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Act of the South Carolina General Assembly concerning the establishment of the Church of England
South Carolina. General Assembly
November 04, 1704
Volume 02, Pages 867-882

[S. C. Statutes at Large. Vol. 2. P. 236.]
AN ACT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP IN THIS PROVINCE, ACCORDING TO THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, AND FOR THE ERECTING OF CHURCHES FOR THE PUBLICK WORSHIP OF GOD, AND ALSO FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF MINISTERS AND THE BUILDING CONVENIENT HOUSES FOR THEM.

Forasmuch as in a well grounded christian commonwealth matters concerning religion and the honor of God ought in the first place to be taken into consideration, and honest endeavors to attain to such good ends countenanced and encouraged, as being not only most acceptable to God, but the best way and means to obtain his mercy and a blessing upon a people and country;

Be it therefore enacted by his Excellency John Lord Granville, Palatine, and the rest of the true and absolute Lords and Proprietors of this Province, by and with the advice and consent of the rest of the members of the General Assembly, now met at Charlestown for the south-west part of this Province, and by the authority of the same, That the Book of Common Prayer, and administration of the Sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England, the Psalter or Psalms of David, and Morning and Evening Prayer therein contained, be Solemnly read by all and every Minister or Reader in every Church

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which now is or hereafter shall be settled and by law established within this Province; and that all Congregations and places for the publick worship, according to the usage of the Church of England within this Province, for the maintenance of whose ministers and of the persons officiating therein, any certain income or revenue is or shall by the laws of this Province be established and enjoined to be raised or paid, shall be deemed Settled and Established Churches.

II. And whereas it is necessary and for the better accommodation and conveniency of the inhabitants of this Province that the same be divided into parishes, and the bounds of the several parishes ascertained, Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, That Charlestown, and the Neck between Cooper and Ashley rivers, as far up the Neck as the plantation of John Bird, Gent., on Cooper river, inclusive, and the plantation of Christopher Smith, Esq. on Ashley river, inclusive, is and shall be from henceforth for ever a distinct parish of itself, and be called by the name of the Parish of St Philips in Charlestown.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the church situate in Charlestown aforesaid, and the ground thereunto adjoining, inclosed and used for a cemetery or church yard, shall be the parish church and church-yard of St Philip's, Charlestown; and the same is hereby enacted and declared to be for ever separated and dedicated to the service of God, and to be applied therein to the use and behalfe of the inhabitants from time to time inhabiting and to inhabit there, that are of the religion and profession of the Church of England, and conforme to the same; and that there shall be a rector or minister to have care of the souls of the inhabitants of the said parish, and a perpetual succession of rectors, there to be elected, nominated and appointed, according to an Act of Assembly entituled an Act to settle a Maintenance on a Minister of the Church of England, in Charlestown, ratified in open Assembly the eighth day of October, in the yeare of our Lord, one thousand six hundred ninety and eight.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Rector of the Parish of St Philip's, in Charlestown aforesaid, and his successors, Rectors of the said Parish, shall be incorporate, and shall have capacity and succession, by the name of the Rector of the Parish Church of St Philip's in Charlestown, and shall be hereby enabled to sue and be sued by that name, in all courts and places in this Province, and shall have the care of the souls of the inhabitants within the said Parish, and have and enjoy to him and his successors for ever one messuage or tenement for his habitation, excepting the roome reserved for the Provincial

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Library, to-gether with all the out-houses belonging to the same, to-gether with all the land and the improvements there upon, and the negroes and their increase, and the cattle and their increase; the which tenement and out-houses was built, and the land, negroes, and cattle purchased or given for the use of the minister of the said St Philip's in Charlestown, and his successors, pursuant to the above recited Act of Assembly, entituled an Act to Settle a Maintenance on a Minister of the Church of England in Charlestown; and also such other revenues as is given to the Minister of Charelstown and his successors by the said Act, to-gether with all fees and perquisites arising within the said parish, that are of right due to the rector or minister thereof by the laws and customs of this Province.

V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That Berkeley County shall be divided into six parishes, that is to say, one in Charlestown, one upon the South-east of Wandoe river, one upon that neck of land lying on the north-west of Wandoe and South-east of Cooper river, one on the western branch of Cooper river, one upon Goose Creek, and one upon Ashley river.

VI. And whereas, it is necessary that six churches be built for the publick worship of God according to the Church of England, that is to say, one upon the south-east of Wandoe river, one upon that neck of land lying on the north-west of Wandoe river and south-east of Cooper river, one upon the western branch of Cooper river, one upon Goose Creek, one upon Ashley river, and one on the South side of Stonoe river in Colleton County; the said churches to be built in such place or places on the precincts above named, as shall be agreed on by the majority of the commissioners hereafter named, by and with the advice and consent of the major part of the inhabitants who are of the profession of the Church of England;

Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the commissioners hereafter named shall have power to take up by grant from the Lords Proprietors, or purchase the same from them or any other person, and have, take, and receive so much land as they shall thinke necessary for the severall scites of the severall churches and the coemetarys or church-yards for the burial of christian people there, in the severall places above mentioned; and shall also direct and appoint the building of the severall churches, according to such dimentions and of such materials as they shall thinke fitting, and also the pulpit, desk and pews, in the severall churches, and also the inclosing the severall coemetarys or church-yards.

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VII. And whereas, it is necessary that there be six severall messuages or tenements built, and six severall parcells of land allotted for a glebe for each of the six rectors or ministers of the said parishes or divisions; Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the commissioners hereafter named shall have power to take up by grant from the Lords Proprietors, or purchase, have take and receive the same from them or any other person, so much land as they shall think fitt for the severall glebes, and in such places as they shall think convenient; and upon each of the said glebes shall order and appoint the building of one messuage or tenement for a dwelling-house for the rector or minister, together with convenient out-houses, according to such dimentions and of such materials as they shall think fitting.

VIII. And in order to defray the charges of the severall tracts of land and the building the said severall churches, and inclosing the said severall coemetarys or church-yards, and the severall tracts of lands for glebes, and the building the severall messuages or tenements and convenient out-houses on the same, Be it enacted, That the commissioners hereafter named, or the major part of them, shall be enabled to have, take, and receive all such sume or sumes of money as any charitable and well disposed christians shall freely and voluntarily give to-wards the building all or any of the said churches and inclosing all or any of the said coemetarys or church-yards; and shall also have power to nominate and appoint one or more persons, inhabitants of the parishes in the severall places where the severall churches are to be built, to be supervisors for the building of the said severall churches and the inclosing the severall coemetarys or church-yards and the severall buildings that are to be upon the severall glebes; and the said severall supervisors shall make an estimate of the charges of the building of the severall churches, and incloseing the severall church-yards, and the severall dwelling-houses and out-houses that are to be built on the said severall glebes, and give the same in writing under their severall hands to the commissioners. And such sume or sumes of money as shall appear to them the said commissioners, to be in their judgements competent to accomplish the building of the said severall churches, and inclosing the said severall coemetarys or church-yards, and the severall buildings that are to be upon the severall glebes, over and above what hath been freely contributed towards them, shall be paid out of the publick treasury by an order under the hands of the commissioners hereafter named, or the major part of them.

IX. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the severall supervisors for the building the severall churches, houses, and

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other works required by this Act, shall have full power to press bricks or lime, or any other materials, and shall have power to compel bricklayers, carpenters, joyners and all other workmen and labourers to worke on the said workes, as fully and amply to all intents and purposes, and under the same penaltys upon the neglecters and offenders, and the recovering the penaltys imposed, as is given to Lieut. Colonel William Rhett, for the building the front wall and other the intrenchments and fortifications about Charlestown, by one Act of Assembly entituled an Additional Act to an Act entituled an Act to prevent the Sea's further Encroachment upon the Wharfe at Charlestown, and for the repairing and building more batterys and flankers on the said wall to be built on the said Wharfe, and also for the fortifying the remaining parts of Charlestown, by intrenchments, flankers and pallisadoes, and appointing a Garrison to the Southward; and that as fully and amply to all intents, as if the severall clauses in the said Act or any of them contained were herein repeated at large and particularly recited and set down in the body of this Act and re-enacted herein; the penalties so recovered to be paid to the commissioners hereafter named, or whom they or the major part of them shall appoint, and to be disposed of towards the defraying the charges of the severall buildings required by this Act.

X. And be it further enacted, That the supervisors of the severall churches, houses and works required in this Act, shall have power to press any slave or slaves from any person inhabiting within his respective parish and divisions, to be employed upon the aforesaid work and building, allowing two royalls a day for every such slave to be employed as aforesaid.

XI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Commissioners hereafter named, or the major part of them, shall and hereby are authorized and impowered by an order under their hands to draw out of the publick treasury such sume or sumes of money as shall by them or the major part of them be estimated a convenient salary to their clerk, and to him to be continued untill all the churches aud houses and all other the buildings mentioned in this Act shall be finished, and to make him convenient allowance for pen, ink, paper and other necessary expences to be made in and about the execution of this Act.

XII. And for the encouragement of faithful and able ministers labouring in the work of the Gospell, to come and reside in this Province, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the severall rectors or ministers of the severall parishes shall be incorporate, and each of them shall have capacity and succession by the name of the Rector of that parish of

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which he is minister, and shall be hereby enabled to sue and be sued by that name in all courts or places in this Province, and shall have the care of the souls of the inhabitants within the parish committed to his charge, and shall have and enjoy to him and his successors for ever the glebe lands obtained and appointed pursuant to this Act, and the messuage or tenement for his habitation, to-gether with all the out-houses and buildings intended to be erected on part of the said glebe land; and all such negroes as shall be given and allotted to the severall parishes by the Society founded by royal charter in the Kingdom of England, by the name of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospell in Foreign Parts, or by any other charitably disposed persons; and also shall have and receive from the Publick Receiver for the time being, who is hereby required to pay the same, the sume of fifty pounds per annum, currant money of this Province, to be paid him halfe yearly.

XIII. And if it shall happen that for any urgent and necessitous reasons all the money in the publick treasury should be disposed of for other uses, so as that there should not be left sufficient in the receiver's hands to pay the said severall fifty pounds at the times before appointed, then the commissioners hereafter named, or the major part of them, shall order the Receiver to pay the same as soon and as often as any publick moneys shall come into his hands; but if the commissioners, or the major part of them, shall have reason to believe that money will not come into the Receiver's hands in such time as they shall think the same ought to be paid in, Be it enacted, that in such case the commissioners hereafter named, or the major part of them, shall have power and they are hereby impowered to assess and levy the said sume of fifty pounds for each and every the rector or minister in every parish or division, in such manner and forme as the commissioners appointed in an Act to Settle a Maintenance on a minister of the Church of England in Charlestown, ratified in open Assembly the eighth day of October, one thousand six hundred ninety-eight, are impowered to do in case they have reason to believe that moneys will not come into the Receiver's hands in such time as the same ought to be paid in.

XIV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the severall rectors or ministers of the severall parishes shall be choosen by the major part of the inhabitants of the said parish, that are of the religion of the Church of England and conform to the same, and are either free-holders within the same parish, or that contribute to the publick taxes and charges thereof, or such of them as shall think fit to attend and repair to the respective parish churches, upon a meeting appointed

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by the commissioners hereafter named or the major part thereof, of which publick notice shall be given at least ten days before the time of such meeting, appointed as aforesaid.

XV. And whereas, it may often happen that a rector or minister may be chosen pursuant to this Act, and also to one other Act of Assembly, entituled an Act to settle a maintenance on a minister of the Church of England in Charlestown, of whose qualifications or dispositions the inhabitants may have but small acquaintance, or may be otherwise mistaken in the person, who may act contrary to what was expected of him at his election, so that it is highly necessary to have a power lodged in some persons for the removing all or any of the several rectors or ministers of the several parishes, or to translate them from one parish to another, as to them shall seem convenient; otherwise, in case any immoral or imprudent clergyman should happen to be appointed rector or minister of any parish, the people would be without any remedy against him; or in case there should arise such incurable prejudices, dissentions, animosities and implacable offences between such rector or minister and his people that all reverence for, and benefit by his ministry is utterly to be despaired of, (although he is not guilty of more grosser and scandalous crimes) yet it may be very convenient to have him removed from being rector or minister of that parish to which he did belong, and where such dissentions and offences are arisen, otherwise great evils and inconveniences may ensue upon the same; for the prevention of which evils and inconveniences, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Commissioners hereafter named, or the major part of them, shall have power, when they think it convenient (upon the request and at the desire of any nine of the parishioners that do conforme to, and are of the religion of the Church of England, and are persons of credit and reputation together with the request of the major part of the Vestry of the parish, signified under their hand and requesting the removal of the rector or minister of such parish) to site such minister before them, and to hear the complaints against such rector or minister, allowing him reasonable time to make his defence, and upon a hearing of the same, if the said commissioners, or the major part of them, shall think it convenient to remove such rector or minister, they are hereby authorized and impowered to do the same, whether it be the rector or minister of Charlestown, or any other parish, and that is already elected and appointed, or that shall be elected and appointed rector or minister of any parish or parishes within this Province; and in case the said Commissioners, or the major part of them, shall by writing under their several hands and seals,

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delivered to such rector or minister, or left at his usual place of abode, or house appointed or to be appointed for such rector or minister for his habitation, or by fixing the same on the church doors, signify that such rector or minister shall cease to be rector or minister of that parish, and that he be removed from the same; then and in such case, such person shall cease to be rector or minister of the said parish, and shall cease to have any use, possession, or benefit or advantage of the church, or of any lands, messuages or tenements, or any negroes, or any revenues, fees, profits, perquisites, priviledges, benefits or advantages whatsoever, belonging to the rector or minister of that parish, as fully and amply to all intents and purposes as if he had never been chosen rector or minister thereof; and upon such removal of any rector or minister of any parish, the parishioners may proceed to a new choice, according as it is directed by this Act, in case of the death of a minister.

XVI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Right Honorable Sir Nathaniel Johnson, Knight, the Honorable Thomas Broughton, Esq, Col. James Moore, Nicholas Trott, Esq, Colonel Robert Gibbes, Job Howes, Esq, Ralph Izard, Esq, Colonel James Risbee, Colonel George Logan, Lieutenant Colonel William Rhett, William Smith, Esq. Mr John Stroud, Mr Thomas Hubbard, Richard Beresford, Esq, Mr Robert Seabrook, Mr Hugh Hicks, John Ashby, Esq, Captain John Godfrey, James Serurier als. Smith, Esq, and Mr Thomas Barton, or the major part of them, who shall meet upon publick summons, as is directed by this Act, Provided, the persons that meet are not less than eleven, be and are hereby nominated and appointed to be the Commissioners mentioned in this Act, and to exercise all the authorities and powers given them as commissioners by this Act in the several parts thereof; and in case of the death or absence of any of the said Commissioners, the remaining commissioners or so many of them as will meet (provided they exceed the number of ten) being summoned at least six days before, may meet at some convenient place appointed for that purpose, and that such commissioners as shall so meet upon such summons, or the major part of them, shall and may choose a person or persons of the profession of the Church of England, to be Commissioner or Commissioners in the room or place of such person or persons dead or gone off, as to them shall seem meet, which persons so chosen shall and are hereby declared to be commissioners for this Act, as fully and amply as if they had by name been mentioned in this Act.

XVII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Commissioners for this Act shall meet to transact the business of this Act

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twice in the year, that is to say, on the second Tuesday in January, and on the second Tuesday in July, at the Church in Charlestown, without any notice or warning to be given thereof, and oftener, if occasion shall require it, upon publick notice thereof, or summons signed by the Governour, six days before such meeting appointing a convenient time and place, or in case the Governour shall refuse to issue out such summons upon the application of any three of the Commissioners to him for the same, that then it may be lawfull for the said three Commissioners, or any other three of the Commissioners of this Act, to issue out their summons, appointing the time and place of the meeting of the Commissioners, and so many of them as shall meet by virtue of such summons, provided there are not less than eleven, and the majority of them eleven consenting, may put in force and execution any of the powers granted to the Commissioners by this Act.

XVIII. And to prevent all illegal and unlawful marriages, not allowed by the Church of England, but forbidden by the table of marriage, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no minister shall presume to join to-gether in marriage any persons whotsoever, contrary to the table of marriages by this Act appointed to be set up in every parish church within this Province, under the penalty of one hundred pounds; nor shall any persons forbidden to intermarry by such table of marriage, presume to be joined in marriage, under the penalty of fifty pounds, or twelve months' imprisonment.

XIX. And be it likewise enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no Justice or Magistrate being a lay-man, shall presume to joyn any persons in marriage, under the penalty of the above mentioned penalties, to be recovered and disposed of as hereafter in this Act is directed.

XX And the better to promote the execution of the good laws of this Province, so far as concerns the respective parishes, and for the more easy dispatch of parish business, Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there be vestries in each parish of this Province, and in every parish where any rector, minister or incumbent is or shall be lawfully, according to the laws and usages of this Province, appointed and in possession of any living and residing therein, he shall, during the continuance aforesaid, and no longer, be one of the vestry of each parish.

XXI.And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be nine more vestrymen in each parish, who shall be inhabitants in each respective parish for which they are chosen, and shall conforme to and be of the religion of the Church of England, and shall be chosen by the inhabitants of each parish as hereafter in this Act is directed.

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XXII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That on Easter Monday, which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and six, the inhabitants of each parish that are of the religion of the Church of England, and that do conforme to the same, and that are either free-holders within the same parish, or that contribute to the publick taxes and charges thereof, or so many of them as shall think fit to attend, shall meet at their parish church, or for want of a parish church, at such place as the Commissioners above named in this Act, or the major part of them that shall meet upon publick summons, shall appoint and, shall there elect nine sober and discreet persons, inhabitants of the parish, that are of the religion of the Church of England, and do conforme to the same, and that are either free holders within the same parish, or that do contribute to the publick taxes and charges thereof, to be vestry men for the said parish, which said nine so choosen, shall continue to be vestry men for the parish for the space of one year; and so on the said Easter Monday, yearly, the inhabitants of each parish, qualified as aforesaid, shall choose nine persons, qualified also as aforesaid, to be vestry men for that parish for which they are elected; and in case of the death or resignation or other legal discharge of any of the nine of the vestry men of any of the parishes choosen as aforesaid, the remaining part of such vestrys, shall with all convenient speed summons and appoint a general meeting of all the inhabitants of the said parish, who are of the religion of the Church of England and conforme to the same, and that are either freeholders within the same parish, and that do contribute to the publick taxes and charges thereof, who shall by majority of voices choose one or more sober and discreet person or persons that are also inhabitants of the said parish, and of the religion of the Church of England and conforme to the same and that are either freeholders within the said parish and that do contribute to the publick taxes and charges thereof, to supply such vacancies.

XXIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all such persons that shall be so elected and choosen shall take the usual oaths appointed by Act of Parliament instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and likewise subscribe the test, and shall also take the following oath, viz: I, A. B. do solemnly swear and declare, that I will justly and truly execute the trust or office of a vestry-man of this parish, according to my best skill, knowledge and power, without prejudice, favour or affection; which said oaths at the election of any vestry-men as aforesaid, are to be administered by any Justice of the Peace of the county where such vestry is, who is hereby required and impowered to

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administer the same, and every person being so elected and choosen a vestry-man as before by this Act directed, having taken the oaths and subscribed the test as required by this Act, and not before, shall be deemed and taken as one of the vestry to all intents and purposes.

XXIV. And for keeping a fair register of all such vestry's proceedings and for registering of all births, christenings, marriages and burials, in each respective parish, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That each vestry shall and is hereby obliged to provide a fit person for a Register, who shall at all times keep a true and fair registry of the several proceedings of such vestry from time to time, in executing their trust and authority, and make just and true entries thereof; which persons so to be appointed for keeping such registry, shall take the oaths appointed by Act of Parliament, instead of the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and subscribe the test, and also an oath for the due and faithful execution of his office; which said oaths shall be taken before the said vestry, who are hereby impowered and required to administer the same accordingly, and having so done, and not before, the said Register then shall be admitted in the said office, and shall make true entry of all vestry proceedings, and of all births, christenings, marriages and burials, (negroes, mollatoes and Indian slaves excepted) that is to say, the christian and sirname with the day and month and year of every such births, christenings, marriages and burials; to which purpose all and every the inhabitants of each parish that are either parents, guardians, overseers, masters, mistresses, or executors or administrators of any persons born, christened, married or buried within this Province, except such before excepted, are hereby enjoined and required to give notice to the Register of such parish within two months after such birth, christening, marriage and burial, and pay him one royal for entering it at the time of giving notice aforesaid, under the penalty of five shillings, to be forfeited by such inhabitant aforesaid, refusing or neglecting as aforesaid, and under the penalty of five shillings to be forfeited by such Register refusing or neglecting to enter it, having received his fee for the same; and such Register is hereby obliged to shew any person or persons reasonably desiring it, any such register, or give a certificate of any register of any births, christenings, marriages or burials that shall be reasonably required of him, and shall have for his fees from such persons, one royall for any search, and two royalls for any copy or certificate given as aforesaid, and no more, hereby ratifying and confirming as valid all registries or entrys of any births, christenings, marriages or burials, heretofore made in this Province by any person lawfully authorized, commissioned or impowered

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to do the same by any law or custom in this Province, before the making of this Act.

XXV. And that the Register of each Parish may be enabled to perform the charge hereby required of him, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the church wardens of each parish, within twelve months after the ratification of this Act, shall at the parish charge, provide good and substantial writing-books, well bound, sufficient for registering such proceedings in, according to the directions of this Act, under the penalty of five pounds for each church warden's neglecting the same.

XXVI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the respective vestries of each parish, with all convenient speed, and within twelve months at the most, shall procure a fair table of marriages, transcribed and set up in their respective churches, and the same keep continually in the said church, that persons being thereby informed what marriages are forbidden, may avoid the contracting of any such unlawful marriages.

XXVII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That on Easter Monday, in the year one thousand seven hundred and six, the inhabitants of each parish that are qualified by this Act to choose vestrymen, shall meet at their parish church, or for want of a parish church, at such place as the commissioners above named in this Act, or the major part of them that shall meet upon publick summons, shall appoint, and shall there make choice of and appoint two sober and discreet persons, inhabitants of the parish, that are of the religion of the Church of England, and do conforme to the same, and that are either free-holders within the same parish, or that do contribute to the publick taxes and charges thereof, to be church wardens for that year, which church wardens so choosen shall take the usual oaths appointed by Act of Parliament, instead of the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and likewise subscribe the test, and likewise declare on his oath, to be administered unto him by the vestry to whom power is hereby given to administer the same accordingly, well and faithfully to execute the office for the ensuing year, according to the laws and usages of the said Province, to the best of his skill and power, and until he shall be thereof duly discharged; and any such person or persons so choosen church warden or wardens, and that shall wilfully refuse to serve in the said office, and take the oaths aforesaid shall forfeit the sum of ten pounds to be recovered as hereafter by this Act is directed.

XXVIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the clerk of each parish church, and the sexton, shall be choosen by

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the major part of the vestry of each parish, which said clerk and sexton shall continue in their said offices during their lives, if they shall so long inhabit in the parish, excepting the vestry for the time being shall think fitting to remove either of them, which they are hereby impowered to do, and upon such removal, the said vestry, or the major part of them, may appoint another in the room of the person so removed.

XXIX. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the church wardens of each parish for the time being shall and are hereby required from time to time, to pay yearly at the charge of the parish, any sum not exceeding ten pounds, currant moneys of this Province, to the clerk of each parish to be appointed as aforesaid, and any sum not exceeding five pounds, like currant moneys to the sexton of each parish.

XXX. And that there may be no neglect in the several vestrys, or those employed under them, in the lawful and conscionable performance of their several charges, and also for the preventing of delays and other inconveniences, which might happen, if there were a necessity for the expecting the attendance and presence of all the said vestry-men, and at the same time to prevent the doing anything of consequence by surprize, by a small number of them, Be it hereby enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the first Tuesday in January, in April, in July and in October, shall be and is hereby fixed and ascertained for the holding of a vestry at eleven of the clock in the fore-noon, in the usual place for that purpose, without any notice or warning to be given thereof, at which time and place the major part of the vestry-men then present (so as such majority be not under the number of five persons) shall be esteemed as a vestry, and shall have full power to order, direct and act in all things by this Act appointed to be done according to this Act, as a vestry; and the said several vestrys are not only obliged to meet once in every the said months as before by this Act is directed, but also as often as need shall require, upon publick notice given either by the rector or the minister of each parish, or by any three of the vestry-men of the parish, to consult of the methods and ways of performing the several authoritys reposed in them, and from which vestry so appointed, no vestry-man, being personally summoned, shall without a reasonable and lawful excuse, absent himselfe, under the penalty of such fine or mulct, as the residue of the said vestry meeting shall lay upon him, so as the same never exceed ten shillings; and that in case any vestry-man shall remove or withdraw himselfe from the parish, or voluntarily frequently neglect to give his attendance and absent himselfe from the vestry, or otherwise become unfit or incapable to continue to execute such office or trust, that in any such

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case the residue of the said vestry, or the majority of them, (so as such majority be not under five persons) shall and may have power (after personal notice given to such party, if it conveniently may be, or the affixing of a publick notice upon the great door of the church, for three several Sundays successively, if personal notice cannot be given without great difficulty, charge, or delay, of their intentions to proceed in such manner) to remove such person from being a vestry-man, and to declare his office void, and to summon a meeting of the parishioners, qualified as is above directed, for the electing of another in the place of such person, who shall (after allowing a reasonable time to such person to make his complaint, if he apprehends himself injured, not exceeding a fortnight) proceed to a new election accordingly.

XXXI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the church wardens and vestry of each parish be authorized and required to take constant care to satisfy and pay the parochial charges, and all necessary repairs and amendments of their respective churches, chappels or church-yards, and cause the same at all times to be repaired and amended, as need shall require, out of such gifts, goods or chattels as shall come to their hands for the church or parish's use, and also out of such fines, forfeitures and mulcts by this law incurred and afterwards by the same given to the church wardens, to be applied to the said uses. And in case they shall not have sufficient effects to pay parochial charges, as aforesaid, or to make such necessary repairs as are required, then, and not otherwise it shall be lawful for the respective vestry of each parish to order three sober and discreet persons to assess such sume as shall be necessary to repay the parish charges aforesaid, (provided the same exceed not one hundred pounds,) by an equall assessment of the estate, real and personal, of all and every the inhabitants, owners and occupiers of lands, tenements and hereditaments, or any personal estate, within the severall parishes; which assessment being returned to the said vestry upon oath, who are hereby impowered to administer an oath accordingly, and being by them approved in open vestry, it shall then be lawfull for any Justice of the Peace of the County, by a warrant under his hand and seal directed to any of the constables of the severall parishes, to levy the sume assessed upon each person, by distress and sale of such person's goods, as shall refuse the same, returning the overplus after reasonable charges deducted, and for want of such sufficient distress, to commit the person to prison till payment be made.

XXXII. And that there may not be any oppression or misapplication of the publick revenue of such vestries, or just cause of complaint

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against them in any of their proceedings, without redress, Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all and every parishioner and parishioners whatsoever, who contribute to the publick taxes and charges of the said parish, shall and may require the Register herein before mentioned, at any reasonable and convenient time or times, to give them an inspection of the vestry books and accounts, and all and every their orders and proceedings, and shall and may take copys thereof, (paying a reasonable fee for the same, according to the length thereof, and the trouble of attendances); and that all and every person and persons whatsoever, who shall finde or apprehend him, her or themselves grieved or injured, or that the body of the said parish is injured or oppressed by any acts, orders, rules, accounts, or other proceedings of any such vestry, the parties so injured, or any others in their behalfe, or in the right of the whole body, may from time to time appeal for redress against all and every such orders, accounts and other proceedings to the commissioners above named, which commissioners, or the major part of them, that shall meet as aforesaid upon publick summons, are hereby required and impowered to examine, hear and determine all and every such appeals and complaints for redress, and to give redress as they in their judgments shall thinke agreeable to justice and equity; and such their order, judgment and decree shall be final, and bind all parties.

XXXIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all the fines and forfeitures mentioned in this Act, and not particularly disposed of and the manner of the recovery directed, if the sume do not exceed the sume of forty shillings, it shall be recovered, prosecuted, adjudged, levyed and distrained by any one Justice of the Peace in this Province, as in the Act for the Tryal of Small and Mean Causes is directed, and the same being so recovered shall be paid to the church wardens of that parish, where the person inhabits against whom the forfeiture is recovered, to be disposed of towards the defraying the publick charges of the said parish. And all the fines and forfeitures mentioned in this Act, exceeding the sume of forty shillings, and not particularly disposed of, and the manner of the recovery of the same not directed by this Act, all such fines and forfeitures shall be paid into the hands of the church wardens of the parish where the person inhabits against whom the forfeiture is recorded, to be disposed of towards the defraying the publick charges of the said parish, and the other halfe to him or them that will sue for the same, by action of debt, suit, bill, plaint or information, in any court of record in this Province, wherein no essoign,

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protection, privilege, injunction or wager of law, or stay of prosecution, by non vult ulterias prosequi, or otherwise shall be admitted or allowed.

XXXIV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any action, plaint, suit or information shall be commenced or prosecuted against any person or persons for what he or they shall do in pursuance or execution of this Act, such person or persons so sued may plead the general issue of not guilty, and upon any issue joyned, give this Act and the special matter in evidence; and if the plaintiffs or prosecutor shall become nonsuit or suffer discontinuance, or if a verdict pass against him, the defendants shall recover their treble costs, for which they shall have the like remedy as in any case where costs by law are given to the defendants.

XXXV. Whereas the Hon. Sir Nathaniel Johnson, Knight, hath upon all occasions shewn his great zeal and affection to the Church of England as it is established by law, as a mark of our gratitude and respects to him, Be it further enacted by the authority foresaid, That notwithstanding the powers in this Act given to the commissioners, or the major part of them, to turn out any minister as aforesaid expressed, that in case the said commissioners or the major part of them that shall meet upon publick summons as above directed, shall in pursuance of such power turn out or remove such minister, that in case the said Sir Nathaniel Johnson shall at any time within six days after notice of such order of the said commissioners, or the major part of them, signify his dissent by a writeing or instrument under his hand and seal, that then such order of the commissioners for that time to be of no force or effect; and that this power and trust reposed in the said Sir Nathaniel Johnson, shall continue during his being Governour of this Province, and no longer.

Read three times and ratified in open Assembly the fourth day of November, 1704.

N. JOHNSON,
THO. BROUGHTON,
JAMES MOORE,
NICHOLAS TROTT,
ROBERT GIBBES,
HENRY NOBLE.