Front Page Titles (by Subject) 30: [Puritan] Laws and Liberties - Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History
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30: [Puritan] Laws and Liberties - Donald S. Lutz, Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History 
Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History, ed. Donald S. Lutz (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1998).
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[Puritan] Laws and Liberties
The text is based on the one found in Shurtleff and Pulsifer, Vol. ii, Laws, 147–67. The text is here reproduced only in part since the document is a revision of The Pilgrim Code of Law and therefore repeats much of what is found in the earlier document. The shorthand in the earlier document is tortuous, so changes have been made for the modern reader, but these are minimal.
September 29, 1658
A revision of the Pilgrim Code of Law, 1636 , this is simultaneously a code of law, an amended version of the earlier constitution, and thus a constitution itself. The colony of Plymouth, almost from the beginning, was composed of several towns, each with its own covenant and town meeting. Thus, like the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth had a functioning federal system. The Puritans begin the present document, as they did the earlier one, by rehearsing the basis for their action. They refer to both their charter and their founding covenant, the Plymouth Combination, 1620 (The Mayflower Compact ), as the grounding for their civil body politic. Their careful discussion in this regard implies a de facto federal relationship between the colonies and the mother country, which essentially rehearses the position that will be taken during the Stamp Act crisis and on the eve of the Revolution to explain the colonial view of that relationship. A section-by-section comparison with the earlier Code of Law it replaces reveals an essential continuity since 1620.
The Booke of the Generall Lawes and Liberties of the Inhabitants of the Jurisdiction of New Plymouth Collected out of the Records of the generall Court; and lately Reuised and established and deposed into an Alphabeticall order and published by the Authoritie of the generall Court held att New Plymouth the 29th day of September: Anno 1658
To our beloued bretheren and Naighbours the Inhabitants of the Jurisdiction of New Plymouth; the Gour: Assistants and Deputies assembled att the generall Court of that Jurisdiction held att the Towne of Plymouth the 29th day of September Anno: Dom: 1658, wisheth grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ; it was the great privilidge of Israell of old and soe was acknowlidged by them Nehemiah the 9:13 That God gaue them right Judgments and true lawes; for God being the God of order and not of confusion hath Comaunded in his word; and put man into a capasitie in some measure to obserue and bee guided by good and wholsome lawes which are soe fare good and wholsome; as by how much they are deriued from and agreeable to; the Ancient platforme of Gods lawe; for although sundry pticulares in the Judiciall law which was of old jnioyned to the Jewes: did more especially (att least in some cercomstances) befitt their Pedagogye; yett are (they for the maine) soe exemplary being grounded on principalls of morall equitie as that all men; (Christians especially) ought alwaies to haue an eye thervnto; in the framing of theire Politique Constitutions; and although seuerall of the heathen National whoe were Ignorant of the true God and of his lawe haue bine famous in theire times for the enacting and execution of such lawes as haue proued profitable for the Gourment of theire Comonwealth in the times wherin they liued; yett notwithstanding theire exelencye appeered so fare; as they were founded vpon grounds of morall equitie which hath its originall from the lawe of God; and accordingly wee whoe haue bine actors in the framing of this smale body of lawes together with other vsefull Instruments who are gone to theire rest; can safely say; both for ourselues and them; that wee haue had an eye principally and primarily vnto the aforsaid platforme; and Secondaryly vnto the Right Improuement of the liberteis graunted vnto vs by our Superiours the state of England att the first begining of this infant plantation which was to enact such lawes as should most befitt a state in the nonage therof; not rejecting or omiting to obserue such of the lawes of our Natiue Countrey as would conduce vnto the good and grouth of soe weake a begining as ours in this Wilderness as any Impartiall eye not forestaled with prejudice may eazely descerne in the pusall1 of this smale booke of the lawes of our Collonie; The prmises duely considered might worke euery consiencious sperit to faithfull obeidience; and although wee hold and doe affeirme that both Courts of Justice and Majestrates; whoe are the minnesters of the lawe are esencially Ciuill; Notwithstanding wee conceiue that as the Majestrate hath his power from God soe vndoubtedly hee is to Improue it for the honor of God; and that in the vphoulding of his worship and seruice and against the contrary; with due respect alsoe to bee had vnto those that are really consciencious; though differing and discenting in some smaller matters; but if any really or in the pretence of consience shall professe that which eminently tendeth to the Invndation of Ciuill State and violation of Naturall bonds or the ouerthrow of the Churches of God or of his Worship; that heer prudence is to bee Improued in a speciall manor in the enacting and execution of lawes; It hath bine our endeauors in framing of our lawes that nothinge should bee found amongst them but that which fall vnder the same pticulares; wee haue likewise reduced them to such order as they may most conduce to our vtillitie and profitt; posibly it may bee that weaknes may appeer in the composure of sundry of them for want of such plenty of able instruments as others are furnished withall; howeuer lett this suffice the gentle Reader; that our ends are to the vtmost of our powers; in these our endeauors to promote both Church and State both att the psent and for the future; and therfore soe fare as wee haue aimed att the glory of God and comon good; and acted according to God; bee not found a Resister but obeidient; least therby thou Resist the ordinance of God and soe Incurr the displeasure of God vnto damnation; Romans 13:2:
A Declaration demonstrating the warrantable grounds and proceedings of the first associates of the Gourment of New Plymouth in theire laying the first foundation of the Gourment in this Jurisdiction for makeing of lawes and disposing of lands and all such thinges as shall or may Conduce to the welbeing of this Corporation of New Plymouth;
Whereas John Carver William Bradford Edward Winslow William Brewster Isacke Allerton and diuers others the subjects of our late Sour:2 Lord Kinge James by the grace of God Kinge of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland Defendor of the faith did in the eighteenth yeare of his Raigne of England ffrance and ireland; and of Scotland the fifty fourth which was in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred and twenty; vndertake a voyage into that pte of America called Verginnia or New England thervnto adjoyning; there to erect a plantation and Collonie of English; Intending the Glory of God the enlargment of his Maties dominnions and the speciall good of the English Nation.
And Wheras by the good Prouidence of God the said John Caruer William Bradford Edward Winslow William Brewster Isacke Allerton and theire associates ariued in New England aforsaid in the harbour of Cape Cod or Paomett Scittuate and being in New England aforsaid; where all the said psons entered into a Ciuill Combination; being the eleuenth day of Nouember in the yeare aforemencioned; as the subjects of our said Sour: Lord the Kinge; to become a body Pollitique binding our selues to obserue such lawes and ordinances and obey such officers as from time to time should bee made and Chosen for their well ordering and guidance; and thervpon by the fauor of the Almighty; began the first Collonie in New England; there being then none other within the said Continent; att a place Called by the Natiues Apaum alliis Patuxett; and by the English New Plymouth; all which Lands being void of Inhabitants; Wee the said John Carver William Bradford Edward Winslow William Brewster Isacke Allerton and the rest of our Associates; entering into a league of Peace with Massasoiett since called Woosamequen Prince or Sachem of these ptes; hee the said Massasoiett freely gaue them all the lands adjacent to them; and theire heires for euer, acknowlidging himselfe content to become the subject of our Sour Lord the Kinge aforsaid his heires and Successors and takeing protection of vs the said John Carver William Bradford Edward Winslow William Brewster Isacke Allerton and theire Associates the naturall subjects of our Sour: Lord the Kinge aforsaid But haueing noe speciall letters Patents for the said ptes of New England but onely the generall leaue and libertie of our Consiences in the publicke worship of God where euer wee should settle; being therefore now settled and requiring speciall lycence and Comission from his Matie3 for the ordering of our affaires vnder his graciouse protection; had sundry Comissions made and Confeirmed by his Maties Councell for New England to John Peirse and his associates; whose names wee onely made vse of and whose associates wee were in the late happy and memorable Raigne of our said Sour: Lord King James; But finding our selues still straightened;4 and a willingnes in the honoble Councell aforsaid to enlarge vs; ptely in regard of the many difficulties wee had vndergone; and ptely in regard of the good service wee had done; as well in releiueing his Maties Subjects as otherwise wee procured a further enlargement vnder the name of Willam Bradford aforsaid and his Associates whose names wee likewise vsed; and whose associates as formerly wee still are; By vertue of which said letters Pattents libertie is giuen to vs deriuatory from our Sour: Lord King Charles bearing date the thirteenth of January 1629 being the fift yeare of his raigne of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland &c and signed by the Right honoble Robert Earle of Warwicke in the behalfe of his Maties said Councell for New England; and sealed with theire Comon seale to frame and make orders ordinances and Constitutions for the ordering disposing and Gouning of our psons and distributeing of our Lands within the said Lymetts To bee holden of his Matie his heires and successors as of his mannor of East greenwich in the County of Kent in free and Comon Soccage and not in Capite nor by Knights seruice,5 viz: all that pte of America and tract and tracts of land that lyeth within or between a sertaine Rivolett or Rundelett comonly called Coahassett alliis Conahassett towards the north; and the Riuer called Narrangansett Riuer towards the south and the great Westerne Ocean towards the East; and within and between a straight line directly extending into the maine towards the west; from the mouth of the said Riuer called Narranganssett Riuer to the vtmost bounds and lymetts of a Countrey or place in New England called Pocanacutt alliis Puckanakicke alliis Sowamsett doth extend; together with the one halfe of the said Riuer called Narrangansetts; and the said Riuolett or Rundelett called Coahassett allis Conahassett; and all lands Riuers waters hauens creekes ports ffishings fowlings; and all heredetiments profitts Comodities and emoluments whatsoeuer; Scittuate lying and being arising within or between the said lymetts or bounds or any of them; furthermore all that Tract or pte of land in New England or pte of america aforsaid which lyeth within or between; and extendeth it selfe from the vtmost lymetts of Cobbasecontee alliis Comacecontee which adjoyneth to the Riuer of Kennebecke alliis Kennebekicke towards the westerne Ocean; and a place called the falls at Nequamkicke in America aforsaid; and the space of fifteen English miles on each side of the said Riuer comonly called Kenebecke Riuer; that lyeth within the said bounds Eastwards Westwards Northwards and southwards last aboue mentioned; and all lands grounds soyles Riuers waters ffishings heridetiments and prof fitts whatsoeuer scittuate lying and being arising happening or accrewing in or within the said lymetts or bounds or either of them; together with free Ingresse egresse and Regresse with shipps boates shallops and other vessels from the sea called the westeren ocean; to the Riuer called Kennebecke and from the said Riuer to the said Westeren Occean; together with all prorogatiues Rights Royalties Jurisdictions priuilidges franchises liberties and amunities and alsoe marine liberties with the escheats and causualties therof; the Admiraltie Jurisdiction excepted; with all the Interest right title claime and demaund whatsoeuer which the said Councell and theire successors now haue or ought to haue or may haue or require heerafter in or to any of the said Tract or portion of lands heerby mencioned to bee graunted; or any the pmises in as free large ample and benificiall manor to all Intents and constructions whatsoeuer as the said Councell by vertue of his Maties said letters may or can graunt; To haue and to hold the said Tract and tracts of land and all and singulare the pmises aboue mencioned to bee graunted with theire and euery of theire appurtenances; To the said Willam Bradford his heires associates and assignes for euer To the onely proper vse and absolute behoofe of the said Willam Bradford his heires associates and assignes for euer; yeilding and paying vnto our said Sour: Lord the Kinge his heires and successors for euer; one fift pte of the Oare of the mines of Gould and siluer; and one other fift pte therof to the Presedent and Councell; which shalbee had posessed and obtained within the precincts aforsd for all seruices and demaunds whatsoeuer; allowing the said Willam Bradford his associates and assignes and euery of them his and theire agents tenants and servants; and all such as hee or they shall send or Imploy about his said pticulare plantation; shall and may from time to time freely and lawfully goe and returne trad or trafficke as well with the English as any the Natiues within the precincts aforsaid; with libertie of fishing vpon any pte of the sea coast and sea shores of any the seas or Ilands adjacent; and not being Inhabited or otherwise disposed of by order of the said Presedent and Councell forbiding all others to traffick with the Natiues or Inhabitants in any of the said Lymetts; without the speciall leaue of the said Willam Bradford his heires and associates; and allowing the said Willam Bradford his heires and associates to take apprehend seize and make prise of all such psons theire Shipes and goods as shall attempt to Inhabite or trad with the salvage people as aforsaid;
Morouer Wheras in the first begining of this Collonie diuers Marchants and others of the Citty of London and elsewhere adventured diuers sumes of money with the said John Caruer William Bradford Edward Winslow William Brewster Isacke Allerton and the rest of theire asosiates on certaine tearmes of ptenorship6 to continew for the tearme of seauen yeares the said tearm being expired; the plantation by reason of manifold losses and Crosses by sea and land in the begining of soe great a worke being largly Indebted and noe meanes to pay the said debtes but by the sale of the whole and the same being put vpon sale; the said William Bradford Edward Winsow William Brewster Isacke Allerton and other our associates the Inhabitants of New Plymouth and elswhere being loth to bee depriued of our labours bought the same; for and in consideration of eighteen hundred pounds sterling viz: all and singulare the priuilidges lands goods Chattles ordinance amunition or whatsoeuer appertained to the said plantation or the adventures; with all and singulare the priuilidges thervnto belonging; as appeers by a deed between the said Isacke Allerton then agent for the said William Bradford and his Associates on the one pte; and John Pococke Robert Keine Edward Basse James Sherley and John Beachamp on the other pte being thervnto deputed by the said Marchants and the rest adventuring as aforsaid; as appeers by a Deed bearing date the sixt of Nouember in the third yeare of the Raigne of our Sour: Lord Charles by the grace of God Kinge of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland
Anno Dom: 1627 one thousand six hundred twenty and seauen; Bee it Knowne vnto all men by these psents that according to our first Intents for the better effecting the glory of God; the Inlargment of the dominnions of our said Sour: Lord the Kinge, and the speciall good of his subjects by vertue as well of our Combination aforsaid; as alsoe the seuerall graunts by vs procured; in the Names of John Peirce and William Bradford theire heires and associates together with our lawful right in respect of vacancye donation or Purchase of the Natiues and our full purchase of the adventures before expressed; haue giuen vnto and alloted assigned and graunted to all and euery pson and psons whose name or names shall follow vpon this publicke Record such proportion or proportions of Grounds with all and singulare the priuilidges thervnto belonging as aforsaid to him or them his or theire heires and Assignes Successiuely for euer to bee holden of his Maties of England his heires and Successors as of his manor of East greenwich in the Countey of Kent in free and comon Sockage and not in Capitie nor by Knights Service yeilding and paying to our said Sou: Lord the Kinge his heires and Successors for euer one fift pte of the Oare of the mines of Gould and siluer and one other fift pte to the psedent and Councell which shalbee had possesed and obtained as aforsaid and whatsoeuer lands are graunted vnto any by the said William Bradford Edward Winslow William Brewster Isaack Allerton or their heires or Associates as aforsaid being acknowlidged in publicke Court and brought to this booke of Records of the seuerall Inheritances of the Subjects of our Soueraigne Lord the King within this Gouerment; It shalbee lawfull for the Gour of New Plymouth aforsaid from time to time and att all times for all Intents and purposes; the said ptie or pties his or theire heires or assignes for euer; To haue and to hold the said portion of lands soe graunted bounded and recorded as aforsaid with all and singulare the Apurtenances thervnto belonging to the onely proper and Absolute vse and behoofe of the said ptie or pties his or theire heires and Assignes for euer;
Wee the Associates of New Plymouth coming hether as freeborne Subjects of the State of New England Indowed with all and singulare the privilidges belonging to such being Assembled Doe ordeine constitute and enacte that noe acte Imposition law or ordinance bee made or Imposed vpon vs att prsent or to come but such as shalbee made and Imposed by consent of the body of the Associates or theire Representatives legally assembled, which is according to the free liberties of the State of England;
It is further enacted
That all our Courts bee kept att the Towne of Plymouth except the Gour and Assistants shall see Reason to keep som Courts of Assistants elswhere within this Gourment.
Whereas by the first Associates of this Gourment the Courts of Election were held in the month of January Anually and afterwards in the month of March Anually; By reason of the vnseasonablenes of those times of the yeare; It is enacted by the Court and the Authoritie therof That the election Courts bee holden the first Tusday in June Annually; And the other Generall Courts bee holden the first Tusday in October and the first Tusday in March Anually; and that the Courts of Assistants bee holden the first Tusday in August the first Tusday in December the first Tusday in ffebrewary and the first Tusday in May Anually.
It is enacted by the Court and the Authoritie therof that all such as shalbee admited freemen of this Corporation shall stand one whole yeare propounded to the Court viz: to bee propounded att one June Court and to stand so propounded vntill the June Court following and then to bee admited if the Court shall not see cause to the Contrary.
Wheras A Comittee was chosen viz: Mrh Tho: Prence Mr Willam Collyare Mr Tho: Dimmacke Mr James Cudworth Mr Josias Winslow John Dunham senir. Gorge Soule and Constant Southworth to consider of the proposition propounded by the deputies att the Court held in October 1650 concerning the major pte of the Courts to order the adjournments and desolutions of the generall Courts and the makeing and repealing of lawes they the said Comittee declared theire minds to bee that matters in the aforsaid respects to rest vnaltered as they were and that for the future as formerly in the makeing and repealing of lawes and adjornment of Courts wherin Comittes are resquisite the majestrates and deputies bee considered as one body.
Wheras diuers actes and orders touching the making and repealing of lawes att June Courts and the adjournments therof is rendered with a dubiouse Interpretation; and this Court haueing by propositions to the freemen of the seuerall Townships desired theire answares in order to the regulateing therof but not receiueing any answare from sundry of them haue seen cause to declare theire owne sence therof and therfor doe enact That fitt and able psons bee anually chosen out of the freemen to attend June courts and the seuerall adjornments therof by the approued Inhabitants quallified as in such case is prouided of this Jurisdiction in theire respectiue townshipps for deputies vnto whom with the majestrates as the body Representatiue is comitted full power for the makeing and repealing of all lawes as vpon theire seriouse considerations they shall find meet for the publicke weale of this Jurisdiction and that then onely such lawes bee enacted or repealed except the Gour for the time being shall see waightey and nessesary cause by the complaint of the freemen or otherwise to call a special Court either of the whole body of the ffreemen or theire deputies; the freemen of this Jurisdiction being left to theire liberties to send theire voate by proxey for the choise of Gour Assistants Comissioners and Treasurer in such way as by order of Court is alreddy prouided and this order to stand in full force till the whole body of ffreemen shall take further order therin; It is alsoe further provided that vpon notice giuen in an orderly way to the Gour by the major pte of the ffreemen of this Jurisdiction of theire apprehensions of a nessesitie of the body of ffreemen to come together; then the Gour for the time being shall take the first oppertunitie to Summon in the body of ffreemen to aduise and acte ther as the matter shall require;
the oath of a ffreeman.
You shalbee truely Loyall to our Sour Lord the King his heires and Successors. You shall not speake or doe deuise or aduise Any thinge or things Act or Actes directly or Indirectly by Land or Water that doth shall or may tend to the destruction or ouerthrow of these prsent Plantations or Townshipes of the Corporation of New Plymouth neither shall you suffer the same to bee spoken or done but shall hinder oppose and descouer the same to the Gour And assistants of the said Collonie for the time being; or some one of them; you shall faithfully Submitt vnto such good and wholsome Lawes and ordinances as either are or shalbee made for the ordering and Gourment of the same; and shall Indeuor to aduance the grouth and good of the seuerall townshipes and plantations within the Lymetts of this Corporation by all due meanes and courses; All which you pmise and Sweare by the Name of the great God of heauen and earth simply truely and faithfully to pforme as you hope for healp from God who is the God of truth and punisher of falchood.
It is enacted by the Court and the Authoritie therof; That on the first Tusday in June anually there shalbee a Gour and seauen Assistants chosen to Rule and Gouerne the said Plantations and Townshipes within the Lymetts of this Corporation and this election to bee made onely by the ffreemen therof;
And that the Gour in due season by warrant directed to the seuerall Cunstables in the Name of his Matie giue warning to the ffreemen either to make their psonall appeerance att the Courts of election or to send theire voates by proxey for the choise of officers according to the following order; and that all our Courts warrants Summons and comaunds bee all done directed and made in the Name of our Sour Lord the King
Wheras in regard of age disabilletie of body vrgent occations and other Inconveniencies that doe acrew sundry of the ffreemen are hindered that they can not appeer att Courts of election, In consideration wherof it is enacted by the Court and the Authoritie therof that any freeman of this Corporation shall haue libertie to send his voate by proxey for the choise of Gour Assistants Comissioners and Treasurer; And that the deputies of the seuerall townes chosen to attend the Courts of election and the seuerall adjournments therof shall in the towne meeting in which they are chosen they or either of them giue notice vnto the freemen that those that Intend not to make theire psonall appeerance att the Court of election are now to giue in theire voates Sealed vp for the chosing of Gour Assistants Comissioners and Treasurer; and the said deputies to obserue by a list of their Names whoe hath voted and whoe hath not; The which voates soe brought in to bee ymediately Sealed vp and brought vnto and deliuered in open Court by the said deputies.
It is enacted by the Court that att Courts of election the voates of all the ffreemen prsent bee first read and Next after them the deputies of the suerall townes shall orderly prsent the proxey of theire owne towne.
It is enacted by the Court and the Authoritie therof that other public offecers besides Gour and Assistants bee chosen and established att the Court in June Anually viz: Comissioners and Treasurrer; and that other Inferior officers; as Cunstables grandjurymen and Survayors for the highwaies bee then alsoe confeirmed if approued by the Court.
It is enacted by the Court and the Authoritie therof that incase there shalbee occation for a Corroner that the Next majestrate where such accedent falls shall sitt as Corrowner and execute that office according to the Custome of England as near as may bee.
It is enacted by the Court and the Authoritie therof that all our Courts summons and comaunds bee all done directed and made in the Name of his Matie of England our dread Sour and alsoe that all Ciuill officers and minnesters of Justice in this Jurisdiction to be sworne in his said Maties name and alsoe that the oath of fidelitie and all other oathes shall goe in that tenure.
the office of the gour:
The office of the Gour for the time being consisteth in the execution of such lawes and ordinances as are or shalbee made and established for the good of this Corporation according to the bounds and Lymitts therof viz: in calling together or aduising with the Assistants or Councell of the said Corporation vpon such matteriall occations (or soe seeming to him) as time shall bring forth, In wch Assembly and all other the Gour to propound the Occation of the Assembly and haue a double voyce therin; if the Assistants Judge the case too great to bee desided by them and refer it to the Genrall Court then the Gourr to Summon a Courty by warning all the ffreemen that are then extant; as alsoe incase the major pte of the ffreemen seeing waighty cause for the whole body to meet together and in an orderly way acquaint him with theire desires therof; Then hee shall Summon the whole body of ffreemen together with all convenient Speed; and there alsoe to propound causes and goe before the Assistants in the examination of pticulares and to propound such Centance as shalbee determined; further it shalbee lawfull for him to Arrest and comitt to Ward any offendors; provided that with all Convenient Speed hee shall bring the cause to hearing either of the Assistants or generall Court according to the nature of the offence; Alsoe it shalbee lawfull for him to examine any suspicious psons for euill against the Collonie as alsoe to Interupt or oppose such letters as hee conceiueth may tend to the ouerthrow of the same; and that this office continew one whole yeare and noe more without renewing by election;
the oath of the gour:
You Shalbee truely Loyall to our Sour Lord King Charles his heires and Successors Also according to that measure of Wisdome vnderstanding and deserning giuen vnto you shall faithfully Equally and Indifferently without respect of psons Adminnester Justice in all Cases coming before you as the Gour of New Plymouth; You shall in like manor faithfully duely and truely exequte the Lawes and ordinances of the Same; and shall laboure to Advance and further the good of The Townshipes and plantations within the Lymitts therof to the vttermost of youer power and oppose any thing that shall seeme to hinder the same Soe healp you God whoe is the God of truth and the punisher of falshood.
the office of ann assistant.
The office of an Assistant for the time being consisteth in appeering att the Gournors Summons and in giueing his best advise both in publicke court and private Councell with the Gour for the good of the seuerall Townships and plantations within the lymetts of this Gourment; not to disclose but to keep secrett such things as concerne the publique good and shalbee thought meet to bee concealed by the Gour and Councell of Assistants in haueing a speciall hand in the examination of publicke offendors and in contriueing the affaires of the Collonie to haue a voyce in the censuring of such offendors as shalbee brought to publicke Court; That if the Gour haue occation to bee absent from the Collonie for a short time by the Gour with concent of the rest of the Assistants hee may bee deputed to Gouerne in the absence of the Gour alsoe it shalbee lawfull for him to examine and comitt to ward where any occation ariseth where the Gour is absent prouided the pson bee brought to hearing with all convenient Speed before the Gour and the rest of the Assistants; alsoe it shalbee lawfull for him in his Maties Name to direct his warrants to any Cunstable within the Gourment whoe ought faithfully to execute the same according to the Nature and tenure therof and may bind ouer psons for matters of crime to answare att the next ensueing Court of his said Mtie after the fact comitted or the pson apprehended;
the oath of an assistant.
You shall all sweare to bee truely Loyall to our Sour Lord King Charles his heires and Successors you shall faithfully truely and Justly according to the measure of deserning and descretion God hath giuen you bee Assistant to the Gour for this prsent yeare for the execution of Justice in all cases and towards all psons coming before you without parciallitie according to the Nature of the Office of an Assistant read vnto you; Morouer you shall dilligently duely and truely see that the Lawes and ordinances of this Corporation bee duely executed and shall labour to Advance the good of the seuerall plantations within the lymetts therof and oppose any thinge that shall hinder the same by all due meanes and courses Soe healp you God whoe is the God of truth and punisher of falshood;
It is enacted by the Court and the Authorite thereof that the Gour and two of the Assistants at the least shall as occation shalbee offered in time convenient determine in such triviall cases viz. vnder forty shillinges between man and man as shall come before them as alsoe in offences of smale Nature shall determine doe and execute as in wisdome God shall direct them;
It is enacted by the Court and the authoritie therof That att euery election Court some one of the Assistants or some other suficient man bee chosen Treasurer for the yeare following whose place it shalbee to demaund and receiue in whatsoeuer sume or sumes shall appertaine to the Royaltie of the place either coming in by way of fine Amercment or otherwise and shall Improue the same for the publicke benefitt of this Corporation by order of the Gourment.
It is further enacted by the Court that the Treasurer shall att the election Courts Anually giue in his accounts of his receipts and paiments for his yeare to any that the Court shall appoint and to bee entered vpon Record and thervpon to bee discharged.
It is likewise enacted by the Court that the Treasurer by vertue of his said office shall take order that all debts due to the Countrey bee seasonbly brought in vnto such place or places as hee shall appoint that soe all dues and debts due vnto any pson or psons from the Contrey may bee seasonably and Satisfactorily defrayed except the publice officers wages which is otherwise prouided for.
It is enacted by the Court that it shalbee in the libertie of the Treasurer after a month is past after Judgment by his warrant to require in any fine as hee shall see reason;
Wheras the Court haue taken notice that diuers of the ffreemen of this Corporation doe neither appeer att Courts of election nor send theire voates by proxey for the choise of majestrates It is enacted by the Court and the authoritie therof That whosoeuer of the ffreemen of this Corporation that shall not appeer att the Court of election att Plymouth in June annually nor send theire voate by proxey according to order of Court for the Choise of Gour Assistants Comissioners and Treasurer shall be fined to the Collonies vse the sume of ten shillinges for euery such default; vnlesse some vnavoidable Impediment hinder such in theire appeerance.
Memorand that an oath bee formed for the Treasurer and next entered.
the oath of the treasurer.
You shall faithfully serue in the office of the Treasurer in the Jurisdiction of New Plymouth for this prsent yeare during which time you shall dillegently enquire after demaund and receiue whatsoeuer sum or sumes shall appertaine to this Gourment; arising by way of fine amersment Royaltie or otherwise and shall faithfully Improue the same for the vse of the Gourment and according to order dispose therof as occation shall require you shalbee reddy to giue in a true account vnto the Court of youer actings in youer said office yearly att June Courts; Soe healp you God
the oath of a grandjuryman.
You shall true prsentment make of all thinges giuen you in charge you shall prsent Nothing of Mallice or illwill youer owne Councell and youer fellowes in reference to this oath you shall well and truely keep soe healp you God.
the oath of the clarke of the court.
You shall faithfully serue in the office of the Clarke of the Court for the Jurisdiction of New Plymouth You shall attend the Generall Courts held for this Gourment att Plymouth Aforsaid and the suerall Adjournments therof; and the Courts of Assistants and there Imploy youerselfe in such occations as are behoofull to youer said place and office you shall likewise Attend such other meetings of the majestrates of like Nature as aboue expressed that shall or may fall out in the Interims of time betwixt the said Courts you shall not disclose but keep secrett such things as concerne the publicke good and shalbee thought meet to bee Concealled by the Gour and Councell of Assistants You shall faithfully Record all such thinges as you shall haue order from Authoritie to Comitte to publicke Record and shall faithfully keep the publicke Records of this Jurisdiction Soe healp you God who is the God of truth and the punisher of falshood; ...
[2. ]“Sovr,” or sovereign.
[4. ]In serious straits, or in serious difficulties.
[5. ]To be held without owing any of the traditional feudal duties, such as providing soldiers or military service.
[6. ]Tenancy, held as a tenant.