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relief of the poor, or the bringing up of children to learning, or for any other specific purpose, and have not been or shall not be employed according to the charitable intent of the giver and founder thereof, it shall and may be lawful for the town council of each town, within its respective jurisdiction, to inquire of and concerning the same ; and of the abuses and breaches of trust, negligence, misemployment, not employing, concealing, defrauding and misconverting or misgovernment thereof, as often as it shall appear requisite and needful.
Sec. 2. Said town council, after notice to the parties entrusted with any such real or personal property, may set down such orders, judgments and decrees in relation thereto as the exigency of the case may seem to require ; which orders, judgments and decrees, not being contrary or repugnant to the orders, statutes and decrees of the donors or founders, shall stand firm and good, according to the tenor and purport thereof, and shall be executed by the sheriff accordingly; until the same be altered or undone by the supreme court of this state upon complaint of the party aggrieved made unto them.
Sec. 3. Upon the finding of any breach of trust, negligence, misemployment, mismanagement or under-renting any such property, judgments and executions shall be given forth by the said town council against the misemployers, mismanagers and misimprovers of the same, and the same shall be levied out of their estates; and for want of sufficient estate of theirs to be found to satisfy and pay the same, they shall be committed to jail until the same be satisfied and paid ; and a just distribution thereof be made, according to the true intent and meaning of the donors or founders.
Sec. 4. It shall and may be lawful to and for any person aggrieved at any sentence, order, judgment or decree of any town council in any of the cases aforesaid, to appeal therefrom unto the supreme court; who are hereby empowered to alter, reverse or confirm such sentence, order or judgment of such town council, and to give a new and final judgment and determination in said case, as they shall think fit and agreeable to equity and good conscience, according to the true intent and meaning of the donors and founders thereof; and shall tax and award costs of suit as in suits in equity : provided always, that the party desiring an appeal from such town council to the supreme court do, the same day such order, sentence, judgment or decree is given, request that such his desire be entered in the records of said court, and within ten days after judgment give sufficient bond to said council with sufficient sureties to prosecute his appeal with effect,
and to stand and abide such final judgment as shall afterwards be given in said cause; or otherwise such person or persons shall lose his advantage of appeal as aforesaid ; and in the meantime such sentence, order, judgment or decree of such town council shall be suspended and execution stayed thereupon, any thing in this act before contained to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.
Sec. 5. Nothing in this act shall be construed to deprive the supreme court of original jurisdiction over any such matter as is by this act placed within the jurisdiction of town councils.
An Act for the relief of Insolvent Debtors.
SECTION 1. Petitions for insolvent act—by whom from decree of supreme court
to be preferred—to what courts insolvent petitions and proceedings in when to be filed and what exhibits cases of appeal. to be filed there with.
14. Same subject. 2. Supreme court may dispense with 15. Same subject. residence in the petitioner, in certain 16. Insolvent debtors discharged under
this act not liable to arrest or im3. Petitions may be filed in term time. prisonment for any debt contracted 4. Supreme court to hear and determine before filing petitions-effect of fraud such petitions.
or perjury on such discharge-how 5. Petitioners to be strictly examined to be established.
under oath, and such examinations to 17. Mutual debts to be off-set by assignees be recorded.
under this act. 6. On receiving any petition, proceedings 18. Form of oath to inventory, to be taken
for collection of debts may be stayed by petitioners. against the body and estate of the 19. Debts due from any insolvent to this petitioner, or either, and he discharged state, or any town, to have a prefer
from jail. 7. Further notice to creditors may be or- 20. Man intermarrying with a
dered, when court shall deem the discharged under this act, to be liabl same necessary.
for her debts only to the amount of 8. When petition is granted, petitioner
her property: to make an assignment of his estate 21. Benefit of this act not to be granted to for the benefit of his creditors.
any debtors whose debts do not exceed 9. Conveyances made by petitioners to one hundred dollars.
children and others-void in certain 22. Petitioners may be surrendered or cases, and persons receiving same committed to jail by their bail, notsubject to a penalty.
withstanding their petitions, and to 10. Assignees may be called to account, be discharged upon giving bond.
and dismissed by supreme court, and 23. Clerks to record proceedings under others appointed.
this act. 11. Duties of assignees under this act. 24. Nothing in this act to invalidate pro12. Same subject.
ceedings under any previous insolvent 13. Appeal granted to general assembly act.
It is enacted by the General Assembly, as follows:
SECTION 1. It shall be lawful for any inhabitant of this state, who shall have resided and been domiciled therein for the space of three years next preceding the preferring of his petition, and who is, or hereafter shall be insolvent, to prefer his petition for the benefit of this act to the supreme court,
to be holden in and for the county in which such petitioner shall be resident or domiciled; which petition shall be filed in the office of the clerk of said court three weeks, at least, before the sitting thereof; and the petitioner shall exhibit and file therewith, under oath, a just and true statement of all his debts, and to whom due, and of the losses and misfortunes by which his insolvency has been caused; and also a just and true inventory of all his property and estate of every kind and nature, in possession or action, remainder or reversion, excepting wearing apparel not exceeding in value the sum of one hundred dollars; said oath shall be taken by said petitioner before any judge, justice of the peace or public notary of the county in which said petitioner may reside; and the said clerk shall notify the creditors of such petitioner of the pendency of said petition, by publishing a notification thereof at least three successive weeks next before the sitting of said court, to which said petition shall be preferred, in some public newspaper printed in this state ; the cost of such publication being first advanced by said petitioner.
Sec. 2. Said court shall have power, in their discretion, to dispense with the term of residence required by the first section of this act, in any cases in which, under all the circumstances, it may be in the opinion of the court, consistently with the true intent and meaning of that section, just and proper so to do.
Sec. 3. Said court, good cause being shown therefor, may permit any such petition to be preferred and received in term time, although not filed as aforesaid ; and in such case said petition shall be continued to the next term of the court, and notice thereof given to the creditors in the manner herein before prescribed.
Sec. 4. The supreme court are hereby vested with full jurisdiction over said petitions preferred as aforesaid ; and are hereby authorized and empowered to receive, hear and determine the same, and all questions and motions relating thereto; with power to carry into full effect all the provisions of this act.
Sec. 5. Said petitioners shall be strictly examined by the court, and by any of the creditors who may think proper, in order to obtain from them, under oath, a full, true and undisguised disclosure of their actual condition and circumstances; the real amount of their property and debts, the extent and nature of their losses, and the conveyances, transfers or other disposition which may have been made of their property or any part thereof; and how and in what manner, at
what time or times, to whom, and on what consideration, terms or conditions ; and said court shall strictly and thoroughly examine into the conduct and proceedings of such petitioners, so far as the interests of their creditors may have been or are liable to be prejudiced or affected thereby; and, in addition to their disclosures and answers under oath, to require them if they think proper, to produce satisfactory evidence of all such facts as they may deem material to a full understanding of the merits of each case. And no such petitioner shall receive a discharge by virtue of this act, unless upon full investigation as aforesaid of his conduct and proceedings, and upon a hearing of such testimony (if any) as his creditors may present, he shall, in the opinion of the court exercising a sound discretion therein, be fairly and justly entitled thereto; and said examination being accurately taken down in writing, by order of the court, in a suitable record book, shall in open court, be read to and signed by said petitioner. Said court shall have power to establish rules for the proccedings on all such petitions, and to prescribe such forms as may be found proper.
Sec. 6. On the reception of any petition for the benefit of this act, the supreme court shall have power, in their discretion, to stay all proceedings against the body and estate or either of the petitioner for the collection of debts; and to cause such petitioner to be liberated from jail, if confined in the county jail in the county of Providence, on his giving bond with surety or sureties, to the satisfaction of the keeper of said jail; and if confined in any other jail, on his giving bond with surety or sureties to the satisfaction of the sheriff of such county, conditioned to return to jail in ten days after the rising of the court at which the petition shall be finally disposed of, unless the petitioner shall be discharged by the court, and shall receive a certificate thereof, by order and under the seal of said court.
Sec. 7. The said court, upon inspection of the schedules of the petitioner attached to his petition, may order such other and further notice to all or any of the creditors as they may deem necessary.
Sec. 8. Whenever the benefit of this act shall be extended to any such petitioner, he shall in open court, at the same term and before receiving his certificate of discharge, execute, acknowledge and deliver to such assignee or assignees (not exceeding three) as said court shall appoint, upon the nomination of the major part, in value, of the creditors present, if they shall think proper so to nominate, an assignment
conveying and transferring to him, his heirs and assigns, his successor, his heirs and assigns, in trust for the benefit of all the creditors, all and singular the estate and effects, real and personal, of every description, in possession, reversion or remainder, to which said petitioner may be entitled, in law or equity, (excepting wearing apparel as aforesaid,) with all the muniments and evidences thereof; and all debts due to him, and all debts, claims and demands, rights and credits of every description, together with all his books of account, papers and writings, and evidences relating to such debts or claims; all which muniments, evidences, books and papers, and if the court shall so require, all which effects, goods and chattels, shall be actually delivered up to said assignee, before such petitioner shall be entitled to receive his certificate of discharge; and said assignee shall have power, in his own name, to collect and take possession of, by suit or other legal means, all such estate, property and debts ; to prosecute to final judgment and execution all suits previously commenced in the name or for the benefit of said petitioner, and pending at the date of said assignment; and to redeem all lands, goods and estates, which may have been previously mortgaged or in any way pledged or encumbered, and in which said petitioner may have any interest.
Sec. 9. If any such petitioner, prior to making his assignment as aforesaid, shall convey to any of his children or others, any land or goods, or transfer any of his debts or demands or the evidences thereof, with intent to defraud his creditors, all such property and claims shall nevertheless vest in the assignee appointed as aforesaid ; and every trustee or other person who shall receive any such conveyance or transfer and shall wilfully conceal any such property or evidences of debt, shall forfeit double the value thereof, for the benefit of the creditors; and whenever any person shall be suspected of concealing, as aforesaid, any property or debts of the petitioner, said court, if sitting, or either justice thereof, out of term time, shall have power, upon the application of an assignee, to cause such suspected person to come before them, and to examine him under oath respecting the same; and if such person shall refuse to be sworn so as to make answer to such questions as shall be administered touching the subject matter of said examination, then it shall be lawful for said court or justice to commit him to prison, there to be detained until he shall submit to be examined as aforesaid.
SEC. 10. Said court shall have power at all times to call any such assignee to account, and at their discretion to dis