The Stamp Act of 1765

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II. And also a duty of one shilling for every twenty shillings, in any sum exceeding fifty pounds, which shall be given, paid, contracted, or agreed, for, with, or in relation to any such clerk, or apprentice.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every deed, instrument, note, memorandum, letter, or other minument or writing, for or relating to the payment of any sum, of money, or for making any valuable consideration for or upon, the loss of any ship, vessel, goods, wages, money, effects, or upon any loss by fire, or for any other loss whatsoever, or for or upon any life or lives, shall be construed, deemed, and adjudged to be policies of assurance, within the meaning of this act: and, if any such deed, instrument, note, memorandum, letter, or other minument or writing, for insuring, or tending to insure, any more than one ship or vessel for more than any one voyage, or any goods, wages, money, effects, or other matter or thing whatsoever, for more than one voyage, or in more than one ship or vessel, or being the property of, or belonging to, any more than, one person or any particular number of persons in general partnership, or any more than one body politick or corporate, or for more than one risque; then, in every such case, the money insured thereon, or the valuable consideration thereby agreed to be made, shall become the absolute property of the insured, and the insurer shall also forfeit the premium given for such insurance, together with the sum of one hundred pounds.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every deed, instrument, note, memorandum, letter, or other minument or writing, between the captain or master or owner of any ship or vessel, and any merchant, trader, or other person, in respect to the freight or conveyance of any money, goods, wares, merchandises, or effects, laden or to be laden on board of any such ship or vessel, shall be deemed and adjudged to be a charter party within the meaning of this act.

V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all books and pamphlets serving chiefly for the purpose of an almanac, by whatsoever name or names entitled or described, are and shall be charged with the duty imposed by this act on almanacs, but not with any of the duties charged by this act on pamphlets, or other printed papers; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

VI. Provided always, That this act shall not extend to charge. any bills of exchange, accompts, bills of parcels, bills of fees, or any bills or notes nor sealed for payment of money at sight or upon demand, or at the end of certain days of payment.

VII. Provided, That nothing in this act contained shall extend to charge the probate of any will, or letters of administration to the effects of any common seaman or soldier, who shall die in his Majesty’s service; a certificate being produced from the commanding officer of the ship or vessel, or troop or company in which such seaman or soldier served at the time of his death, and oath, or if by a quaker a solemn affirmation, made of the truth thereof, before the proper judge or officer by whom such probate or administration ought to be granted; which oath or affirmation such judge or officer is hereby authorized and required to administer, and for which no fee or reward shall be taken.

VIII. Provided always, and be it enacted, That until after the expiration of five years from the commencement of the said duties, no skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which any instrument, proceeding or other matter or thing shall be engrossed, written, or printed, within the colonies of Quebec or Granada, in any other than the English language, shall be liable to be charged with any higher stamp duty than if the same had been engrossed, written or printed in the English language.

IX. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend to charge with any duty, any deed, or other instrument, which shall be made between any Indian nation and the governor, proprietor of any colony, lieutenant governor, or commander in chief alone, or in conjunction with any other person or persons, or with any council, or any council and assembly of any of the said colonies or plantations, for or relating to the granting, surrendering, or conveying, any lands belonging to such nation, to for, or on behalf of his Majesty, or any such proprietor, or to any colony or plantation.

X. Provided always, That this act shall not extend to charge any proclamation, forms of prayer and Thanksgiving, or any printed votes of any house of assembly in any of the said colonies and plantations, with any of the said duties on pamphlets or news papers; or to charge any books commonly used in any of the schools within the said colonies and plantations, or any books containing only matters of devotion or piety; or to charge any single advertisement printed by itself, or the daily accounts or bills of goods imported and exported, so as such accounts or bills do contain no other matters than what have been usually comprised therein; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

XI. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend to charge with any of the said duties, any vellum, parchment, or paper, on which shall only be engrossed, written, or printed, any certificate that shall be necessary to in title any person to receive a bounty granted by act of parliament.

XII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said several duties shall be under the management of the commissioners, for the time being, of the duties charged on, stamped vellum, parchment, and paper, in Great Britain: and the said commissioners are hereby empowered and required to employ such officers under them, for that purpose, as they shall think proper; and to use such stamps and marks, to denote the stamp duties hereby charged, as they shall think fit; and to repair, renew, or alter the same, from time to time, as there shall be occasion; and to do all other acts, matters, and things, necessary to be done, for putting this act in execution with relation to the duties hereby charged.

XIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the commissioners for managing the said duties, for the time being, shall and may appoint a fit person or persons to attend in every court or public office within the said colonies and plantations, to take notice of the vellum, parchment, or paper, upon which any the matters or things hereby charged with a duty shall be engrossed, written, or printed, and of the stamps or marks thereupon, and of all other matters and things tending to secure the said duties; and that the judges in the several courts, and all other persons to whom it may appertain shall, at the request of any such officer, make such orders, and do such other matters and things, for the better securing of the said duties, as shall be lawfully or reasonably desired in that behalf: and every commissioner and other officer, before he proceeds to the execution of any part of this act, shall take an oath in the words, or to the effect following (that is to say)

I A. B. do swear, That I will faithfully execute the trust reposed in my, pursuant to an act of parliament made in the fifth year of the reign of his majesty King George the Third, for granting certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, without fraud or concealment; and will from time to time true account make of my doing therein, and deliver the same to such person or persons as his Majesty, his heirs, or successors, shall appoint to receive such account; and will take no fee, reward, or profit, for the execution or performance of the said trust, or the business relating thereto, from any person or persons, other than such as shall be allowed by his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, or by some other person or persons under him or them to that purpose authorized.

Or if any such officer shall be of the people commonly called Quakers, he shall take a solemn affirmation to the effect of the said oath; which oath or affirmation shall and may be administered to any such commissioner or commissioners by any two or more of the same commissioners, whether they have or have not previously taken the same: and any of the said commissioners, or any justice of the peace, within the kingdom of Great Britain, or any governor, lieutenant governor, judge, or other magistrate, within the said colonies or plantations, shall and may administer such oath or affirmation to any subordinate officer.

XIV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said commissioners, and all officers to be employed or entrusted by or under them as aforesaid, shall, from time to time, in and for the better execution of their several places and trusts, observe such rules, methods, and orders, as they respectively shall, from time to time, receive from the high treasurer of Great Britain, or the commissioners of the treasury, or any three or more of such commissioners for the time being; and that the said commissioners for managing the stamp duties shall take especial care, that the several parts of the said colonies and plantations shall, from time to time, be sufficiently furnished with vellum, parchment, and paper, stamped or marked with the said respective duties.

XV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons shall sign, engross, write, print, or sell, or expose to sale, or cause to be signed, engrossed, written, printed, or sold, or exposed to sale, in any of the said colonies of plantations, or in any other part of his Majesty’s dominions, any matter or thing, for which the vellum, parchment, or paper, is hereby charged to pay any duty, before the same shall be marked or stamped with the marks or stamps to be provided as aforesaid, or upon which there shall not be some stamp or mark resembling the same; or shall sign, engross, write, print, or sell, or expose to sale, or cause to be signed, engrossed, written, printed, or sold, or exposed to sale, any matter or thing upon any vellum, parchment, or paper, that shall be marked or stamped for any lower duty than the duty by this act made payable in respect thereof; every such person so offending shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of ten pounds.

XVI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no matter or thing whatsoever, by this act charged with the payment of a duty, shall be pleaded or given in evidence, or admitted in any court within the said colonies and plantations, to be good, useful, or available in law or equity, unless the same shall be marked or stamped, in pursuance of this act, with the respective duty hereby charged thereon, or with an higher duty.

XVII. Provided, nevertheless, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any vellum, parchment, or paper, containing any deed, instrument, or other matter or thing, shall not be duly stamped in pursuance of this act, at the time of the signing, sealing, or other execution, or the entry or enrollment thereof, any person interested therein, or any person on his or her behalf, upon producing the same to any one of the chief distributors of stamped vellum, parchment, and paper, and paying to him the sum of ten pounds for every such deed, instrument, matter, or thing, and also double the amount of the duties payable in respect thereof, shall be entitled to receive from such distributor, vellum, parchment, or paper, stamped pursuant to this act, to the amount of the money so paid a certificate being first written upon every such piece of vellum, parchment, or paper, expressing the name and place of abode of the person by or on whose behalf such payment is made, the general purport of such deed, instrument, matter, or thing, the names of the parties therein, and of the witnesses (if any) thereto, and the date thereof, which certificate shall be signed by the said distributor; and the vellum, parchment, or paper, shall be then annexed to such deed, instrument, matter, or thing, by or in the presence of such distributor, who shall impress a seal upon wax, to be affixed on the part where such annexation shall be made, in the presence of magistrate, who shall attest such signature and sealing; and the deed, instrument, or other matter or thing, from thenceforth shall and may, with the vellum, parchment, or paper so annexed, be admitted and allowed in evidence in any court whatsoever, and shall be as valid and effectual as if the proper stamps had been impressed thereon at the time of the signing, sealing or other execution, or entry or enrollment thereof: and the said distributor shall, once in every six months, or oftener if required by the commissioners for managing the stamp duties, send to such commissioners true copies of all such certificates, and an account of the number of pieces of vellum, parchment, and paper, so annexed, and of the respective duties impressed upon every such piece.

XVIII. And be It further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person shall forge, counterfeit, erase, or alter, any such certificate, every such person so offending shall be guilty of felony, and shall suffer death as in cases of felony without the benefit of clergy.

XIX. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons shall, in the said colonies or plantations, or in any other part of his Majesty’s dominions counterfeit or forge any seal, stamp, mark, type, device, or label, to resemble any seal, stamp, mark, type, device, or label, which shall be provided or made in pursuance of this act; or shall counterfeit or resemble the impression of the same upon any vellum parchment, paper, cards, dice or other matter or thing, thereby to evade the payment of any duty hereby granted; or shall make, sign, print, utter, vend, or sell, any vellum, parchment, or paper, or other matter or thing, with such counterfeit mark or impression thereon, knowing such mark or impression to be counterfeited; then every person so offending shall be adjudged a felon, and shall suffer death as in cases of felony without the benefit of clergy.

XX. And it is hereby declared, That upon any prosecution or prosecutions for such felony, the dye, tool, or other instrument made use of in counterfeiting or forging any such seal, stamp, mark, type, device, or label, together with the vellum, parchment, paper, cards, dice, or other matter, or thing having such counterfeit impression, shall, immediately after the trial or conviction of the party or parties accused, be broke, defaced, or destroyed, in open court.

XXI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any register, public officer, clerk, or other person in any court registry, or office within any of the said colonies or plantation, shall, at any time after the said first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty five, enter, register, or enroll, any matter or thing hereby charged with a stamp duty unless the same shall appear to be duly stamped; in every such case such register, public officer, clerk, or other person, shall for every such offence, forfeit the sum of twenty pounds.

XXII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of November, one if any counselor, clerk, officer, attorney, or other person, to whom it shall appertain, or who shall be employed or intrusted, in the said colonies or plantations, to enter or file any matter or thing in respect whereof any duty shall be payable by virtue of this act, shall neglect to enter, file, or record the same, as by law the same ought to be entered, filed, or recorded, within the space of four months after he shall have received any money for or in respect of the same, or shall have promised or undertaken so to do; or shall neglect to enter, file, or record, any such matter or thing, before any subsequent, further or other proceeding, matter, or thing, in the same suit, shall be had, entered, filed, or recorded; that then every such counselor, clerk, officer, attorney, or other person so neglecting or offending, in each of the cases aforesaid, shall forfeit the sum of fifty pounds for every such offence.

XXIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons, at any time after the said first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty five, shall write, engross, or print, or cause to be written, engrossed, or printed, in the said colonies or plantations, or any other part of his said Majesty’s dominions, either the whole or any part of any matter or thing whatsoever in respect whereof any duty is payable by this act, upon any part of any piece of vellum, parchment, or paper, whereon there shall have been before written any other matter or thing in respect whereof any duty was payable by this act; or shall fraudulently erase, or cause to be erased, the name or names of any person or persons, or any sum, date, or other thing, engrossed, written, or printed, in such matter or thing as aforesaid; or fraudulently cut, tear, or get off, any mark or stamp from any piece of vellum, parchment, or paper, or any part thereof, with intent to use such stamp or mark for any other matter or thing in respect whereof any duty shall be payable by virtue of this act; that then, and so often, and in every such case, every person so offending shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of fifty pounds.

XXIV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every matter and thing, in respect whereof any duty shall be payable in pursuance of this act, shall be engrossed, written, or printed, in such manner, that some part thereof shall be either upon, or as near as conveniently may be, to the stamps or marks denoting the duty; upon pain that the person who shall engross, write, or print, or cause to be engrossed, written, or printed, any such matter or thing in any other manner, shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sums of five pounds.

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