[ Boston ]: Commonwealth of Massachusetts 1840. Single folio sheet printed recto, approximately 17.5 x 13.675 inches; one horizontal and three vertical folds; near fine. Near Fine. Broadside. 
An Act, passed by both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate, Governing the valuing of poll and property taxes in Massachusetts. The first section tasks Assessors to submit to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office a "true and perfect list" of all male polls age sixteen and up, together with "all rateable estate, both real and personal, lying within their Cities, Towns and Districts" with a value of more than twenty dollars. (A poll tax is a tax on a person.) The Act also establishes an oath which each Assessor must agree to swear by, along with penalties for either refusing the oath, or not abiding by its terms. Section Seven of the Act details the correct type of form on which information for listing polls and property must be recorded. Even by today's standards, this form might be considered comprehensive to the point of being intrusive. To give a few examples: "Number of ounces of plate of all kinds, exceeding twenty dollars in value... Number of bushels of wheat... of rye... of Indian corn... of flax.... of hemp... of hops... of tons of hay.... of cow rights... of horses one year old and upwards.... of mules and asses... of oxen... of steers and heifers... of sheep... of swine..." and much, much more. It was during this decade that Henry David Thoreau was jailed for not paying his taxes, ostensibly on the grounds of his objection to slavery and the Mexican war. Signed in type by Robert C. Winthrop, Speaker of the Massachusetts House; Daniel P. King, President of the Senate, and John P. Bigelow, Secretary of the Commonwealth. WorldCat records only one institutional holding (AAS) of a four-page pamphlet of the same title with very similar, although not identical, content. (Other institutions hold electronic text files of same.) No broadside printings are recorded by WorldCat.