Connecticut Blue Laws

The following are bits excerpted from a book, itself more than one hundred years old:

THE FAMOUS CONNECTICUT BLUE LAWS. – These laws, enacted by the people of the “Dominion of New Haven,” became known as the blue laws because they were printed on blue paper. They were as follows: –

The governor and magistrates convened in general assembly are the supreme power, under God, of the independent dominion. From the determination of the assembly no appeal shall be made.

No one shall be a freeman or have a vote unless he is converted and a member of one of the churches allowed in the dominion.

Each freeman shall swear by the blessed God to bear true allegiance to this dominion and that Jesus is the only king.

No dissenter from the essential worship of this dominion shall be allowed to give a vote for electing of magistrates or any officer.

No food or lodging shall be offered to a heretic.

No one shall cross a river on the Sabbath but authorized clergymen.

No one shall travel, cook victuals, make beds, sweep houses, cut hair, or shave on the Sabbath Day.

No one shall kiss his or her children on the Sabbath or feasting days.

The Sabbath Day shall begin at sunset Saturday.

Whoever wears clothes trimmed with gold, silver, or bone lace above one shilling per yard shall be presented by the grand jurors and the selectmen shall tax the estate L300.

Whoever brings cards or dice into the dominion shall pay a fine of L5.

No one shall eat mince pies, dance, play cards, or play any instrument of music except the drum, trumpet, or jews harp.

No gospel minister shall join people in marriage. The magistrate may join them, as he may do it with less scandal to Christ’s church.

When parents refuse their children convenient marriages, the magistrate shall determine the point.

A man who strikes his wife shall be fined L10.

A woman who strikes her husband shall be punished as the law directs.

No man shall court a maid in person or by letter without obtaining the consent of her parents; L5 penalty for the first offense; L10 for the second, and for the third imprisonment during the pleasure of the court.

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