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An Act passed the 12th of September, 1693, for settling a Ministry and raising a Maintenance for them in the City of New-York, County of Richmond, Westchester and Queens County.

WHereas Prophaneness & Liscentiousness hath of late over-spread this Province for want of a settled Ministry throughout the same.

To the end the same may be removed and the Ordinances of God daily administred, Be it Enacted by the Governor and Council, and Represen­tatives convened in General Assembly, and by the Authority of the same That in each of the respective Cities & Counties hearafter mentioned and expressed, there shall be called, inducted and established a good sufficient Protestant Minister, to officiate and have they care of Souls, within one year next and after the publication hereof, That is to say, In the City of New-York One, in the County of Richmond one, in the County of Westchester two, one to have the care of Westchester, East­chester, [...]ea [...]ches and the Mannor of Pellham the other to have the care Rye, Manerenock, and Bedford; in Queens County two, one to have the care of Jamaica, and the adjacent Towns and Farms, the other to have the care of Hemsted, and the next adjacent Towns and Farms.

And for their respective Encouragement, Be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That there shall be annually and once in every Year in every of the respective Cityes and Counties aforesaid, assessed, levied, collected and paid for the maintenance of each of their respective Ministers the respective sums herafter mentioned, that is to say, For the City and County of New-york, One Hundred Pounds; for the two Precincts of Westchester, one hundred Pounds, to each fifty Pound, to be paid in Country Produce at Money price. And for the two Pre­aincts of Queens County one hundred and twenty Pounds, to each sixty Pound, in Country Produce at Money price.

And for the more orderly raising the respective Maintenances for the Ministers aforesaid, Be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the respective Justices of every City and County aforesaid, or any two, of them, shall every year issue out their Warrants to the Constables, to summon the Free-holders of every City, County and Precinct afore­said, together on the 2d Tuesday in January, for the chusing of [...] Ve­stry-men and two Church Wardens, & the said Justices and Vestry-men [Page 2] or major part of them, are hereby impowered, within ten days after the said day, or any day after, as to them shall seem convenient, to lay a reasonable Tax on the said respective Cityes, County, Parish or Precinct, for the maintenance of the Minister and Poor of their re­spective places. And if they shall neglect to issue their Warrants, so as the Election be not made that day, they shall respectively forfit five Pound currant Money of this Province. And in case the said Free-holders duely summoned, as aforesaid, shall not appear, or appearing do not chuse the said ten Vestry-men and two Church-Wardens, that then in their default, the said Justices shall within ten days after the said sa­cond Tuesday, or in any day after, as to them shall seem convenient, lay the said reasonable Tax on the said respective places, for the respective Maintenances aforesaid. And if the said Justices and Vestry-men shall neglect their Duty herein, they shall respectively forfit five Pound cur­rant Money aforesaid.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That such of the Justices and Vestry-men that shall not be present at the time appointed, to make the said Tax, and thereof be convicted, by a Certificate under the hands of such as do appear, and have no sufficient Excuse for the same, shall respectively forfit five Pound current Money aforesaid. And a Roll of the said Tax, so made, shall be delivered into the hands of the respective Constables of the said Cities, Counties, Parishes and Precincts, with a Warrant signed by any two lustices of the Peace, impowering him or them to levy the said Tax, and upon refusal, to distrain, and sell by Publick Out-Cry, and pay the same into the hands of the Church-Wardens, retaining to himself 12d per Pound, for levying thereof. And if any Person shall refuse to pay what his is so assessed, and the said Constables do strain for the same, all his Charges shall be Paid him, with such further allowance for his pains, as the said Justices, or any of them shall judge reasonable. And if the said Justice or Justices shall neglect to issue the said Warrant, he or they respectively shall forfeit five Pound currant Money aforesaid. And if the said Constables, or any of them fall of their Duty herein, they shall respectively forfeit five Pound currant Money aforesaid. And the Church-Wardens so chosen shall undertake the said Office, and receive and keep a good Account of the Money or Goods levied by virtue of this Act, and the same issue by order from the said Justices and Vestry-men of the respective Cities, Counties, Precincts and Parishes aforesaid, for the purposes and intents aforesaid, and not other wise. And the Church-Wardens shall, as often as thereunto requi­red, yeild an Account unto the Justices and Vestry-men of all their Re­ceipts and Disbursements. And in case the Church-Wardens or any of them, shall neglect their Duty herein, they shall respectively forfeit five Pound current Money aforesaid, for every refusal.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Church, [Page 3] aWrdens in their respective Precincts aforesaid, shall by Warrant, as afore­said, pay unto the respective Ministers the Maintenance aforesaid by four equal and quarterly Payments, under the Penalty and Forfeiture of five Pound current Money aforesaid, for each neglect, refusal or de­fault; The one half of all which Forfeitures shall be disposed of to the use of the Poor in each respective Precinct where the same doth arise, & the other half to him or them that shall prosecute the same.

Alwayes provided, and Be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every of the respective Ministers that shall be settled into the respective Cities, Counties and Precincts aforesaid, shall be called to officiate in their respective Precincts, by the respective Vestry-men and Church Wardens aforesaid. And alwayes provided, That all for­mer agreements made with Ministers throughout this Province, shall continue and remain in their full force and virtue, any thing contained herein to the contrary hereof in any ways notwithstanding.

To the Honourable House of Representatives convened in General Assembly, for Their Majesties Province of New-York, The Petit on of the Church Wardens and Vestry-men of the City of New-York, to your Honours, humbly sheweth,

THat whereas there is an Act of General Assembly for the settling a Ministry and raising a Maintenance for them in the City of New-York, County of Richmond, Westchester and Queens County, wherein is incerted, in the Body of said Act, as followeth, viz Be it Enacted by the Governour and Council, and Representatives convened in General Assembly, and by the Authority of the same, That each of the respective Cities and Counties hereafter mentioned and expressed, there shall be called, inducted, and established, a good sufficient Protestant Minister, to officiate and have the care of Souls, within one Year next and after the Publication hereof, &c. Now so it is, may it please your Honours, your Petitioners desire to know, with humble submission to your Honours, the true Meaning and Explanation of said Act, Whether the Vestry have not Power to call and induct one good Protestant Minister, that is to say, a Protestant Dissenter from the Church of England, and whether the Act is not binding upon all Persons to pay the said Maintenance, as is declared in the said Act?

Church-Wardens.
  • Johannes Kip,
  • J. V. Cortlandt,
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Die Veneris 8 h. A. M. April 12. 1695.

A Petition of the Church-Wardens and Vestry-Men for the City of New-York, Read.

Upon the Consideration of the Petition above-said, it is the Opinion of this House, That the Vestry-Men and Church-Wardens have Power to call a Dissenting Protestant Minister, and that he is to be paid and maintained according as the Act directs.

Henry Pierson, Speaker.

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