allow And with catechirms,
thereof, fall be fupplied with Bibles according to the Number of Persons of Capacity to use the same in such Families; and with a suitable Number of
Orthodox Catechisms, and other good Books of practical Godliness, and the like. Constables, That the Constables, Grand-jury-men and Tithing-men in the respective &c. tu make Towns in this state, shall, and they are hereby required to make diligent Search preluntment, afce , and Presentment make of all the Breaches of the Laws which relate to
their office or Offices respectively.
And the Constables and Grand-jury.men in the respective Towns Ahall, on Constables & the Evenings after the Lords-Day, and other public Days of religious Solemni- grand juryty, waik the Street, and duly sea all Piaces suspected for harbouring or entertaining any People or Perfons assembled contrary to Law.
Be it further enaated by the Authority aforesaid, That she Jullices of the Civil authoriPeace, Grand-jurors, Constables and Tithing-men in the respective Towns in ty, &c. to this State, shall annually meet in the respective Towns to which they belong, ly on the firti on the fire Monday of January, and on the third Monday in June, at the Monday of Place where their annual Town-Meetings are held, or at some other Place by January, and them appointed, there to advise, consider, and vie their joint Interest in fup third Monday prefling Prophaneness, Vice, and Immorality; and for the due Execution of all of April, to
advise, &c. the Laws of this State, to which iheir respective Offices have Relation. And be ir further enacted by the Authority aforejaid, That the Town Clerk
Thisaet to of each respective lowo in this state, at the opening of the pnblic Town- be read annuMeeting for electing Town-Officers in December annually, if present, and in ally in townhis Abfence che Select- men for the Time being, who shall be present, shall meeting in sead, or cause to be read this Act, and every Paragraph thereof publicly in this December. Meeting..
And if fuch Clerk, being present, or such Select-men present in the Clerk's Absence, shall neglect or refuse publicly to read, or cause to be read this A& ; then the said Clerk or Select- men in refusing or neglecting, hall forfeit and pay the Sum of Twenty Shillings ; one Half to the Complainer, who shall prosecote to Effect, and the other Half to the Town- I realury,
And the Constables and Grand-jury-men are directed to enquire after, and Conflables & due Presentment make of all Breaches of this act, to lome Aslltant or justice grand-jury ta
make preof the Peace ; who are hereby impowered to hear and determine the
An Act for enabling the United States of America, to com
mence and profecute Actions or Suits in any of the Courts
allembled, and by the Authority of the jame, That it shall and may be law- The United fol for the United States of America, lo fue, commence, and prosecute any States imSuits or Actions for the recovery of any Debts due to them, or any Efate or powered to Property to them belonging ; or for the recovery of Damages for any Frauds recover their or Trespasses against them and to appear by their Agents or Attornies that may be appointed by Congress, or by Authority derived from them ; and all luch Suits or Actions pursue to final Judgment and Execution. Ana be it further enažted by the Authority aforesaid, That it shall be the Duty Informing
officers to of the State Actories, and other Informing Officers in this State, to make Presentment of all Frauds and other Crimes committed against the United sentment of
preStates, within their respective Precincts, which thall be prosecuted and pun- frauds. ished in the fame Manner as if committed against this State.
And be it further enacted, That every Commissioner or Auditor, appointed by the United States in Congress asembled, or ander their Authority, to set- Auditors im. tle any of the public Accounts, shall have full Power to call Witnesses before powered to them in this state, and examine them under Oath or Affirmation, touching examine wito any such Accounts as are respectively alligned to them for Settlement ; and neffes under
oath, if any Person duly summoned, shall neglect to appear and be examined as aforesaid, he shall be liable to the same Pains and Penalties as for neglecting to appear before any Court in ibis State.
An Act for restraining the taking excessive Ufury.
E it enacted by the Governor, Council and Representatives in General Court Six per cent. affembled, and by the Authority of the same, That no Person or Persons Jawful inter- whatsoever, upon any 'Contract made, shall take, dire&tly or indire&tly for loan eft for monies of any Monies, Wares, Merchandizes, or other Commodities whatsoever, above loaned. the Value of Six Pounds, for the Forbearance of One Hundred Pounds, for a
Year; and so after that Rate for a greater or lesser Sum, or for a longeror fhor
ter Time. All bonds &c. And that all Bonds, Contracts, Mortgages and Assurances whatsoever, made forfeited for the Payment of any Principal, or Money lenc, or covenanted to be lent when more is
upor, or for Usury, whereupon or whereby there shall be reserved or taken taken.
above the Rate of Six Pounds in the Hundred, as asoresaid, shall be utterly void.
And all and every Person and Persons whatsoever, who shall take, accept,
and receive by way or means of any corrupt Bargain, Loan, Exchange, or by Penalty for covine, or deceitful Conveyance, or by any other way or Means whatsoever, taking unlaw. for the Forbearance, or giving Day of Payment for one whole Year, of and ful intereft, forfeiture of
for their Money, or other thing or Things above the Sum of Six Poands for the value, &c. the Forbearance of One Hundred Pounds for a Year; and fo after that Rate
for a greater or lesser Sum, or for a longer or shorter Time, thall forfeit and lose for every such Offence, the full Value of the Goods and Monies or other Thing so lent, exchanged, bargained, fold or agreed for : one Moiety thereof to the public Treatury of this State, the other Moiety to the Informer who fhall, fue for and prosecute the same to Effect.
And whereas many Persons, tot contenting tbemselves with jult and reasonable Gains, or Interest for Goods fold or Money leut, do use many jubtil and clardeftine Merbods to oppress their poor Debtors, by inducing and compelling them to give great and unlawful Sums for Forbearance ; and to effe at the same, take Ad. vantage of the Distress and Poverty of their Debtors to induce i bem to conceal from Witnesses the real Confideration of the Securities given,
For preventing of which, Be it exa&ted by the Autbority aforesaid, That the Grand Jurors in their respective Precincts, shall make Enquiry after all Perfons that are of evil Name and Fame for oppressing their poor Debtors or Borrowers, or of taking exceffive
Intereft for Forbearance, and thall present such Person or Persons to the next Gr and-jurors Aflftant or Justice of the Peace, as being guilty of said Crimes ; and if thereto enquire upon such Person or Persons shall not satisfy the Auchority before whom he or and presents they are brought to be examined, that he or they are not guilty, such Authority
may bind over such Person or Persons, with two good Sureties, in a Recogni. zance, not exceeding the Sum of One Hundred Pounds lawful Money, to appear at the next County Court in that County where he or they dwell, to answer to
said Presentment, and abide the Judgment of the Court thereon. Refusing to
And if such Person or Persons refuse to become bound as aforesaid, the faid give bond, to be commit- Authority shall commit him or them to the common Goal in said County, there ted, &c. to remain till he or they conform themselves and become bound as aforedaid.
And if upon Trial before the Court, one credible Witness shall come and
depose against such Person or Persons, that he or they have caken exceffive In. One witness tereft or Security therefor, or otherwise have oppressed their poor Debtors or fufficient. Borrowers, setting forth the fact before the Court, it shall be lawful for the
Court to bind fuch Person or Persons, with Sureties, in a Recognizance not ex-
And if such Person or perfons Mall offend again in like manner, while he
or they are under such Recognizanee, to be proved againt him or them by one credible Witness, such Persons shall be adjudged to have forfeited their For Second Recognizance ; unless fuch Persons shall be acquitted by a Jury of twelve offence I ond lawfal men of the Neighbourhood, declaring upon their Oaths, that they be, forfeited. lieve he or they are not guilty : Which Jury he or they, at his or their Requeft, and at his or their own Charge, may have the Liberty of.
And in Cafe Judgment thall be given againft such Person or Persons, the Court may Court may at Discretion chancer down the Recognizance, more or less accord- chancer down ing to the Aggravation of the Offence.
the bond. And be it further enacted, That in any Adion brought on any Bond, Bill, Mortgage, or other Instrument whatsoever, it shall be lawful for the Defendant Bill in equity in such Adion, to inform the Court before which faid Action is brought, by may be filed filing his Complaint with the Clerk of such Court, on the second Day of the recond day of
the court Court's fitting, that the Mortgage, Bond, or other Inftrument on which the
setting Action is brought, is usurious and oppressive, and was given for no juft or reafonable Consideration ; and then in loch Case the Court is directed and impowered to proceed in searching out the Truth of such Complaint, as a Court of Chancery or Equity, by examining the Parties upon Oath, or in any other Parties to be
examined on Way proper to a Court of Equity : Ånd if the plaintiff shall refuse to be ex
vath. amined upon Oath, his Action shall be Non-Suit, and the Court hall give Judgment for the Defendant to recover his Coft.
And if the fe. And if upon Trial the Court shall find such Mortgage, Bond or Note, &c. curity issound to be usurious or oppressive, and for which the Defendant had no reasonable ufurious to be Consideration, they shall adjust the lame in Equity, and give Judgment that chancered the Plaintiff recover no more than the just Value of the Goods sold, &c. or down in equithan the principal Sum which the Defendant received of the Plaintiff, without y, to the prin
cipal Intereft, or any Advance thereupon.
interest. And be it further enalted by obe Authority aforesaid, That if the Defendant The provis. in any Adjon founded on Contract, depending before an Aliltant or Juftice of ons of this a& the Peace, shall file his Bill complaining that said Contract is Ufurious, such extended to Afiftant or Justice shall enquire into, and adjust the same in Equity, and render an affilant or Judgment therein according to the Rules and Directions in this A&t prescribed justices coure. for other Courts. Always Provided, That nothing in this Act be construed to prevent any
Provilo. Persons from proceeding upon full Evidence in the common Course of Law against exceffive Ufury, and ufurious Contracts, either in Defending or Recovering thereon, as in the first Paragraph of this A& is provided.
An Act for due Regulation of Weights and Measures.
assembled, and by tbe Authority of the fame, That the Treasurer of each Each county County within this state, shall at the proper Coft and Charge of the said to have standCounty, provide, as there shall be Occafion, and continually keep and preserve in good Order, good and sufficient Weights and Measures as Standards for the said Counties : The Half Bufhel to be Brass or Copper; which Weights ded by the
To be provi. and Measures shall be tried and sealed by the State Standards of Weights and treafurer. Measures, and shall be kept in the respective County Towns for the Use of the County, upon whose Coft they were procured. And if any or either of the County Treasurers fhall not procure and keep
Penalty for the Weights and Measures as abovesaid, and have the same tried and sealed
neglect. as aforesaid, he shall pay a fine of Five Pounds; one Moiety whereof shall be to the Constable of the County Town that fall complain, and the Remainder to the County Treasury.
And the Constables in the County Towns fall enquire whether the faid
Weights and Measures be provided and sealed as abovelaid ; and upon De Constables to fault of any or either of the laid Treasurers, the said Conftables fhall present make exqui. them to the next Superior Court in that County, who shall cause the said Fine to
be levied upon the Treasurer fo neglecting ; unless he shall fatisfy the faid Court that there are Weights and Meatures provided and sealed as abovefaid, within
the County Town for the Use of the County in which he serverh as Treafurer. Select-men That the Select-men in every Town within this Stace, shall provide, as to provide there Mall be Occafion, at the Charge and Coit of said Towos, good Weights weigfits and and Measures, to be preserved and kept in good Order, as Standards for said measures.
Towns; which Weights and Measures shall be tried and sealed by the County
And the Constables in every Town shall make Enquiry into all Breaches of Constables to this Act; and if upon Enquiry, the said Conftables shall find the Sele&t-men make pre bave not procured Weighis and Measures as abovesaid, that then the Constable fentment of or Constables shall make Complaint thereof to the next Alliitant or Juftice of all breaches the Peace : Upon which Complaint the said Assistant or Justice ft.all of this act.
summon before him the Select-men so neglecting, and if they shall not fatisfy said Authority that they have provided Weights and Meafures as aforesaid, and that they then have the fame in such Town, the said Authority shall impose a Fine of Forty Shillings on such Select-men; one Half to the Constable com
plaining, and the other Half to the Town Treasury : To be levied by diltress Weights, &c. and sale of their Goods according to Law. of particular
And all Weights and Measures improved or used by any particular Persons in perfons to be any Town, shall be tried by the Town Standards where they dwell : And whotried. soever shall make Use of any Weights or Measures that are not proved and
tried by the Standards in their respective Towns, Dual) forfeit the Som of Fire Shilling, for evěry such Offence committed ; to the Ute of the Treasury of such
Town. Sealers to be
That the Inhabitants of each Town in this State, ihail choose one of their chosen and able and discreet Inhabitants, to be a Sealer of Weights, and one to be a Sealer fworn. of Measures for their Town ; who shall take the Oath appointed for such Om.
cers : And no Weight or Measure Mall be accounted good and legal that is not Weights, &c. sealed and approved by said Sealers. to be sealed That the Sealers of Weights and Measures in the respective Towns thall, once a year. once in every Year, seal the feveral Weights and Measures that are used in False weights their Town. &c. to be de. ftroyed. And all such Weights and Measures as cannot be brought to be equal with
the juft Standard, the faid Sealer shall deface or destroy. All weights,
And that it is and shall be in the Power of every Sealer aforesaid, some Time &c. to be in the Month of April yearly, to appoint a Time and Place where he will try brought to the Weights and Measures and to give public Notice thereof to the Inhabía the fealers in tants of their respective Towns, to bring their Weights and Meatures to be trio' April'annu. ed: And whosoever shall neglect to bring his Weights and Measures to be trially.
ed at the Time prefixed by the Sealer, being thereunto warned, he hall forfeit the Sum of T hree Shillings; one Half to the Sealer, and the other Half to the Town Treasury; which the Sealer shall have power to recover from Time to
Time. Penalty on And every Sealer that shall neglect his Duty required in, and by this A&, sealers for thall for feit' the Sum of Thirty Shillings for every such Default to the County neglcct.
Provided nevertheless, That nothing in the foregoing A& shall be conftrued
or understood to interfere with any Regulation that Mall or may be made, reProviro. lative to the fixing the Standard ot-Weights and Measures, by the Congress of
the United States, agreeable to the Powers vefted in them by the ninth Article of Confederation.