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Report of Joint Committee


Monday, February 5, 1776.

Present in Council: Honourables William Sever, Walter Spooner, Caleb Cushing, John Winthrop, John Whetcomb, James Prescott, Eldad Taylor, Benjamin Lincoln, Michael Farley, Joseph Palmer, Samuel Holten, Jabez Fisher, Benjamin White, Esquires.

In the House of Representatives: Whereas, representation has been made by this House, that Colonel Doan, of Barnstable County, has sent two vessels to the West-Indies, loaded with the produce of the Colonies; and that Mr˙ Solomon Dads, of said Barnstable, is now loading two vessels, and Mr˙ Cutt, of Saco, another; and, that a vessel at Falmouth, in Casco Bay, is likewise loading with the like produce, contrary to the Resolution of the American Congress,

Therefore, Ordered, That Mr˙ Speaker, Major Cross, and Mr˙ Story, with such as the honourable Board may join, be a Committee to make inquiry into the matter, and report what is proper to be done.

In Council: Read, and concurred, and William Sever and Walter Spooncr, Esqs˙, are joined.

The Committee of both Houses appointed to consider the subject matter of a report of a Committee of this Court, of the 10th instant, relative to a Petition of some of the inhabitants of Majabigwaduce, against the conduct of John Bakeman, Esq˙; also, sundry depositions against several of the inhabitants of said place, for threatening the life of said Bakeman, and supplying the ships of our enemies at Boston, with provisions, &c˙, together with a Letter from Timothy Parsons, complaining he is in danger of his life, from a number of lawless inhabitants of Pawnalborough; and a Petition of John Tufts, setting forth, that the enemies at Boston have been, and are continually supplied with wood, &c˙, by a number of inhabitants of Long-Island, and praying this Court' s order thereon, have carefully attended that business; and, from all the evidence they can obtain, find that the conduct of said Bakeman as a magistrate and a friend to his country is unexceptionable; and it having been made to appear to your Committee by the depositions aforesaid, as well as other witnesses, that a number of men, inhabitants of Majabigwaduce, under the colour of a Committee of Safety, and others, have been supplying the fleet of our enemies at Boston, with wood, live stock, vegetables, &c˙, and do still persist therein; and, in order to carry on their base and wicked practices with impunity, have, and do threaten the life of said Bakeman, (who openly opposes such wicked conduct,) and did, in a lawless, hostile manner, with clubs, &c˙, by force and arms, enter the house of said Bakeman in the night, between the 4th and 5th of December last; and, as he says, robbed him of a sum of money to the value of about twenty pounds,


and many valuable articles, as set forth in the memorial of said Bakeman, break and destroy the windows and doors of said Bakeman' s house, abused his person, destroyed his property, and threatened and endangered the lives of said Bakeman, his wife and family. Your Committee view the above as a high-handed offence, and that some effectual measures ought to be taken by this Court to prevent such a growing evil for the future; therefore, beg leave to report by way of Resolve:

Resolved, That William Lithgow, John Taylor, Ezekiel Peltee, Thomas Stinsin, and Waterman Thomas, Esquires, Justices of the Peace for the County of Lincoln, or any three of them, (Quorum Unus,) are hereby required to make inquiry into the riot and injury committed by a number of persons, armed and disguised, against the property of John Bakeman, Esq˙; and, also, respecting the conduct of some of the inhabitants of the County of Lincoln, in supplying the enemy with Provisions and Fuel; and of all breaches of the peace, and other disorders committed in said County; and, also, to inquire what persons have been guilty of contravening the Resolves of the American or Provincial Congresses, or the acts or ordinances of the General Court of this Colony; and, the said Justices are hereby empowered and directed to cause to come before them any accused in the premises, and such witnesses as may be found; and of them inquire, on oath, of all matters relative to the premises; and, all persons who shall by such Justices, be found so far guilty of the breach of the Laws of this Colony, especially provided, or the breach of the peace, or of evil intent against the rights and liberties of America, as that, in their judgment, they ought to be brought to trial for their respective crimes and offences; that they cause such persons to recognise, with sureties, in such sums as shall appear to them reasonable, according to the circumstances of the accused; that they will appear, and answer for their respective crimes and misdemeanors, at the Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize, and General Court of Delivery, next to be holden at Falmouth, in the County of Cumberland, within and for the Counties of Cumberland and Lincoln; and, in default of their recognising as aforesaid, the said person, or persons, to commit to prison, until they shall so recognise, or be legally discharged; and, all persons, of what quality or denomination soever, within the said County of Lincoln, are hereby commanded to assist the said Justices in the inquiry into, and execution of, all matters in the foregoing order contained, which Justices, Officers, and Witnesses, shall be paid for their cost and expenses, as in the law of this Colony is provided, in case of conviction, and in case there shall not be a conviction before the Court of Assize, they shall be paid as this Court shall hereafter order.

In Council: Read, and accepted.

In the House of Representatives: Read, and concurred.

Adjourned to ten o' clock, to-morrow morning.