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To the Honorable Senate and the House of Representatives.
I have the honor to submit, in compliance with section 2 of chapter 262 of the Acts of 1892, the seventh annual report of the transactions of this office, covering the year ending with the 31st of December, 1898. Accompanying this report are the sheriffs' returns and the returns of liquor licenses. As stated in my report of last year, the returns of registers of deeds, which formerly appeared with this report, are no longer made to the Secretary, the act requiring such returns having been repealed by chapter 443 of the Acts of 1896.
In addition to the duties previously assigned to this office, the Legislature of 1898 instructed the Secretary to ascertain and report whether or not there are in existence in Halifax, Nova Scotia, rolls of the Massachusetts colonial forces engaged in the Louisburg expedition of 1745 (chapter 49 of the Resolves); and also, jointly with the Treasurer and the Auditor, to examine voting machines. Reports on these duties are elsewhere made.
The regular work of the office has increased, as in former years, but has been performed without addition to the clerical force.
RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES. The receipts from fees, etc., amounted to $60,964.87, and were from the following sources : Commissions,
$10,010 00 Corporation certificates,
22,313 12 Limited partnerships,
40 00 Licenses,
17,553 50 Sale of early laws, blank ks, etc.,
5,804 65 Sale of Bradford Histories,
1,866 00 Labels, trade-marks, etc., .
380 00 Certificates,
$633 75 Miscellaneous, Revolutionary Records,
1,183 00 Copies,
These fees were paid into the treasury monthly, and a quarterly report thereof was made to the Governor and Council, as required by law.
The expenses for salaries were $39,273, of which $1,460 was for the publication of the early laws. The incidental expenses of the office were $3,787.48.
COMMISSIONS. The number of commissions issued was 2,399 (an increase over 1897 of 61), of which 397 were without fee. The different classes were as follows:
Justices of the peace,
1,387 564 112 108 48 26 21 20 19 12 12 10 10 10 8 8 8 4 4 2 2 1 1 1 1
Certificates to the number of 2,948 were issued (a decrease of 56 over 1897), of which 413 were without fee.
Evidence has reached this office that certain justices of he peace have abused the authority which the statute grants them to solemnize marriages. Advertisements have appeared from time to time in newspapers, of which the following are Attention : Marriages performed privately, days, evenings, also Sundays, justice of the peace.
Marriages performed, privacy guaranteed, day or evening, by appointment, charges reasonable.
The persons thus advertising have been sought out and requested to discontinue such practice, but advertisements of the same character continue to appear. To prevent this evil, I suggest the passage of an act depriving justices of the peace of their authority to solemnize marriages, excepting a limited number of justices, to be designated for the purpose by the Governor.
CORPORATION Division. The total number of certificates of incorporation issued under general laws to new corporations was 463 (a decrease from 1897 of 45), classified as follows:
Manufacturing and mercantile corporations (under Public Statutes,
chapter 106, section 21), Religious, charitable, social, educational, musical, athletic, etc., cor
porations (under Public Statutes, chapter 115, section 4),
and Acts of 1898, chapter 474),.
11 11 2 1
The number of miscellaneous certificates filed and recorded was 3,061 (an increase of 56). Of these, 2,219 were certificates of condition of Massachusetts corporations (under section 54, chapter 106 of the Public Statutes); 231 were certificates of organization of manufacturing and mercantile corporations (under chapter 106 of the Public Statutes) ; 174 were certificates of religious, charitable and other organizations (under chapter 115 of the Public Statutes); 220 were certificates of payment of capital in manufacturing and mercantile corporations (under chapter 106 of the Public Statutes); and the remainder were distributed among 18 different classes.
The number of miscellaneous certificates filed and not recorded was 966 (an increase of 11), of which 848 were certifi