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being Persons disinterested; which Free-holders, or any Two of set up and fix them, being first sworn by the said Affiftant or Justice of the the bounds, Peace, to act with impartiality therein, shall have power, and are hereby empowered, to set up and fix fuch bounds between them ; and the Bounds which shall be so fixed, shall be entered in the Records of the Town where such Lands lie, and remain the Bounds of such Lands; and the whole Charge that shall arise by the settling such Bounds as aforesaid, shall (being allowed by such Afiftant or Justice of the Peace)be recovered if need be,by Distress granted by the said Afliftant or Justice, against such Proprietor or Proprietors as shall make Application as aforesaid.

2. Provided nevertheless, That if any such Proprietor or Proprietors of Land be dissatisfied with the Bounds so fixed, nothing in this Act or any Proceedings thereon, shall be understood to hin.

Provife. der such Proprietor from bringing any Action whatsoever, for the maintaining of his Right to, or recovering the Poffeffion of such Land, as by the setting up fuch Bounds as aforesaid, shall be taken br with-held from him.

3. Provided also, That when the Bounds so set up shall happen to take

any

Land from any Proprietor, which he has for any Time held Possession of against the other Proprietor ; nothing in this Act, or any Thing done therein, shall be taken to disseize such Provins. Poffeffor, but whenfoever any Action is brought against such Poffeffor, by the other Proprietor, to recover from him Possession of faid Land; if such Poffeffor shall not prove upon the Trial, that the Bounds, or Line which he Claims to hold to, are the just and true Bounds, Judgment in the said Action shall be given for the faid Proprietor to recover the Possession, according to the Bounds set aforesaid.

4. And it is further enaĉed, That the said Three Free-holders Freeholders fhall take this following Oath, Viz.

to take an

oath. 7OU A. B. and C. being appointed to renew, revive, and set up

Bounds between the Land of D. E, and F. G. at according to the true, real, and just Right of the said Parties : You and each of you do swear by the Name of the Everliving GOD, that having heard the Pleas of the said Parties and Evidences given the form. in by them relating to the said Bounds; all Prejudice and Partiality being laid aside, you will erect the said Bounds according to the true and just Right of the said Parties, by your best Skill and Judgment. So help you God.

up as

Y

An Ad concerning Witnesses to Wills.
[ENACTED IN THE YEAR 1720.]

548 E it enacted by the Governor and Council, and House of Reprefen- Wills to be

tatives, in General Court assembled, That no Wills or Testa- witnefred by ments bearing Date at any Time after the first Day of January three witneir. next ensuing the End of the present Sessions of this Assembly, es, in presence

of the teftator, wherein there shall be any Devise cr Devises of real Estate, shall

LA

Lands held REit enacted by the Governor and Conncil, and House of Repre.

258

Lands. or elle void, be held good and allowed for any such Devise or Devises, if they as to devises

are not witnessed by Three Witnesses ; all of them figning in of real estate.

Presence of the Testator.
An Act to enable Guardians to divide Lands, &c.

[ENACTED IN MAY 1720.
WHEREAS there are many Parcels of Land in this Government,

which have been, and still are held by several Perfons in Partnership Preamble, or es Tenants in Common, or in Joint-Tenancy : And it hath often.

fo fallen out, that one of the Partners or Tenants have died before any
Divifion hath been made, and their Heirs left to Inherit such Lands,
being Minors ; whereby the furviving Partners or Tenants are hinder-
*ed in their Improv ment.

Which to prevent :
Par. 1.
Guardians to

Representatives, in General Court affembled, That minors to the Guardians of all Minors shall, and are hereby (with the Afliftmake division ance of such Perfons as the Court of Probate shall for that end

apof lands with point) fully empowered to make Division of any fuch Land with surving part- the surviving Partners or Tenants as fully and amply as the origi

nal Partners and Tenants might or could have done : And all fuch Minors, their Heirs and Assigns shall be firmly bound and

concluded by any Court of pro

such Division made by their Guardians. bate to apo

2. And the several Courts of Probate are hereby directed, upon point persons the Application of such Partner or Tenant, or Guardian to any to a flist guar. Minor, to appoint any suitable Persons to aflist such Guardians in dians, &c.

making Division as aforefaid. All perfons, 3. And all Persons having Right in any such Land, upon such

Appointment, shall forthwith come to a Division of the fame,

An A&t for the Partition of Lands, &c.

[EXACTED IN OCTOBER 1720.]

ners.

&c.

499.

in partnership

sentatives, in General Court assembled, That all Persons having to be divived' or holding ; or that fhali at any Time hereafter have or hold any by writ of Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments as Coparceners, Joint-Tepartition. nants, or Tenants in Common, may be compelled by Writ of Par

tition to divide the fame, where the Partners cannot agree to make

Partition among themselves. Proviro. Provided always, That this Act extend not to Town-Commons

or sequestered Lands.

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B В

An Act for preventing Trespaffes on the Lands of this
Colony, by illegal Purchafes thereof from the Indians.

[ENACTED IN OCTOBER 1722.] WHEREAS this Affembly have been informed, that notwithstanding the ancient Laws of this Colony to the contrary, fome Perfons have pretended to purchase of Indians their Rights as Natives of many Preamble. considerable Tracts of Lænd lying within this Colony : And although all such Deeds when obtained without the Leave and Consent of this Afsembly, are by the faid Law declared to be ipso facto, void. Yet under colour of such Deeds, Persons un acquainted with the faid Laws may be imposed upon, deceived, and greatly wronged, as well as the Settlement of fuch Lands in Plantations, pursuant to the End expreffed in our Charter, hindred.

For the prevention whereof : PAR. 1.

E it enaĉted by the Governor and Council, and House of

Representatives, in General Court assembled, That Penalty of whosoever shall' presume to purchase any Lands within the 167 dol. to Bounds of this Colony, of any Indians whatsoever, without the presume to Leave of this Afferbly hereafter first had and obtained, under purchase land colour or pretence of fuch Indians being the Proprietors of said of Indians. Lands by a Native Right ; or shall having purchased of

any dians, Lands in such manner, without leave of this Affembly firft had, or the Confirmation of this Assembly afterwards obtained, presume to make any Sale of, or any Settlements upon any Lands. to purchafed, every person who shall in any such manner tranf-. grefs, and be thereof convicted in the County Court, or in the Superior Court of that County where such Lands shall lie, shall. incur the Penalty of One Hundred and Sixty Seven Dollars to the Treafury of this Colony.

2. And whatsoever Person or Persons fhall suffer any wrong by Persons who Means of such Sale or Settlement, as aforesaid, shall recover

are wronged 'either of the said Courts, upon Proof of such wrong by him suffer- by such sales, ed, Treble Damages against the Person, or Persons, so wronging to receive of him.

treble dama ges.

In

in

An Act for the better establishing and Confirmation of

the Titles of Land anciently obtained in Townships, according to the manner or custom heretofore used; and for preventing Contentions about the same.

[ENACTED IN, MAX: 1723.]. WHERE AS it was anciently customary for Towns to be settled, and the Lands in thein contained, to be disposed of by Divifon, or other. wife, to particular Perfons, or special uses by the Inhabitants of the Preamble. jaid Towns in Town-Meeting asembled, after which custom or Man. ner, particular Perfons obtained to themselves, certain Quantities of

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the faid Land, which they held and dispofed of as their own proper E-
ftate of Inheritance ; and other Quantities, or Parcels of the said Land
in such Towns which remained in common, without being divided or
disposed of to any person or Use whatsoever, were ftill considered and
allowed to be in the disposition of the said Inhabitants afsembled in such
Towr-Meetings, by the major Vote of those present.

And whereas it was afterwards thought needful that the Properties
and Eftates obtained in the aforefaid Manner or Custom within our
Townships, fhould be confrmed to the feveral Proprietors of them, and
ratified by Deeds or Patents under the Seal of this Colony, to them and
their Heirs forever, (inasmuch as His Majesty King CHARLES the
Second, had under the Great Seal of England, granted the whole Tract
of Land, comprehending faid Town ships, tothe Governor and Company
of this Colony) that the Proprietors of fuch Eftates fo obtained and held
by vote and consent of fuch Towns in their Meetings, might be thereby
furnished with unconteftible Evidence of their having and holding the
fame under the Crown of Great-Britain.

By means of which Deeds or Patents fo granted to such Perfons, who were also according to the ancient Custom or Manner of difpofing of Lands in our Town-Meetings, the true and lawful Owners and Poffeffors of fuch Eftates, the said Lands which they held in such Towns, either in severalty or in common, became both by Cuftom, and by Seal of this Colony, an undoubted lawful Estate of Inheritance, to them and their Heirs ; and the undivided and common Lands in such Towth, such Proprietors might have divided immediately among themselves, or otherwise disposed of agreeably both to the ancient Custom, and the Tin tle ratiñed and confirmed by the faid Deeds or Patents, and not suffered

any other Persons to have part in them or any Right or Title to
vote or act in the dividing or disposing of fuch common Lard.

And whereas notwithstanding the said Deeds or Patents obtained, the
Proprietors of fuch Common Lands, who had according to the ancient
Cufiom such an Eftate in them, that they might divide them among them-
felves, or otherwise dispose of them; and had also obtained by Patention
Grant and Conhrmation of the Estate which they had in those common
Lands, as well as in their

particular Properties, to themselves and their
heirs forever, by Virtue of which they had just Power and Right to act
and do by way of dividing or disposing of such common Lands without
fuffering any other Persons who should afterwards become Inhabitants
of the said Towns, to be concerned and act with them therein ; the said
Proprietors did for a considerable number of Years in many of our
Towns, truly consent and agree that the said common Lands might in
whole or in part be a&tually divided or difpofed of by the major Vote of
the Inhabitants of fuch Towns in Meeting assembled, and did themselves
a& and vote with others in fuch Town Meetings, in the dividing and
disposing of fuch common Lands, by means of which Axts and Votes
many Perfons have obtained particular Estates to themselves, which if
they should be called in Question and defeated because not obtained by
the fole Act of the

faid Proprietors, would be contrary to the true intent and meaning of the faid Proprietors, and prove very prejudicial to those Perfons or their Heirs, who have been brought into them with the real Confent of the faid Proprietors, by which real Çonfent, feid Proprietari

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and all that hold under them, ought to be eftopped and barred against
all Pretensions or Pleas: of Right which they may alledge to the con-
trary.

E it therefore enafted by the Governor and Council, and
PAR, 1.

B

House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, That Grants, &c. all such Grants, Divisions, or Dispositions of such common Lands, of Lands, made according to ancient Custom in any Town Meetings, shall heretofore

made at town : be held and taken to be good and lawfil, to all Intents, and as ef- meetings, to

fe&tual in Law as if the full and ample Consent of the faid Pro- be good and
prietors had been in any other way than by such their A&ting or valid.
real Consent obtained ; and all Estates in Land obtained and hol-
den in such Manner by the Votes and Acts of Town-Meetings, as
well since as before the Confirmation of the Proprietors in such
Towns, in their Estates there, by Patent under the Seal of this
Colony, as aforesaid, are hereby declared to be.

2. And it is hereby Enacted, That they shall be accepted and
taken to be good and lawful Estates to such as so have and hold
them, as they might or could be if the consent of the said Pro-
prietors in the granting of them could be proved under the Hand
and Seal of such Proprietors,

3. And it is hereby alfo further Declared and Enacted, That whatsoever Part or Intereft the aforesaid Proprietors, by Custom as And to be well as Deed, have in any common or undivided Lands in any held such, as Towns, which they have not by their free Consent as before ex. if, &c. pressed, or otherwise disposed of, or suffered to be divided or difposed of, is and shall be allowed, and taken to be their proper Estate: And that no Person whatsoever by becoming an Inhabitant of such Town, or by any other Means against or without the Consent of such Proprietors, shall be taken or esteemed to have any Estate, Title, Right or Interest therein,

4. And all such Proprietors of any re.naining common or undivided Lands in any Town or Place whatsoever, or such as le

Undivided gally represent them, are hereby allowed to have their Meetings lands to be in such respective Towns, to choose their Clerk, to enter and re- long to the cord their Votes and Doings, who shall be sworn before an Aflift. proprietors. ant or Justice of the Peace : And all Records of their Votes and Doings, attested by him, be admitted as lawful Evidence. And the faid Proprietors in such Meetings, shall have full Power (after the ancient Custom and Manner in Towns) by their major Votes in such their Meetings, (to be reckoned according to their Interest in such Common Land,) to regulate, improve, manage and divide luch Common Land, in such Manner and Proportion as they shall see good.

5. Provided, That where the Proprietors in any Torn have by any Vote of theirs upon Record in their Town, obliged them

Proviso. selves to act for the future, in any other Method in dividing the undivided Land in such Townships, such Vote being the A&t of faid Proprietors, shall be and remain valid and binding against Such Proprietors, and their Heirs; and the undivided Lands referred to in said Vote, divided and held according to such Vote; any Thing in this A& to the contrary notwithstanding,

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