. The Episcopalian relief measure was the Act of 19 Dec. 1727, c. 7, 2 A&R
459, which provided that members of the Church of England should be taxed at the
same rate as members “of the churches established by the laws of this province,” but
that if there were a minister of the Church of England within a town, taxes assessed
against inhabitants who worshipped with him and lived within five miles of the church
were to be paid over to him by the town treasurer. They were also exempt from meetinghouse
taxes. For the problems of Episcopalians generally, and subsequent legislation concerning
them, see Reed, Church and State in Mass.
141–143, 148–189; Meyer, Church, and State in Mass.
14, 27–30, 69–89. The Act of 20 June 1728, c. 4, §1, 2 A&R
495, exempted from tax the polls of Baptists and Quakers “enrolled or entred in their
respective societies as members thereof, and who alledge a scruple of conscience as
the reason of their refusal to pay any part or proportion of such taxes as are from
time to time assessed for the support of the minister or ministers of the churches
established by the laws of this province in the town or place where they dwell,” with
the proviso that they attend “meetings of their respective societies” regularly and
live within five miles of the meetinghouse. The provision for determining eligibility
for exemption was in id.,
§3. Persons so exempted were barred from voting on church questions in town meeting.
§5. See note 7 below. By Act of 20 Dec. 1729, c. 6, 2 A&R
543, the estates of Baptists and Quakers were exempted under the same conditions.
For the passage of this legislation, see Reed, Church and State in Mass.
128–135. After the expiration of these acts, separate measures were passed for Quakers
until 1758. See id.
at 135–144; Meyer, Church and State in Mass.
15–17. The exemption for Baptists “who alledge a scruple of conscience” was continued
and extended to taxes for the construction of meetinghouses, by Act of 4 July 1734,
c. 6, §1, 2 A&R
714. The certificate provision for determining exemption was in id.,
§2. It was superseded in 1753. See note 6
below. The 1734 act omitted the five-mile requirement, but provided that the exemption
did not apply in “new towns.” See text at note 9
below. This statute was re-enacted in virtually identical form by Act of 30 June
1740, c. 6, 2 A&R
1021, renewed until 1757 by Act of 29 June 1747, c. 6, 3 A&R
362. For the Baptists' account of the passage and implementation of all of this legislation,
see Petition of a Committee of Baptists to the General Court, 29 May 1754, 4 A&R
122–126. See also Reed, Church and State in
Mass. 132–135, 141–143.