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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 2


This foot note contained in document ADMS-05-02-02-0003-0002-0001
11. Act of 21 June 1765, c. 13, 4 A&R 815. §3 of this act provided
“That all taxes already raised for settling a minister, or that may be raised for his support, for building a meeting house, clearing and repairing roads, be levied on the several proprietors of said plantation, according to their interests, until the further order of this [i.e. the General] court; and that said inhabitants and proprietors of said town proceed by the same rules, in levying and collecting said taxes, as proprietors in new plantations are obliged, by law, to observe.”
The last clause presumably refers to the Act of 19 June 1753, c. 1, §2, 3 A&R 670, which provided machinery for the proprietors of undivided lands to assess proportionally their individual shares for the purpose of raising funds “for bringing forward and compleating the settlement of such common lands . . . and for carrying on and managing any other affairs for the common good of such proprieties.” That the proprietors considered this legislation a sufficient basis for taxing the Baptists and proceeded to do so appears in the complaints of the latter to the General Court in 1768 and 1769 set out in 4 A&R 1036–1037. A provision similar to that involved in the Ashfield controversy is found in other acts of incorporation passed at the same time. See Act of 21 June 1765, c. 14, 4 A&R 815 (Lanesborough); Act of 21 June 1765, c. 15, 4 A&R 816 (Charlmont).