Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Massachusetts Government Act – 1774 - The 2nd Intolerable Act

“...the appointment of the respective governors had been vested in the general courts or assemblies of the said colonies hath, by repeated experience, been found to be extremely ill-adapted to the plan of government established in the province of the Massachusetts Bay, by the said letters patent hereinbefore mentioned, and has been so far from contributing to the attainment of the good ends and purposes thereby intended, and to the promoting of the internal welfare, peace, and good government of the said province, or to the maintenance of the just subordination to, and conformity with, the laws of Great Britain...Be it therefore enacted...the council or court of assistants of the said province for the time being, shall be composed of such of the inhabitants or proprietors of lands within the same shall be thereunto nominated and appointed by his Majesty, his heirs and successors, from time to time, by warrant under his or their signet or sign manual, and with the advice of the Privy is hereby further enacted, that the said assistants of councillors, so to be appointed, shall hold their offices respectively, for and during the pleasure of his shall and may be lawful for his Majesty's governor for the time being of the said province, or in his absence, for the lieutenant-governor, to nominate and appoint, under the seal of the province, from time to time, and also to remove, without the consent of the council, all judges of the inferior courts of common pleas, commissioners of oyer and terminer, the attorney general, provosts, marshals, justices of the peace, and other officers,,,to nominate and appoint the sheriffs without the consent of the council, and to remove such sheriffs with such consent, and not otherwise. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that upon every vacancy of the offices of chief justice and judges of the Superior Court of the said province, from and after the said first day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, the governor for the time being, or in his absence, the lieutenant-governor, without the consent of the Council, shall have full power and authority to nominate and appoint the persons to succeed to the said offices, who shall hold their commissions during the pleasure of his Majesty...And whereas, by several acts of the General Court, which have been from time to time enacted and passed within the said province, the freeholders and inhabitants of the several townships, districts, and precincts, qualified, as is therein expressed, are authorized to assemble together, annually, or occasionally, upon notice given, in such manner as the said acts direct, for the choice of selectmen, constables, and other officers, and for the making and agreeing upon such necessary rules, orders, and by-laws, for the directing, managing, and ordering, the prudential affairs of such townships, districts, and precincts, and for other purposes; and whereas a great abuse has been made of the power of calling such meetings, and the inhabitants have, contrary to the design of their institution, been misled to treat upon matters of the most general concern, and to pass many dangerous and unwarrantable resolves; for remedy whereof, be it enacted, that from and after the said first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, no meeting shall be called by the selectmen, or at the request of any number of freeholders of any township, district, or precinct, without the leave of the governor...except the annual meeting in the months of March or May, for the choice of selectment, constables, and other officers...and also, except any meeting for the election of a representative or representatives in the general court; and that no other matter shall be treated of at such meetings, except the election of their aforesaid officers by representatives, nor at any other meeting, except the business expressed in the leave given by the it further enacted...the jurors to serve at the superior courts of judicature, courts of assize, general goal delivery, general sessions of the peace, the inferior court of common pleas, in the several counties within the said province, shall not be elected, nominated, or appointed, by the freeholders and inhabitants of the several towns within the said respective counties...shall be summoned and returned by the sheriffs of the respective counties within the said province; shall be summoned and returned by the sheriffs of the respective counties within the said province, and all writs of venire facias, or other process or warrants to be issued for the return of jurors to serve at the said courts, shall be directed to the sheriffs of the said counties respectively, any law, custom, or usage of the contrary notwithstanding. 

George III, May 20, 1774  

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