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The present publication contains the whole of volume IV. of the manuscript Records of the Colony of Connecticut, and the first sixtyfive pages of volume V. It contains also, inserted in chronological order between sessions of the General Assembly, the Records of the Governor and Council from October 30th, 1710, to February 19th, 1716-17.
The Council Journal from May, 1698, to October, 1710, is not known to be extant. From October, 1710, to October, 1712, the records of the Council are in one thin volume, unpaged, and generally written but on one side of the leaves. The next volume is of 275 pages, and embraces the period between January, 1712–13, and February, 1727-28, with an entry of the date of 1743, at the end. The minutes of the Council are in the hand-writing of various persons, Governor Saltonstall, Secretaries Stanly, Haynes, and Wyllys, Richard Christophers, etc. : but the greater part of those from 1713 to 1726, is in that of Christopher Christophers, who was Clerk of the Council.
In printing this volume, I have not thought it necessary to preserve the contractions or abbreviations of the original manuscript, as has been done hitherto, or to follow exactly the spelling, save, in general, in the case of proper names.
The fac-simile of one of the first Bills of Credit issued by Connecticut, which faces page 111, is taken from an original in our Archives, Crimes & Misdemeanors, II. 39. The original was altered from three shillings to ten shillings, by Ebenezer Seymour, in 1710. Specimens of the two shilling bills of the same emission, altered by him to ten shillings and forty shillings respectively, may be found in the same volume of Archives.
In November, 1868, a few months after the publication of the fourth volume of the Colonial Records of Connecticut, (1689–1706,) I came into possession of a printed copy of our statutes of the edition of 1673, having annexed, in manuscript, the session laws up to 1698. From 1673 to 1696, the hand-writing was that of Secretary John Allyn, and the remainder that of Secretary Kimberly. Subsequently the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop placed in my hands a similar manuscript by Richard Christophers. These manuscripts further confirm certain acts and orders omitted from the record by the secretary, but restored to their places in the third and fourth printed volumes, on what was regarded as good authority.
In the preface to the fourth volume, (1689–1706,) reference was made to a law to prevent oppression, by regulating prices and profits, passed in May, 1676; which is not on the record, nor printed by Mr. Trumbull. The law is here inserted from the Allyn MS., in order to render this collection of the acts of our legislature more complete. In the Allyn, Stanly, and Christophers MSS., it immediately follows the act restraining excess in apparel, printed on page 283 of volume second, (1665–1677.)
OPPRESSION. Whereas a great cry of oppression is heard amongst us, and that principally poynted at workemen and traders, which is hard to regulate without a standard prepard both for advance and for pay duely sett as money, It is therefore ordered, that the price of provission be duely sett at each of of Generall Courts annually, according to true intelligence from Boston, for money sold, and then for such pay within six moneths payd, no merchant or trader shall advance above two pence upon the shilling for profit, charge and venture from Boston, or other market of like distance, for goods well bought with ready money; trustings and trifles under a shilling being left to each mans agreement, discression and moderation, according to a good conscience, to deal. All goods as are subject to wast, the wast to be allowed as part of the first price or cost of the goods. And all breaches of this order to be punished proportionable to the value of the oppression, treble to the oppression; one third to be restored to the party oppressed, and the
residue halfe of it to the complayner that shall prove the fact, and halfe to the county treasurie where the offence is committed. And as for those tradesmen whose commodities are partly their own labour, and partly materiall; they worke upon, as tañers, shoemakers, smiths and such like, as allso such whose dayes labour cannot ordinarily be kaowen how much they dayly effect, as weavoures, taylors and such like, and day labourers, there being great difficulty to regulate the prizes of their ware and worke, this Court, purposeing in season to state orders respecting those things which at present is not attaineable, doe in the interem recommend it to all such tradsemen and labourers to consider the religious end of their callings, which is that receiveing such moderat profit as may inable them to serve God and their neighbours with their arts and trades comfortably, they doe not inrich themselves suddainly and inordinately (by oppressing prizes and wages, to the impoverishing their neighboures and rendering them in great measure uncapeable of convenient subsistance,) live in the practice of that crying sin of oppression but avoyd it.
Recently, I have discovered another manuscript of the Laws of the Territory and Dominion of New England, by which the text of those · laws printed in the Appendix to volume III. (1678–1689) pages 402 to 436, may be completed and corrected in several places.
During the period covered by the volume now published, and, in fact, during the whole of the eighteenth century, many interesting documents, and the greater part of the executive correspondence, which should be found in our archives, are missing. The General Assembly, in May, 1771, desired the Governor to collect such public papers and have them bound, that they might be preserved; and Silas Deane, in 1774, in a letter which is published in the American Archives, 4th series, I. 810, called Governor Trumbull's attention to the public loss and inconvenience sustained by the neglect or omission to preserve them in some public office. Many of these documents are still in existence, and it is much to be regretted that they are not in one place, where they can be easily accessible and freely consulted. State LIBRARY, HARTFORD,
C. J. H. April 25th, 1870.