By Virtue of an Act of the Great and general Court…[…] [Boston: John Draper, 1739]
A partially printed broadside, signed and docketed by William Foye, Treasurer and Receiver General for the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, and directed to Thomas Elliot, tax collector for the North Shore town of Middleton. The amount to be collected is installed in manuscript: Sixteen pounds, one shilling, ten pence. The document—with a fine woodcut of the British Royal arms flanked by the initials of George II of England at head—was a "blank" form for use in collecting tax in all Mass Bay towns, and reads in part:
“By Virtue of an Act of the Great and General Court .... of May 1737... An Act for supplying the Treasury with the Sum of Twenty Thousand Pounds in Bills of Credit of the new Tenor for discharging the publick debts, etc. And for establishing the Wages of sundry Persons, etc. in the Service of the Province, and for the drawing in of the said Bills into the Treasury again; and for stating the Proportion between the Bills of the old and new Tenor in private Payments.”
The balance of the document details how the taxes are to be collected, and that the proceeds are to used principally to remove a certain "bill of credit" from circulation. The town of Middleton—so-called for its midpoint proximity to the cardinal Mass Bay trading centers of Salem and Andover—was incorporated in 1728, eleven years before the general document was issued. The tone of the text is one of threat and exigency, suggesting that if the sum demanded in revenue from the town to which the document is localized is not secured and paid to the King, there will be hell to pay, and that the local tax collector will be the one to suffer it—-in this case, Thomas Elliot. A curious broadside, known in a single institutional copy (for which the manuscript direction is addressed to the Massachusetts town of Rowley), at the Library of Congress, though photostat surrogates are held at the American Antiquarian Society and elsewhere.
Boston: John Draper, 1739.
Folio broadside, 309 x 189, wax and paper sigillum intact; paper stock stained; toned; creased from having been folded in eighths; center horizontal fold guarded verso with archival Japanese paper. A surprisingly stable survivor, with a palpable punch to the type.
ESTC W17716; Reilly 876 (woodcut arms); Shipton & Mooney, 40170; Ford, W.C. Broadsides, 717; Bristol (Evans Supplement) B1056. Armorial watermark with initials "C. R." unrecorded in Gravell and Bernstein.