Roman Catholics, after 1691.1 Real toleration in public opinion grew slowly through the 18th century, removing the religious tests of voters; and a constitutional amendment in 1821 explicitly forbade such tests in the case of office-holders. Property qualifications for the suffrage and for office-holding-universal through colonial times-were abolished in the main in 1780. From 1821 to 1891 the payment of at least a poll-tax was a condition precedent to the exercise of the suffrage. An educational test (dating from 1857) is exacted for the privilege of voting, every voter being required to be able to read the constitution of the commonwealth in the English language, and to write his name. The property qualification of the governor was not abolished until 1892. In the presidential election of 1896, when an unprecedentedly large vote was cast, the number of voters registered was nearly 20 % of the population, and of these nearly 82 'j(, actually voted. Massachusetts is one of the only two states in the Union in which elections for state officers are held annually. In 1888 an act was passed providing for the use in state elections of a blanket ballot, on which the names of all candidates for each office are arranged alphabetically under the heading of that office, and there is no arrangement in party columns. This was the first state law of the kind in the country. The same method of voting has been adopted in about two-thirds of the townships of the state. A limited suffrage was conferred upon women in 1879. Every female citizen having the qualifications of a male voter may vote in the city and town elections for members of the school committee.
A householder with a family may, by recording the proper declaration in a registry of deeds, hold exempt from attachment, levy on execution, and sale for the payment of debts thereafter contracted an estate of homestead, not exceeding $800 in value, in a farm or lot with buildings thereon which he lawfully possesses by lease or otherwise and occupies as his residence. The exemption does not extend, however, to the prohibition of sale for taxes, and in case the househ0lder's buildings are on land which he has leased those buildings are not exempt from sale or levy for the ground rent. If the householder has a wife he can mortgage or convey his 'estate of homestead only with her consent, and if he dies leaving a widow or minor children the homestead exemption survives until the youngest child is twenty-one years of age, or until the death or marriage of the widow, provided the widow or a child continues to occupy it.
The scope of state activity has become somewhat remarkable. In addition to the usual state boards of education (1837), agriculture (1852), railroad commissioners (1869), health (1869), statistics of labour, fisheries and game, charity (1879), the dairy bureau (1891), of insanity (1898), prison, highways, insurance and banking commissions, there are also commissions on ballot-law, voting machines, civil service (1884), uniformity of legislation, gas and electric lighting corporations, conciliation and arbitration in labour disputes (1886), &c. There are efficient state boards of registration in pharmacy, dentistry and medicine. Foods and drugs have been inspected since 1882. In general it may be said that the excellence of administrative results is noteworthy. The work of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor, of the Bureau of Health, of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, and of the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, and the progress of civil service, have been remarkable for value and efficiency. Almost all state employees are under civil service rules; the same is true of the city of Boston; and of the clerical, stenographic, prison, police, civil engineering, fire, labour foreman, inspection and bridge tender services of all cities; and under a law (1894) by which cities and towns may on petition enlarge the application of their civil service rules. Various other public services, including even common labourers of the larger towns, are rapidly passing under civil service regulation. Veterans of the Civil War have privileges in the administration of the state service. In the settlement of labour disputes conciliatory methods were successful in the formative period, when the parties to disputes adopted customary attitudes of hostility and fought to the end unless they were reconciled by the Board to a final agreement or to an agreement to arbitrate.” In this earlier period (before 1900), thanksto the I-lowever, every office-holder was, and every subject might be, required to take (though this was not a condition of the franchise) the oaths enjoined by parliament in the first year of the reign of William and Mary as a substitute for the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy; and the same still applies to the signing of the Declaration.
2 From 1887-1900, out of 290 cases settled, only 107 were formal arbitration's, 124 agreements were effected by the mediation of the Board, 100 were efiected otherwise while proceedings were pending, and in 59 cases the Board interposed when the parties preferred hostilities.
efforts of the board there was an increase in the frequency of appeal to arbitration, and settlements by compromise were often made. Afterwards the number of arbitration's by the board increased in number: from 1900 to 1908 (inclusive), of 568 controversies submitted to the board, 525 were settled by an award and 43 by an induced agreement. In the same period the mediation of the Board settled disputes affecting 5560 establishments; and in the latter half of this period labour disputes involving hostilities and of the magnitude contemplated by the statute governing the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration had almost disappeared. The laws relating to labour are full, but, as compared with those of other states, present few features calling for comment.” In 1899 eight hours were made to constitute a day's work for all labourers employed by or for any city or town adopting the act at an annual election. Acts have been passed extending the common-law liability of employers, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of sweat-shop clothing, and authorizing cities and towns to provide free lectures and to maintain public baths, gymnasia and playgrounds. Boston has been a leader in the establishment of municipal baths. The state controls and largely maintains two beaches magnificently equipped near the city. The Massachusetts railroad commission, though preceded in point of time by that of New Hampshire of 1844, was the real beginning of modern state commissions. Its powers do not extend to direct and mandatory regulation, being supervisory and advisory only, but it can make recommendations at its discretion, appealing if necessary to the General Court; and it has had great influence and excellent results. The Torrens system of land registration was adopted in 1898, and a court created for its administration. In the case of all quasi-public corporations rigid laws exist prohibiting the issue of stock or bonds unless the par value is first paid in; prohibiting the declaration of any stock or scrip dividend, and requiring that new stock shall be offered to stockholders at not less than its market value, to be determined by the proper state officials, any shares not so subscribed for to be sold by public auction. These laws are to prevent fictitious capitalization and “ stock-watering.” In the twenty years preceding 1880 60% of all sentences for crime were found traceable to liquor. In 1881 a local o tion law was passed, by which the granting of licences for the sale of) liquor was confined to cities and towns voting at the annual election to authorize their issue. In 1888 the number of licences to be granted in municipalities voting in favour of their issue was limited to one for each 1000 inhabitants, except in Boston, where one licence may be issued for every 500 inhabitants. The vote varies from year to year, and it is not unusual for a certain number of municipalities to change from “ licence ” to “ no licence." and vice versa. The general result has been that centres of population, especially where the foreign element is large, usually vote for licence, while those in which native population predominates, aswell as the smaller towns, usually vote for prohibition. Through a growing acquiescence in the operation of the local option law, the relative importance of the vote of the Prohibition Party has diminished. Since 1895 indeterminate sentences have been imposed on all convicts sentenced to the state prison otherwise than for life or as habitual criminals; 'i.e. maximum and minimum terms are established by law and on the expiration of the latter a revocable permit of liberty may be issued. Execution by electricity has been the izletath penalty since 1898. Stringent legislation controls prison a our.
The extension of state activity resents some surprising features in view of the strength of local sell'-sufficiency nurtured by the old system of township government. But this form of pure democracy was in various cases long since inevitably abandoned: by Boston reluctantly in 1822, and subsequently by many other townships or cities, as growing population made action in town meeting unbearably cumbersome. In modern times state activity has encroached on the cities. Especially has the commonwealth undertaken certain noteworthy enterprises as the agent of the several municipalities in the immediate vicinity of Boston, constituting what is known as the Metropolitan District; as, for example, in bringing water thither from the Nashua River at Clinton, 40 m. from Boston, and in the development of a magnificent park system of woods, fells, river-banks and scashore, unrivalled elsewhere in the country. The common, - wealth joined the city of Boston in the construction of a subway beneath the most congested portion of the city' for the passage of electric cars. For the better accommodation of the increasing commerce of the port of Boston, the commonwealth bought a considerable frontage upon the harbour lines and constructed a dock capable of receiving the largest vessels, and has supplemented the work of the United States government in deepening the approaches to the wharves. It has secured as public reservations the summit and sides of Greylock (3535 ft.) in the north-west cornerrof the state, and of Wachusett (2108 ft.) near the centre. Since 1885 a large expenditure has been incurred in the abolition of grade 3 For a summary statement of state labour laws in the United States in IQOS see Bulletin 54 of the United States Bureau of Labor, September 1904; and fora summary of labour laws in force at the end of 1907 see 22Hd Annual Report (for 1907) of the U.S. Commissioner of Labor (Washington, 1908).