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[p. 51]

The second test law, January (?), 1778, affected persons suspected of being inimical (except mandamus councillors who had accepted office and all who since April 19, 1775, had joined the enemy or enlisted men for his service—these were not even allowed to take the oath.) Anyone under this law found guilty of refusing to subscribe the test oath was to be committed to jail (he to pay the costs) and sent to British territory within forty days. If he returned, he incurred the penalty of death. The other laws passed in 1778 affected specific classes, members of the General Assembly, civic and military officers, attorneys at law, so that virtually a loyalist lawyer was debarred from the practice of his profession.

Massachusetts passed one law restricting freedom of speech, February 4, 1777, under the title ‘A law for the punishment of crimes below the degree of treason and misprison of treason,’ which was directed especially against those who censured the Declaration of July 4, 1776. The penalty attached to such a crime was a fine not to exceed £ 50 nor to be less than 20s or confinement in jail.

April 9, 1777, there was passed ‘An Act to prevent the waste of the estates of loyalists leaving estate of £ 20 or more within the state.’ Under this Act the Judges of Probate were authorized to appoint agents for such estates, preference being given to the principal creditor provided he were not a relative. The agent was to take possession of the goods and estate of the absentee as if he were administrator of a deceased person's estate, to file an inventory and render accounts of his doings from time to time as ordered by the Judge of Probate. The wife of the absentee, if she remained, was entitled to have the use of one-third of the real estate.

An Act to prevent the return to the state of certain persons therein named was passed in 1778 and included the names of Isaac Royall and his son-in-law, Sir William Pepperell. Any one named in this Act having the temerity to return might be arrested and put into jail,

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