William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
The Number of Polls and the Value of Rateable Estates Within the Provicince of Massachusetts-bay During the Year 1771 , 
Meg Hixon, December 2011
The Number of Polls and the Value of rateable Estates within the Province of Massachusetts-bay during the year 1771
This manuscript, entitled The Number of Polls and the Value of rateable Estates within the Province of Massachusetts-bay during the year 1771 , contains a detailed calculation of the total tax revenue generated by Massachusetts in 1771. The manuscript may be in the hand of George Chalmers.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
The Number of Polls and the Value of rateable Estates within the Province of Massachusetts-bay during the year 1771 , William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
This manuscript, entitled The Number of Polls and the Value of rateable Estates within the Province of Massachusetts-bay during the year 1771, may be in the hand of George Chalmers. George Chalmers was born in Fochabers, Scotland, ca. 1742, the son of village postmaster James Chalmers and Isabella Ruddock. He studied at the University of Aberdeen and later read law at Edinburgh University. In 1763, he left for Maryland to assist his uncle with a legal dispute. A Loyalist, he practiced law in Baltimore until 1775, when he moved to London, England, amidst growing colonial unrest. In 1777, he began an authorial career aimed at provoking British opinions against the revolting American colonists, and he wrote several works about North American and British history. In 1786, he was appointed chief clerk of the Privy Council's committee for trade and foreign plantations, and in 1792 he became agent for the Bahamas. He continued writing during this period and won admittance to several antiquarian societies; his major work of the period was the multivolume Caledonia, a history of Scotland. He died a bachelor in London, England, on May 31, 1825.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This manuscript is entitled "The Number of Polls and the Value of rateable Estates within the Province of Massachusetts-bay during the year 1771." The figures are presented by county, with each county divided into towns; totals for each town and county are provided, as are totals for the entire colony, multiplied by current tax rates to provide a proportional and total amount of taxes owed in 1771. The information was presented to the House of Delegates.
- Suffolk: 8,446 (including Boston's 2,876)
- Essex: 11,697
- Middlesex: 8,987
- Hampshire: 6,779
- Plymouth: 6,163
- Barnstable: 3,478
- Bristol: 5,842
- York: 3,368
- Dukes: 692
- Nantucket: 1,130
- Cumberland: 2,683
- Lincoln: 1,844
- Worcester: 9,697
- Berkshire: 2,773
A "Recapitulation" shows a total count of 73,478 polls and a total estate value of £549,001 17s. 4d. Taxes accrued equal £382 14s. 0d. from polls, £617 12s. 6d. from estates, and £1000 6s. 6d. total.
- Massachusetts--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
- Real property and taxation--Massachusetts.
- Chalmers, George, 1742-1825.
Additional Descriptive Data
The William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers contain several items written by George Chalmers, including 27-page copy of his "Memoirs of the Canaries" (1782).
The Single Items collection holds a copy of a letter written by George Chalmers to William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland [August 1801].
The Graphics Division holds the following engraving: Cooper, Robert, and Henry Edridge. George Chalmers, Esq., F.R.S. & S.A. London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1813.
The Book Division holds many books written by George Chalmers.
Du Toit, Alexander. "Chalmers, George." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004.