Item of the Day: An Abridgment of the Laws, and Ordinances of New-England, to the Year 1700 (1720)

[FOUND IN] — Full Title: The History of New-England Containing an Impartial Account of the Civil and Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Country To the Year of our Lord, 1700. To which is added, The Present State of New-England, with a New and Accurate Map of the Country. And an Appendix, Containing their Present Charter, their Ecclesiastical Discipline, and their Municipal-Laws. By Daniel Neal. Vol. II. London: Printed for J. Clark, at the Bible & Crown in the Poultry, R. Ford, at the Angel in the Poultry, and R. Cruttenden, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside, M.DCC.XX.


Numb. IV.

An Abridgment of the Laws,

and Ordinances of New-England,

to the Year 1700.



ACTIONS. Actions of Debts, Accounts, Slander, Actions of the case concerning Debts or Accounts, the Plaintiff may try where he will within the Juisdiction of the Court, where he or the Defendant lives; by consent, they may be try’d any where else. Other Actions must be try’d where the Cause did arise.

If the Plaintiff in an Action of Trespass pretends Damage above 40 s, and has receiv’d less, he shall be Non-suited, and pay Costs.

 No Action to be enter’d after the first Day of the Court’s sitting. Double Fees, for those enter’d after noon not be be recover’d of the Defendants.

 Whoever brings an Action without cause, must pay the charges the Court shall judge he occasion’d, and any Fine they impose; as likewise the Defendant, if they find him in Fault; Vexatious Actions, or Suits, to pay treble costs, and to be fin’d 40 s to the Treasury.

ADULTERY. If any Person commit Adultery with a marry’d Woman, Maid, or Woman espoused, both Man and Woman shall be put to Death.

AGE. No Person under 21 Years of Age, shall convery Lands or Hereditaments, or val [sic] in Eleccons [sic] of publick Offices, or give Verdict, or pass Sentence in any civil or criminal Court, or cause.

Orphans may choose their Guardians at 14.

None under the Age of 21, shall plead, or be impleaded in civil cases, but in the names of their Parents, Masters, or Guardians.

But in criminal cases, they must answer for their Misdemeanours, and inform against others in their own Names.

APPAREL. All Persons not worth 200 l. wearing Gold or Silver Lace, or Buttons, or Bone-Lace, above 2 s. per Yard, or Silk Hoods, or Scarfs, may be presented by the Grand-Jury, and shall pay 10 s. for every Offence.

The select Men of every Town may assess those who dress above their Rank, at 200 l. Estate, and make them pay, as those to whom their Dress is suitable, except Magistrates, their Wives, and Children, Officers, civil or military, Soldiers in Time and of Service; or such as have had a high Education, or are sunk from a higher Fortune, Anno 1651.

If any Person’s Dress should be adjudg’d by the Grand Jury, or County-Court above his Rank, they are to be admonish’d for the first Offence, to pay 20 s. for the second, 40 s. for the third, and 40 s. for every Offence afterwards, Anno 1662.

A Taylor who makes Cloaths for Children, or Servants, contrary to the Mind of their Parents or Masters, is for the first Offence, to be admonished, and for the second, to pay double the Value of the Cloaths, half to the Owner, and half to the County, 1662. The Grand-Jury are enjoin’d to present all Offenders in Apparel.

APPEAL. Any Person may appeal from an inferior to a superior Court, provided they tender their Appeal before the Judges of the Court they appeal to, put in Bail to prosecute it, and to pay Damages before Execution, which can’t be ’till 12 Hours after Judgment, unless by Special Order.

Appellants in criminal cases, to give Security for Appearance and good Behavior.

Appeals in Matter of Law, to be determin’d by the Bench; if two in five, or three in seven, or the like Proportion dissent from the Majority, there lyes an Appeal to the next General Court.

Appeals to be recorded at the charge of the Appellant, and certified to the Court to which they are made, the Reasons of them, without any Reflecting Language, to be given in Writing under their Hands, or their Attorney’s Hands, to the Clerk of the Court from whence they are made, six Days before the Court begins to which they are made.

Appellants not prosecuting their Appeals, to pay, beside their bonds to the Party, 40 s. to the County.

No Person who sate as Judge, or voted in the inferior Court, shall have a Vote in that Court to which the Appeal is made in the same case, but it shall be decided by different Persons.

The Court appeal’d to, shall judge the case according to the former Evidence, and no other Court may reverse Judgment, or abate, or increase Damages, Anno 1654.

Appeals from the Association-Courts of Portsmouth and Dover, are to the next County Court, and not to that of the Assistants at Boston, as formerly, Anno 1670.

APPEARANCE. No one to be punish’d for Non-Appearance, if hinder’d by Providence. This Law not to prejudice any Person in his costs or damages in civl Actions, Anno 1641.

ARRESTS. None to be arrested, or put in Prison for Debt, if the Law finds any Means of Satisfaction from his Estate, except in special contracts, Anno 1641.

The Person arrested to be in Prison at his own charge, unless the Court determine otherwise, but not to continue there, unless there is an Appearance of some Estate conceal’d, Anno 1641.

The Prisoner swearing before a proper Magistrate that he has no Estate, is to be releas’d, but is to make Satisfaction by Service, though not to be sold to any besides the English, Anno 1647.

In civil Actions, the Prisoner swearing he is not worth 5 l. the Plaintiff must maintain him in Prison, levying by Execution his Expence, if he can find Effects.

No Prisoner to go at Liberty, without License of the Court, or Creditor, if he does, the Keeper to be fin’d at Descretion, and pay the Debt. . . .



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Filed under 1700's, Colonial America, Legal, New England, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

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