Page:American Archives, Series 4, Volume 1.djvu/115

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BILL FOR GOVERNMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

laws of Great Britain, that the manner of exercising the powers, authorities, and privileges aforesaid, by the persons so annually elected, hath, for some time past, been such as had the most manifest tendency to obstruct, and, in great measure defeat, the execution of the laws; to weaken the attachment of his Majesty's well disposed subjects in the said Province to his Majesty's Government, and to encourage the ill disposed among them to proceed even to acts of direct resistance to, and defiance of, his Majesty's authority: and it hath accordingly happened, that an open resistance to the execution of the laws hath actually taken place in the town of Boston, and the neighbourhood thereof, within the said Province: and whereas it is, under these circumstances, become absolutely necessary, in order to the preservation of the peace and good order of the said Province, the protection of his Majesty's well disposed subjects therein resident, the continuance of the mutual benefits arising from the commerce and correspondence between this Kingdom and the said Province, and the maintaining of the just dependence of the said Province upon the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain, that the said method of annually electing the Counsellors or Assistants of the said Province should no longer be suffered to continue, but that the appointment of the said Counsellors or Assistants should henceforth be put upon the like footing as is established in such other of his Majesty's Colonies or Plantations in America, the Governors whereof, are appointed by his Majesty's commission, under the great seal of Great Britain: Be it therefore enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that from and after the first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, so much of the charter granted by their Majesties King William and Queen Mary, to the inhabitants of the said Province of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England, and all and every clause, matter, and thing, therein contained, which relates to the time and manner of electing the Assistants or Counsellors for the said Province, be revoked, and is hereby revoked and made void and of none effect; and that the offices of all Counsellors and Assistants, elected and appointed in pursuance thereof, shall from thenceforth cease and determine; and that, from and after the said first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, the Council, or Court of Assistants of the said Province for the time being, shall be composed of such of the inhabitants or proprietors of lands within the same as shall be thereunto nominated and appointed by his Majesty, his heirs and successors, from time to time, by warrant under his or their signet or sign manual, and with the advice of the Privy Council, agreeable to the practice now used in respect to the appointment of Counsellors in such of his Majesty's other Colonies in America, the Governors whereof are appointed by commission under the great seal of Great Britain: provided, that the number of the said Assistants or Counsellors shall not, at any one time, exceed thirty-six, nor be less than twelve.

And it is hereby further enacted, That the said Assistants or Counsellors, so to be appointed as aforesaid, shall hold their offices respectively, for and during the pleasure of his Majesty, his heirs or successors; and shall have and enjoy all the powers, privileges, and immunities, at present held, exercised, and enjoyed, by the Assistants or Counsellors of the said Province, constituted and elected, from time to time, under the said charter, (except as hereinafter excepted;) and shall also, upon their admission into the said Council, and before they enter upon the execution of their offices respectively, take the oaths, and make, repeat, and subscribe, the declarations required, as well by the said charter as by any law or laws of the said Province now in force, to be taken by the Assistants or Counsellors who have been so elected and constituted as aforesaid.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That from and after the first day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty's Governor for the time being of the said Province, or, in his absence, for the Lieutenant Governor, to nominate and appoint, under the seal of the Province, from time to time, and also to remove, without the consent of the Council, all Judges of the Inferior Courts of[106] Common Pleas, Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, the Attorney General, Provosts, Marshals, Justices of the Peace, and other officers to the Council or Courts of Justice belonging; and that all Judges of the Inferior Courts of Common Picas, Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, the Attorney General, Provosts, Marshals, Justices, and other officers so appointed by the Governor, or, in his absence, by the Lieutenant Governor alone, shall and may have, hold, and exercise their said offices, powers, and authorities, as fully and completely, to all intents and purposes, as any Judges of the Inferior Courts of Common Pleas, Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, Attorney General, Provosts, Marshals, or other officers, have or might have done heretofore under the said letters patent, in the third year of the reign of their late Majesties King William and Queen Mary; any law, statute, or usage, to the contrary notwithstanding.

Provided always, and be it enacted, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to annul or make void the commission granted before the said first day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, to any Judges of the Inferior Courts of Common Pleas, Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, the Attorney General, Provosts, Marshals, Justices of the Peace, or other officers; but that they may hold and exercise the same, as if this act had never been made, until the same shall be determined by death, removal by the Governor, or other avoidance, as the case may happen.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That, from and after the said first day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty's Governor, or, in his absence, for the Lieutenant Governor for the time being of the said Province, from time to time, to nominate and appoint the Sheriffs without the consent of the Council, and to remove such Sheriffs with such consent, and not otherwise.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That, upon every vacancy of the offices of Chief Justice and Judges of the Superior Court of the said Province, from and after the said first day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, the Governor for the time being, or, in his absence, the Lieutenant Governor, without the consent of the Council, shall have full power and authority to nominate and appoint the persons to succeed to the said offices, who shall hold their commissions during the pleasure of his Majesty, his heirs and successors; and that neither the Chief Justice and Judges appointed before the said first day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, nor those who shall hereafter be appointed pursuant to this Act, shall be removed, unless by the order of his Majesty, his heirs or successors, under his or their sign manual.

And whereas, by several Acts of the General Court, which have been from time to time enacted and passed within the said Province, the freeholders and inhabitants of the several townships, districts, and precincts, qualified, as is therein expressed, are authorized to assemble together, annually, or occasionally, upon notice given, in such manner as the said Acts direct, for the choice of Selectmen, Constables, and other officers, and for the making and agreeing upon such necessary rules, orders, and bye-laws, for the directing, managing, and ordering, the prudential affairs of such townships, districts, and precincts, and for other purposes; and whereas a great abuse has been made of the power of calling such meetings, and the inhabitants have, contrary to the design of their institution, been misled to treat upon matters of the most general concern, and to pass many dangerous and unwarrantable resolves: for remedy whereof, Be it enacted, that from and after the said first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, no meeting shall be called by the Selectmen, or at the request of any number of freeholders of any township, district, or precinct, without the leave of the Governor, or, in his absence, of the Lieutenant Governor, in writing, expressing the special business of the said meeting, first had and obtained, except the annual meeting in the months of March or May, for the choice of Selectmen, Constables, and other officers, or except for the choice of persons to fill up the offices aforesaid, on the death or removal of any of the persons first elected to such offices, and also, except any meeting for the election of a Representative or Repre-