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Recommendation of the Hon. John Varnum, Member of

19th Congress, Counsellor at Law, and late Judge Advocate of the 2d Division M. M., and of Isaac R.

How, Esq. Counsellor at Law. John Bacon, Esq.


We have examined the copy of the Town Officer you had the goodness to send us. The powers and duties of the various town officers as collected both from the statutes of the Commonwealth and the decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court, and the forms of the papers they are required to sign, are stated distinctly and with precision, and we recommend the book to the public, particularly to selectmen, town. clerks, overseers of the poor, constables, surveyors of highways and other town officers, and to Justices of the Peace as a constant and useful manual, and a great improvement upon any treatise of the kind, with which we are acquainted.


ISAAC R. HOW. Haverhill, Feb. 23, 1825.


Page 9, 3d line from top, for 1785 C. “9” read 1785 C. 6175.'

do. 5th line from bottom, for "votes" read " voters."
11, 4th line from top, for Sec. “ 13” read Sec.“ 3."
12, 9th line from top, for " 27" read “ 28."
do. 12th line from bottom, for "as” read “ at."
80, at head 3, for“ premium” read " previous."

or 161, Statute of 1799 C. 83, should have been insert-
serted; which provides that all Assessors may give a Col-
lector a new warrant, when he shall make it appear

that the original one was lost or destroyed by accident. 95, 6th line from the bottom, for “ Freeport” read" West

port. 102, dele " or” at the close of head 9. 115, It should have been observed that Statute of 1793 C.34,

was passed Feb. 11, 1794. 116, al top “ Mass. Rep.” should be added. 124, under ancient settlements, for “defaulted” read “de

feated," and for “ Sec. 2," read “ Sec. 12." 140, Statute of 1807 C. 134, respecting collecting taxes in

Boston should have been inserted : It is in the Special

Laws. 160, bottom for, “or his own town” read “ or his own turn." 171, 7th line from top, for "sums” read 234, Inspectors and Markers of Lighters. A Law passed

Feb. 10 1823, escaped the notice of the compiler, which essentially alters the duty of these officers, and of Se

lectmen in this particular. 247, 10th line from top, for “ four” read “ four and a half."

do. 11th line from top, for “not” read “none.” 250, 9th line from bottom, for "per” read “ for." 283, Form ei, for “ Esquire" &c. read “ Town Clerk” &c.

if signed by the Town Clerk. 318, 6th line from top, for “or” read “ of." 320, 10th line from top, for “ portion” read “ proportion." 321, It should have been observed that “ a tax act is sent to

every town annually, which forms the basis on which all taxes must be made. Assessors of Parishes and So. cieties, should never attempt to assess a tax without ob

taining this, which they can, of the town Assessors." 336, for “West Cambridge” read “ West Sudbury.” 368, bottom line for “or” read "at." 374, It should have been observed that the 5th column is use

ful to Selectinen in the revision of jury boxes-see 377, Reps. in Middlesex, for 6641" read “ 63." 378, Against Freetown, for “ 1183” read “ 1683." 388, 1st line, for page 366 refer to this page.


page 43.



Of this officer no oath is required.

1 Choice. 2 Town Meeting.

1. Choice. 1811 C. 9, Sec. 2. He is chosen by written ballots (except in Boston.)

2. Town Meeting. 1785 C.9, Sec. 6. At every town meeting, a moderator shall first be chosen by a majority of votes, who shall be thereby empowered to manage and regulate the business of the meeting.

In case no Justice of the Peace be present, the moderator is authorized to administer the oath to the town clerk, in open town meeting.

Sec. 5. No matter or thing acted upon shall have any legal operation whatever, unless the subject matter thereof be inserted in the warrant for calling the meeting.

Sec. 6. When a vote declared by the moderator, shall, immediately after such declaration, be scrupled or questioned by seven or more of the voters present, he shall make the vote certain by polling the votes, or such other way as the meeting shall choose.

No person shall speak in the meeting before leave obtained of the moderator, nor when any person is orderly speaking; and all persons shall be silent at the

desire of the moderator on pain of forfeiting five shillings for the breach of every such order, to the use of the town; and if any person shall, after notice from the moderator, persist in his disorderly behaviour, then it shall be lawful for the moderator to direct such disorderly person to withdraw from the meeting ; and such disorderly person upon his refusal or neglect to withdraw shall pay a fine of twenty shillings* to the use of the same town; and may also, by direction of the moderator, be carried out of the meeting by some constable of the town, and be put into the stocks, cage, or some other place of confinement, and there be detained for the space of three hours, unless the town meeting shall sooner adjourn or dissolve.

All suits and information for the aforesaid fines if not exceeding forty shillings may be heard and determined before any Justice of the Peace in the same county, not an inhabitant of the same town, unto whom the penalty or any part thereof is given, who, upon conviction, may enforce the payment thereof by a uniform process as is provided in the statute of 1785 C.75, Sec. 3, in the court of general sessions of the peace,


who refuse to serve in the office of constable.

1811 C. 9, Sec. 3. If he shall, without the consent of the voter, read or examine, or permit any other person to read or examine the name or names written on his ballot or ticket, with a view to ascertain the name of the candidate voted for, before the poll is closed, the moderator, so offending, shall on conviction forfeit and pay to the use of such town the sum of twenty dollars, to be recovered by indictment in any court proper to try the same.

Act passed 1823, Feb. 11. The moderator is not liable for refusing the vote of any voter not on the list of voters.

* Commonwealth vs. T. H. Hoxey. Mass. Reports vol. 16, page 385. The penalty for disorderly behaviour in town meetings does not attach, unless the offender persists in such behaviour; after notice from the moderator, and does not withdraw from the meeting, after being directed 90 to do by the moderator.

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