I. WHEREAS, the United American States in general, as well as this commonwealth in particular, in the persecution of the present just and necessary war to the defence of our lives, liberties, and property, have been compelled to issue bills of credit for large sums of money, the quantity whereof now in circulation, greatly exceeding the medium of commerce, may occasion a depreciation of its value, to the injury of individuals, and great danger of this and the other United States, which nothing will so effectually prevent as reducing the quantity, by establishing ample funds for redeeming proportions of it annually, until the whole shall be hereby called in and sunk. It is also necessary that permanent funds should be established to provide for the repayment of the money borrowed or to be borrowed by the United States, as well as by this commonwealth, for carrying on the war, and the interest growing due upon such loans. For making such provision for the just proportion which this commonwealth ought to bear of sinking the said bills of credit of the United States, and of the money borrowed by them, and the interest thereof, as well as to effect the redemption of its own particular bills of credit, and payment of the money borrowed, and interest, in a mode which it is judged will be least
, burthensome to the people of any which can be adopted, Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That a tax or rate of ten shillings for every hundred pounds value, to be ascertained in manner herein after mentioned, shall be paid for all manors, messuages, lands, and tenements, slaves, mulatto servants to thirty one years of age, horses, mules, and plate, on the first day of August one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight; and the like tax or rate shall be paid on the said first day of August in each of the six next succeeding years, by the owner or proprietor of such estates respectively. That the like rate of ten shillings for every hundred pounds shall be paid for all money exceeding five pounds in the possession of one person, by the possessor thereof, on the said first day of August, in each of the said seven years. That a rate of two shillings for every pound be paid for the amount of the annual interest received upon all debts bearing interest, also for the amount of all annuities, including the quitrents payable to the proprietor of the Northern Neck, except such as have been or shall be settled by the general congress, or the assembly or convention of this commonwealth, as a provision for wounded soldiers or their families, to be paid by the creditor or annuitant respectively on the said first day of August, in each of the said seven years. That a tax or duty of ten shillings a wheel upon all riding carriages, fourpence per head on all neat cattle, and five shillings per poll upon all tithables above the age of twenty one years (except soldiers, sailors, parish poor, and such as receive an annual allowance in consideration of wounds or injuries received in the publick service, except also slaves and mulatto servants to thirty one years of age, who, being property, are rated ad valorem as aforesaid) shall be paid by the owner or person enlisting such carriages and tithables respectively, on the said first day of August, in each of the said seven years. That a tax of three pounds for every ordinary license, and twenty shillings for every marriage license, shall be paid down to the clerk of the county or corporation court at the time of granting such license, from the time of passing this act until the first day of December one thousand seven hundred and eighty four. That a tax or rate of ten shillings for every hundred pounds of the amount of all salaries, and of the neat income of all offices of profit (those of the military and sea officers in the service of the United States of America, or either of them, in respect of their employments, only excepted) on the said first day of August one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight, and each of the six next succeeding years. That a tax or duty of ten shillings be paid for every hogshead of tobacco exported out of this commonwealth by land or water, by the exporter thereof, from the time of passing this act until the said first day of December one thousand seven hundred and eighty four. That a tax or duty of sixpence per gallon be paid for all spirituous liquors hereafter to be distilled in this commonwealth, to be paid by the distiller, or distilled in any other of the United American States, and imported into this by land or water, at any time before the said first day of December one thousand seven hundred and eighty four. And that every person who hath not taken the oath or affirmation of allegiance to this state required to be taken by an act of the last session of assembly, and shall not take the same before the first day of May next, and who shall fail to produce to the assessors in his hundred a certificate of his having taken such oath or affirmation, shall pay double of the several rates and taxes aforesaid for such property and tithables hereby subject to taxation as he shall be owner of, or shall be in his family.
II. Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall be construed so as to charge any lands, slaves, stocks, servants, plate, money, debts, or annuities, which shall belong to the United States of America or this commonwealth, or to any county, corporation, parish, town, college, school, or religious society, with any rate or duty hereby imposed, nor to subject to the duty aforesaid any goods, wares, or merchandises, taken from the enemy, brought into this commonwealth, and condemned as lawful prize in the court of admiralty, in the hands of the captors.
III. And for ascertaining the value of the several articles herein before taxed according to such value, It is farther enacted, That the freeholders and housekeepers of each county or corporation within this commonwealth shall meet at the courthouse of their respective county, city, or town, on the second Tuesday in March yearly, during the said term of six years, and they, or such of them as shall appear, shall then and there freely elect three able and discreet men of their county or corporation, being landholders having a right to vote for representatives in general assembly, and having visible property therein to the value of eight hundred pounds each, and who is not a member of any of the publick boards, an officer in the navy or army, naval officer, a manager of any publick works, an owner or manager of iron works or manufactory of fire arms, a master or professor in any college or school, a clergyman, sheriff, inspector, or ordinary keeper, to be commissioners of the tax for such county or corporation for the year. The sheriff of the county, and the returning officer of any city or borough, shall cause previous notice of such election to be published in each church and meetinghouse in his county or corporation, at least twenty days before each annual election; and such sheriff or returning officer, together with the two senior justices who shall be present at the election shall proceed to take the poll fairly and impartially, and shall be the final judges of the qualifications of the voters who offer to poll, as well as of the circumstances of the persons voted for, and shall have power to set aside such person who may be voted for as in their judgment hath not visible property to the amount of the sum, hereby required, and on the close of the poll shall certify the names of the three persons who have the greatest number of votes, and are so qualified, to the court of their county or corporation, there to be recorded, determining the preference by their own votes, where the number of votes for any two or more persons are equal, and the persons so returned shall be the commissioners of the tax for that year. Each commissioner, before he enters upon the execution of the trust, shall take the following oath (or, being a Quaker or Menonist, shall solemnly affirm and declare to the same effect)
before some justice of the peace, to wit: "I A. B. do swear, that as a commissioner of the tax for county, I will to the best of my skill and judgment, execute the duties of the said office diligently and faithfully, and do equal right and justice to all men in every case wherein I shall act as a commissioner, according to the act of assembly under which I am appointed, to the best of my knowledge, without prejudice, favour, or partiality. So help me God." And shall thereupon meet from time to time, at such place or places as to them shall seem most convenient, and appoint a clerk, at ten shillings per day, to attend them for entering their proceedings, and shall without delay proceed to lay off the county, city, or borough, into so many districts or hundreds as to them shall seem most convenient for making the assessments, bounding the same by water courses, roads, or other limits of publick notoriety, and having so done, shall choose two discreet men in each hundred to be assessors or appraisers of such estate lying therein as is hereby subjected to taxation, each of whom shall be a landholder having a right to vote for representatives in the general assembly, which choice shall be certified under the hands of the commissioners, and delivered to the person first named in each hundred within twenty days thereafter, together with transcripts of such parts of this act as are necessary for the direction of the assessors, and such instructions as to the form of their proceedings and return as the commissioners may think proper to give them for complying with the true intention of this act; and the commissioners in such appointment shall also limit a time, not less than four weeks, or more than six weeks, for the assessors to perform their duty in, and to make return of their proceedings to the commissioners, and shall cause a description of the several hundreds to be entered on their book, with a list of the names of the persons appointed assessors in each, and a copy of the instructions given them as aforesaid. The several persons so named assessors in each district shall, within five days after receiving notice of their appointment and instructions as aforesaid, go together to one of the said commissioners, or to a justice of the peace, and there take the following oath (or, being a Quaker or Menonist, shall affirm and declare to the same effect) to wit: "I A. B. do swear, that I will well and truly execute the duty of an assessor, and faithfully, justly, and impartially assess the pound rate imposed by the act of assembly for that purpose upon all property within my hundred liable thereto, according to the best of my skill and judgment, and the directions of the said act, and therein will spare none for favour or affection, nor any person aggrieve for hatred, malice, or ill-will. So help me God." A certificate of which oath shall be endorsed on the appointment of each set of assessors, and returned therewith to the commissioners, to be entered on their books. And after being so sworn, the said assessors shall personally apply to every person within their district or hundred and require them respectively to give an account upon oath, which either of the assessors may administer, of all lands, slaves, mulatto servants to thirty one years of age, horses, mules, money, silver plate, and interest received which shall become due after the passing of this act on debts bearing interest, all annuities (except a publick provision for wounded soldiers and their families) all riding carriages, neat cattle, and tithable persons above the age of twenty one years, not being soldiers, sailors, or parish poor, or persons receiving allowances for wounds received in publick service, slaves, or servants to thirty one years of age, of which each such person is the owner, or who belong to or reside in his or her family, or which he or she is in possession of as guardian to any orphan, or as executor or administrator of the estate of any person deceased, and also an account of all spirituous liquors distilled or imported by land or by water by any such person from and after the passing of this act for the first year, and afterwards annually from the time of rendering their last preceding account thereof; and every such person shall farther make oath, that he or she hath not shifted or changed the possession of any of the said taxable articles, or used any fraud, covin, or device, in order to evade the assessment thereof. The assessors shall also require all persons in their hundred having publick salaries to render an account of the amount therof, and all persons holding offices of profit (except military and sea officers, in respect of their employments) and residing in their hundred, to render an account upon oath, to the best of their knowledge, of the neat annual income of such office, all and every species of which property so given in, or which the assessors shall by any other ways or means discover, they shall cause to be distinctly entered against the name of the owner or person chargeable with the tax thereon, and proceed to value the lands, slaves, horses, mules, and plate, so given in and discovered, as the same would in their judgment sell for in ready money, having regard to the local situation of lands and other circumstances, taken for such value the middle rate between them, in case the two assessors differ in opinion on the value of any article, extending the value against each species of property, and setting down in a distinct column the amount of the pound rate hereby imposed upon the whole of such property belonging to each person, as well as the taxes of another nature imposed hereby upon such person, and giving such person a memorandum in writing of such pound rate, to enable him or her to provide for payment thereof. And where a tract of land belonging to any person residing or having a plantation with slaves thereon shall lie in two or more hundreds, the same shall be valued by the assessors of that hundred wherein the proprietor lives or hath a plantation, and if the owner doth not reside, or there be no plantation thereon, then the lands shall be assessed in that hundred wherein the greatest quantity thereof shall lie, and in such case the assessors shall enter the county in which the proprietor lives, if they are informed thereof; and when the assessors shall have thus valued all the said taxable property in their hundred, they shall make a fair return of their proceedings to the commissioners, entering the names of the persons assessed in alphabetical order, with the species and value of their property, and the pound rate thereon as aforesaid, and shall therein enter their own names, with each distinct species of taxable property they severally own or possess as aforesaid, and upon such return the commissioners shall examine them severally upon oath, and thereupon extend the value of such property as to the commissioners shall seem just, and the pound rate thereon as aforesaid, and then shall cause all such returns to be entered in their books, to which all persons may have recourse at any seasonable times.
IV. And it is farther enacted, That where any person residing within this commonwealth shall receive interest for money from any person residing in any other of the United States, and there shall be a deduction made from the interest due in consequence of a tax imposed in the state where the debtor resides, in such case the creditor, upon producing to the assessors a certificate of such deduction, shall be allowed the amount thereof out of the pound rate hereby imposed on such interest; but no silver plate shall be valued at more than ten shillings per ounce, Troy weight. Which respective rates, or such as shall be hereafter established by the general assembly (as the value of money may rise or fall, or as the necessity of the times require) shall be observed by the several commissioners and assessors as the rule of their conduct in the respective valuations of such property.
V. And whereas great numbers of people have settled on waste and ungranted lands situate on the Western Waters, to which they have not been able to procure legal titles, and the general convention of Virginia, on the twenty fourth day of June one thousand seven hundred and seventy six, did
"resolve, that all such settlers upon unappropriated lands, to which there was no prior just claim, should have the pre-emption or preference to grant of such lands," and it is just and reasonable that the lands in their possession thus secured to them should contribute by tax to the common charge, and a mode established for fixing the quantity of their claims, where the same hath not been ascertained, by regular survey, It is therefore farther enacted, That all persons who, on or before the said twenty fourth day of June one thousand seven hundred and seventy six, had bona fide settled themselves, or at his or her charge had settled others, upon any waste and ungranted lands on the said Western Waters, and had not by regular entry, survey, or contract, ascertained the quantity of their claim, shall be allowed for every family so settled four hundred acres of land, to include such settlement, or such lesser quantity as the person entitled thereto respectively shall, at the time of the first assessment, declare to the assessors he or she desires to hold; and the assessors of the hundred shall proceed to assess the pound rate upon the proprietor for such lands in manner herein before mentioned, entering in their return the name of every such person, and the quantity of land allotted for or chosen by him or her as aforesaid, and the assessment shall continue to be made from year to year, according to the quantity so fixed, during the term of six years, or until regular surveys shall be made, and grants obtained for the same. But where any such settlers shall have ascertained the quantity of their land by regular survey or contract, in such case, upon their producing the same to the assessors, they shall be assessed for such quantity in the same manner as if a patent had been obtained for the same. But nothing in this act shall be construed in any manner to affect or prejudice the prior claim or title of any person whatsoever in or to any such lands, nor to affect any person residing within the territory northward of the latitude of the line usually called Mason and Dixon's line, and in dispute between this commonwealth and that of Pennsylvania, unless the legislature of the said commonwealth of Pennsylvania shall have imposed taxes on their citizens within the said disputed territory, and then only to such amount as shall have been by them imposed on such their citizens.
VI. And for settling just proportions of the said land tax between landlords and their tenants, to whom the lands were let for terms yet to come, at a time when the value of money was greater, and the price of lands less than at present, It is farther enacted, That all lands under lease for an annual rent, and subject to the tax, shall be valued without regard to such rent; but where such valuation shall exceed twenty years purchase, computed upon the annual rent, to be ascertained by the assessors, they shall proceed to assess the landlord the said pound rate upon the amount of twenty years purchase of the rent, and shall assess the tenant the pound rate upon the residue of the value of the land, and distinguish such proportions in their returns; and where such rent shall be reserved in tobacco, or other commodity, the assessors shall value the same in money, in order to adjust such proportion between landlords and tenants. Where any tenant at an annual rent shall be willing to pay the pound rate assessed on his landlord for the lands held by such tenant, it shall be lawful for him or her so to do, and the collector's receipt for the same shall entitle him or her to a deduction for the amount thereof out of the rent; and where the landlord shall reside out of this commonwealth, or have no visible estate whereon to levy the pound rate for the value of his land, in such case the said pound rate shall be paid by or levied upon the tenant or tenants on the said land, not exceeding the annual amount of the rents, and allowed to him or them as aforesaid. If any person shall think him or herself aggrieved by the judgment of the assessors of the hundred, he or she may appeal to the commissioners of the tax in the county or corporation, who shall meet annually on the second Tuesday in July, if fair, if not, the next fair day, at their court-house, for hearing such appeals, and may adjourn from day to day, or to any other place, until they shall have determined all appeals made to them, and upon such hearing may either increase or diminish the assessment made on such person or persons, or let the same remain unaltered, as to them shall seem just, and according to the spirit and intention of this act.
VII. It is farther enacted, That the court of each county shall, at their court to be held in the months of April or May one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight, and in each of the six following years, take bond, with sufficient security, of the sheriff, in the penalty of three thousand pounds, payable to the treasurer of this commonwealth for the time being and his successours, for the use of the commonwealth; with condition for the true and faithful collection and accounting for all the duties and taxes hereby imposed within his county, and paying the money for which he shall be accountable according to this act. And if any sheriff shall refuse or fail to give such security, the court shall appoint some other person or persons to collect the said taxes, and take the like bond and security of him or them, which bonds shall be recorded in the courts where they shall respectively be taken, and an attested copy thereof transmitted by the clerk, without delay, to the publick treasurer, which shall be admitted as evidence in any suit or proceeding founded thereon.
VIII. And it is farther enacted, That the commissioners of the tax in each county or corporation shall, on or before the first day of August annually, deliver to the sheriff of the county, or to the collector or collectors appointed as aforesaid, a full and perfect list, formed from the returns of the several assessors, of all the persons, in alphabetical order, who reside in the county, and are to pay any rate or tax pursuant to this act, with the amount of what each person is to pay, collecting together what the same person shall be assessed in different hundreds, and distinguishing in what hundred the person chargeable resides or hath effects, taking a receipt from the sheriff or collector for the same, and thereupon such sheriff or collector shall proceed to collect and receive the several taxes and rates according to such list, and to levy the same by distress and sale of the slaves, goods, and chattles, of such persons who shall fail to pay what he or she shall be so assessed on or before the first day of September in any year, the sale of which estate shall be made not less than five days after the distress, for ready money, and notice thereof shall be published at the parish church or most convenient meetinghouse, and no security shall be taken, or writ of replevin sued out thereupon; but no sheriff or collector shall seize any slave for such taxes where other sufficient distress shall be shewn him, nor make any unreasonable distress, on pain of being liable to the action of the party grieved, wherein the plaintiff shall recover his full costs, although the damages shall be under forty shillings. And where any lands shall be assessed in a county wherein the proprietor doth not reside, nor hath any effects whereon to levy the said pound rate, and the commissioners shall discover in what other county the proprietor lives or hath effects, they shall transmit the assessment to the commissioners of such other county, to be delivered to the sheriff or collector thereof, and collected, levied, and accounted for, in like manner as the other assessments of such county.
IX. And that lands may not be granted on, or subject to any feudal tenure, and to prevent the danger to a free state from perpetual revenue, Be it enacted, That all lands within this commonwealth shall henceforward be exempted and discharged from the payment of all quitrents, except only the lands in that tract of country or territory between Rappahannock and Potowmack rivers, commonly called the Northern Neck; and that the abolition of quitrents may operate to the equal benefit of all the citizens of the commonwealth, the owners of all lands within the said territory, subject to the payment of an annual quitrent of two shillings sterling per hundred acres to the proprietor of the said Northern Neck, shall be allowed the sum of two shillings and six pence current money for every hundred acres, and so in proportion for a greater or lesser quantity, out of the sum which shall be respectively assessed on such lands, so long as their payment of quitrents thereon shall continue, which allowance and discount the commissioners and assessors of the tax are hereby empowered and required to make accordingly, and the commissioners of the tax in each county within the said territory shall make out a list of all such deductions made in their county, and transmit the same to the commissioners of the county of Frederick annually, to be by them delivered to the sheriff of the said county, and such sheriff is hereby required to collect and levy of and upon the proprietor of the said territory for the time being the said pound rate of two shillings for every pound of the amount of the said deductions, and account for and pay the same to the treasurer, in like manner, and subject to the same penalty and proceedings, as is herein before directed for accounting for and paying the other taxes.
X. And be it farther enacted, That the late auditor, or deputy auditor general in this commonwealth shall, on or before the twentieth day of March next, transmit to the commissioners of each county, not being within the said territory of the Northern Neck, a certificate at what time the last quitrents were accounted for in such county by the sheriff; and the late receiver, or deputy receiver general, shall within the same time transmit to such commissioners a true copy from his book of the account with each sheriff who hath not fully paid, and a certificate to what time the quitrents have been so fully paid in each county, and upon receiving such accounts and certificates the commissioners in each county shall proceed to call the respective persons who have been sheriffs thereof, within the time the quitrents are unaccounted for, to an account for what they have received thereof in each year, and to move for judgment in the general court or county court against such sheriff, or his deputy or deputies, and his or their securities, or their respective executors or administrators, for the penalty of their respective bonds where they shall fail to account, or for what shall appear due on such account, if they respectively fail to pay the same, and such court shall give judgment accordingly; provided, that ten days previous notice be given of such motion. And having adjusted such accounts with the sheriffs, the commissioners of each county shall make out a list of all arrears of quitrents due from any persons for lands therein to the twenty ninth day of September one thousand seven hundred and seventy four, and deliver the same to the sheriff or collector, to be collected, levied, accounted for, and paid in like manner, and subject to the same penalty and proceedings for neglect, as are provided in the case of the taxes hereby imposed. And the treasurer shall pay to the auditor and receiver general what the auditors of publick accounts shall certify to be reasonable satisfaction for such copies and certificates.
XI. Provided always, That no lands situate on the Western Waters shall be subject to the payment of such arrears. And where any quitrents have been paid for such lands, or for other lands to a later period than the said twenty ninth day of September, the sheriff receiving the same shall refund the amount thereof to the person who paid it, his or her executors or administrators; or where the money shall have been paid to the receiver general or treasurer, the amount thereof shall be repaid by the sheriff or collector of the county where the person entitled thereto resides, and be allowed to such sheriff or collector in his account. The said receiver general shall also render an account upon oath of all money now in his hands received for quitrents, or upon the fund formerly appropriated to defray the contingent charges of government, and pay such balance to the treasurer, for the use of this commonwealth, or be compelled thereto by the general court, upon such proceedings as are herein directed for recovering money from the sheriffs or collectors received for taxes. The said receiver shall also render an account of any arrears which may be due to the said contingent fund, which the treasurer shall proceed to receive or recover as aforesaid. The right honourable Thomas lord Fairfax, or the agent or manager of his office, shall also, on or before the said twentieth day of March next, transmit to the commissioners of each county within the territory of the Northern Neck a rent roll of all the lands paying quitrents to the said proprietor in such county, and receive from the treasurer the sum of twenty shillings for each rent roll; and the respective commissioners shall deliver extracts therefrom to the assessors of the several hundreds, for their direction. Every sheriff or collector of the taxes hereby imposed shall, on or before the first day of November yearly, account with the commissioners of the taxes in his county for all the rates, taxes, and duties, put into his hands to collect for such year; and the commissioners shall adjust the said account, allowing for such only as in their judgment could not have been received by a vigilant and faithful collector, and allowing a commission of three per centum for collecting the residue, striking the balance due from such sheriff or collector, and certifying their having examined and passed the account. They shall also at the foot thereof state an account of what shall be due to themselves, their clerk, and the several assessors in the county, for the year's service, and deduct the same from the balance in the hands of the sheriff or collector, who shall pay the amount of such expenses to the commissioners, for the use of themselves and the others; and the account so settled the commissioners shall deliver to the sheriff or collector, after having entered an exact copy thereof in their book, and they shall immediately transmit a copy from their book to the treasurer, to enable him to call upon the sheriff or collector for the money so stated to be due.
XII. And it is farther enacted, That every person who shall carry any tobacco out of this commonwealth, by land, shall, before he removes the same from the county where it is made, or from whence it is carried out of this commonwealth, apply to the clerk of the county court, and make oath what number of hogsheads or casks of tobacco he intends to carry out of the commonwealth, and pay the duty of ten shillings per hogshead or cask for the same, taking a certificate of such oath, with the marks and numbers of such hogsheads or casks, and a receipt for the tax, and of which an entry shall be made by the clerk in his books. The master or mate of every ship or vessel, in which tobacco shall be laded or put on board for exportation, shall, at the time of clearing out his ship or vessel, make a true report upon oath of all the tobacco loaden therein, with the marks and numbers of each hogshead thereof, and by whom shipped, and pay down the duty of ten shillings per hogshead for the same to the naval officer, before he is admitted to a clearance. Every naval officer shall half yearly, on the twenty fifth day of April and twenty fifty day of October, render an account upon oath to the publick treasurer of all duties by him received pursuant to this act in the preceding half year, and pay the money for such duties, deducting five per centum for receiving the same. And the clerk of each county or corporation court shall on the same days, half yearly, render an account upon oath to the said treasurer of all the taxes by him received for marriage and ordinary licenses, and for the duty upon tobacco exported by land in the preceding half year, and pay the money for such taxes, deducting five per centum for receiving the same. And every naval officer, or clerk of a court, failing to render such account, shall forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred pounds for every offence; and any naval officer or clerk having accounted, and failing to pay the money stated to be due within one month, shall be proceeded against by the treasurer for the recovery thereof, in manner herein after directed against sheriffs or collectors making default in payment. And every sheriff, or other county collector, who shall fail to settle his account with the commissioners of the taxes in his county annually, on or before the said first day of November, shall forfeit and pay the sum of one hundred pounds for every neglect; and in such case the treasurer may and shall proceed against such sheriff or collector and his securities, his or their heirs, executors, or administrators, as hereafter mentioned, and obtain judgment for the penalty of the bond and costs, to be discharged, except as to the costs, by the payment of what shall be found due for the taxes in such county, in case the sheriff or collector shall, before the levying of the execution, make up an account of the taxes with the commissioners, and obtain their certificate of the just balance.
And if any sheriff or collector of the taxes in any county, having accounted with the commissioners as herein before is directed, shall fail to produce his account so certified to the treasurer of this commonwealth, and pay the balance stated to be due from him on or before the first day of December in any year, the treasurer is hereby empowered and directed, under pain of forfeiting five hundred pounds, to move in the general court, on the tenth day of the next succeeding court, for judgment against such sheriff or collector and his securities, his or their executors or administrators; and the said court, on that day, or so soon afterwards as counsel can be heard, shall proceed to take trial therein by jury, if either party shall desire it without delay, admitting the certificate of the commissioners for proof of the balance found to be due on the account, and such other legal testimony as either party may offer, and to enter judgment for what shall be found due, and costs, and thereon to award execution, upon which the clerk shall endorse that no security of any kind is to be taken, and the officer to whom the same is directed and delivered shall proceed to levy the same by distress and sale of the estate of the defendants, for ready money, taking no security either for replevying of the estate or having the same forthcoming at the day of sale. If any sheriff, or usual returning officer of a county or corporation, shall fail to give notice of the time appointed for the annual election of the commissioners of the tax, or fail to attend at such election (not being hindered by sickness, in which case the under sheriff of the county, or one of the aldermen of the corporation, shall act in his stead) every person so neglecting or failing shall forfeit five hundred pounds. If any person elected a commissioner shall refuse to serve (not having a sufficient excuse, to be judged of by his county or corporation court)
he shall forfeit and pay the sum of one hundred pounds, and in case of such refusal, whether the reasons offered be adjudged a good excuse or not, or if any commissioner who undertakes the trust shall die or be disabled to act within the year, the county or corporation court shall appoint another commissioner in the room of him so refusing, dead, or disabled, to act until the next annual election, and so as often as such vacancy shall happen. And if there be no election made of commissioners for any county or corporation, as herein before directed, in such case the court of such county or corporation shall, at their next court, proceed to the choice of commissioners and if there shall happen, from bad weather or other accident, to be no court held for any county or corporation on the court day next after the said second Tuesday in March in any year, in that case the magistrates of such court shall, under the penalty of fivty pounds on each magistrate failing, meet at their courthouse on the next fair day, and then and there judge of the excuses of commissioners elected, and proceed to election of such as may be necessary, either by their having been none elected, or those elected refusing to act as aforesaid. Each commissioner accepting the trust shall be allowed for each day he shall act therein the sum of ten shillings. If any person appointed an assessor shall refuse to serve (not having a sufficient excuse, to be judged of by the commissioners) he shall forfeit and pay the sum of fifty pounds, and all vacancies occasioned by such refusals, or by the death or inability to act of any assessor, shall be supplied, as often as they happen, by the appointment of the commissioners; and each assessor, for performing his duty, shall be allowed what the commissioners shall judge reasonable, not exceeding ten pounds per annum. If any person shall refuse to give an account upon oath or affirmation, as herein before directed, of all the articles in his or her possession liable to a pound rate or tax by this act, every person so refusing shall forfeit and pay the sum of one hundred pounds; and the assessors shall proceed to inquire by other means into his or her property, and assess the same according to the best information they can procure. If any person shall carry any tobacco out of this commonwealth by land without paying the duty aforesaid, and obtaining such certificate from the clerk of the county court, as is herein before required, every person so offending shall forfeit ten pounds for every hogshead or cask of tobacco so carried out. And every master or mate of a ship or vessel, on board of which any tobacco shall be loaden for exportation, failing to make a true report of the marks and numbers of such tobacco to the naval officer at the time of clearance, shall forfeit and pay the sum of ten pounds for every hogshead of tobacco exported in such ship or vessel, and not so reported. And if any naval officer shall clear out any ship or vessel, in which tobacco shall be reported to be loaden, without receiving the duty hereby imposed on such tobacco, the naval officer shall be answerable for the duty. All the penalties and forfeitures hereby inflicted shall be recoverable with costs, by action of debt or information, in any court of record, and be appropriated, two thirds to the use of the commonwealth, and paid to the publick treasurer, to assist the purposes of this act, and the other third to the informer, or the whole to the commonwealth, in case a suit for the same shall be first instituted for the commonwealth.
XIII. And it is farther enacted, That all waste and unappropriated lands within this commonwealth, as soon as the same shall be granted pursuant to an act of the general assembly, shall be subject to assessment of the said pound rate, in like manner as the lands already granted.
XIV. And it is farther enacted, That the land and poll tax, and all other taxes and duties imposed by any former act of assembly or ordinance of convention, and which were payable at any time before the first day of January one thousand seven hundred and eighty four, shall cease; and the said acts and ordinances, so far as they relate to the imposition, collection, and payment of the said taxes or duties, are hereby repealed, except so far as may enforce the collectors of any of the said taxes heretofore due to account for and pay the same.
XV. And it is farther enacted, That the treasurer of this commonwealth for the time being shall apply the money which shall come to his hands by virtue of this act, in the first place for and towards the annual payment of the quota of this commonwealth of the principal and interest of money borrowed on treasury notes issued on account of the United American States, supposed by the general congress to be two hundred and forty thousand pounds, for the present year, deducting thereout what is or shall from time to time become due from them to this commonwealth, and the residue for and towards the payment of the interest due or to become due for money borrowed or to be borrowed for the use of this commonwealth, and of the principal money, when due, for the redemption of the treasury notes issued by order of the convention of this commonwealth, redeemable on the first day of January one thousand seven hundred and eighty four, and by virtue of this act, or any former act of general assembly, redeemable on the first day of December one thousand seven hundred and eighty four, and for the annual contingent expenses of this state, and to no other use whatsoever. And the said treasurer shall keep clear and distinct accounts of the said taxes and duties hereby imposed, shewing the neat annual income of each, and lay the same before the general assembly when required; and if there shall be any deficiency in the said taxes and duties to answer the full purposes of this act, the same shall be made good by a farther and adequate tax.
XVI. And whereas it may be necessary to make some farther provision for answering such demands as may be made on the treasury before the said taxes can be collected, Be it farther enacted, That George Webb, esq. or the treasurer for the time being, shall, and he is hereby empowered and directed to receive from any person whatever any sum of specie, continental paper dollars, or bills of credit issued by authority of this commonwealth, he or she shall be willing to lend, for any term not exceeding three years, so as such sum be not less than three hundred dollars, or the value thereof in other money lent by any one person, and doth not exceed in the whole five hundred thousand pounds, and to give the lender a receipt for the money lent in the form prescribed in the act of assembly establishing a loan office for the purpose of borrowing money for the use of the commonwealth; and the said treasurer shall keep accounts of the money so borrowed, and conform to all regulations prescribed by the said act.
XVII. And be it farther enacted, That the treasurer shall pay the interest of the money due on such certificates annually, and take in discharge the principal thereof at the time or times therein limited for that purpose; or should the lender or bearer of such certificates desire to have the same sooner paid and discharged, the treasurer is hereby authorised to comply therewith, provided the state of the treasury will admit of the same, without prejudice to the publick.
XVIII. And be it farther enacted, that if any person within this commonwealth shall forge or counterfeit, alter or erase, any certificate of money lent as aforesaid, or transfer any forged or altered certificate to another, or demand payment at the office of principal or interest thereupon, knowing the same to be forged or counterfeited, altered or erased, every person so offending, being lawfully convicted, shall forfeit his whole estate real and personal; receive on his bare back at the publick whipping post thirty nine lashes, and shall be obliged to serve on board some armed vessel in the service of this state, without wages, not exceeding seven years; provided, that the governour and council for the time being, out of the offender's estate, may make such allowance to his wife and children as to them shall seem just and reasonable.
XIX. And whereas it is altogether uncertain whether the above mentioned sum of money can be borrowed so soon as the exigencies of government may require, Be farther enacted, that the said George Webb, Esquire, or the treasurer for the time being, shall be, and he is hereby empowered to issue treasury notes, in dollars or parts of dollars, for any sum or sums which may be requisite for the purposes of government, and which he may not be able to borrow as aforesaid, so that the money so emitted, with what shall be borrowed by virtue of this act, doth not exceed seventeen hundred thousand dollars; each dollar to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar, and the parts of a dollar of the same proportionate value. And the said treasurer for the time being may, and he is hereby authorised to cause the said notes to be engraved and printed in such manner as he shall judge most likely to secure the same against counterfeits and forgeries, to appoint proper persons to overlook the press, to number and sign the said notes, upon the best terms on which he can procure them.
XX. And be it farther enacted, that all such notes so to be issued shall pass as a lawful tender; and any person attempting to depreciate the value of the same, by any such means or device whatsoever, as is described in several acts of assembly, shall incur the same penalties and forfeitures as are thereby imposed, to be recovered as therein directed. The said notes so to be issued shall be redeemable on the first day of December one thousand seven hundred and eighty four.
XXI. And be it farther enacted, that if any person or persons shall forge or counterfeit, alter or erase, any such treasury note, or tender in payment any such, or demand a redemption thereof, knowing the same to be forged or counterfeited, altered or erased, every person so offending, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall incur the same forfeitures, and suffer the same punishment, as is herein before directed in the case of certificates for money borrowed.