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Persons Who Harbour Deserters


The House again took up the Resolves of the Committee appointed to consider the Resolutions of Congress; which having been read a second time, and separately agreed to on the question, were transcribed, and follow in these words, viz:

Resolved 1. That any person or persons whatsoever, within this Colony, who shall harbour and conceal any Deserter (knowing him to be such) from the Continental Forces, or any other Forces raised within this or any other of the United Colonies, for the defence of America, shall forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding fifty, nor less than thirty Dollars, or suffer three months' imprisonment, for each offence, being convicted thereof by the testimony of one or more witnesses, before any two Justices of the Peace of the City, Borough, or County, respectively, where such offence shall be committed, who are hereby authorized to hear and determine all offences contrary to the above Resolve; which Fine shall be deposited in the hands of the Overseers of the Poor of the City, Borough, or Township, where the offence is committed, for the use of the poor of such place.

Resolved 2. That the Commander-in-Chief, or the officer commanding a detachment, or any post in this Colony, have power, and he is hereby authorized, to administer an oath or affirmation to any person or persons, to the truth of any information or intelligence such person or persons may give relative to the Publick, Military, or Naval service.

Resolved 3. That there shall be erected, and constantly held, in the City of Philadelphia, a Court of Justice, by such able and discreet person as shall be appointed, from time to time, by the Assembly, and commissioned under the hand and seal of their Speaker for that purpose, whose business it shall be to take cognisance of, and try the justice of, any capture or captures of any Vessel or Vessels that shall be made by any person or persons, in pursuance of the Resolves of the honourable Continental Congress, and brought into the Port of Philadelphia aforesaid; and the Judge, so commissioned to hold said Court as aforesaid, shall have power, at all times, to issue his warrant or warrants to the Marshal of the City and County of Philadelphia; hereafter to be appointed by the Committee of Safety, which they are hereby empowered to do, commanding him to summon twelve honest and lawful men of the County of Philadelphia aforesaid, to appear before the said Judge at such place and time as he shall appoint; and the said Marshal is required to execute said warrant, and make return thereof, as in and by the same he shall be authorized and directed.

Resolved 4. That when any person or persons shall take and bring into any port in this Colony any Vessel or Vessels that have been offending or employed by the enemy, contrary to the resolves of the honourable Continental Congress, such person or persons so taking or bringing in such Vessel, shall immediately make out a bill in writing, therein giving a full and ample account of the time and manner of the caption of said Vessel, and the employment she was in when so taken, and of the persons who were aiding and assisting in taking her, to the best of his knowledge, at the time other caption, and shall deliver the same to the Judge who shall have jurisdiction of the port aforesaid, with all the papers that may be found on board such Vessel, to the intent that the Jury may have the benefit of evidence therefrom arising; and the Judge, to whom said bill shall be delivered, shall immediately issue his warrant or warrants, as aforesaid, to the said Marshal, commanding him, in manner aforesaid, to return twelve good and lawful men to try the truth of any facts alleged in such bill; which Jury shall be sworn or affirmed to return and give a true verdict upon the said bill, according to evidence; and if it shall appear to said Judge, by said verdict, that such Vessel had been employed or offending as aforesaid, he shall condemn said


Vessel, Cargo, and appurtenances, and order them to be sold at publick vendue, and shall order the charges of said trial and condemnation to be paid out of the money such Vessel and Cargo shall sell for, into the hands of Michael Hillegas, Esq˙, the Treasurer of this Colony, or such other Treasurer as the Assembly shall appoint, and shall order the residue thereof to be delivered to the captors, their agents or attorneys, for the use and benefit of such captors and others concerned therein. And if two or more Vessels, the commanders whereof shall be properly commissioned, shall jointly take such Vessel, die money arising from the sale thereof, her Cargo and appurtenances, after payment of all charges as aforesaid, shall be divided between the captors, in proportion to their men. And the said Judge, before whom any such trial and condemnation as is aforesaid mentioned shall be had, shall be, and he is hereby, authorized to make out his precept, under his hand and seal, directed to the said Marshal, requiring him to sell such Vessel, Cargo, and appurtenances, and to pay there out the charges of trial, condemnation, and sale, to the Treasurer aforesaid, and to deliver the residue to the captors and persons concerned as aforesaid.

Resolved 5. That there shall be paid to the Judge, Jurors, Marshal, and Clerk, out of the publick Treasury, such Fees as have been heretofore paid in the Port of Philadelphia, in like cases, or shall hereafter be established.

Resolved 6. That when any such bill shall be delivered to such Judge, he shall cause notification thereof, and the name (if known) and description of the Vessel so brought in; with the day set for the trial thereon, in at least two of the publick newspapers printed at Philadelphia, fifteen days before the time set for the trial, that the owner of such Vessel, or any person concerned, may appear and show cause, if any they have, why such Vessel, with her Cargo and appurtenances, should not be condemned as aforesaid.

Resolved 7. That the process and proceeding upon any Vessel that shall be retaken from the enemy by any person or persons, shall be in the same manner as is herein provided for other Vessels; and to be sold and disposed of in manner aforesaid, for the benefit, and to the uses directed by the Congress aforesaid, in cases of recaptures.

Resolved 8. That in all cases an appeal shall be allowed to the Congress, or such person as they shall appoint for the hearing and trying appeals, provided the appeals be demanded within five days after definitive sentence, and such appeal be lodged with the Secretary of Congress within forty days afterwards; and provided the party appealing shall give security to prosecute the said appeal to effect. And in case of the death of the Secretary during the recess of Congress, then the said appeal to be lodged in Congress within twenty days after the meeting thereof.

Resolved 9. That the Judge of such Court shall appoint an able Clerk, who shall keep a true and fair record of all the proceedings of said Court, and shall be duly sworn or affirmed to act in the said office with truth and fidelity; and his attestations shall be received as evidence.

Resolved 10. That the depositions of the witnesses in any of the cases aforesaid, shall be taken before the Judge aforesaid, and filed in the Clerk' s Office; and that the same shall be, at all times, admitted in evidence, in case of the death or absence of the witness; and that the same depositions shall and may be taken ex parte, on such notice being given to the adverse party as the said Judge shall direct and appoint.

And whereas it is necessary to ascertain, impartially, the number of Inhabitants of this, as well as the other United Colonies, in order to fix the quota of Taxes to be by them respectively raised and paid, towards sinking the moneys issued by the Continental Congress for the support and defence of the said Colonies:

Resolved, therefore, 11. That the Assessors of the several Wards of the City of Philadelphia, and of the Boroughs, Districts, and Townships in the Counties of this Province, respectively, having first taken an oath or affirmation for that purpose, shall make diligent search and inquiry, and thereupon make a fair and just return of the number of Inhabitants of all ages and sexes (including Negroes and Mulattoes) in their respective Boroughs, Districts, Wards, and Townships, distinguishing their several ages and sexes, according to a printed list to be furnished them by the Commissioners for that purpose, and shall deliver the same completed on or


before the 1st day of December next, to the Commissioners of the respective Counties, who shall forthwith transmit the same to the Assembly. And if any Assessor shall neglect or refuse to perform the duty aforesaid, the Commissioners of the respective Counties, or any two of them, are hereby required and enjoined to fine him in any sum not exceeding ten Pounds, which shall be levied and recovered in the same manner as is directed by the laws of this Province for levying and recovering Fines imposed on Assessors refusing or neglecting to perform the duties therein required of them, to be paid into the hands of the respective County Treasurers, to be by them delivered to the same person, and applied to the same use, as the other moneys directed to be levied by the Resolves of this House; and in case of neglect or refusal as aforesaid, the said Commissioners, or any two of them, are hereby authorized and required to appoint another fit and capable person in the place of him so neglecting or refusing, who is hereby empowered to perform the duties enjoined by the foregoing Resolve.

And whereas it is necessary to prevent the arresting of Continental or Colonial Soldiers for small debts:

Resolved 12. That no such Soldier shall be arrested or imprisoned at the suit of any creditor, unless the said creditor make oath or affirmation, that the said Soldier is justly indebted to him in the sum of thirty-five Dollars over and above all discounts; and that the estate of such Soldier shall not be liable to attachment at the suit, or for the benefit of all or any of his creditors, unless their debts, in the whole, on being ascertained by their oaths or affirmations, shall amount to more than one hundred and fifty Dollars.

The House adjourned to ten o' clock to-morrow morning.