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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-08-02-0161-0002
53. The convention added after “dis• { 266 } trict”: “of which he is an inhabitant. And to remove all doubts concerning the meaning of the word 'Inhabitant' in this Constitution, every person shall be considered as an inhabitant, for the purpose of electing and being elected into any office, or place within this State, in that town, district or plantation, where he dwelleth, or hath his home.” The use of the term “inhabitant” and its definition here grew out of an investigation made by delegate Levi Lincoln at the request of the convention. Lincoln reported on a law of 1767, last renewed in Nov. 1779, which required town approval for one to acquire the status of an inhabitant as a way of protecting towns from poor or undesirable persons who might become an expense ( Journal of the Convention , p. 71; Mass., Province Laws , 4:911–912; 5:1124–1125). In using terms like “resident” JA had not been sufficiently precise; “reside” did not suggest the permanency of “inhabit.” When the convention revised JA 's provision affecting taxes, it made sure that both “all inhabitants” and “persons resident” would be subject to levies (see note 44).