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Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England. Printed by order of the General Assembly (Volume 5) online

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Governor Greene to Richard Partridge, Agent for Rhode Island,

in London.

Newport, December 4, 1750.

Sir: — The General Assembly of this colony, having been informed that some
small number of the inhabitants have lately sent a petition to the King ; but as the
petitioners sent it away, without ever communi(;ating the contents of it to any in
authority here, it is not certainly known what they pray for, or what their design
in it is ; however, the common report here is, that they ask that some alteration
may be made in the form of the government of this colony, by procuring a negative
to be put on the acts of government, made by the General Assembly.

And as the General Assembly are apprehensive, that if what they ask for, or any
thing like it be obtained, it will utterly overthrow the valuable liberties and privi-
leges this colony have hitherto enjoyed, and which they think they have still a
right by their charter, to continue in the possession of, not knowing of any pro-
ceedings that have been had in this colony, which could occasion so unnatural a
prayer from some of their own brethren, or so far provoke a gracious King, as to
grant the petition of the betrayers of their country's liberties.

By the directions of the General Assembly, I therefore write this, to desire you
to make diligent inquiry after the aforesaid petition, and to use. all means in your
power, to prevent (if possible) its ever being laid before the King. But if that
cannot be done, then to oppose any thing being done, in consequence of it, to the
prejudice of the colony.

And I am further to desire you, to procure a copy of the petition, with the peti-
tioners' names, and transmit to the Governor of this colony, by the first opportu-
nity ; and also to signify, if there be any thing necessary for the General Assembly
to do fuither in this affair.


If there should be another bill ia Parliament this session, against our paper cur-
rency, you are also desired to make all proper defence against any such bill or bills
that may in any measure have a tendency to infringe on our charter privileges.

As your labors hitherto, in the affairs of this colony, have been crowned with
success, the General Assembly hope your care and prudence will bring this also to
a happy issue.

I salute you in the name of the council, and house of representatives.
And am, with much respect, sir.

Your humble servant,

To Ilichard Partridge, Esq. WILLIAM GREENE.

Whereas, this Assembly, at their session in Providence, the
last Wednesday of October last, made and passed an act, enti-
tled " An act in addition to an act of the General Assembly?
made and passed on the 17th day of February, A. D. 1746,
entitled ' An act for regulating appeals to His Majesty in coun-
cil, in Great Britain, and for repealing the former act made for
that purpose ;' " part of which act last made, is expressed in
terms so general, that it may be construed to look back, and
take effect in actions brought before said act was passed ; this
Assembly, therefore, having taken the matter into considera-
tion, —

T)o vote, resolve and declare, and it is voted, resolved and
declared, that it was not their intent, meaning or design, when
they voted and passed the said act last made, that the same
sliould retrospect, nor shall it retrospect, or take effect in any
action, the original w^rit whereof bears date before the said act
last passed was voted and passed ; any thing therein con-
tained to the contrary, notwithstanding.

Whereas, Thomas Relph, Jr., of Scituate, in the county of
Providence, in behalf of himself and company, represented unto
this Assembly, that they went out to hunt wolves ; and on the
I titli day of November last, he, the said Relph, shot at a black-
ish colored wolf, in Scituate, aforesaid, but did not follow him ;
afterwards, such a wolf was found dead, Avhich they apprehend
to be the same tliat said Relph shot at ; but not having the
proof by law required, to entitle them to the bounty, he prayed
to have the same allowance out of the general treasury, as he
should have, were the wolf killed in sight ; and this Assembly


having taken the subject matter of the said petition into consid-
eration, and made due inquiry into the truth thereof, —

Do vote and resolve, and it is voted and resolved, that the
said petition is hereby granted.

It is voted and resolved, that His Honor, the Deputy Gov-
ernor, Benjamin Tucker, James Honeyman, and Immanuel
Northup, Esqs., Messrs. Benjamin Peckham, Jr. and Joseph
Lippitt, be, and they, or the major part of them, are hereby
constituted a committee, to take the affair of the paper curren-
cy into consideration, and present a bill or bills to this Assem-
bly, at their next session.

God save the Kine;.

[The following Public Laws, passed during the year 1750, are printed at
length in the volume of public laws, published in the year 1767, unless repealed
previous to that time.]

An Act providing that in case of fire breaking out in the town of Newport, and for

the more speedy extinguishing thereof, and lor preserving goods endangered

thereby. (May.)
An Act to prevent delays in the several courts of trials in this colony. (June.)
An Act relating to the taking of bail in civil actions. (June.)
An Act explaining, altering and amending " An act for establishing and regulating

of fees." (June.)
An Act for the assessing of persons who are not the proper inhabitants of any town

in this colony, that shall sell or dispose of any goods or merchandize within the

same. (June.)
An Act to prevent the falling through of the near approaching superior court, of

judicature, &e., in the county of Newport. (August.)
An Act for raising the prices of ferriage at several ferries in this colony.

An Act ascertaining the number of jurors to be sent by the towns in the county of

Kent, to the several courts in that county. (October.)
An Act for setting up a lottery, to raise a sum of money, in order to build a bridge

over Pawtucket river, between the towns of Smithfield and Cumberland.

An Act establishing and appointing the quota of jurors to be sent by the several

towns in the county of Providence, to the future courts within the same. (De-
An Act to naturalize Joseph Antunes, merchant, of Newport, late a subject of the

King of Portugal. (December.)


Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode
Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, the third
Monday of March, 1750-51.

The lion. William Greene, Governor.

The Hon. Robert Haszard, Deputy Governor.

With the assistants and deputies from the several towns.

[An act was passed at tbis session, for promoting the raising of flax and wool, and
for the manufiicturing of the same into cloth; also for the encouragement of the
whale and cod fishery ; for which purpose, the same act authorized an emission of
£25,000 in bills of public credit. The preamble to the act is as follows :

" Whereas, it is conceived, that giving a proper encouragement for the raising of
llax and wool, and manufacturing the same into cloth, will greatly conduce to pro-
mote frugality and industry ; and as a consequence whereof, it may justly be ex-
pected, that the vacant lands within this colony, now unimproved and lying waste
(occasioned in some measure by the late long and tedious war), may be greatly im-
proved to the advantage and interest of His Majesty's subjects, the inhabitants of
this colony ; and they under such better circumstances, be therefore enabled, in case
of another war, not only to defend and protect themselves, &c., but also greatly
to distress and annoy His Majesty's enemies in these parts.

And whereas, the carrying on the whale and cod fishery within this colony, will
not only much promote and increase the trade and commerce thereof; but amongst
(ither things, may be very beneficial to merchants and others, trading to Great
Britain, by furnishing them with proper remittances for the payment of such goods
and merchandise as the inhabitants of this colony, may from time to time, stand in
need of from thence ; it is therefore conceived, that a proper premium or bounty
may be necessary, as an encouragement for the purpose aforesaid.

And whereas, the colony hath been at great and expensive costs and charge in
jnittiiig themselve in a position of defence in the late war, and that the treasury is
thereby near exhausted, and no fund therein sufhcient or adequate to answer such
good, useful and beneficial ends and purposes as are designed and intended by this
act, it is apprehended therefore, that there is a necessity of making and emitting
the sum of X25,000 in bills of public credit, of the tenor and form hereafter ex-

And whereas, it bath been found by said experience, that one great and principal
cause of the depreciation of the bills of public credit already emitted, hath been owing
to the indirect and illegal practices of sundry persons giving and offering from time
to time for gold, and silver, and bills of exchange, for sterling money, greater and
larger sums and proportions of the bills of public credit of this colony, than was
provided for, stated and allowed for such silver and gold at the respective times the
■-everal emissions were made ; and whieh not only sunk in value such bills of public



credit, to the injury and oppresf^ion of many poor widows, orphans, and others, but
thereby the gold and silver hath been drawn and carried out of this colony, to the
great discouragement and prejudice of trade and commerce ; and which practices are
still carrying on ; it is therefore conceived of the highest importance, that such evil
practices for the future be restrained."

The following was the form of these bills of credit :

" By a law of the colony of Rhode Island, &c., made and passed the third Mon-
day of March, A. D. 1 750, this bill of due to the possessor thereof,
from the colony, shall pass current, and be equivalent to the respective proportions
of silver and gold, as are regulated and stated in said act, and shall be accordingly
accepted by the treasurer of said colony, and the receiver thereof in all payments.
Providence, March the 18th, 1750.

Death to counterfeit this bill."

This act provided that these bills of credit should be equivalent to silver at the
rate of 6s. dd. per ounce of sterling alloy ; or gold coin at £5 Is. Gd. per ounce ;
evei-y 6s. 9d. of which bills, shall be equal to 54s. of the old tenor. They were then
to be put into the hands of trustees of the several towns, and by them let out upon
loan, at the rate of six per cent, per annum, for the space of five years, to be se-
cured by mortgages on land double the value of the money loaned.

The bounty on cloth, manufactured of wool or flax, of a certain texture and
length, was one-third its appraised value; that on every pound of cured and
dressed flax, one penny a pound. Besides these, the manufacturers were to be ex-
empt from taxation and all public duties. The bounty allowed on every barrel of
whale oil, was four shillings ; on every pound of whale-bone, one shilling, and on
every quintal of codfish, 2s. Gd.

At the June session, following, another act was passed, " explaining, amending
and repealing " certain portions of this act. The preamble declared that the bounty
provided for manufactured goods of wool, " may draw the displeasure of Great
Britain upon us, as it wdl interfere with their most favorite manufactory, while that
on flax, and the fisheries, have been already tried and not been found beneficial."
These bounties, were therefore repealed.

The portion of the act which regulated the value of the bills of credit, was also
amended, so that it should stand that sixty-four shillings of the old tenor bills, and
sixteen shillings of bills of the new tenor, should be equal to the ounce of silver.
This money was then to be loaned at the rate of five per cent, (instead of six as be-
fore provided), for the term often years. A change was also made in the form of
the bills. The following protest was then made to the amendments in the new

" We, the subscribers, do dissent from the alterations in this bill proposed, and
do protest against them, for the following reasons :

1. Because we are of opinion the committee have greatly exceeded their power,
and made alterations which were never voted, or even so much as demanded in


this house.

2. Because we are of opinion the alterations so made, are material and essen-
tial, relating to the very form and denomination of the bills, and so entirely difl'er-
ent from the act passed in March last, that the bills which are to be emitted,


cannot with any truth, be said to be emitted by an act made and passed at that

3. Because the other alterations in this bill proposed, have a natural tendency
to depreciate, not only the bills that are to be emitted, but also all the bills of this
colony that are now outstanding, and must, in our opinion, unavoidably produce
that effect.

4. Because by these alterations, C.s\ dd. are made to be ec^ual to 16s., and must
be so received in all payments made in this colony, with the bills now proposed to
be emitted, if said alterations are passed as a law of this government.


The committee that were appointed to sell the hills of ex-
change drawn b}^ His Honor, the Governor, in consequence of
an act of the General Assembly, upon Mr. Agent Partridge,
having performed that service, made the following report,
to wit :

"Newport, March 16, 1750-1.
To the Honorable General Assembly : — Whereas, an act of
this Assembly, directed His Honor, the Governor, to draw bills
of exchange on Mr. Richard Partridge, of London, agent for
this colony, for £1,742 65. 10^/., sterling, and appointed us, the
subscribers, a committee, to sell said bills of exchange, for bills
of credit emitted by this colon}^ f- —

In obedience to said act, we have disposed of bills drawn on
said Partridge, to the amount of the aforesaid sum, payable at
twenty days' sight, for bills of credit of this colony, at eleven
hundred per cent. ; and are, gentlemen,

Your most humble servants,


An Act to prevent all persons keeping house within this colo-
ny, from entertaining Indian, negro or mulatto servants or

* This i 1,742 (;.■-•. lOd., sterling, at eleven hundred per cent., was in old tenor
equal to £20,908 2s. 0<L

t This act provided that no Indjan, mulatto or negro servant or slave, may pre-




It is voted and resolved, that George Wanton and Peter
Bours, Esqs., together vpith Messrs. Joseph Harrison and
Matthew Robinson, be, and they, or the major part of them,
are hereby appointed a committee to make the draught of a
letter, respecting the northern boundary line of this colony, to
the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, and present the same
to this Assembly at their next session.

It is voted and resolved, that the £25,000 in bills of credit,
by this Assembly ordered to be emitted, be proportioned to
the several towns, as followeth, to wit :

£ s.

Newport 2,750 00

Providence 2,750 00

Portsmouth 1,378 15

Warwick 1,197 00

Westerly 1,450 00

New Shoreham . . 415 00
North Kingstown. .1,725 00
South Kingstown. .2,350 00
East Greenwich.... 625 00

Smithfield 1,395 00

Scituate 860 00

Glocester 788 ] 5

£ s.

Jamestown 601 15

Charlestown 475 00

West Greenwich . . . 546 05

Coventry 447 10

Exeter 725 00

Middletown 745 00

Bristol • 872 10

Tiverton 700 00

Little Compton ... . 83710

Warren 575 00

Cumberland 517 10

Richmond ... 372 10

And it is further voted and resolved, that the committee men
for the several towns, take for each of the mortgages and bonds
in these bills, one half of the sum allowed to the committees
who let out the last bank, and Is. od. of the same bills, for every
right which shall be transferred ; and that no one person take
out of said bills, more than £37 10^., or less than £3.

And it is further voted and resolved, that the grand commit-

sume to be absent from the family whereto he or she shall respectively belong, or
be found abroad in the night time, after 9 o'clock, unless it be upon some errand
for his or her respective master or mistress, or owner. The act also prohibited all
traffic with any servant or slave.
VOL. V. 41



tee purchase plates for the colony, and get them engraved after
the best manner they can ; and that the bills'ibe printed on the
back ; and such other devices used, as the grand committee
shall think needful, to prevent the counterfeiting of said bills;
thatthe said committee procure paper for impressing said bills,
draw money out of the general treasury for that end, and get
tliem impressed ; that the grand committee, or any three of
them, shall sign said bills ; and that when'^^and as soon as the
said bills shall be impressed, the plates shall be delivered to
His Honor, the Governor.

Whereas, there is an act of Assembly, which among other
things, directs the choosing of town committee men, annually,
and this Assembly having taken the same into considera-
tion, —

Do vote and resolve, and it is voted and resolved, that that
part of said act that directs the choosing the said towns' com-
mittee men annually, be, and the same is hereby repealed.

Whereas, Jonathan Randall, Richard Steere and Thomas
Lapham,* Esqs., Capt. Joseph Harrison and Mr. William Robin-
son, were by the General Assembly, at their session, held in
Newport, on the first Wednesday of May last, appointed com-
missioners to run and settle the northern boundary line of this
colony, according to the royal charter, &c. ; and the aforemen-
tioned gentlemen having assumed that province, and performed
that business, made report as follows, to wit :

Report of the Commissioners on the Northern Boundary Line.

Colony of Rhode Island, &c. To the Honorable General Assembly, to sit at Provi-
dence, in for the said colony, on the third Monday in March, 1750 :
Whereas, this Honorable Assembly, at their session in Newport, in far said colo-
ny, on the first Wednesday of May last past, did, by an act of Assembly, constitute
ami appoint us, the subscribers, a committee, and invested us with full power and
authority, to run and settle the northern boundary line of this colony, according to
the royal charter, granted by King Charles the Second, in the year of our Lord,
1663 ; and also, to appoint times and places, when and where to meet commission-
ers that wiM-e or should be appointed on the part of the Province of the Massachu-
setts Bay, to appoint a surveyor or surveyors and cbainmen, and in general to act
and do all and every matter and thing for and concerning the aforesaid settle-
ment of said line ; and that in case no commissioners on the part of said
Province, should and did on the first Tuesday of October, thence next
after, or at any other time as should be agreed on to meet us, the said com-



mittee, and agree to run and settle said line as aforesaid, then, and in that case, we
or the major part of us, were thereby required to run and settle the said line ex
parte, and to draw a plat of the land containeil within said line; and with our re-
port to this Assembly, as by said act and His Honor, Governor Green's commis-
sion for that purpose, reference being thereto had, will at large appear.

By virtue whereof, we, the said committee, do report, that on the second Tues-
day of October last; past, wt repaired to Lieut. Pelatiah Man's, in Wrentham, where
we expected to be met by a committee on the part of the Province of the IVlassachu-
setts Bay, agreeably to the notification of our meeting, then given by Matthew
Eobinson, one of our committee, to Col. John Chandler, who was then one of
the committee, for said I'rovince ; and after waiting two days for them, and no per-
son appearing on the part of said Province, we entered upon the execution of our
said commission ex parte.

We appointed a surveyor and chainmen, and before we attempted to run any
line or lines, or make any survey, we thought it necessary to consult the charter of
the colony, to find the said northern boundary line, whereby this government is
thus bounded :

" And on the north or northerly, by the aforesaid south or southerly line of the
Massachusetts colony or plantation ;" whereby we were referred to the Massachu-
settts colony charter, which we find thus expressed : " All that part of New Kno'-
land, in America, aforesaid, which lies and extends between a great river there,
commonly called Monomack, alias Merimack, a certain other river there, called
Charles river, being in a bottom of a certain bay there, commonly called Matta-
chusetts, alias Massachusetts, alias Massatusetts Bay ; and also, all and singular
those lands and hereditaments whatsoever, lying within the space of three English
miles on the south part of the said Charles river, or of any and every part thereof; '
and also, all and singular the lands and hereditaments whatsoever, lying and be-
ing within the space of three English miles to the southward of the southernmost
part of the said bay, called Massachusetts, alias Mattachusetts, alias Massatusetts
Bay ; and also all those lands and hereditaments whatsoever, which lie and be within
the space of three English miles to the northward of the said river called Monomack,
alias Merimack ; or to the northward of any and every part thereof; and all lands
and hereditaments, whatsoever, lying within the limits aforesaid, north and south,
in latitude, and in breadth and in length and longitude, of and within all the
breadth, atbresaid, throughout the main land there from the Atlantic and Western
sea and ocean on the east part, to the south sea on the west part ;" which said charter
having been vacated in 1684, we find that by the new charter grant^ by King
William and Queen Mary, to the said Province, there is granted " all tnat part of
New England, in America, lying and extending from the great river, commonly
called Monomack, alias Merimack, on the north part, and from three miles north-
ward of the said river, to the Atlantic or Western sea or ocean on the south part,
and all the lands and hereditaments whatsoever, lying within the limits aforesaid,
and extending as far as the outermost points or promontories of land called Cape
Cod and Cape Mallabar, north and south, and in latitude, breadth, and in length
and in longitude of and within all the breadth and compass aforesaid ; throughout
the main land there, from the said Atlantic or Western sea and ocean on the east
part, towards the South sea ; or westward, as far as our colonies of Rhode Island,
Connecticut and the Narragansett country."

And upon comparing the words of the said charters together recited, as aforesaid,


it appeared, that the first thing necessary, was to find the southernmost part or
parts of said Charles river; in order whereto, we surveyed the same, beginning
on the 12th day of October, Anno Domini 1750, a little below the bridge, called the
JHcw Bridge, near Partridge's house ; from hence the course of said river runs
northward ; and also proceeded upwards so far as where Hopping Brook and Sec-
ond Bridge river meet and form said Charles river, being at the corner of Hollis-
town and Bellingham ; and having accurately planned the said survey with the vari-
ous turnings and windings of the said river, we found the southernmost part there-
of to be about four rods to the westward of the place where Mill Brook falls into
said river, which is thirty-six poles south, thirty degrees west from the said bridge,
called the New Bridge ; and from the said place or turning, where Mill Brook fails
into said river, we measured accurately with two wooden poles, three English miles,
due south, which terminated upon a shrubby plain, in Wrentham, where we
made a monument with a heap of stones, and set up a pine stake in said heap of
stones. From whence, we run a due west line to where it intersects a due north
line from Pawtucket Falls; which intersection is the north-cast corner of this colo-

Online LibraryRhode Island. cnRecords of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England. Printed by order of the General Assembly (Volume 5) → online text (page 30 of 56)