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The Council Desired to Set Apart Thursday, the 7th of March


Tuesday, February 20, 1776.

Ordered, That Mr˙ Story be of the Committee to consider the subject-matter of the Letter from the Honourable James Otis, Esq˙, in the room of Major Hawley, otherwise engaged.

It having been the laudable practice of this Government to recommend and appoint days for Fasting and Prayer upon solemn and special occasions, besides our Annual Fasts, and as this Court apprehend that the present time is big with the most important events to this and the other Colonies, and that these events are in the hand of the Supreme Governour of the Universe:

Therefore, Resolved, That the honourable Board be, and hereby are desired to set apart Thursday, the 7th day of March, to be observed as a Day of Solemn Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore of Almighty God, that the vocal dispensations of Providence, in the peculiar events which have lately taken place, may be duly resented, and the great end for which they were designed happily accomplished; that He will, also, command His blessing upon our Council and Arms in the present struggle with Great Britain, for those inestimable rights, civil and religious, with which God and Nature has invested us, and made it our duty to endeavour, at every hazard, to hand down to posterity, and that they cause a Proclamation to be immediately issued and sent to the Ministers and Pastors of the several denominations of Christians in this Colony for the purposes aforesaid.

Michael Farley, Esq˙, brought down the Report of the Committee of both Houses appointed to consider what was proper to be done, relative to regulating proceedings in Civil Causes, viz:

Whereas, this Colony, for several months past, has been made by Great Britain the seat of an unnatural war, by reason whereof, and the constant attention of this Court to the necessary means of defence, there has not as yet been opportunity to make sufficient provision for regulating, in all respects, the Executive Courts in this Colony, and especially with regard to the fees for services in and about civil actions, which fees have heretofore been very unequal and disproportionate to the service, and, in some instances, plainly excessive; and as this Court are deeply impressed with the necessity of making divers alterations in the fees and allowances for such services, that all oppression, and every appearance thereof in our Courts of Justice, may be wholly taken away and prevented, and have the fullest intention immediately after their next meeting, most seriously to attend to this matter, and to make such regulations therein, as that on the one hand none who are necessarily employed in the course of civil actions, should fail of receiving a reasonable allowance, and that on the other hand none, by any cunning arts or fictions, should take exorbitant sums on any pretence whatsoever;

It is, therefore, Resolved and Ordered, That no Civil Action shall be entered with any Justice of the Peace, and that no judgment shall be rendered on any action which is now pending, or that shall be entered and pending in any Inferior Court of Common Pleas in this Colony, before the 3d day of April next, without the further order of this Court; but that such actions shall be continued of course, until the term next after the 3d day of April next, whether there be an appearance of the defendant or not; and that no Fees shall be allowed, or costs taxed, by any Inferior Courts of Common Pleas in this Colony, on any action which shall be commenced or entered between the passing this Resolve, and the said 3d day of April next, but such as shall be allowed by some future Act or Order of this Court, any law, act, or resolve to the contrary hereof notwithstanding.

This Resolve to be published in the next Cambridge, Watertown, and Worcester Newspapers.

Whereas, it is of the utmost consequence that effectual care be taken to provide a sufficient Magazine of Provision for the use of this Colony, and it is possible we may be disappointed of part of the Flour and Rice lately ordered to be imported from the Southward:

Therefore, Resolved, That Deacon Elnathan Curtis, of Stockbridge, Gideon Wheeler, Esq˙, of Lanesborough, and Mr˙ Benedict Dewy, of Great-Barrington, be a Committee to purchase in the western parts of this Colony, a quantity


of good merchantable Flour, not exceeding two thousand barrels, provided the same is delivered at Springfield and Hadley at sixteen Shillings per hundred, including every charge. And in order to prevent any loss from failure in the quality of this article:

It is Ordered, That every vender thereof cause to be marked on each barrel his name, and the town to which he belongs.

And it is further Resolved, That there be paid out of the publick Treasury, to Captain Noah Goodman and Major William Pyncheon, the sum of one thousand Pounds, to enable them to pay for the Flour, and transportation thereof, on its delivery at the said Towns of Springfield and Hadley; they to be accountable to this Court for the same.

Whereas, it is probable it may be for the interest of the Colony that part of the quantity of the Flour and Rice, lately ordered to be imported from the Southward, should be brought into some port eastward of Boston:

Resolved, That, in addition to the Committee already appointed to procure the same, there be chosen from that part of the Province two more for the same purpose; and Major Cross is accordingly chosen on the part of this House.

Ordered, That a message go to the honourable Board, to desire them to inform the House whether they have any matters to send down; and, if they have not, to acquaint a major part of the honourable Council, that it is the desire of the House that the Court might be adjourned to the 20th of March next.

On a motion, Ordered, That a message go to the honourable Board, informing them that the House have reconsidered their vote proposing that the Court might be adjourned to the 20th of March next, and that it is the opinion of the House that the 13th of the same month would be a more proper time.

Resolved, That there be granted and paid out of the publick Treasury of this Colony, to Samuel Freeman, the sum of one hundred Pounds, for the use of those persons who are sufferers by the burning of the Town of Falmonth; said sum to be applied in the same manner as was directed in a former Resolve of this Court, granting the sum of two hundred and fifty Pounds for that purpose said Freeman to be accountable to this Court for the same.