Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

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Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 13 of 73)
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Men's good neat-leather shoes, 8s. a pair. Women's good neat-
leather shoes, 6s. a pair. Men's Taylor's Avork at 2s. 2d. per
day ; women's do. Is. per day. For tanning raw hides, 2c?. a lb.,
and skins in proportion. Good merchantable wheat, 6s. per
bushel. Good merchantable rye, 4s. per bushel. Good merchant-
able Indian corn, 3s. Good merchantable oats, 2s. Good mer-
chantable barley, 4s. Good barley malt, 4s. Good merchantable
beans and peas, Qs. Good merchantable Spanish potatoes. Is. in
the field, and Is. 6d. in the cellar. Good merchantable turnips,
8c?. Good onions, 4s. Good winter apples, 9c?. Doctor's riding
in their oflBce, 7c?. per mile. For weaving all-wool cloth, ell wide,
6d. per yard. For weaving tow cloth, yard wide, 4c?. per yard ;
and all other weaving in proportion. For weaving coverlids of
the best kind, Qs. each, and other coverlids in proportion thereto.
Good fleece wool, 2s. per lb. ; and wool of an inferior kind in
proportion. Fresh pork, of the best kind, 4c?. per lb. Grass-fed
beef of the best kind, 2c?. Squ. per lb. Good well-fatted, stall-fed
beef, Sd. dqu. per lb. Salt pork, by the barrel, 220wt. in a bar-
rel, X4. 7s. Good salt beef, by the barrel, 240 wt., X3. 9s. 6d.
Good salt pork, clear of bone, 7c?. per lb. Raw hides, 3c?. per lb.
Raw calf skins, Qd. per lb. Good merchantable imported salt,
15s. per bushel. Good salt, manufactured in this State, 17s. per
bushel. West India rum, by the hogshead, 7s. 3c?. per gallon, in-
cluding the hogshead. W. I. rum, by the barrel, 7s. 5c?. per gal-
lon, and by the single gallon, 8s. 3c?. ; do. by the quart, 2s. Ic?. ;
do. by the pint. Is. Ic?. New England rum, by the hogshead or
barrel, exclusive of the cask, 4s. 5c?. ; do. by the single gallon, 5s.
Ic?. ; by the quart, Is. 4c?. ; by the pint, 8c?. Best Muscovado sugar,
9c?. per lb., and 8d. 2qu. by the seven lb. ; and other sugar of an
inferior quality, in equal proportion. Best molasses, by the sin-
gle gallon, 4s. 9c?. Best chocolate. Is. 10c?. per lb. Best new-milk
cheese, Qd. per lb. Best butter, by the single pound, 9t^. Best
men's yarn stockings, Qs. Best cotton-wool, 3s. 10c?. per lb. Good,
clean, well-dressed flax. Is. Good coffee, Is. Qd. Good tried



110 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

tallow, 5d. per lb. Good yard-wide tow cloth, 2s. 3c?. per yard,
and all other tow cloth in proportion to its width and quality.
Good yard-wide striped flannel, 3s. 6d., and all other flannels in
proportion. Good all-wool men's wear, wove ell, 9s. per yard,
Avell fulled and sheared. Good charcoal, 2d. 2qu. per bushel.
Good 3'ard-wide cotton and linen cloth, 4s., and otiier cotton
and linen cloth of an inferior quality in proportion. Good lamb
and mutton, dd. per lb. Good veal, 2d. 2qu. per lb. Good mer-
chantable wheat flour, £1. Is. per hundred wt. For keeping a
horse one night, or twelve hours, lOd., on good English hay. For
the best of English hay. Is. 8d. per cwt. For keeping a pair of
oxen one night, Is. For turkeys, dung-hill fowls, and ducks, 4d.
per lb. For geese, Sd. per lb. Good refined iron, 50s. per cwt.
Good bloomery iron, 30s. per cwt., at the place of manufactory.
Teaming work, Is. Gd. for every ton weight per mile, excepting
from Northampton to the Northern Army, for which may be
taken 2s. per mile for each ton weight. Good new milk in the
winter season, 2 coppers per quart ; in the summer season, 2 cop-
pers per quart.^ A dinner of common meat-victuals, and proper
sauce and other conveniences, 8d. For a dinner, two dishes,
roast and boiled, lOd. For a supper of common meat-victuals,
and a breakfast, 8d. For a supper or breakfast of milk, Ad. For
a night's lodging, dd. For a mug of good West India flip, lid. ;
do. of N. E. rum, 9d. W. I. rum, by the half i3int, Sd. ; by the
gill, 4d. For a mess of oats, 2 quarts in a mess, Zd. N. E. rum,
by the half pint, Qd., by the gill, 3J. Good cider, 2d. 2qu. by
the mug. Good merchantable cider-barrels, 3s. 6c?. each, with
split ash hoops. Good merchantable pails, with locked hoops, 2s.
each, and all other cooper-work in the same proportion. Ox-work
in the summer season, Is. Qd. per day ; do. in the winter, Is.
Horse-hire, 2c?. per mile. For pasturing a horse. Is. Qd. per
week. For pasturing a yoke of oxen, 2s. 4c?. per week ; do. for
a cow, 10c?. per week. For keeping a cow in winter, Is, 8t?. per
week. For a man's day's work, with four oxen and cart, 7s. per
day. For keeping a horse in the winter season 3s. per week.
For keeping a yoke of oxen, in the winter season, 4s. per week.
For a bushel of flax-seed, clear of foul seed, Qs. For a thousand
of good merchantable bricks, 18s. per thousand. Good merchant-
able shingles, 12s. per thousand. Good merchantable men's sad-
dles, £2. 14s. each. Good merchantable women's saddles, deer's-
leather or plush seat, X3. 12s. Good bridles, made of neat's

1 Probably one of these figures is an error.



CIVIL HISTORY. Ill

leather, 6s. each Good broad hoes, 3s. 6d. Linen wheels, 16s.
each. Woolen wheels, 7s. For boarding a common laboring
man, 6s. per week. White pine boards of the best kind, £3. per
thousand. Common yellow pine boards, £1. 6s. 8t^. per thou-
sand. For making a pair of good cart wheels, 33s. For boarding
colliers and furnace-men, 7s. per week. For floor-boards of the
best.kind, £1. 12s. per thousand. For oak and chestnut boards,
and common slit- work, £1. 4s. per thousand. Men's labor, by
the year, £19. Bohea tea, 4s. Qd. per lb. Good shovels, 4s.
each. Good sole leather. Is. 3c?. per lb. Curried leather, in
usual proportion to tanned hides."

• Notwithstanding this effort to sustain it, the value of paper
money continued to depreciate, and lai'ger sums were required in
exchange for labor and for the necessaries of life.^ A law was
subsequently enacted, imposing a heavy penalty on any person
who should demand or receive a higher price in bills of credit
than in gold or silver for his merchandise ; but this measure was
equally unsuccessful. Before proceeding to this extremity, how-
ever, the General Court, on the 13th of October, 1777, passed
" An Act for drawing in the bills of credit of the sevei-al denom-
inations, not on interest, which have at any time been issued by
this Government, and are still outstanding, and for prohibiting
the currency of said bills and the bills of any one of the United
States after a certain time.

" Whereas, many inconveniences have arisen from the fre-
quent and large sums of money and the various kinds, emitted
for carrying on the present war, and it has become necessary for
the welfare of this State that the whole sum, not on interest, now
outstanding in bills of credit emitted by this State, small change
of less than a dollar only excepted, should be called in and sunk,
by exchanging them for Ti'easurer's notes for sums not less than
ten pounds, on interest, to be paid annually, at the rate of six
per cent per annum.

" Be it therefore enacted by the Council and House of Repre-
sentatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of
the same, That the Treasurer of the State be and hereby is
authorized and empowered to receive into the public Treasury
the whole and every part and parcel of the bills of public credit
emitted by this State, not on interest, (small change, less than a

1 During the recent civil war, a similar the Union, but strikingly parallel in the
difficulty was experienced ; far less severe, Confederate States,
indeed, among those who were loyal to



112 HISTORY OF IIARDWICK.

dollar only excepted), and in lieu thereof to give to the possessor
or possessors his note or obligation for any sura not less than ten
pounds, until he shall have exchanged or redeemed the sum of
two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, in the form following,"
[namely, a note, payable March 1, 1781], " and for the remaining
sum now outstanding as aforesaid, his note or obligation, in the
form following," [namely, a note payable March 1, 1782. Pro-
vision was made for the payment of these notes by taxes to be
reasonably assessed.]

" And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That
the possessor and possessors of the bills of public credit of this
State are hereby called upon and directed to bring the same to
the Treasurer on or before the first day of January, 1778, from
whom they shall be entitled to receive in exchange for all such
bills, so delivered in, a Treasurer's note as aforesaid, for any sum
not less than ten pounds, upon interest at the rate of six per
cent per annum, which interest shall be paid annually.

" And for the more speedy accomplishing the good intentions
of this Act, and preventing the evils arising from large emissions
of various kinds of bills, — Be it further enacted by the authority
aforesaid. That if the possessor or possessors of said bills sjiall
neglect to offer the same to be exchanged by the said first day of
January, 1778, all right or claim to the redemption or exchange
of said bills shall cease and determine.

" And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That
if any person or persons within this State shall offer to pass, after
the first day of December next, in any kind of payment what-
soever, any of the bills of public credit emitted by this or any of
the United States, except bills on interest emitted by this State,
and such as are under the denomination of one dollar, every per-
son so offering or passing any such bill shall forfeit and pa}^ for
each offence the sum of five pounds," etc. Provision was made
for extension of time to constables, or collectors of taxes, and
to soldiers serving in the army.^

This method of funding the public debt, strongly resembling a
forced loan, and withdrawing suddenly nearly the entire currency
of the country, drew from the inhabitants of Hardwick almost
the only protest to be found on their Records against the pro-
ceedings of the General Court, during the Revolutionary period.
At a town-meeting, November 24, 1777, a committee, consisting

1 General Court Records, xxxviii. 111. Laws of Massachusetts from July, 1775, to
October, 1780, p. 142.



CIVIL HISTORY. 113

of Joseph Allen, William Paige, and David Allen, reported a
remonstrance, wliich was adopted : —

" State of Massachusetts Bay, To the honorable the Council
and House of Representatives in General Court assembled. A
remonstrance and petition of the town of Hardwick, regularly
assembled. Taking into consideration the late Act made for
calling in all the bills of public credit of this State not on interest,
so sudden, and putting them on interest (excepting those that
are under a dollar), this town look upon said Act to be attended
with many grievances, considering the circumstances of the pub-
lic affairs at this day, which necessarily raises the public charges
exceeding high, had there been no vile oppressors risen up, whose
covetous and sordid measures have almost doubled the same, by
which multitudes of the pooi'er sort of people have been and will
be reduced to poverty. (1.) To us it appears the manner of call-
ing in said bills puts another great advantage into the hands of
men, who of all others should be guarded against ; for these very
men have taken advantage of the times, and engrossed by cruel
oppression great estates, and many of them from little or nothing ;
and instead of suffering by this sore expensive war, rise upon
the-ruins of their fellow-men. (2.) It appears to us very extraor-
dinary, when the bills are emitted for various sums, promising
to receive them into the treasury for the sums specified, and now
declare they will not receive them, unless to the amount of ten
pounds. Where then is the public faith ? (3.) We look upon
it cruel and oppressive, when compared with former acts which
made the money a lawful tender till the last instant, and the
next day a fine to offer it ; and the possessor who is then obliged
to take it is exposed to have it die in his hands. Therefore, for
these and other reasons which may be given, we see no way how
the greater part of the poorer sort of people will ever be able to
pay their public charges. We well remember what cruel and
oppressive acts has been endeavored to be enforced on the good
people of these United States, by the King and Parliament of
Great Britain ; but we hope and trust we never shall be oppressed
in like kind by our own Legislature. Therefore we bear our tes-
timony against said Act, and desire a speedy repeal thereof. As
in duty bound shall ever pray."

Similar remonstrances from other towns were presented ; and
the General Court yielded so far to the public demand as to
postpone the time at which bills of credit should be repudiated,
if not offered in exchange for treasury notes, to April 1, and



114



HISTORY OF HARDWICK.



again to Jane 1, and a third time to December 1, 1778.^ Still,
the value of paper-money continued to depreciate. Once more
an effort was made to check the evil, by a general establishment
of prices. A convention for that purpose assembled at Concord
in October, 1779, at which Timothy Paige was a delegate from
Hardwick. A scale of prices was adopted, and the people were
exhorted to conform to it in all their pecuniary transactions.
But this experiment, like all others of the kind, proved ineffect-
ual ; all whose income was a fixed sum, like the clergy, and the
officers and soldiers in the army, suffered severely ; and the whole
community shared in the suffering. No man knew, when he re-
ceived paper-money, whether he could dispose of it at half its
present rate. It depreciated so rapidly ^ that it was almost im-
possible for even the imagination to keep pace with it. Some
idea of the magnitude of this evil may be formed from a vote of
the town, July 28, 1780 : " Voted, to give to each soldier, one
thousand pounds, which is esteemed equal to twelve pounds in
silver money." One dollar in silver was equal in value to eighty-
three dollars and thirty-three cents in paper.

During this period of sore financial distress, in addition to the
unavoidable anxieties and calamities of war, an attempt^ was
made to establish a firm and stable government, in place of that
which had been violently overturned. The delegates of the sev-
eral colonies agreed on articles of confederation and union, the
more effectually to protect themselves against the common enemj^
and submitted the same to their constituents for approval. At



^ Laws of Mass., 1775 to 1780, pp. 149,
169,183.

■•^ The rate of depreciation is exhibited
in "Fish's Massachusetts Currency, p. 196.

" Massachusetts Scale of Depreciation
agreeably to a Law of the State for the
settliug of contracts, both public and- pri-
vate, made on and since the first day of
January, 1777 ; one hundred dolhus in
gold and silver in January, 1777, being



July,


125


425


1,477


August,


150


450


1,6.30


September,


175


475


1,800


October,


275


500


2,030


November,


300


543


2,308


December,


310


G34


2,593



"From April 1, 1780, to April 20, one
Spanish milled dollar was equal to forty
of the old emission.



equal to one hundred and


five doll


ars in


April 25,


42


June 20,


69


the bills of credit of


the United States.


April 30,


44


August 15,


70












May 5,


46


September 10,


71




1777.


1778.


1779.


1780.


May 10,


47


October 15,


72


January,


105


325


742


2,934


May 15,


49


November 10,


73


February,


107


350


868


3,322


May 20,


54


November 30,


74


March,


109


375


1,000


3,736


May 27,


60






April,


' 112


400


1,104


4,000


May 30,


62


1781.




May,


115


400


1,125




June 10,


64


February 27,


75"


June,


120


400


1,342




June 15,


68







CIVIL HISTORY. 115

a towii-rneeting, January 12,1778, "after reading the Articles
of Confederation and perpetual Union of the United States of
America, the town voted, unanimously, to give their Representa-
tives of the Great and General Court instructions to vote to con-
firm the same."

At about the same time the General Court resolved itself into
a Constitutional Convention, and prepared a Constitution for
Massachusetts ; this, however, did not meet the popular ap-
proval, but was rejected by a decisive vote. In this town, the
inhabitants met, April 6, 1778, " to hear a Constitution and Form
of Government read, for the State of Massachusetts Bay, agreed
upon by the Convention of the State, Feb. 28, 1778, to be laid
before the several towns and plantations in said State for their
approbation or disapprobation." At an adjournment of this
meeting, April 20, 1778, the proposed Constitution was referred
to a committee, and it was "voted to adjourn this meeting to
Monday the 11*** day of May next at 2 o'clock afternoon, and
met accordingly, and proceeded as follows. (1.) Accepted the
report of the committee by a great majority. (2.) A motion
was made to have the whole Constitution put to vote, all at a
lump ; ^ it was accordingly done, and passed in the negative. (3.)
Voted, that the report of the Committee should be sent to the
General Assembly by the Town Clerk. N° of voters at said meet-
ing, 156 ; N° of voters for said Constitution, 16 ; N° of voters
against it, 140."

This first effort having failed, the General Court passed a Re-
solve, February 19, 1779, requiring the several towns to deter-
mine " whether they choose, at this time, to have a new Consti-
tution or form of Government made," and " whether they will
empower their Representatives for the next year to vote for the
calling a State Convention, for the sole purpose of forming a new
Constitution." At a town-meeting. May 11, 1779, to act on these

1 The town clerk, Sylvanus Wash- . . . and to make report to the town as

burn, often used great latitude of ex- soon as may be, for their acceptance."

pression in his records, of which this is On the next day, " the above committee

one instance. Another occurs under date laid before the town a scandalous peti-

of March 6, 1780, when the town met " to tion, and it was put to vote to see if the

see in what manner the town will consider town would accept of said petition, and it

a request to us presented by a respectable passed in the negative." To this record

number of the inhabitants of this town the clerk added a marginal note : " a ri-

coucerning a late Tax Act of the 13th of diculous article in the warrant, that cost

December, 1779." "Voted to choose a the town a whole day to act upon it."

Committee to draught a petition to send Other specimens of Mr. Washburn's offi-

to the General Court, praying that the cial humor may be found under dates of

time of payment might be lengthened, June 14, 1780, and March 5, 1787.



116 HISTORY OF HARD WICK.

questions, the record is, " N° of voters at said meeting 81, and all
voted in the affirmative." A large niiijorit}' of voters in the State
expressed the same desire, and the General Court directed that
delegates should be elected in the several towns to meet in Con-
vention. This town elected William Paige, Jonathan Warner,
and John Hastings. The Convention met at Cambridge, Septem-
ber 1, 1779, and continued in session, by several adjournments,
until March 2, 1780, when having agreed on a Constitution, it
was " Resolved that this Convention be adjourned to the first
Wednesday in June next, to meet at Boston." It was ordered
that printed " copies of the Form of Government " be sent to
every town and plantation, and " if the major part of the inhabit-
ants of the said towns and plantations disapprove of any particu-
lar part of the same, that they be desired to state their objections
distinctly, and the reasons therefor." The selectmen were re-
quested to make return of the result on the first Wednesday in
June ; and it was " Resolved, that the towns and plantations
through this State have a right to choose other delegates, instead
of the present members, to meet in Convention on the first
Wednesday in June next, if they see fit." ^ The Convention re-
assembled June 7, 1780, and remained in session until the 16th
of the same month, when it was finally dissolved.

The town held four meetings, May 1, 8, 22, and 25, 1780, to
act on the proposed Constitution. At the second meeting, it was
" voted that there be no Governor appointed, by a majority of 27
against 15." At the third meeting, it was " voted, that if there
be a Governor, that he be of the Christian Protestant Religion,"
instead of " the Christian Religion." At the fourth meeting, a
committee, consisting of Joseph Allen, William Paige, Aaron
Barlow, Thomas Robinson, and John Sellon, submitted a report,
embracing several amendments to objectionable articles, with the
reasons therefor ; which report, with the proposed amendments,
was accepted by a vote of 40 against 2. Some of the objections
and amendments were as follows : —

" In the Bill of Rights, Article I, page 7, objected to and
amended : it reads thus, — 'AH men are born free and equal, &c.,
amended, — ' All men, whites and blacks, are born free and
equal,' &c. ; Reason : lest it should be misconstrued hereafter, in
such a manner as to exclude blacks." ^ Article III. " Voted, That
a person that does not attend the public worship of God at any

^ Journal of Convention, pp. 168, 169. ^ This question was decided by 68 yeas

agaiust 10 nays.



CIVIL HISTORY. 117

place ought not to be taxed in the place where he lives. Every
other article in the Declaration of Rights approved."

Article 1, page 15, objected to, because the two branches have
a negative on each other ; whereas it ought to be but for a given
time, and at the expiration of said time, if non-agreed, tiiat both
houses meet, and by a majority decide the controversy."

" Article 2, objected to, because the majority of the court can't
make a law, without being exposed to a negative by the Gov-
ernor."

The qualification of voters was objected to, " because every
male, being twenty-one years of age, must have an annual in-
come of three pounds, or an estate worth sixty pounds, to be
qualified to vote for a senator. Reason : That every male, being
twenty-one years of age, ought to vote in all cases."

The mode of filling vacancies in the senate objected to : " Rea-
son : The persons having the highest number of votes in the Dis-
trict ought to be the men."

The office of Governor was disapproved : " Provided, neverthe-
less, that if the inhabitants of this State shall see meet to choose
a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Council, they should by no
means have power over the militia ; but the militia shall be
under the order and direction of the General Court ; and that
they or either of them shall not prorogue, adjourn, nor dissolve
the General Court without their request ; and that they by no
means appoint any oflBcers, either civil, judicial, or military."

It was further recommended by the committee, and the town
voted its approval, to wit : —

" That the power of pardon always be in the hands of the Leg-
islature :

" That the Justices of the Superior Court be appointed by the
General Court :

" That the Justices of the Inferior Court be chosen b}^ the peo-
ple of their county, as the Registers now are :

" That all Justices of the Peace shall be chosen annually by the
people in each town in which they dwell, by ballot :

" That the Register of Deeds for each town in this State be
annually chosen by ballot :

" Thai the Judges of Probate for each town in this State be
annually chosen by the people of each town, by ballot, to serve
in that town only : ^

1 June 5, 1780. The town proposed a should be divided into proper districts . . .
different amendment, " that each county because some counties are so large that by



118 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

" That the captains and subalterns of the militia shall be elected
by written votes of tlie alarm list and training band of their re-
spective companies, of twenty-one years of age and upwards :

" That the colonels and majors be chosen by their respective
regiments, the brigadiers and brigade majors by their respective
brigades, the adjutants and quarter-masters by their respective
regiments, b}^ ballot."

Acting upon the suggestion of the Convention before mentioned,
the town now " voted to dismiss the former delegates to the Con-
vention, and dismissed them accordingly ; and voted to choose
one man to attend said Convention on the first Wednesday in
June next, to be held in Boston, and made choice of Deac. Wil-
liam Paige for said delegate." ^



Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 13 of 73)