1740: 13 George 2 c. 7: An act for naturalizing such foreign protestants, and others therein mentioned, as are settled, or shall settle, in any of his Majesty’s colonies in America.
WHEREAS the increase of people is a means of advancing the wealth and strength of any nation or country: and whereas many foreigners and strangers from the lenity of our government, the purity of our religion, the benefit of our laws, the advantages of our trade, and the security of our property, might be induced to come and settle in some of his Majesty’s colonies in America, if they were made partakers of the advantages and privileges which the natural born subjects of this realm do enjoy; be it therefore enacted by the King’s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same,
[Foreigners living 7 years in any of our colonies, to be deemed natives, on taking the oaths, &c.]
That from and after the first day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty, all persons born out of the ligeance of his Majesty, his heirs or successors, who have inhabited and resided, or shall inhabit or reside, for the space of seven years or more, in any of his Majesty’s colonies in America, and shall not have been absent out of some of the said colonies for a longer space than two months at any one time during the said seven years, and shall take and subscribe the oaths, and make, repeat, and subscribe the declaration appointed by an act made in the first year of the reign of his late Majesty King George the First, intituled, An act for the further security of his Majesty’s person and government, and the succession of the crown in the heirs of the late Princess Sophia, being protestants; and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended prince of Wales, his open and secret abettors;
[Quakers to subscribe the declaration of fidelity, &c.]
or being of the people called Quakers, shall make and subscribe the declaration of fidelity, and take and affirm the effect of the abjuration oath, appointed and prescribed by an act made in the eighth year of the reign of his said late Majesty, intituled, An act for granting the people called Quakers, such forms affirmation or declaration, as may remove the difficulties which many of them lie under; and also make and subscribe the profession of his christian belief, appointed and prescribed by an act made in the first year of the reign of their late majesties King William and Queen Mary, intituled, An act for exempting their Majesties protestant subjects from the penalties of certain laws; before the chief judge, or other judge of the colony wherein such persons respectively have so inhabited and resided, or shall so inhabit and reside, shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be his Majesty’s natural born subjects of this kingdom, to all intents, constructions, and purposes, as if they, and every of them, had been or were born within this kingdom; which said oath or affirmation and subscription of the said declarations respectively the chief judge or other judge of every of the said respective colonies is hereby enabled and impowered to administer and take; and the taking and subscribing of every such oaths or formation, and the making, repeating, and subscribing of every such declaration, shall be before such chief judge or other judge, in open court, between the hours of nine and twelve in the forenoon; and shall be entered in the same court, and also in the secretary’s office of the colony wherein such person shall so inhabit and reside:
[Entries to be made in books to be kept for publick inspection.]
and every chief judge or other judges of every respective colony, before whom such oaths or affirmation shall be taken and every such declaration shall be made, repeated, and subscribed as aforesaid, is hereby required to make a due and proper entry thereof in a book to be kept for that purpose in the said court;
[2s. to be paid, and no more, for each entry on 10l. penalty.]
for the doing whereof two shillings and no more shall be paid at each respective place, under the penalty and forfeiture of ten pounds of lawful money of Great Britain for every neglect or omission:
[The same penalty on secretary’s neglecting to register.]
and in like manner every secretary of the colony wherein any person shall so take the said oaths or affirmation, and make, repeat, and subscribe the said declarations respectively, as aforesaid, is hereby required to make a due and proper entry thereof in a book to be kept for that purpose in his office, upon notification thereof to him by the chief judge or other judge of the same colony, under the like penalty and forfeiture for every such neglect or omission.
[Each qualified person to receive the sacrament, except Quakers and Jews. 20 Geo. 2. c. 44.]
II. Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person, of what quality, condition, or place soever, other than and except such of the people called Quakers as shall qualify themselves and be naturalized by the ways and means herein before-mentioned, or such who profess the Jewish religion, shall be naturalized by virtue of this act, unless such person shall have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in some protestant and reformed congregation within this kingdom of Great Britain, or within some of the said colonies in America within three months next before his taking and subscribing the said oaths, and making, repeating, and subscribing the said declaration, and shall at the time of his taking and subscribing the said oaths and making, repeating, and subscribing the said declaration, produce a certificate signed by the person administring the said sacrament, and attested by two credible witnesses, whereof an entry shall be made in the secretary’s office of the colony wherein such person shall so inhabit and reside, as also in the court where the said oaths shall be so taken as aforesaid, without any fee or reward.
III. And whereas the following words are contained in the latter part of the oath of abjuration, Videlicet, (upon the true faith of a christian) And whereas the people professing the Jewish religion may thereby be prevented from receiving the benefit of this act; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid,
[Jews taking the oath may omit some christian expressions.]
That whenever any person professing the Jewish religion shall present himself to take the said oath or abjuration in pursuance of this act, the said words (upon the true faith of a christian) shall be omitted out of the said oath in administring the same to such person, and the taking and subscribing the said oath by such person professing the Jewish religion, without the words aforesaid, and the other oaths appointed by the said act in like manner as Jews were permitted to take the oath of abjuration, by an act made in the tenth year of the reign of his late Majesty King George the First, intituled, An act for explaining and amending an act of the last session of parliament, intituled, An act to oblige all persons, being papists, in that part of Great Britain called Scotland, and all persons in Great Britain, refusing, or neglecting to take the oaths appointed for the security of his Majesty’s person and government, by several acts herein mentioned, to register their names and real estates; and for enlarging the time for taking the said oaths, and making such registers, and for allowing further time for the inrolment, of deeds or wills made by papists, which have been omitted to be inrolled pursuant to an act of the third year of his Majesty’s reign; and also for giving relief to protestant lessees, shall be deemed a sufficient taking of the said oaths, in order to intitle such person to the benefit of being naturalized by virtue of this act.
[Certificates given by the colony, of residence, taking the oaths, &c. to be allowed proper evidence in all the courts of Great Britain and Ireland.]
IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That a testimonial or certificate under the seal of any of the said colonies, of any persons having resided and inhabited for the space of seven years or more as aforesaid within the said colonies or some of them, to be specified in such certificate, together with the particular time of residence in each of such respective colonies (whereof the colony under the seal of which such certificate shall be given to be one) and of his having taken and subscribed the said oaths, and of his having made, repeated, and subscribed the said declaration, and in case of a Quaker, of his having made and subscribed the declaration of fidelity, and of his having taken and affirmed the effect of the abjuration oath as aforesaid, and in the case of a person professing the Jewish religion, of his having taken the oath of abjuration as aforesaid, within the same colony, under the seal whereof such certificate shall be given as aforesaid, shall be deemed and taken to be a sufficient testimony and proof thereof, and of his being a natural born subject of Great Britain, to all intents and purposes whatsoever, and as such shall be allowed in every court within the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, and also in the said colonies in America.
[Secretary of the colony to send over to the commissioners of trade lists yearly, to be registred in England;]
V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every secretary of the said respective colonies for the time being, shall and is hereby directed and required at the end of every year to be computed from the said first day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty, to transmit and send over to the office of the commissioners for trade and plantations kept in the city of London or Westminster, a true and perfect list of the names of all and every person and persons who have in that year intitled themselves to the benefit of this act,
[on penalty of 50l.]
under the penalty and forfeiture of fifty pounds of lawful money of Great Britain for every neglect or omission: all which said lists so transmitted and sent over, shall from year to year be duly and regularly entered by the said commissioners, in a book or books to be had and kept for that purpose in the said office for publick view and inspection as occasion shall require.
[Proviso. Extended to the Unitas Frarum by 20 Geo. 2. c. 44.]
VI. Provided always, and it is hereby further enacted, That no person who shall become a natural born subject of this kingdom by virtue of this act, shall be of the privy council, or a member of either house of parliament, or capable of taking, having, or enjoying any office or place of trust within the kingdoms of Great Britain or Ireland, either civil or military, or of having, accepting, or taking any grant from the crown to himself, or to any other in trust for him, of any lands, tenements; or hereditaments within the kingdoms of Great Britain or Ireland; any thing herein before contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
Further reading: Wikipedia.