istence of a church of their faith in the town, to seek in neighboring towns the enjoyment of the forms of worship they so much loved.
Their desire to do this, and their conviction that under such circumstances they ought not to be compelled to support by the payment of taxes or rates the worship of the one religious society which for more than a century and a half existed here, led, at least in one case, to serious trouble.
For we find that because of his refusal to pay such taxes, one Mathew Ellis, was imprisoned by the constable of the town.
The said Ellis, however, was not willing thus to suffer deprivation of his religious liberty, and was granted an appeal from the judgments of the local courts by the King in council.
What the final results of this case was, doth not appear, but it is probable that the custom of taxing those who were members of the Established Church of England did not long continue.
But members of that Church, if they still desired to engage in its worship
Your Petitioner therefore submits his Case to this Honorable Society, and humbly prays such relief to himself and therein to the Members of the Church of England in general as this Society shall think proper
And as in Duty bound shall Pray.
We quote also the following from the Massachusetts Archives:—
From Province Laws, p. 210, Chap.
194 (first Session).
A petition of Richard Sprague, late constable of Medford in county of Middlesex.
Showing that in the year 1733 Mathew Ellis of that Town was assessed Forty shillings as a part of a Tax for the support of the Minister there which the said Ellis Refusing to pay, the Memorialist, Agreeably to his Warrant, Committed him to his Majesty's Goal in said County; whereupon the said Ellis brought his Action of assault Against the Memorialist, charging his damage at three hundred pounds Sterling; in which Action he was Cast in the Infr and Superiour Court; Upon which he Claimed his Appeal to his Majesty in Council, which