As the TOBACCO-LAW, made the last session of Assembly, relates to most of the Inhabitants of this Colony, and is in Force immediately from the last Day of the Session; I though I could not take a better Method for making it generally known, and for Dispatch too, than by publishing it in the Gazette: And, I hope, it's Usefulness will be an Attonement for the Place it takes of News.
An Act for further Continuing and Amending the Act, for Amending the Staple of Tobacco; and for preventing Frauds in His Majesty's Customs.
WHEREAS the Act, made in the Third Year of his Majesty's Reign, For Amending the Staple of Tobacco; and for preventing Frauds in His Majesty's Customs, which hath been Explained, Amended, and Continued, by Three subsequent Acts of Assembly; One of which, was made in the Fifth, another in the Eighth, and the other in the Tenth Year of the Reign of His said Majesty, hath been found in great Measure, to answer the good Ends and Design thereof, in preventing the Exportation of bad, unfound, and unmerchantable Tobacco, in securing fair Traders against many abuses and Deceits, and in d[ ]sting and discouraging Frauds in His Majesty's Customs; to the great Advantage of the Trade of this Colony: And the said Acts, if further continued with some Alterations and Amendments, will be still a greater Encouragement and Benefit, both to the Trader and Planter:
An whereas, notwithstanding the good Effects of the said Law, the ill Behavior and bad Practices of some Inspectors in the Execution thereof, have occasioned some Discontent and Uneasiness. For Remedy whereof, and for removing all Occasion of Complaint for the future,
Be it Enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly; and it is hereby Enacted by the Authority of the same,
That from and after the last Day of July next, all Inspectors shall be appointed in the following Manner, that is to say, the Justices of the respective County Courts within this Colony, wherein Public Warehouses, for Reception and Inspection of Tobacco are, or shall be established, shall, annually, at the Courts held for their said Counties, in the Month of August, or September, nominate and recommend to the Governor or Commander in Chief of this Dominion, for the Time being, in Writing, Four fit and able Persons, who are reputed skilful in Tobacco, for the Execution of the Office of Inspectors, for every Public Warehouse or Inspection in their County. And that where Public Warehouses have been, or shall be appointed in several Counties under One Inspection, the Court of each respective County, shall nominate and recommend Two fit Persons, to be appointed at such Warehouses, in the Manner herein before directed: Which Nomination the said Justices shall cause to be entered upon Record: and the Clerks of such Courts respectively, shall forthwith transmit a Copy of the same to the Secretary's Office: and the Governor or Commander in Chief, with the Advice of the Council, out of Persons so nominated and recommended, shall chuse and appoint Two, to execute the said Office, at every such Warehouse, or Inspection. And if the Persons so appointed, or either of them, shall be again recommended the next succeeding Year, the same shall be a sufficient Appointment to him or them, to continue in the said Office, without a new Commission; and so from Year to Year, so long as they shall be recommended as aforesaid. And in Case of the Death, Resignation, or Removal of any Inspector, the Governor or Commander in Chief, shall likewise chuse and appoint some other Person named in the last Recommendation, from the County Court where the Vacancy shall happen, to succeed such Inspector.
Provided always, That no Justice of the Peace, being an Inspector, or recommended to be an Inspector, shall have a Vote in any such Recommendation: And that no Inspector, during the Time of his Continuance in the Office, shall be Collector of His Majesty's Quit Rents, or of any Public, County, or Parish Levies, or of any Officers Fees.
Provided also, That if any County Court shall fail to nominate and recommend as aforesaid, the Governor or Commander in Chief, with the Advice of the Council, shall, in Case of the Vacancy of any Inspectors Place appoint any Person or Persons that he shall think fit, to fill up such Vacancy.
Provided nevertheless, That all Inspectors, being in Office at the Time of the first Nomination, who shall be recommended in Manner aforesaid, by the said County Courts, shall be continued in the said Office, if they shall think fit, so long as they shall well behave themselves therein.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That every Inspector, before he enters upon the Execution of his Office, shall make Oath; and give Bond and Security, according to the Directions of the said mentioned Act of Assembly. And that all Inspectors shall constantly attend their Duty, at the Warehouse or Inspection under their Charge, from the Tenth Day of November, to the last Day of June Yearly, (except Sundays, and the Holy Days observed at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, or when hindered by Sickness) and afterwards, they, or one of them, shall constantly attend at the Same (except on Sundays) to deliver out Tobacco for Exportation, till all the Tobacco remaining there the said last Day of June, shall be so delivered. And every Inspector, neglecting to attend as aforesaid, shall forfeit and pay, to the Party grieved, Five Shillings for every Neglect: To be recovered, with Costs, before any Justice of the Peace in the County where such Warehouse or Inspection shall be: Or shall be liable to the Action upon the Case of the said Party grieved, to recover all such Damages, which he or she shall have sustained, by Occasion of any such Neglect; together with his, or her full Costs, at the Election of such Party.
And, that the Inspectors of every Warehouse or Inspection, shall, hereafter, keep a just and true Account of all Tobacco that shall be gained or saved, upon the Allowance made for Cask, or Shrinkage, of all Transfer Tobacco; and shall exhibit such Account, upon Oath, to the Court of the County where such Warehouse or Inspection shall be, in the Month of September Yearly, if a Court be then held; but if not, shall then exhibit such Account to some Justice of the said County; and make Oath thereto before him; which said Justice shall return the same to the next succeeding Court. And the said Inspectors, having exhibited such Account, and made Oath as aforesaid, shall, by Publick Auction, at the Court-Door of the said County, on the Court Day in September aforesaid, sell all such Tobacco as shall be gained or saved as aforesaid, for the best Price that can be got for the same, in Money, and shall account for and pay the said Money to the Treasurer of this Colony for the Time being, in their next Account to him. And the said Treasurer shall account for the same to the General Assembly. And that no Inspector shall, here after, convert any such Tobacco to their own Use.
And, that the Inspectors be obliged to make every Hogshead of Transfer Tobacco by them paid away, Eight Hundred and Fifty Pounds of nett Tobacco, if the Notes produced by the Party receiving the same, do amount to so much, after the Allowances for Cask and Shrinkage are deducted. An that they be also obliged, when required by an Person intitled to receive any Hogshead of Crop Tobacco at their Inspection, which shall be under Eight Hundred and Fifty Pounds nett, to prize the same, so as to make it up that Weight; such Person finding the Tobacco, and paying the same Fee as for passing and stamping Transfer Tobacco. And in all Transfer Notes which shall hereafter be delivered out, the Inspectors shall distinguish whether the Tobacco be Leaf or Stemmed.
And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That all Inspectors, Sherifs, Under-Sherifs, and Constables, who shall be in Office on the First Day of February next, shall, at the first or second Court of their respective Counties, after the said first Day of February, that an Oath:
That if they shall at any Time know, or be credibly informed, or have good Grounds to suspect, that any Tobacco is pressed or packed in any Cask, Chest, Case, or other Package whatsoever; or any Tobacco is put on Board any Boat or Vessel, in order to be shipped off, without being inspected; or that any Tobacco is carrying, or carried out of this Colony, into Carolina, or Maryland, without a Permit for so doing, they will forthwith make Information, and a particular Discovery thereof, to the next Justice of the Peace of the County where such Tobacco shall be.
And that all the said Officers respectively, which shall hereafter be appointed, or sworn into the said Offices, shall, at the Time of their being so sworn, take the same Oath, and obtain a Certificate thereof: An every such Officer failing so to do, shall forfeit Five Pounds current Money, to the Informer: To be recovered, with Costs, by Action of Debt, or Information, in any Court of Record, within this Dominion. And if any Justice of the Peace shall know, or be informed, as aforesaid, by any of the said Officers, or by any other Person, upon Oath of any such Tobacco so pressed or packed, such Justice, or by his Warrant, any Sheriff, Under-Sheriff, or Constable, within the limits of his County, shall have Power, and be obliged to enter any suspected House, and to break open all Doors, either by Night or by Day, to search for the same; and finding any Tobacco pressed in any Cask, Chest, or Case, that shall not contain Two Hundred Pounds Weight of nett Tobacco, or any other Package, made up in Linen, Cords, or Spun-yarn, of any Weight whatsoever; such Justice, Sheriff, Under-Sheriff, or Constable, respectively, shall seize and destroy the same: And the Person, in whose Possession such Tobacco shall be found, shall forfeit, to the informer, Ten Shillings Current Money, for every Hundred Pounds Weight; and so in Proportion for a less Quantity: To be recovered, with Costs, in any Court of Record, if it be Twenty Five Shillings Current Money, or more; or if under that Sum, before any Justice of the Peace of the County where the Fact shall be committed; and such Justice shall issue an Execution, either against the Body or Goods of the Offender accordingly. And if any Action shall be brought against any Justice of the Peace, Sheriff, Under-Sheriff, or Constable, for doing any thing in the Execution of this Act, the Defendant may plead the General Issue, and give this Act in Evidence: And if the Plaintiff shall be Nonsuit, or Judgment pass against him, upon a Verdict, or Demurrer, the Defendant shall recover Double Costs.
And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, that if any Inspector shall be removed from his Office, upon a Complaint, and Prosecution against him, in the Method prescribed by the said Act, made in the Eighth Year of His Majesty's Reign, he shall be liable to the Action on the Case of the Prosecutor, for his necessary Costs and Expenses in such Prosecution; in which the Prosecutor shall also recover his full Costs of Suit.
And whereas several new Warehouses have been built, since the Reduction of the Public Warehouse Rents, some at the Expence of the several Counties where the said Warehouses are situate, and others by the Proprietors of the Land on which the same are built; and the Rents, as then settled, are not sufficient to defray the Expence of building such additional Houses, in any reasonable Time:
Be it therefore Enacted, That from and after the Tenth Day of November last, the Rents of the following Public Warehouses shall be raised and settled at the Rates herein after expressed: That is to say,
And that new Public Warehouses be erected at the following Places: That is to say, Upon the old Plantation of Thomas Hayes, Gent. deceased, on the East Side of Eastermost River, in the County of Glocester: And that the Rent thereof, be Ten Pounds per Annum; And the Salary of the Inspectors, Thirty Pounds per Annum to each Inspector. On the Land of Mr. Rodham Kenner, opposite to the Warehouse at Coan, and to be under the same Inspection; and that the Rent of the said new Warehouse be Five Pounds per Annum. And that the Public Warehouse at Taskanask be Repealed; and that instead thereof, a Public Warehouse be appointed at the Brick House, at the same Rent as is settled for that at Taskanask; and to be under the same Inspection as that at Hog-Neck. And that the Public Warehouse lately appointed on Capt. Barber's Land, be also repealed; and another be established instead thereof, at Totaskey Ferry, at the Rent of Six Pounds per Annum; and to be under the same Inspection as the Warehouse on the other Side the Creek: And that the Salary of the Inspectors at Gibson's, be increased Five Pounds per Annum, to each Inspector; and of the Inspectors at Fredericksburg, Twenty Pounds per Annum, to each Inspector.
And be it further Enacted, That where any Public Warehouse has been appointed upon any River or Creek, so near the Water Side, as that the Tobacco brought thither may be in Danger of being destroyed, by the Overflowing of such River or Creek, the respective Courts of the several Counties wherein any such Warehouse or Warehouses are, shall be, and are hereby authorized and impowered at any Time hereafter, when it shall be necessary, to build more or other Houses in the Room of those gone to Decay, to direct and appoint the Warehouses so to be built, to be erected at some more convenient Place, upon the Land of the Owner or Owners of the first built Houses: But if such Owner has no Land where such House or Houses may be built, and the Tobacco be secured from such Accidents, then the said County Courts shall have Power to direct such House or Houses to be built upon the Land of any other Person.
And be it further Enacted, That where any Person, chargeable with any Officers Fees, lives in another County than that where the Service is performed, or the Fees become due, the same Allowance shall be made to every such Person, as is by Law settled to be allowed in that County where the Service is performed, or the Fees become due; and no other Allowance whatsoever. Any Law, Usage, or Custom to the contrary, notwithstanding.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That this Act shall commence immediately from and after the passing thereof: And together with the said first mentioned Act, For Amending the Staple of Tobacco: and for preventing Frauds in His Majesty's Customs; and the Three other subsequent acts, For Explaining, Amending, and Continuing that Act, for so much of the same as is not repealed or altered, shall continue in Force till the Ninth Day of November, in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty Nine, and for Three Years next following, and no longer.