Monmouth Court of Common Pleas
New Jersey, January, 1771
New Jersey, Monmouth... By order of the Honorable John Anderson, James Lawrence, John Taylor and John Wardell, Esqrs, four of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas for the said County of Monmouth,
Notice is hereby given, that THOMAS EVERINGHAM,
Prisoner for Debt, in the Goal of said County, was on the 7th Day of last March, qualified to the Schedule of his Estate, pursuant to a late Act of Assembly, entitled, An Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, made, and as in former Advertisements set forth;
Terminology Note; the word "Goal" used above is a commonly misspelled word GAOL, an old English word for Jail, pronounced "Jail".
By modern standards, England's eighteenth century laws were unjust regarding the lower classes. Under old English law, a person could be arrested as an insolvent debtor for an unpaid obligation of only a few shillings.
Although the colonists, under England's tight control, were unable to make major changes to the laws, they did manage to make reforms in some of England's legal procedures. One of those reforms pertained to insolvent debtors. It did not take a great deal of legal knowledge to realize if the person was confined in jail, he or she could not earn money to pay their creditors.
"An Act Abolishing imprisonment for Debt," was not approved until February 19, 1830, constituted the first major change to the colonial insolvent debtor laws. Henceforth, no person could be confined in jail for debt, except in cases of fraud.