Monday, March 26, 2012

Taxing Lemons or Using a Lottery to Build a Hall at Harvard:

 Pictured is a bond to pay a winner of a lottery
There are many interesting acts during the colonial period. Acts, also known as session laws are passed each year and put into separate volumes by year. Sometimes many years exist in one volume. In other words acts are laws. Nowadays, they get put into the Massachusetts General laws by subject. The early acts were put into books called Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

Some acts were about goods that were taxed such as spirits, oranges, limes, and lemons. It was spelled lemmons during colonial times. There are many acts concerning preservation of alewives, which is a fish located in various rivers of the Commonwealth. Alewife Station on the red line is named for this fish.

• There is an act allowing Quakers to use an affirmation instead of a solemn oath—Chapter 20 of the Acts of 1743-44 page 126.

• Another law, chapter 6 of the acts of 1774 page 392 exempts "Quakers and Antipedobaptists from paying taxes for the support of ministers... and for the building and repairing [of] meeting-houses or places of public[k] worship."

Chapter 8 of 1776-77 page 555) concerns small pox inoculation.

Finally there are laws about having a lottery to raise money for specific items such as building a hall at Harvard. A lottery in this time period is really a bond.

• A lottery for completing putting down pavement at Boston neck (Chapter 38 of 1758-59 see page 222, or Chapter 24 of 1755-56 page 888).

• A lottery for repairing Fanueil Hall (Chapter 26 of 1760-61 page 425).

• A lottery for repairing Long Wharf (Chapter 4 of 1779-80 page 1070).

• A lottery to repair a highway in Roxbury (Chapter 39 of 1758-59 page 223).

• An Act that prevents gaming for money or other gain (Chapter 27 of Acts of 1742-43 page 45).

Naomi Allen, Reference Librarian