The following selection is from an act of the Massachusetts General Court on April 23-25, 1772, following a petition to the legislature in which the Overseers of the Poor sought to control the receipt and distribution of all private funds intended for poor relief. The Overseers had long been solely responsible for the public care and control of the dependent poor within their jurisdiction. But the legal designation of the Overseers, by act of “incorporation,” as the authorized agency for the management of private funds in addition to public monies established the Overseers as a genuine monopoly in the fiscal support and management of the poor. The preamble of the act (the first paragraph) is, in fact, drawn from the Overseers petition which is in Massachusetts Archives (Boston), 118, “Towns, 1763-1774;” 572. The act is in Acts and Resolves 5:177-78, and in manuscript for in Overseers, box 13, folder 1.’
The Eighteenth-Century Records of the Boston Overseers of the Poor (Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts). Edited by Eric Nellis and Anne Decker Cecere. Charlottesville: University Of Virginia Press, 2001.