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It is interesting to note, however, that the original theory of inhabitancy by consent of the town was preserved in this statute. Among the eight different methods by which it was provided that legal settlements could be obtained was this:
Any person that shall be admitted an inhabitant by any town or district at any legal meeting, in the warrant for which an article shall be inserted for that purpose, shall thereby gain a legal settlement therein.
This provision was retained in the law of the Commonwealth in the revision of the statutes in 1836,* and in the revision in 1860,† and only disappeared in the revision of 1882.
The Act of 1793 also had another provision that
All settled, ordained Ministers of the Gospel shall be deemed as legally settled in the towns or districts wherein they are or may be settled and ordained. This provision has been continued until the present time, and now exists as follows:
A settled, ordained minister of the gospel shall acquire a settlement in the place wherein he is settled. I
In the Colony of New Plymouth it was enacted in 1636
That noe person or persons hereafter shall be admitted to live and inhabite within the Government of New Plymouth without the leave and likeinge of the Governour or two of the Assistants at least.
In 1658 another order was passed reciting the order of 1636, as follows:
Whereas it hath bine an ancient and wholesome order bearing date March the seventh 1636 that noe pson coming from other
* Revised Statutes, Chap. 45, Sect. 1.
General Statutes, Chap. 69, Sect. 1. | Revised Laws of Massachusetts, Chap. 80, Sect. 1.
ne into any hout the leave a the least.
ptes bee alowed an Inhabitant of this Jurisdiction but by the approbacon of the Gov' and two of the Majistrates att least and that many persons contrary to this order of Court are crept into some townshipes of this Jurisdiction which are and may bee a great desturbance of our more peacable proceedings, bee it enacted by the Court and the authoritie thereof that if any such pson or psons shalbee found that hath not doth not or will not apply and approve themselves soe as to procure the approbacon of the Gov' and two of the Assistants that such bee inquired after, and if any such psons shalbee found that either they depart the Gov'ment or else that the Court take some such course therin as shalbee thought meet.*
In the compilation of Plymouth Laws in 1671, it was provided
That no person shall come into any Town or Peculiar in this Government to live and inhabitant, without the leave and approbation of the Governour and two of the Assistants at the least.
It was then provided that “every Town in this Government shall maintain their own poor,” and also
That if any person come to live in any Town in this Government, and be there received and entertained three months, if by sickness, lameness or the like, he comes to want relief, he shall be provided for by that Town wherein he was so long entertained, and shall be reputed their proper charge, unless such person have within the said three months been warned by the Constable, or some one or more of the Select men of that Town, not there to abide without leave first obtained of the Town, and certifie the same to the next Court of Assistants, who shall otherwise order the person or charge arising about him, according to justice.
But if any children or elder persons shall be sent, or come from one Town to another, to be nursed, schooled, or otherwise Educated, or to a Physitian or Chyrurgeon to be cured of any disease or wound, &c. if such come to stand in need of relief, they shall be relieved and maintained by the Township whence they came, and not by that Township where they are so nursed, educated or at cure; And in case they come or be sent from any place out of this Colony; then if the Nurse, Educator, Physi
* Compact, Charter and Laws of Colony of New Plymouth, pp. 57, 119.
tion or Chyrurgeon do not take good security to discharge the Town wherein he lives from all cost and charge, which shall or may befal concerning them, he that so received them shall be the Towns security in their behalf.*
Warning out was practised generally by the Massachusetts and Plymouth towns under this legislation down to the Act of Settlement of 1793.
In some towns it appears to have been practised with discrimination; that is, only such persons were warned to depart as the town authorities thought were likely to become in need of support. In other cases, however, it was apparently the practice to warn out all new-comers, whether thought likely to become chargeable or not.
The result of this was that a large number of persons became actual inhabitants of towns, owned property, paid taxes, held town offices, bore all the burdens and performed all the duties of citizenship, without ever acquiring the right of inhabitancy; that is, of support in case they or their children became in need of support. This fact and the uncertainty which arose in many such cases as to where the proper inhabitancy or settlement of persons who became in need of support was, led to the enactment of the General Law of Settlement of 1793.
The action of the Massachusetts towns in this matter is further illustrated by the following instances:
In Marshfield in 1664 the town gave authority to the selectmen to warn idle or disorderly persons out of town, and the inhabitants were forbidden to entertain any person that had been so warned.†
* Compact, Charter and Laws of Colony of New Plymouth (edition 1836), p. 274.
† Richards, History of Marshfield, p. 48.
The records of Deerfield, May 11, 1664, show this notification:
To the Selectmen of Deerfield: Gentlemen; This is to give Notice to you that there came to my House April 29th, 1664 Zebulen Tubbs his wife Esther Tubbs & two Children viz. Theuel & Esther where they now are. They came last from Hinsdale in the Province of New Hampshire their circumstances being something low in worldly things having no other estate that I know of but one Horse & two Cows.
John HENRY. A true Copy of ye Notification
Attst Tho® Williams T. Cler.
sons as W
The forms of warning out used in Lancaster, Massachusetts, in 1671, show plainly that the warning out then practised was of such persons as were likely to become chargeable to the town.*
In this town, however, in 1791 the selectmen caused more than a hundred persons, men and women with their children, to be warned to depart out of the town without regard to their character or pecuniary condition. Among others thus treated was the Hon. John Sprague, who had been in town about twenty years, and had already represented the town in the General Court four years.
In 1679 the inhabitants of Salem were summoned to answer for permitting persons not inhabitants to abide in their houses. In 1679 two persons were authorized to take an account of all inmates or strangers, that are now in or may hereafter come into the towne and returne their names to the selectmen every moneth, and, if need be, to warne them to depart.
In 1695 a "jersyman” (evidently a man from New Jersey) who had served six years in Salem was “warned”
* Nourse, Annals of Lancaster, p. 89.
away. Such notices were frequent for twenty-five years after that time. Felt says that in 1790 and 1791 there were several hundred people in Salem not regular inhabitants who were warned to depart.*
In Reading in 1691 the record shows that three persons “were warned out of town.” And this was done for many years thereafter, but confined, as it is said, to such new-comers as, in the opinion of the town, were likely to become a town charge.†
In Attleboro it was voted in 1697 that
No person that is a stranger shall be received as an inhabitant without the consent or approbation of said Town, or sufficient security given to the Town by him or them that shall take in or harbor any person contrary to this order;-moreover the Selectmen are appointed to take due care and sufficient security in the behalf of the Town of and for all such persons as shall receive in or harbor any stranger or foriner, or to give order and warning to such stranger or foriner to depart the town according as the law directs, and that with all convenient speed after knowledge or notice given of the same. $
In Medford it was the custom to warn every newcomer out of town, and record the notification in the Court of Sessions as a “caution” up to the time of the Revolution.
The inhabitants of Sudbury repeatedly used the power of warning out strangers and of censuring and fining inhabitants who received strangers into their houses. They also ordered that no inhabitant should let or lease any houses or lands unto strangers without leave of the selectmen in a selectmen's meeting, or leave given in a general town meeting, unless they should “stake-down, depositate and bind over a suffi
* Felt, Annals of Salem, Vol. I, pp. 358, 359, 360. † Eaton, History of Reading, p. 36. | Daggett, History of Attleboro, p. 88. § Usher, History of Medford, p. 111.