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Ordinance for erecting Salt Works, and for encouraging the making of Salt


An Ordinance for erecting Salt Works in this Colony, and for encouraging the making of Salt.

Whereas, from the commodious situations of many parts of our rivers and bays next to the sea-coast, and from experiments made in this country, it is judged that large quantities of Salt may be made, as well for our own consumption as for exportation, by which the inconveniences from the want of that article would be speedily removed, and great advantages might be derived both to the trade and revenue of this country; and whereas it is thought that the most certain and expeditious method of making Salt will be by erecting proper works in the most convenient and secure places for the reception of the salt water, from which, by the operation of the sun, or otherwise, great quantities may be procured:

Be it therefore ordained by the Delegates and Representatives of the people assembled in General Convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That there be erected, with all possible despatch, in the several Districts hereinafter mentioned, two complete Salt Works, according to the best and most approved plan, that is to say: in the District between Potomack and Rappahannock Rivers, two; between Rappahannock and York, two; between York and James Rivers, two; on the south side of James River, two; and also two other works on the Eastern-Shore of this country; and there shall be appointed to the works in each District one Director or Manager, who shall immediately proceed to erect the same (and for that purpose may take the advice and assistance of any artist in that way) at the publick expense. And the said Manager or Managers shall have full power and authority, from time to time, to hire such hands, and so many of them, as he or they shall judge necessary for completing the said works in the most effectual and expeditious manner; and if the said hands cannot thus be soon and conveniently procured, he or they shall have full power to impress such and so many labourers into the service as shall be judged proper, who shall be allowed such hire as any two of three freeholders in the said District or Districts, being first sworn, may think reasonable: Provided, That such Manager shall not have power to impress more than one-third of the male labouring tithable slaves belonging to any person upon one plantation; and that, when the said works are completed, no Manager or Managers shall be allowed longer to impress any hands into the said service, but they shall be hired in the usual way.

And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the Manager or Managers hereinafter appointed, or for the time being, shall provide, from time to time, all things necessary for the said works, and report his or their proceedings therein to the Governour of this country, together with an account of the expense attending the same, when


required; and in case of the death of any Manager, or the negligence, misconduct, or refusal to render such account, from time to time, when required of any of them, the Governour shall have full power and authority to appoint another in the room of him so dying, or to displace such Manager or Managers so neglecting, and to appoint others in his or their stead. And the Treasurer of this country shall, and he is hereby, required to advance to each of the said Managers the sum of £500, to enable him the better to prosecute the said work.

And be it further ordained, That the Governour of this country shall, as he may see fit, grant his warrant to the Treasurer for the payment of such sums of money as shall be required to complete the said works, and for carrying on the business of salt making. And the salt made at the said works shall be sold by the Manager or Managers, first to the inhabitants of this country, at the price of five shillings per bushel, and the money arising from such sale paid into the publick Treasury, to he disposed of as the Convention or General Assembly shall direct; and if there shall be made a greater quantity than will be sufficient for the consumption of this country, the overplus shall be disposed of to the best advantage, and the money thence arising to be paid into the publick Treasury, for the use of this country. But any sale so to be made to the inhabitants, or otherwise, shall be suspended until the next meeting of the Assembly, when report shall be made to the same, on the first day of their sitting, by the said Managers, of the quantity of salt made at each respective Salt Work, that a due proportion thereof may be allotted to the different Counties; and, in the mean time, the said Managers are authorized and required to cause the salt respectively made at the said Salt Works to be removed to and stored in places of safety. And the said Managers shall keep regular and distinct accounts of all disbursements upon the said works, and of all profits arising therefrom; and each Manager shall be allowed a Clerk, with a salary of £30 a year, and the sum of 20s˙ per day, until salt is made at the works, and 10s˙ a day and 1s˙ per bushel for all salt he shall make after that time, until the next meeting of Assembly or Convention, for his own services therein, And they shall, moreover, each of them, give bond, with security, for the due application of the money so advanced, and for the performance of the trust reposed in them.

And be it further ordained, That Richard Parker, the elder, Gentleman, shall be, and he is hereby, appointed Manager of the works in the District between Potomack and Rappahannock; Thomas Wood, Gentleman, in the District between Rappahannock and York River; David Jameson, Gentleman, in the District between York and James Rivers; John Seasbrooke Wills, Gentleman, in the District on the south side of James River; and Southy Simpson, Gentleman, on the Eastern-Shore of this country.

And whereas it may contribute greatly towards procuring a speedy supply of so necessary an article to allow a bounty to private adventurers: Be it therefore ordained by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be allowed and paid by the Treasurer a bounty upon the several quantities of salt hereinafter mentioned, to each person producing a certificate of his having made the same within six months after the passing of this Ordinance, except Mr˙ James Tait, who hath already received sufficient encouragement, that is to say: for fifty bushels, the sum of 50s˙; for one hundred bushels, the sum of £7 10s˙; for two hundred bushels, the sum of £20; and for five hundred bushels, the sum of £62 10s˙ The said certificates to be granted by the Court of the County wherein such salt shall be made, on proof thereof appearing to them.

And be it further ordained, That the several lands whereon it shall be found necessary to erect publick Salt Works shall, previous to the erecting the same, be valued by three disinterested freeholders on oath, and the amount of such valuation, upon a certificate from the Managers of the said works,-be paid by the Treasurer to the owner or owners of such lands, which shall from thenceforth be vested in the publick, to revert to the proprietor when such works shall be discontinued.

And be it further ordained, That all appointments and powers heretofore given to Commissioners for erecting Salt Works, by virtue of any resolutions of Convention, shall henceforth cease: Provided, nevertheless, That the said Managers shall, and they are hereby, authorized and required to state and settle the accounts of the said Commissioners, and to take the hands by them employed for the purposes aforesaid, and also all such materials as may have been contracted for or purchased by them on the publick account.

And that all proper encouragement may be given to the speedy and effectual supplying the country with salt: Be it further ordained, That a premium of £100 shall be paid by the publick to that Manager who shall make the first two thousand bushels of good salt.