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bills designed to advance the interests of his constituents. Among these, was one “for raising £250 in the county of Cumberland, towards finishing the court-house and gaol already erected in the said county.” Permission being granted, a bill to that effect was presented, and having passed its first reading on the 8th, and its second reading on the 10th, was referred to a committee of the whole house. Thence it was returned on the 13th with an altered title, * and with the amendment was, on the 15th, ordered to be engrossed. Having been read a third time, it was enacted by the house. On the 18th, the concurrence of the Council in the bill was announced by Roger Morris, and on the 8th of March it was passed into a law. The work was soon after renewed, and by the close of summer the building was ready for use. The court-room was never finished; but its walls, gray and cobwebbed, and its beams and braces rough and bare, were perfectly in keeping with the turbulent spirits who met within its precincts in legal conflict, or assembled there to engage in more important scenes.t
* The title was changed so as to read, "for raising the further sum of £250,” etc. Act of 13th George III., in Laws N. Y., Van Schaack's ed., 1691–1773, p. 803.
+ Journal Gen. Ass. N. Y., 1767–1776. The courts were held at Westminster, until 1781. In that year, Westminster and Marlborough were declared to be half shire towns, and one court term was held at each place until 1787, when the half shire towns were abolished, and the county town was established at New Fane, where a new court-house and jail were erected. The engraving in the text was finished from a plan, made from memory by Daniel Hall, Esq., who, in the year 1794, attended a school in the "Old Court-House" taught by Master Dudley Chase, afterwards United States Senator from Vermont. The building was demolished about the year 1806.
In the various petitions, remonstrances, and memorials which had been presented to the governors of New York at different times, by persons claiming to be residents on the “Grants,” the population of that district had been made to appear much greater than it really was. To come at the truth on this point, Governor Dunmore, on the 16th of January, 1771, directed the sheriffs of Cumberland and Gloucester counties to take an enumeration of the inhabitants of their respective bailiwicks. As the result of this census, it was shown that there were in the twentysix towns in the county of Cumberland, from which returns were received, of white males, one thousand and eighty, under the age of sixteen; one thousand and thirty-three, between sixteen and sixty; and sixty, aged sixty and upwards; of white females, nine hundred and forty-nine, under sixteen ; and eight hundred and eighty-seven above that age; of black males, seven, and of black females, eight. The whole population amounted to four thousand and twenty-four persons, of whom seven hundred and forty-four were heads of families. At the same time the total number of whites and blacks in Gloucester county was found to be seven hundred and twenty-two.* With these data, the Legislature of New York were prepared to appreciate better the wants of a people who, on account of their distance from the seat of government, had been neglected, although their rights were nearly the same as those of the inhabitants of the other counties of the province.t
Among the complaints which were made when the subject of removing the court-house was first mooted, was one arising from the fact that the people of Cumberland county were denied representation in the Provincial Legislature. Thomas Chandler, writing to Governor Dunmore, on the 10th of April, had informed him of this “grievance," and had expressed his belief that his lordship would endeavor to redress it. The right of petition being that most frequently exercised in such cases, the people of the county drew up an address to Governor Tryon, on the 7th of December, 1772, in which they set forth the "powers, privileges, and immunities” to which they were by the terms of their charter entitled. They declared themselves “ wholly disposed to demean themselves as good subjects,” but expressed a desire of “enjoying, in common with the inhabitants of the other counties,” the liberty of choosing two representatives “to serve in the General Assembly.” “Such representation,” said they, “will fulfil the hopes of your petitioners, by establishing that firm and lasting connection which they are desirous should ever subsist between them and the government to which it is their happiness to belong, and will enable them the more readily to accomplish the good purposes of government, by obtaining such laws as will most tend to its honor and their own prosperity.” This address, which bore at its foot one hundred and fifty-one signatures, having been read in Council on the 23d of December, was favorably received, and a writ was ordered to issue, enabling the freeholders and inhabitants of the county to choose two representatives to sit in the next General Assembly of the province. At the election, which was held agreeable to this order, Samuel Wells, of Brattleborough, and Crean Brush, of Westminster, were returned as representatives. The Legislature being then in session, they soon after repaired to the city 1772.]
* Williams's Hist. Yt., 1st ed., p. 411; 2d ed. ui 478 Brattleborough Semi. Weekly Eagle, vol. iri, no8. 43, 45-47, 49-51, 58, 60, 76. Doc Hist. N. Y., iv. 1034
+ See Appendix H
THE INDUCTION OF WELLS AND BRUSH.
of New York, and, having notified their attendance to the house on the 2d of February, 1773, were called in, and after presenting their credentials, were ordered to withdraw. Having been received as representatives by a unanimous vote, they were waited upon by Mr. De Lancey and Mr. Nicoll, two of the representatives, by whom they were conducted to one of the commissioners appointed to qualify representatives, and having taken the required oaths, were allowed to take their seats " at the table.” Such was the ceremony by which members were inducted into office under the old courtier-like regime. Republicanism has removed most of the forms which served to give dignity to the legislative transactions of our ancestors, and the result may, for a time, have been beneficial. But the experience of the last twenty years has shown, at least in our deliberative bodies, that a decrease in respectful conduct has followed closely upon a disuse of ceremonial observances, and the scenes which have lately disgraced the floor of our National Congress have awakened in many a heart a wish for the revival of some of that becoming etiquette which lent so great a grace to the proceedings of the assemblies of former days.*
Previous to the election of Wells and Brush, some of the members of the Legislature had proposed the passage of a number of necessary and judicious laws, relating to Cumberland county. Leave having been granted, on the 15th of January, 1772, to bring in such acts as would meet the ends designed, the yeomanry, of Cumberland had the satisfaction of knowing before the close of the session that their wants had been considered, and that the punishment of the statutebreaker and the protection of good men were certain, so far as legal enactments could avail, to produce these results.
The first of these acts, passed on the 26th of February, was for the revival and continuation of an act which had been made six years before for the purpose of " laying out, regulating and keeping in repair" the roads of the county.t At the same time a law was enacted for regulating the inns and taverns of the county. By its provisions no person was allowed to sell " by retail, any rum, brandy, wine, or spirits of any kind, under the
Council Minutes, in office Sec. State, N. Y., 1765–1783, xxvi. 381. Journal Gen. Ass. N. Y., 1767–1776. Doo. Hist. N. Y., iv. 816, 817.
+ See ante, pp. 138, 139. By an act passed March 8th, 1773, this act was extended to Gloucester county. Laws of N. Y., Van Schaack's ed., 1691–1773, pp. 487-490, 646, 804,805.
quantity of one quart; nor any cider, strong beer, metheglin, or any such strong liquor, or any mixt liquors, directly or indirectly, under the quantity of five gallons," without a license, on pain of forfeiting the sum of twenty shillings, current money, for every offence, one-half of the fine to be paid to him who should sue for it, the other half to the overseers of the poor, for the benefit of those under their care. Licenses were to be granted for one year by the court of General Sessions of the Peace, to such persons as the justices should recommend, and were to be entered by the clerk on the court records. The justice from whom a recommendation proceeded, was to receive three shillings for every license granted, and the clerk two shillings for his services. By another provision, the act was to be read once in every year at the session of the court.*
Many difficulties had already arisen from the imperfect condition of the laws regarding the probate of wills and the settlement of the affairs of intestates. By an act passed on the 11th of November, 1692, in the fourth year of the reign of William and Mary, the courts of Common Pleas for the remote counties in the colony of New York, had been authorized “to take the examination of witnesses to any will within the said respective remote counties upon oath, and to grant letters of administration.”
On the 24th of March, 1772, an act was passed extending the aforesaid act to Cumberland and Gloucester counties, giving to the courts of Common Pleas in those counties power “to take the examination of any witnesses to wills upon oath ;” and “to act, do, and perform every matter and thing” pertaining to the supervising of intestates' estates, the regulating of the probate of wills, and the granting of letters of administration. When the courts were not in session, the same authority was given to the judges and justices by virtue of their office, and the clerks were ordered to give such assistance as might with propriety be
* This act was amended March 8th, 1773, and was extended to Gloucester county. As altered, no person was allowed to retail "any Rum, Brandy, Wine, or Spirits of any kind, under the Quantity of Five Gallons," without a license. No person having a license “to retail strong Liquors," was permitted to "sell any mixt Liquors, directly or indirectly, on pain of forfeiting the Sum of Twenty Shillings,” current money, for each offence, to be recovered and applied as directed by the former act. The judges of the Inferior court of Common Pleas were authorized to grant licenses at the meetings of the court of General Sessions of the Peace, to such persons as they should deem proper. Laws of N. Y., Van Schaack's ed., 1691–1778, pp. 646, 647, 805.