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Massachusetts Blue Laws

MASSACHUSETTS BLUE-LAWS. – In regard to the so-called “blue-laws” of Massachusetts it is difficult to determine just where the line between fact and fancy is to be drawn. It is claimed that the founders of Connecticut borrowed most of their laws and judicial proceedings from Massachusetts. Many of these laws were enacted previous to 1640, and a number were the orders and sentences of the Massachusetts Court of Assistants and General Court. For instance, one order we find is as follows: “It is ordered, that all Rich. Clough’s strong water shall presently be seazed upon, for his selling greate quantytie thereof to several men servants, which was the occasion of much disorder, drunkeness, and misdemeanor.

Another record, in March 1631, is to the effect that “Nieh. Knopp is fyned 5L for takeing upon him to cure the scurvey, by a water of noe worth nor value, which he solde at a very deare rate, to be imprisoned till hee pay his fine or give securitye for it, or else to be whipped; and shall be lyable to any man’s action of whome he hath received money for the said water.

In September 1636: Robert Shorthose, for swearing by the bloud of God, was sentenced to have his tongue put into a cleft stick, and to stand so by the space of haulfe an houre. – from The Century Book of Facts, 1900

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