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title:“A Bill for Discouraging Extensive Credits, and Repealing the Act for Proving Book Debts”
authors:George Mason
date written:1779-10-18

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:34 a.m. UTC
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Mason, George. "A Bill for Discouraging Extensive Credits, and Repealing the Act for Proving Book Debts." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 2. Ed. Robert A. Rutland. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 538-39. Print.
Manuscript, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Va.

A Bill for Discouraging Extensive Credits, and Repealing the Act for Proving Book Debts (October 18, 1779)

[18 October 1779]
WHEREAS the Method of proving Book-Debts, and the long and extensive Credits former[ly] given by the Merchants and Traders hath been found, by Experience, injurious to the [good] People of this Commonwealth—Be it enacted by the General Assembly that the Act entitled "An Act prescribing the method of proving Book-Debts," shall be, and the same is hereby repealed; except only so far as relates to Goods Wares and Merchandise heretofore sold and delivered, or Debts heretofore contracted.
AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED that all Actions or Suits founded upon Account for Goods Wares or Merchandise sold and delivered, or for any Articles charged in any Store Account, after the End of this present Session of Assembly, shall be commenced and sued within six Months next after the Cause of such Action or Suit, or the Delivery of such Goods Wares or Merchandise, and not after.
And to prevent Imposition or Deception herein, the respective time or Date of the Delivery of the several Articles charged in any such Account, or of any Receipt taken for the Delivery of them, shall be particular[l]y specified: and if any Merchant or Trader shall willfully post-date any Article or Articles in such Account, or the Receipt taken for the Delivery of them, he shall forfe[it] and pay ten fold the amount of the article or articles, or of the Receipt taken for the Delivery of them, so post-dated, to be recovered with Costs, in any Court of Record, by Petition, where the Penalty incurred shall be under five Pounds, or amounts to that Sum only, and by Action of Debt or Information, where the Penalty shall be more than five Pounds, one half to the Informer, and the other half to the Commonwealth, or the whole to the Commonwealth, where the Prosecution shall be first instituted on the public Beha[lf] Alone.
And to prevent any Doubt in the Construction hereof, it is hereby declared that the beforementioned Limitation of six Months shall take Place and be computed from the respective Dates or times of Delivery of the several Articles entered or charged in any such Account, and that all such Articles as shall have been of more than six Months standing, when the Action on Suit was commenced, shall be disallowed and rejected, and Verdict shall be given, or Judgement rendered for no more than the Amount of such articles as appear to have been actually charged or delivered within six Month[s] next before the Commencement of the Suit, as aforesaid.
And be it further enacted that every Court and Jury by, or before whom, any such Action or Suit shall by tryed, shall, and they are hereby required, ex Officio, to take Notice of this Act, and determine accordingly; altho' the Defendant shall not have pleaded it, in the same Manner, as if the same had been specially pleaded; any Law, Custom, or Usage, to the Contrary, in any wise, notwithstanding.

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