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Ordinance Directing the Manner of Signing the General Association


An Ordinance directing the manner of signing the General Association, by persons of tender consciences, and enforcing the same; and, also, for amending the Militia Ordinance, passed at the last session of this Congress.

Although it is not the design of this Congress to offer violence to conscience, yet it is highly necessary that all the inhabitants of this Colony should associate, as far as


their religious principles will permit. It is, therefore, resolved and directed, that all persons, whose religious principles would not suffer them to hear arms, and to sign the General Association of this Colony, recommended by Congress in its original form, may be allowed to sign the same, with the following proviso: "I agree to the above Association, as far as the same is consistent with my religious principles."

And it is further Resolved and Directed, That all persons who, when requested to sign the Association, with the proviso aforesaid, shall refuse to do so, shall be disarmed, and give sufficient security for their peaceable and good behaviour, paying the expense attending the same; and the Committees of the several Counties and Townships are hereby required forthwith to tender the said Association to all who have hitherto refused or neglected to sign it, and to carry the above Resolution into effect: Provided, always, That if any person shall think himself aggrieved by any sentence of a Township Committee, he may, on giving security to prosecute the same to effect, and paying such costs and charges as the said Committee shall adjudge thereon, appeal to the Committee of the County wherein such Township is situated, which County Committee is hereby required and fully empowered to hear the complaint of the appellant, and decide upon the same; and if any person shall think himself aggrieved by any sentence of a County Committee, he may, on giving security, and paying costs as aforesaid, appeal therefrom to this Congress: Provided, always, That the said Committees may confine any person, notwithstanding his offer of security, who, in their opinion, may, when permitted to go at large, prove dangerous to the common cause.

And whereas, the late Militia Ordinance of this Congress hath not made any provision for subjecting such of the inhabitants of this Colony, between the ages of sixteen and fifty years, whose religious principles will not suffer them to bear arms, to any penalty for not attending, and obeying orders, on the days to be appointed for General Musters, or Reviews, and it being highly equitable and just that, at this time of publick danger, all such inhabitants of this Colony should bear an equal proportion of the publick expenses, as an equivalent for an exemption from bearing arms:

It is, therefore, further Resolved and Directed, That there shall be inflicted on all such of the inhabitants of this Colony, between the ages of sixteen and fifty years, whose religious principles will not suffer them to bear arms, and who shall not hereafter attend, properly accoutred, and obey orders, on the terms to be appointed for the General Muster, or Review, of the Regiments of Militia in this Colony, the sum of ten Shillings, Proclamation money, for each and every default, any thing in the before-recited Ordinance contained to the contrary notwithstanding; to be recovered, and applied, by warrant of distress, in manner and form as directed by the said recited Ordinance: Provided, always, That the times so, as aforesaid, to be appointed for days of General Muster, or Review, do not exceed three days in a year; and that reasonable excuses shall be admitted for such delinquents' non-attendance, by such persons who shall be appointed to issue warrants of distress for the recovery of such penalties.

And whereas, vacancies have, and may happen, in companies of Militia in this Colony, by the promotion, resignation, death, removal, or other disability, of the Captain, or other Officers, of such Companies: For supplying which vacancies,

It is further Resolved and Directed, That each and every Company where such vacancies have, or may happen, shall, within ten days after such vacancy happens, or such Company shall have notice of this Resolve, assemble, and elect proper persons for supplying such vacancy, and make return thereof to the Committee of the Township to which they belong, who are to report the same to this Congress, or Committee of Safety, in order that commissions may issue; and in ease such Company shall neglect to elect Officers within the time above limited, or in case any person, or persons, so elected, shall neglect to make the aforesaid return, at the next meeting of the Committee thereafter, that then, and in such case, the said Committee shall name and appoint proper persons to be commissioned as aforesaid; or, otherwise, such Committee, upon the neglect


of the said Company, or Companies, to elect persons to be commissioned as aforesaid, may, if they think it advisable to, dissolve such Company, and incorporating the persons composing the same into other Companies contiguous thereto, in which Companies they shall be enrolled, and bear arms, under the fines and penalties in the Ordinance directed for non-attendance.

And whereas, by the said former Ordinance, no distinction is made between those who sign the Muster-Rolls, and those who do not sign the same, it is hereby declared, that no distinction is intended; but that all those who refuse to sign such Muster-Roll, within the ages mentioned, (except such persons whose religious principles will not suffer them to bear arms,) shall be enrolled, and be subject to the same command, and liable to the same fines and forfeitures for neglect of duty, as those are who sign such Muster-Roll.