Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: MALT -- AGAINST PETITIONS PRIVATELY CIRCULATED
This vote suggests a custom long prevalent here, and in other parts of New England, that of malting barley, and brewing beer to be used as a common beverage among the people. So accustomed were they to the use of this drink, that it was regarded as indispensable to their comfort. We have not now any means of ascertaining the quantity used in the town yearly, but, evidently, it was somewhat large. It was considered of so much importance, that the town and Rev. John Cotton in agreeing upon the terms of his settlement as the minister of the town, in 1696, stipulated at what price per bushel malt should be received by him in part payment of his salary.
AGAINST PETITIONS PRIVATELY CIRCULATED
To prevent abuses of this kind, the commoners made it a penal offence for any person to carry about a petition, or endeavor to persuade any man to sign one, in favor of granting any common land, stream, or other appurtenance belongs to the common land, otherwise than in a public meeting -- the fine for each offence being 20s. to be paid to the selectmen for the use of the poor. They also ordered that every person that should sign such a petition, should pay a fine of 2s. 6d., to be applied to the same use.