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Amendments to the Regulations of the Militia of the Province


Mr˙ Hooe appeared in the House.

The Convention took into consideration the Report from the Committee appointed to consider what alterations and amendments were necessary in the regulation of the Militia of this Province; and, thereupon, came to the following Resolutions:

That no Minute-Men be hereafter enrolled under the Resolutions of the late Convention. That where Minute Companies are already formed, no commissions issue to the Officers thereof, unless the Officers desire to have their commissions. That no Minute Companies be continued beyond the 1st day of March next, and that a sum of money sufficient for the purpose, be lodged in the hands of the Committee of Observation in each respective County where a Company of Minute-Men hath been enrolled, viewed, and allowed to pay and discharge the expense of such Company for the time past, and, also, for the time to come, if such Company continues till the 1st day of March next, and that such Committee receive the Rolls of such Companies, and the times of the attendance of the men, proved by the oath of some one, at least, of the Commissioned Officers, return the balance of the money, if any, into the publick Treasury, and render an account of their transactions herein to the next Convention; but no person chosen for a Commissioned Officer in any Company of Minute-Men, shall be compellable to serve in the Militia in a lower rank or station than he was elected to in the Minute Company.

That all publick Arms in the hands of the Minute-Men, immediately after the 1st day of March next, or as soon as they disband, where they disband sooner, be delivered to the Committee of Observation for their respective County, to be by the said Committee kept and preserved for the publick use.

That every able-bodied effective Freeman within this Province, between sixteen and fifty years of age, (Clergymen of all denominations, practising Physicians, and the household of his Excellency the Governour, excepted,) who hath not already enrolled himself in the Militia, shall, on or before the 1st day of March next, enroll himself in some Company of Militia, agreeable to the form of the enrollment prescribed by the last Convention, and that every Minute or Artillery Man, except Commissioned Officers, shall in like manner enroll in the Militia, within one month next after he shall cease to act as a Minute or Artillery Man. And if any able-bodied, effective Freeman shall refuse or delay to enroll himself in the Militia as aforesaid, every such person shall pay for the present year, which shall be reckoned from the 15th day of September last, such sum of money, not less than forty shillings, nor more than ten pounds, as shall be assessed by the Committee of Observation of his County, for the use of the publick. And the Committee of Observation in each respective County shall, by warrant under their hands, appoint and empower any person or persons they shall judge proper, to collect and receive all moneys by them so assessed, which shall be paid within one month after notice of such assessment, and in default thereof, the person or persons so empowered, may distrain the goods and effects of the defaulters, and sell and dispose of the same in the same manner that goods may be distrained and sold by law for County levies. And every Collector shall, on or before the 1st day of July next, pay the money by him collected, after deducting seven and an half per cent, for his commission, to the Treasurer of his Shore, and leave with the same Treasurer an account containing the names of those from whom he hath received the same, and the sums from them respectively collected.

That every person who shall refuse and delay to enroll as aforesaid, shall, on or before the 10th day of March next, deliver to the Committee of Observation for his County,


all his Fire-Arms, if he hath any, except pistols; and if any such person shall refuse or delay to do the same, then such Committee shall empower some person, or persons, by warrant under their hands, to seize the said Fire-Arms, and deliver the same to the said Committee; and the said Committees shall cause all the Arms which shall come to their hands to be valued, by indifferent and honest men, on oath, and shall keep a list of such Arms, to whom they belong, and their respective values, and may deliver out such Arms at their discretion, to the Captains of Militia in their County, taking the Captains' receipts therefor, and the Captains being liable for the redelivery thereof, may deliver the same to the unarmed men of their Companies; and every Committee of Observation shall transmit an account of all assessments by them made, as well as of all Arms by them received as aforesaid, and how they have disposed of the same, to every Convention; but because some persons who do not enroll in the Militia may be so poor that they cannot pay the said assessment of forty shillings, and their omitting to enroll may not proceed from disaffection to the cause of America, or perverseness, it is provided, that where the real and personal Estate of any effective Freeman, who shall refuse or neglect to enroll himself in the Militia as aforesaid, shall not, in the judgment and estimation of the Committee of his County, be of the value of thirty pounds, the same Committee may in their discretion omit to assess any sum of money on such person, the same Committee certifying to the Convention, or Council of Safety, the name of the person, and the reasons wherefore they do not assess him.

That all fines which have been already set and adjudged, according to the Resolutions of the last Convention, on Militia Officers or men, and have not been paid, or which shall hereafter be so set and adjudged, shall, if the same be on a Field-Officer, be paid into the hands of the Quartermaster of the Battalion to which he belongs, and if on any Officer of inferior rank to a Field-Officer, or on a non-Commissioned Officer or Private, be paid into the hands of such persons as hath or shall have been appointed to receive the fines for the Company to which such person belongs, or if no such Receiver hath or shall have been appointed, then the same shall be paid into the hands of the Captain of such Company, and on refusal to pay the same fine, and such refusal being certified to the Committee of Observation for the County where such person resides, the same Committee shall grant a warrant under their hands, empowering any other person or persons of the same County to levy such fine by distress and sale as aforesaid, of the party' s goods and effects, but the Officers who set and adjudged the fine may commit the offender to a Sergeant according to the Resolution of the late Convention, if they choose that as the best method to compel payment.

That in cases where it may greatly promote the ease of the inhabitants, a number not less than forty, nor exceeding eighty privates, may, with the especial permission of the Committees of Observation, enroll in any one Company of Militia, but any of those already enrolled in any Company, where the privates do not exceed seventy-four, shall not be permitted to leave such Company, for the purpose of enrolling in a new one. That in those Counties where only part of the Militia are appointed to join in Battalion, the respective Committees of Observation form the other Companies into Battalion, if there are sufficient in number for that purpose, and in those Counties where there are not any Battalions formed, that the said Committees proceed, as soon as may be, to divide their Militia into Battalions, according to the Resolves of the late Convention.

That within the general description of able-bodied effective Freemen of this Province, are intended to be included, overseers, and those who are bound by contract made within this Province, to serve in any particular quality or capacity, being able-bodied effective men, between sixteen and fifty years of age.

That a Brigadier-General, a Quartermaster, and an Adjutant-General, be appointed by the Convention over every eight Battalions, and to include within that command, all Artillery Companies and other Militia within the District.

That the Counties ballot for the rank of Colonels and Battalions from number one to number sixteen, and so the County drawing number one to have its Second Battalion


the Seventeenth of the Province, &c˙, and all Field and Commissioned Officers to rank according to their commissions, and as to those who bear the like commissions, according to the number of the Battalion to which they belong.

That the Companies of each Battalion ballot from number one to number eight, and hold their rank the first battalion day, according to the numbers drawn, the second day, number two to take. the place of number one, and number one the place of number eight, and so on, that equals may each in turn have the most honourable place, and every man may be instructed to act in any part of a Battalion, as occasion may require.

That to avoid a needless and insupportable expense, no person after the 10th day of May next, wear any uniform at exercise, either in single Companies or in Battalion, but hunting-shirts, the Officers distinguishing themselves from the Privates by different feathers, cockades, or the like, as fancy may direct.

Convention adjourns till to-morrow morning, half after nine o' clock.