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Address to the People of Several Towns

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Date: December 7, 1786
Creator: Daniel Gray
About this artifact

Daniel Gray was the wealthiest man in Pelham and an ardent supporter of the Regulation, or Shays' Rebellion. In this Address, Gray lists the grievances he identifies as the causes of the Regulation. These include the method of debt collection (which he states will fill the jails with debtors), and the high taxes imposed by the state to help pay off debt accumulated during the war. Gray also cites the suspension of Habeas Corpus, which allowed the state to arrest men and detain citizens without due process, and send them to "any gaol, or other safe place, within the Commonwealth." The Riot Act to which Gray refers in item four was passed on October 28, 1786. It stipulated that sheriffs, constables and Justices of the Peace "shall be indemnified and held guiltless" if they killed rioters who did not disband. The Riot Act also provided that the rioters would "forfeit all their lands" and be whipped and imprisoned for up to one year.

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Courtesy Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, MA