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The Stamp Act of 1765

XLIX. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the high treasurer of Great Britain, or the commissioners of his Majesty’s treasury, or any three or more of such commissioners, for the time being, shall once in every year at least, set the prices at which all sorts of stamped vellum, parchment, and paper, shall be sold by the said commissioners for managing the stamp duties, and their officers; and that the said commissioners for the said duties shall cause such prices to be marked upon every such skin and piece of vellum and parchment, and sheet and piece paper: and if any officer or distributor to be appointed by virtue of this act, shall sell, or cause to be sold, any vellum, parchment, or paper, for a greater or higher price or sum, than the price or sum so set or affixed thereon; every such officer distributor shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of twenty pounds.

L. And be it also enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the several officers who shall be respectively employed in the raising, receiving, collecting, or paying, the several duties hereby charged, within the said colonies and plantations, shall every twelve months, or oftener, if thereunto required by the said commissioners for managing for the said duties, exhibit his and their respective account and accounts of the said several duties upon oath, or if a quaker upon affirmation, in the presence of the governor, or commander in chief, or principal judge of the colony or plantation where such officers shall be respectively resident, in such manner as the high treasurer, or the commissioners of the treasury, or any three or more of such commissioners for the time being, shall, from time to time, direct and appoint, in order that the same may be immediately afterwards transmitted by the said officer or officers to the commissioners for managing the said duties, to be comptrolled and audited according to the usual course and form of comptrolling and auditing the accounts of the stamp duties arising within this kingdom: and if any of the said officers shall neglect or refuse to exhibit any such account, or to verify the same upon oath or affirmation, or to transmit any such account so verified to the commissioners for managing the said duties, in such manner, and within such time, as shall be so appointed or directed; or shall neglect or refuse to pay, or cause to be paid, into the hands of the receiver general of the stamp duties in Great Britain, or to such other person or persons as the high treasurer, or commissioners of the treasury, or any three or more of such commissioners for the time being, shall, form time to time, nominate or appoint, the monies respectively raised, levied, and received, by such officers under the authority of this act, at such times, and in such manner, as they shall be respectively required by the said high treasurer, or commissioners of the treasury; or if any such officers shall divert, detain, or misapply, all or any part of the said monies so by them respectively raised, levied, and received, or shall knowingly return any person or persons insurer for any monies or other things duly answered, paid, or accounted for, by such person or persons, whereby he or they shall sustain any damage or prejudice; in every such case, every such officer shall be liable to pay treble the value of all and every sum and sums of money so diverted or misapplied; and shall also be liable to pay treble damages to the party grieved, by returning him insurer.

LI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the commissioners, receiver or receivers general, or other person or persons, who shall be respectively employed in Great Britain, in the directing, receiving, or paying, the monies arising by the duties hereby granted, shall, and are hereby required, between the tenth day of October and the fifth day of January following, and so from year to year, yearly, at those times, to exhibit their respective accounts thereof to his Majesty’s auditors of the imprest in England for the time being, or one of them, to be declared before the high treasurer, or commissioners of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer for the time being, according to the course of the exchequer.

LII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if the said commissioners for managing the said duties, or the said receiver or receivers general, shall neglect or refuse to pay into the exchequer all or any of the said monies, in such manner as they are required by this act to pay the same, or shall divert or misapply any part thereof; then they, and every of them so offending, shall be liable to pay double the value of all and every sum and sums of money so diverted or misapplied.

LIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the comptroller or comptrollers for the time being of the duties hereby imposed, shall keep perfect and distinct accounts in books fairly written of all the monies arising by the said duties; and if any such comptroller or comptrollers shall neglect his or their duty therein, then he or they, for every such offence, shall forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds.

LIV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all the monies which shall arise by the several rates and duties hereby granted (except the necessary charges of raising, collecting, recovering, answering, paying, and accounting for the same, and the necessary charges from time to time incurred in relation to this act, and the execution thereof) shall be paid into the receipt of his Majesty’s exchequer, and shall be entered separate and apart from all other monies, and shall be there reserved to be from time to time disposed of by parliament, towards further defraying the necessary expenses of defending, protecting, and securing, the said colonies and plantations.

LVI. And it is hereby further enacted and deal red, That all the powers and authorities by this act granted to the commissioners for managing the duties upon stamped vellum, parchment, and paper, shall and may be fully and effectually carried into execution by any three or more of the said commissioners; any thing herein before contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

LVII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all forfeitures and penalties incurred after the twenty ninth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and sixty five, for offences committed against an act passed in the fourth year of the reign of his present Majesty, entitled, An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America; for continuing, amending, and making perpetual, an act passed in the sixth year of the reign of his late majesty King George the Second entitled, And act for the better securing and encouraging the trade of his Majesty’s sugar colonies in America; or applying the produce of such duties, and of the duties to arise by virtue of the said act, towards defraying the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing, the said colonies and plantations; for explaining an act made in the twenty fifth year of the reign of King Charles the Second entitled, And act for the encouragement of the Greenland and Eastland trades, and for the better securing the plantation trade; and for altering and disallowing several drawbacks on exports form this kingdom, and more effectually preventing the clandestine conveyance this kingdom, and more effectually preventing the clandestine conveyance of goods to and form the said colonies and plantations, and improving and securing the trade between the same and Great Britain, and for offences committed against any other act or acts of parliament relating to the trade or revenues of the said colonies and plantations; shall and may be prosecuted, sued for and recovered, in any court of record, or in any court of admiralty, in the respective colony or plantation where the offence shall be committed, or in any court of vice admiralty appointed or to be appointed, and which shall have jurisdiction within such colony, plantation, or place, (which courts of admiralty or vice admiralty are hereby respectively authorized and required to proceed, hear, and determine the same) at the election of the informer or prosecutor.

LVIII. And it is hereby further enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, That all sums of money granted and imposed by this act as rates or duties, and also all sums of money imposed as forfeitures or penalties, and all sums of money required to be paid, and all other monies herein mentioned, shall be deemed and taken to be sterling money of Great Britain, and shall be collected, recovered, and paid, to the amount of the value which such nominal sums bear in Great Britain; and shall and may be received and taken, according to the proportion and value of five shillings and six pence the ounce in silver; and that all the forfeitures and penalties hereby inflicted, and which shall be incurred, in the said colonies and plantations, shall and may be prosecuted, sued for, and recovered, in any court of record, or in any court of admiralty, in the respective colony or plantation where the offence shall be committed, or in any court of vice admiralty appointed or to be appointed, and which shall have jurisdiction within such colony, plantation, or place, (which courts of admiralty or vice admiralty are hereby respectively authorized and required to proceed, hear, and determine the same,) at the election of the informer or prosecutor; and that from and after the twenty ninth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and sixty five, in all cases, where any suit or prosecution shall be commenced and determined for any penalty or forfeiture inflicted by this act, or by the said act made in the fourth year of his present Majesty’s reign, or by any other act of parliament relating to the trade or revenues of the said colonies or plantations, in any court of admiralty in the respective colony or plantation where the offence shall be committed, either party, who shall think himself aggrieved by such determination, may appeal from such determination to any court of vice admiralty appointed or to be appointed and which shall have jurisdiction within such colony, plantation, or place, (which court of vice admiralty is hereby authorized and required to proceed, hear, and determine such appeal) any law, custom, or usage, to the contrary notwithstanding; and the forfeitures and penalties hereby inflicted, which shall be incurred in any other part of his Majesty’s dominions, shall and may be prosecuted, sued for, and recovered, with full costs of suit, in any court of record within the kingdom, territory, or place, where the offence shall be committed, in such and the same manner as any debt or damage, to the amount of such forfeiture or penalty, can or may be sued for and recovered.

LIX. And it is hereby further enacted, That all forfeitures and penalties hereby inflicted shall be divided, paid, and applied, as follows: (that is to say) one third part of all such forfeitures and penalties recovered in the said colonies and plantations, shall be paid into the hands of one of the chief distributors of stamped vellum, parchment, and paper, residing in the colony or plantation wherein the offender shall be convicted, for the use of his Majesty, his heirs, and successors; one third part of the penalties and forfeitures, so recovered, to the governor or commander in chief of such colony or plantation; and the other third part thereof, to the person who shall inform or sue for the same; and that one moiety of all such penalties and forfeitures recovered in any other part of his Majesty’s dominions, shall be to the use of his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, and the other moiety thereof, to the person who shall inform or sue for the same.

LX. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all the offences which are by this act made felony [counterfeiting or forging a stamped paper], and, shall be committed within any part of his Majesty’s dominions, shall and may be heard, tried, and determined, before any court of law within the respective kingdom, territory, colony, or plantation, where the offence shall be committed, in such and the same manner as all other felonies can or may be heard, tried, and determined, in such court.

LXI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all the present governors or commanders in chief of any British colony or plantation, shall, before the said first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty five, and all who hereafter shall be made governors or commanders in chief of the said colonies or plantations, or any of them, before their entrance into their government, shall take a solemn oath to do their utmost, that all and every the clauses contained in this present act be punctually and bona fide observed, according to the true intent and meaning thereof, so far as appertains unto the said governors or commanders in chief respectively, under the like penalties, forfeitures, and disabilities, either for neglecting to take the said oath, or wittingly neglecting to do their duty accordingly, as are mentioned and expressed in an act made in the seventh and eighth year of the reign of King William the Third, entitled, An act for preventing frauds, and regulating abuses, in the plantation trade; and the said oath hereby required to be taken, shall be administered by such person or persons as hath or have been, or shall be, appointed to administer the oath required to be taken by the said act made in the seventh and eighth year of the reign of King William the Third.

LXII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all records, writs, pleadings, and other proceedings in all courts whatsoever, and all deeds, instruments, and writings whatsoever, hereby charged, shall be engrossed and written in such manner as they have been usually accustomed to be engrossed and written, or are now engrossed and written within the said colonies and plantations.

LXIII. And it is hereby further enacted, That if any person or persons shall be sued or prosecuted, either in Great Britain or America, for any thing done in pursuance of this act, such person and persons shall and may plead the general issue, and give this act and the special matter in evidence; and it shall appear so to have been done, the jury shall find for the defendant or defendants: and if the plaintiff or plaintiffs shall become non-suited or discontinue his or their action after the defendant or defendants shall recover treble costs and have the like remedy for the same as defendants have in other cases by law.