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Petition of the Inhabitants


Petition of a number of the Inhabitants of the west wardly part of the Town of Newton, setting forth:

"That your petitioners, and many others in said west-wardly part, live at a great distance from the Old Meeting-House, (so called,) in said town, who, with their predecessors, had for many years past been put to extraordinary difficulty in attending the publick worship of God in said house, especially in winter season, and they, with their families, often detained therefrom by storms and bad travelling; and in order that they might oftener, and with more convenience, attend publick worship, they built a Meeting-House, at their own cost, more than eleven years ago, and supported preaching there in every winter since, and in private houses many of the winters, for about thirty years before, which has been very burdensome; and what has added to their burden is, their being obliged to pay their proportionable part of the Ministerial taxes, which a number of families at the southerly part of the town have been exempted from more than forty years past, who did not live so remote from said Old Meeting-House as a great number of your petitioners, which is conceived to be a cruel hardship and deprivation of a privilege which they have been compelled to allow to others.

"Your petitioners, desirous that peace and unanimity might continue in the town, have repeatedly applied to the other inhabitants for relief, humbly requesting that they would bear a part of said burden; but the majority of them being so attached to their own interest, and regardless of the interest and welfare of your petitioners, that no help can be obtained, notwithstanding their enjoyment of greater privileges to enable them, and their superior abilities, in general, to bear publick charges.

"As there now remains no other means to obtain justice, but by applying to this honourable Court, your petitioners, therefore, most humbly pray, that your Honours would be pleased to encourage their enjoying that invaluable privilege of having the Gospel dispensed to them at all seasons of the year, for the future, by ordering the said town of Newton to grant a tax, yearly, for defraying the charges of preaching in the Meeting-House built by your petitioners, as aforesaid, in the months of December, January, February, and March, annually, or otherwise, as in your wisdom shall be thought most expedient."


In Council: Read, and Ordered, That the Petitioners, as soon as may be, serve the Inhabitants of the Town of Newton with an attested copy of this Petition and Order, by leaving it with the Town-Clerk of the said town, that they may show cause, if any they have, on Tuesday, the 26th current, why the prayer of said Petition should not be granted.

In the House of Representatives: Read, and non-concurred and the consideration thereof referred to the next May session.

In Council: Read, and concurred, and ordered to be referred accordingly.