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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
3. On the 1724 decision, see Reed, Church and State in Mass. 75–78, 119–127. The General Court had acted under the Act of 20 Dec. 1715, note 2 above. The tax act in question, the Act of 3 July 1722, c. 8, §1, 2 A&R 251, 254–255, had not provided on its face that the assessments were intended to support ministers, although the Quakers presented evidence that this was its effect. The Board of Trade in its report of 20 Dec. 1723 to the Privy Council thus did not recommend disallowance, but pointed out that taxing the majority to support the minority's minister was not consistent with the Massachusetts Charter's grant of an “absolute and free liberty of conscience for all Christian Inhabitants there, except Papists.” 2 A&R 276. The tax act for the next year, Act of 29 June 1723, c. 8, §1, 2 A&R 293, 296, contained an express statement of the purpose of the assessment. The Board of Trade, on 6 May 1724, recommended disallowance of this act, urging both the Charter clause and an inconsistency with the establishment statutes, in which it was “laid down as a just and equitable rule that the majority of each Town or Congregation shou'd have the choice of their own Teacher.” 2 A&R 277. The Privy Council, in its Order of 2 June 1724, granted relief only under the 1722 act and did not disallow it. Ibid.; see 3 Acts, Privy Council (Col.) 58–59. Other materials concerning the case, which pertained to Dartmouth and Tiverton, are collected in 2 A&R 269–277.