Page images

4. And because the trade of furs with the Indians in this Massachusetts

1633-1672. jurisdiction, doth properly belong to this Commonwealth, and not unto particular persons :

It is therefore ordered, That henceforth no person or persons, directly or indirectly, shall trade with the Indians for any sort of peltry, exceping only such as are authorized by this Court, or by such Committee as this Court shall appoint from time to time, under the penalty of one hundred pounds fine for every offence; ten pounds whereof shall be to the informer, the rest to the country 5. Whereas, several orders for preventing drunkenness amongst 1657.“

the Indians have been made, yet, notwithstanding, there is little or no reformation; for the prevention thereof, and the frequent effects thereof, murder and other outrages amongst them,

This Court doth order, That no person of what quality or condition soever, shall henceforth sell, truck, barter, or give, any strong liquors to any Indian, directly or indirectly, whether known by the name of rum, strong waters, wines, strong beer, brandy, cyder, perry, or any other strong liquors, going under any other name whatsoever, under the penalty of forty shillings for one pint; and so proportionably for greater or Jesser quantities, so sold, bartered, or given directly or indi. rectly, as aforesaid.

And for the better execution of this order, all trucking houses erected (not allowed by this Court) shall be forth with demolished.

And for the better effecting of this order, it is declared that one-third part of the penalty shall be granted to the informer.

It is also ordered, That special care shall be had by the Grand Jury of every shire court, to inquire and present to the court what they find to discover matter tending to such practice, against the true intent of this law.

And all other orders giving liberty to sell strong liquors to the Indians, are hereby repealed ; and all licenses formerly granted, are hereby disabled and called in: Provided always, That it is not intended that this law extend to restrain any person from any charitable act, in relieving any Indian (bona fide) in case of sudden extremity, by sickness or fainting, which calls for such help, nor exceeding one dram, nor when any physician shall prescribe in way of physic, any of the particulars before mentioned; so as upon sight of his direction in writing, there be allowance had, under the hand of one magistrate; or where no magistrates in the town residing, being

cice, na all oth are her disable at this lrelievin

quors t

persent is not intendonsabled and called all licenses


Massachusetts under the hands of the town commissioners, or two of them.

[May, 1657.]

6. This Court, considering the necessity of restraining the Indians from whatsoever may be a means to disturb our peace and quiet:

Doth order, That henceforth no person or persons inhabiting within this jurisdiction, shall, directly or indirectly, any ways give, sell, barter, or otherwise dispose of any boat, skiff, or any greater vessel, unto any Indian or Indians whatsoever, under the penalty of fifty pounds, to be paid to the county treasurer, for every such vessel so sold, or disposed, as aforesaid.

7. It is ordered by this Court, That, in all places within this jurisdiction, the English shall keep their cattle from destroying the Indians' corn, in any ground where they have right to plant; and, if any of the corn be destroyed, for want of fencing or herding, the town shall make satisfaction, and shall have power among themselves to lay the charge where the occasion of the damage did arise : Provided, That the Indians shall make proof that the cattle of such a town, farm, or person, did the damage.


AN ACT of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, passed 1693—4, for the bet.

ter rule and government of the Indians in their several plantations. To the intent that the Indians may be forwarded in civility and Christianity, and that drunkenness and other vices be the more effectually suppressed amongst them:

Sec.' 1. Be it enacted and ordained by the Governor, Council, and Representatives in General Court assembled, and it is enacted by the authority of the same, That his excellency the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Council, may, and is hereby, empowered to appoint and commissionate one or more discreet persons within several parts of this Province, to have the inspection and more particular care and government of the Indians in their respective plantations; and to have, use, and exercise, the power of a justice of the peace over them in all matters, civil and criminal, as well for the hearing and determining of pleas betwixt party and party, and to award execution thereon, as for the examining, hearing, and punishing, of criminal offences, according to the acts and laws of the Province, so far as the power of a justice of the peace does extend : as, also, to nominate and appoint constables and other proper and necessary officers amongst them.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted by the authority afore- Massachusetts

1693—4. said, That no person or persons whosoever, shall directly or indirectly sell, truck, barter, or give to any Indian, any strong beer, ale, cider, perry, wine, rum, brandy, or other stong liquors, by what name or names soever called or known, on pain of forfeiting the sum of forty shillings for every pint, and proportionably for any greater or lesser quantity so sold, trucked, bartered, given, or delivered to any Indian, directly or indirectly, as aforesaid, upon conviction thereof before a justice of the peace, where the penalty does not exceed forty shillings; and, if it exceed that sum, at the sessions of the peace to be holden for the same county where the offence is committed : one moiety of all such forfeitures to be unto their Majesties, for and towards the support of the Government; and the other moiety, to him or them that shall inform and prosecute the same, by bill, plaint, or information; and if the offender be unable, or shall not forthwith pay and satisfy the said penalty or forfeiture, then to be committed to the gaol of the county, there to remain until he pay and satisfy the same, or suffer two months imprisonment: Provided, this act shall not be intended, or extend to restrain any act of charity for relieving any Indian, (bona fide) in any sudden exigent, or faintness, or sickness, not to exceed one or two drams; or, by prescription of some physician in writing, or by the allowance of a justice of the peace.

And for the better discovery of such ill-disposed persons, who, through greediness of filthy lucre, shall privately sell or deliver strong liquors, or strong drink to any Indian or Indians : (of which it is difficult to obtain positive evidence, other than the accusation of such Indian or Indians,) and, to the intent that murders and other outrages frequently occasioned thereby, may be prevented,

It is orduined and enacted, That the accusation and affirmation of any Indian, with other concurring circumstances, amounting to an high presumption, in the discretion of the court, or justices who have cognizance of the case, (the accuser and accused being brought face to face at the time of trial) shall be accounted and held to be a legal conviction of the person so accused, of giving, selling, or delivering wine, rum, or any other strong drink or liquors, to such Indian, unless the party accused shall acquit him or herself thereof upon oath ; which the court or justice, respectively, are hereby empowered to require and administer unto the person accused, in form following, that is to say :

Massachusetts Be it enacted by the Governor, Council, and House of 1758.

Representatives, That there be three proper persons appointed for the future by this Court, near to every Indian plantation in this province, guardians to the said Indians in their respective plantations, who are hereby empowered from and after the twenty-third day of June, A. D. 1758, to take into their hands the said Indians' lands, and allot to the several Indians of the several plantations, such parts of the said lands and meadows as shall be sufficient for their particular improvement from time to time, during the continuance of this act; and the remainder, if any there be, shall be let out by the guardians of the said respective plantations, to suitable persons, for a term not exceeding the continuance of this act: and such part of the income thereof as is necessary, shall be applied for the support of such of the proprietors in their respective plantations as may be sick or unable to support themselves; and the surplusage thereof, if any there be, distributed amongst them according to their respective rights or interest, for providing necessaries for themselves and families, and for the payment of their just debts, at the discretion of their said guardians; and that the respective guardians aforesaid be hereby empowered and enabled, in their own names, and in their capacities as guardians, to bring forward and maintain any action or actions for any trespass or trespasses that may be committed on the said Indian land; and that any liberty, or pretended liberty obtained from any Indian or Indians for cutting off any timber wood, or hay, milking pine trees, carrying off any ore or grain, or planting or improving said lands, shall not be any bar to said guardians in their said action or actions: Provided, That nothing in this act shall be understood to bar any person or persons from letting creatures run upon the said Indians' unimproved lands that lie common and contiguous to other towns or proprietors.

And be it further enacted, That from and after the twentythird day of June aforesaid, no Indian or Indians shall sell or lease out to any other Indian or Indians any of his or her lands, without the consent of the guardians, or a major part of the guardians of the Indians of the plantation wherein such lands do lie; and all sales or leases of land for any term or terms of years that shall at any time hereafter during the continuance of this act, be made by any Indian or Indians to any other Indian or Indians, shall be utterly void and of none effect, unless the same be made by and with license of the respective guardians as aforesaid.

And be it further enacted, That no action shall be brought Massachusetts against any of the said Indians for any debt hereafter to be by 1758, them contracted with any English persons for any sum whatsoever, unless the same be first examined and allowed by the court of general sessions of the peace for the county where such Indian or Indians live, or the respective guardians of such plantations where such Indian or Indians live, except specialties approbated according to the law of this province, made in the fourth and fifth year of the reign of his Majesty king George the First, intituled “ An act in addition to the act for preventing abuses to the Indians," made in the twelfth year of king William.

And be it further enacted, That the several guardians aforesaid shall keep a fair account of their proceedings in the aforesaid affair; to be by them laid before the General Court from year to year, by said court to be adjusted and allowed of.

This act to continue and be in force for the space of three years from said twenty-third day of June, and from thence to the end of the next session of the General Court, and no longer.

-1789. An Act for the better regulating of the Indian, Mulatto, and Negro proprie.

tors and inhabitants of the Plantation called Marshpee, in the county of Barnstable.

Whereas, the provisions already made by law respecting the 1798

Indian, mulatto and negro proprietors and inhabitants of the plantation called Marshpee, in the county of Barnstable, are insufficient to the well ordering and managing their affairs, and protecting them and their property against the arts and designs of those who may, from time to time, be disposed to take the advantage of their weakness :

Sec. 1. Be it therefore enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That a board of overseers shall be established, consisting of five discreet and disinterested persons, (two of whom to be inhabitants of the county of Barnstable, and the other three of the adjoining counties) and shall be appointed as-is hereinafter directed; which overseers are hereby. vested with full power and authority to regulate the police of the said plantation, to establish rules and regulations for the well ordering and managing the affairs, interest and concerns of the said Indian, and other proprietors and inhabitants, as well with respect to the improvement and leasing out of their

« PreviousContinue »