Massachusetts-2-16-1787

Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In the Year of our LORD, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-Seven.

An ACT, describing the Disqualifications to which Persons shall be subjected, who have been, or may be guilty of Treason, or giving Aid or Support to the present REBELLION, and to whom a Pardon may be extended.

WHEREAS the General Court, at their present sessions, have “ Resolved, That the Governour, be authorized and empowered, in the name of the General Court, to promise a pardon, under such
disqualifications as should thereafter be provided, to such private soldiers and others, who might have acted in the capacity of non-commissioned officers, as had been, or were in arms against the Commonwealth, with such exceptions as he, or the General Officer, commanding the troops, might judge necessary: Provided, they should deliver up their arms, and take and subscribe the oath of allegiance to this Commonwealth, within such time as might be limited by his Excellency, for that purpose:”

And whereas it is fit and expedient, That the conditions and disqualifications upon which the pardon and indemnity to the offenders, aforesaid, should be offered and given, should, as soon as possible, be established and made known:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That no pardon or indemnity, shall be promised as aforesaid by the Governour, by virtue of any act or resolve of the General Court, that has been or shall be passed, to any person or persons, who have acted in the capacity of non-commission officers or privates, or persons of any other description, who, since the first day of August, seventeen hundred and eighty-six, have been, now are, or hereafter may be in arms against the authority and Government of this Commonwealth, or who have given or may hereafter give them counsel, aid, comfort or support, voluntarily, with intent to encourage the opposition to Government, unless they shall on or before such time as the Governour shall limit for that purpose, deliver up their arms to, and take and subscribe the oath of allegiance, before some Justice of the Peace, within some county of this Commonwealth; and no pardon or indemnity shall be offered or given by the Governour to any of the offenders aforesaid, who are not citizens of this State.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That to whomsoever of the offenders aforesaid, the Governour shall think fit, by virtue of any act or resolve of the General Court, to promise a pardon and indemnity, for the offences aforesaid, it shall be under the following restrictions, conditions and disqualifications, that is to say, That they shall keep the peace for the term of three years, from the time of passing this act, and that during that term of time, they shall not serve as Jurors, be eligible to any Town-Office, or any other Office under the Government of this Commonwealth, and shall be disqualified from holding or exercising the employments of SchoolMasters, Innkeepers or Retailers of spirituous liquors, or either of them, or giving their votes for the same term of time, for any officer, civil or military, within this Commonwealth, unless such persons, or any of them, shall after the first day of May, seventeen hundred and eighty-eight, exhibit plenary evidence of their having returned to their allegiance, and kept the peace, and that they possess an unequivocal attachment to the Government, as shall appear to the General Court a sufficient ground to discharge them, or any of them, from all or any part of the disqualifications aforesaid.

Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be the duty of the Justice before whom any offender or offenders aforesaid may deliver up their arms, and take and subscribe the oath aforesaid, and he is accordingly directed, immediately on the expiration of the term to be limited by the Governour as aforesaid, to certify to the Clerks of the several towns, districts, and plantations, whereunto the offenders may belong, the names of all such who shall deliver up their arms and take and subscribe the oath aforesaid, and shall also, as soon as may be after the expiration of the said term, make a return to the Secretary of this Commonwealth, of the number of arms in his possession, and to whom they belong, and shall at the same time lodge with the Secretary, their original subscription to the oath of allegiance; and it shall be duty of the Justice to require such as shall take and subscribe the oath of allegiance, to subjoin to their names, their places of abode, and their additions, and if required, to give to each offender who shall deliver up his arms, and take and subscribe the oath aforesaid, a certificate of the same, under his seal; and he shall be intitled to ask and receive nine pence, of the offenders, for each certificate. And any Justice of the Peace to whom any arms may voluntarily be delivered as aforesaid, shall certify to the Major-General or commanding-officer of the division, in which the said Justice may live, the number of arms so delivered to him, and by whom they were delivered; and it shall be the duty of such Major-General or commanding-officer, to give such directions as he may think necessary, for the safe keeping such arms, in order that they may be returned to the person or persons who delivered the same, at the expiration of the said term of three years, in case such person or persons shall have complied with
the conditions above-mentioned, and shall obtain an order for the re-delivery of such arms, from the Governour, who is hereby authorized and empowered to make such order, unless it appears to him, that the conditions aforesaid have not been complied with.

Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any offender or offenders aforesaid, who shall deliver up their arms and take and subscribe the oath of allegiance, as aforesaid, or to whom a pardon may be promised by virtue of any future act or resolve of the General Court, shall vote, or offer to vote in any town or other meeting, for any office, civil or military, within the Commonwealth, or shall make, forge, or alter any certificate of a Justice, of his having delivered up his arms, and taken the oath of allegiance as aforesaid, he shall forfeit all his right and interest in and to the pardon and indemnity which may be promised him, by virtue of the authority aforesaid, and be subject to the same pains and penalties, as if such promise had never been made.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Governor be, and he hereby is authorized and empowered, to promise a pardon of their past offences, unconditional, and without any disqualifications, to all such privates, as have borne arms against the Government of this Commonwealth, who afterwards voluntarily took up arms previously to the first day of February current, in support of the said Government, and to those, who aggreably to the proposals of General Lincoln, of the twenty-ninth and thirtieth of January last, voluntarily came in, surrendered their arms, and took and subscribed the oath of allegiance, within three days, from the said twenty-ninth day of January, any thing in this act to the contrary notwithstanding: Provided, that no pardon which shall be promised by the Governour, shall be construed to extend to indemnify any person or persons whatever, from any suits or prosecutions, to which they may be liable, for injuries done or committed, to the property or person, of any individual.

Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it is the duty of all officers civil and military, within this Commonwealth, to hold all offenders as aforesaid, who shall not within the term to be limited as aforesaid, deliver up their arms, and take and subscribe the oath of allegiance, as rebels and open enemies, and they are directed and required, to encounter, pursue, conquer, apprehend, and secure them, so that they may be brought to trial and punishment; and all the citizens of this Commonwealth are hereby required to aid and support the said officers; in the execution of their said duty.

And be it further enacted, That the Governour be, and be here by is requested, to except out of the pardon he shall promise, by virtue of the resolve abovementioned all those who have been members of any General Court in this State, or of any State or county convention, or who have been employed heretofore in any commissioned office civil or military, those, who after delivering up their arms, and taking the oath of allegiance during the present rebellion, have again taken and borne arms against the Government; those who have fired upon, or wounded any of the loyal subjects of this Commonwealth, those who have acted as Committees, Counsellors or advisers to the Rebels; and those, who in former years have been in arms against the Government in the capacity of commissioned officers, and were afterwards pardoned and have been concerned in the present rebellion.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Clerks of the several towns, districts and plantations, be directed to read this act at the opening of their annual meetings in March and April next.

In the HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES, February 16, 1787.

This Bill having had three several Readings, passed to be enacted. ARTEMAS WARD, Speaker.

In SENATE February 16, 1787.

This Bill having had two federal Readings, passed to be enacted. SAMUEL PHILLIPS, jun, President.

By the Governor Approved, JAMES BOWDOIN

A True Copy. Attest.

JOHN AVERY, jun, Secretary

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The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall NOT be infringed.

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