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Mayfields of South Carolina

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General Duty Act of 1761

The General Duty Act was passed in July 1761 and it encouraged mass immigration to South Carolina between 1761 and 1768. The exact wording of the Act is missing from the published volumes of South Carolina colonial legislation; however, a copy was published in 1761 in THE SOUTH CAROLINA GAZETTE newspaper as follows:

In the Commons House of Assembly, the 25th Day of July 1761.

ORDERED, That the Act, entitled "An Act for repealing 'An Act Passed the 7th Day of October, in the Year of our Lord 1752, for altering and amending the 6th and 7th Paragraphs of the Act commonly called THE GENERAL DUTY ACT; and for appropriating and applying three-fifths of the Tax appropriated and applied by the said 6th and 7th Paragraphs of the said last mentioned Act, as is herein after mentioned' be printed in both of the Gazettes of this Province: And, that the Clerk of this House do give each of the Printers a Copy of the said Act for that purpose.

THOMAS BRONLEY, Clerk
of the Commons House of Assembly

WHEREAS the encouragement heretofore given to poor protestants to become settlers in this province, hath not had the desired effect; and inasmuch as there remained in the treasury on the twenty ninth day of September last, of the tax appropriated by the general duty law for that purpose, a sum of FIFTY-SEVEN THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED, AND SEVENTY-FIVE POUNDS, ELEVEN SHILLINGS, AND THREE PENCE, whereby the public is enabled to increase the bounty to such settlers which may best answer the said good intentions, We therefore humbly pray his most sacred Majesty, that it may be enacted, and be it enacted by the Honourable WILLIAM BULL; Esquire, Lieutenant-Governour and Commander in Chief of the Province of South-Carolina, by and with the advice and consent of his Majesty's Council, and the Commons House of Assembly of the said province, and by the authority of the same, That the said Three-fifths of tax, appropriated and applied by the said law as an encouragement to protestants to become settlers in this province, shall henceforth be and is hereby appropriated and applied in the following manner, that is to say, FOR PAYMENT OF THE SUM OF FOUR POUNDS STERLING, or the value thereof in the current money of this province, to discharge and defray THE EXPENSE OF THE PASSAGE FROM EUROPE OF EVERY FREE POOR PROTESTANT WHO HATH NOT ALREADY RECEIVED ANY BOUNTY FROM THIS PROVINCE, AND WHO SHALL ARRIVE IN THIS PROVINCE TO SETTLE, FROM EUROPE, WITHIN THREE YEARS FROM THE TINE OF PASSING THIS ACT, ABOVE THE AGE OF TWELVE YEARS; AND WHO SHALL IN CASE THEY COME FROM GREAT-BRITAIN OR IRELAND, PRODUCE A CERTIFICATE UNDER THE SEAL OF ANY CORPORATION, OR A CERTIFICATE UNDER THE HANDS OF THE MINISTER AND CHURCH­WARDENS OF ANY PARISH, OR THE MINISTER AND ELDERS OF ANY CHURCH, MEETING OR CONGREGATION, OF THE GOOD CHARACTER OF SUCH POOR PROTESTANT ABOVE THE AGE OF TWELVE YEARS; and for the payment of the sum of TWO POUNDS STERLING, or the value thereof  in currency, for the passage of every such poor protestant under the age of twelve, and above the age of two years, who shall come, or be brought into this province within the time, and for the purpose aforesaid; and for payment of the sun of TWENTY SHILLINGS STERLING, or the value in current money, to every such poor protestant above the age of two years, to enable them to purchase TOOLS AND PROVISIONS.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the money hereby directed to be paid for the passages of the said poor protestants, shall be paid by the Public-Treasurer of this province, to the owner or master of the vessel in which they shall be brought into this province, unless he shall previously be paid by such poor protestants, to whom respectively, in such case, the same shall be paid; That the other bounty aforesaid shall be paid to the said poor FREE protestants, upon their demanding the same.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said act, passed the seventh day of October, in the year of our Lord 1752, for altering and amending the sixth and seventh paragraphs of the Act commonly called THE GENERAL DUTY ACT; And also the said sixth and seventh paragraphs of the said other act, commonly called the General Duty Act, as far as the same relate to the applying and appropriating the said Three-fifths of the tax thereby imposed on Negroes, and other slaves, and every matter and thing therein contained, be, from and after the passing of this act, absolutely repealed and vacated, to all intents and purposes whatsoever.

In the Council Chamber, the 25th day of July, 1761.

BENJ. SMITH, Speaker.

Assented to:  WILLIAM BULL.

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