Laws & Charter of Mass., 1726 - with King George’s “Explanatory Charter”

The Charter Granted by Their Majesties King William and Queen Mary, to the Inhabitants of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England [and] Acts and laws of His Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England.

Boston: B. Green … for Benjamin Eliot …, 1726.

Price: $8,500.00

About the item

Two parts: [2], 14 [Charter]; [2], 347 [Acts], [1], 17 [Table] pp. Two parts with separate title-pages and pagination. 1 vols. Folio. Laws & Charter of Mass., 1726 - with King George’s “Explanatory Charter”. Contemporary calf tooled in blind. Some rubbing and wear, free endpapers missing, last few leaves frayed, piece torn from margin of final leaf, slightly affecting a few letters, some foxing, soiling, occasional minor tears or fraying. Contemporary ownership signature of Capt. John Rounsevell on first title-page. Evans 2762; Cushing, Mass. Laws 343.

Item #231694

An attractive, unsophisticated copy of this early and important compilation of the Acts and Laws of the Province of Massachusetts, as organized under the terms of the charter of William & Mary. That charter, which was enacted May 14, 1692, included Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, the Province of Maine, and parts of what is now Nova Scotia. More importantly, the independence of the old Colony was greatly reduced, the powers of the Provincial Governor were increased, and the newly chartered Province was more tightly controlled by British imperial rule.

Even more important is the inclusion here for the first time of the newly adopted modification to the Charter, King George’s “Explanatory Charter” (pp. 13-14), whereby the position of the Governor was further strengthened: he was given sole power to adjourn the House of Representatives, and the right to veto the House's choice of their Speaker. The “Explanatory Charter,” which was adopted in January, 1726, is printed here for the first time; it was first printed separately later in the year (Evans 2659). Not until the “Intolerable Acts” of 1774 was there such a radical alteration to the Charter, and such a serious blow to colonial autonomy.

An important and early document in the development of modern Massachusetts, and in the chain of events culminating in 1776.