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Resolve for Appointing a Board of War



Passed October 26, 1776.

Whereas the present exigencies of our affairs, and the war we are by the injurious and cruel conduct of Britain forced into, for the defence of every thing dear to us, make it necessary that we should adopt the best measures for conducting the war with the greatest secrecy, despatch, and economy:

It is, therefore, Resolved, That nine persons be appointed by joint ballot of both Houses of Assembly, as a Committee, under the title of a Board of War, who shall keep in Boston,


or such other place or places as the General Court may order, or the said Board shall find necessary, a publick office for the purpose hereafter mentioned, and continue as a Committee for these purposes until the twentieth day of June next, and until others shall be appointed, subject nevertheless to a discharge at any time by the General Assembly of this State, whose business it shall be, and they, or the major part of them, are hereby empowered to order and direct the operations of the Forces in the pay of this State, both by sea and land, by giving the Commanders of the Troops, Garrisons, and Vessels of War, such orders for their conduct and cruises, from time to time, as they shall think proper, such orders to be signed in their name by the President of said Board, or, in his absence, by the member thereof officiating as President pro tempore; such Land Forces, nevertheless, shall not be sent out of this State without the express consent of the General Assembly thereof; and shall order the Commissary to furnish them, and also the Militia, upon extraordinary occasions, with all warlike and other Stores, Provisions, and Clothing, that shall appear to them proper and necessary: And for the more effectually enabling them to do this business,

It is also Resolved, That the said Committee or Board of War, or the major part of them, shall procure or cause to be procured, Provisions, Arms, Cannon, Ammunition, Clothing, and all other articles necessary for carrying on the war by sea and land; for which purpose they shall take up, or may purchase, load, and fit out with suitable cargoes, such vessels as shall appear to them proper for importing said articles from other States, they not amounting in the whole to a greater sum than shall from time to time be granted by the General Assembly and appropriated for those purposes; which articles, when procured, shall be lodged with the Commissary of this State, who shall store them in such safe and convenient places for the defence of this State as said Committee or Board of War shall order; and then with such articles belonging to this State now in his hands, from time to time, deliver out according to the orders of said Committee, and also procure any such articles as said Committee shall direct.

And it is further Resolved, That the Secretary and Commissary of this State make such returns to said Committee without delay as they shall from time to time require: and all officers in the service and pay of this State, by sea or land, are hereby required to be obedient and subject to such orders as they shall from time to time receive from the said Committee or Board of War, with the limitations aforesaid, which Committee shall keep in books for that purpose provided, fair and clear entries of all orders issued, and returns made, and also of all their proceedings, and of all the military and warlike stores and provisions belonging to this State, and the places where deposited. And said Committee or Board of War shall produce books and render account of their doings to the General Assembly of this State whenever and so often as they shall be thereunto required. And for the more effectually carrying into execution the purposes aforesaid, the said Committee or Board of War, or the major part of them, shall be, and hereby are, empowered to draw warrants on the Treasurer of this State for such sums of money as the General Assembly shall appropriate for that purpose, and the said Treasurer is hereby directed to pay the same: the said Committee or Board of War to be accountable to the General Assembly of this State for the expenditure thereof. And the said Committee, or the major part of them, are hereby empowered to take up or (if need be) impress any Horses, Cattle, and Carriages, and such other articles as the exigencies of the publick service may require.

And it is also Resolved, That any five, and not less, of said Committee or Board of War, shall be a quorum, and vested with full powers to act in all cases; and their doings shall be as valid in all respects as if the whole were present.

And it is also further Resolved, That a Secretary, and, if need be, one or more Clerks, to said Board of War shall be appointed by the said Board, and shall have such allowances for their services as the General Assembly of this State shall order; and such Secretary and Clerks shall, before they enter on their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation, before any one of the Council of this State or the Chairman of the said Board of


War, who are hereby empowered to administer the same, a certificate whereof shall be filed in said office, viz:

"I, A B, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will not, directly or indirectly, divulge any matter or thing which shall come to my knowledge as Secretary (or Clerk) of the Board of War established by the State of Massachusetts-Bay, without the leave of the Board of War or by the direction of the General Assembly of this State: and that I will faithfully execute my said office, according to the best of my skill and judgment. So help me God; (or this I affirm) on the pains and penalties of perjury.

"Witness my hand, this day of A˙ D˙ 17."