« ZurückWeiter »
commander-in-chief for his approbation; which officers so chosen, if approved and commissioned by him, shall be the colonel, lieutenant-colonel, and major of the regiment, according to their commissions, during the continuance of this act.
Provided always, that if the governor or commander in-chief shall not think fit to grant his commission to any officer so first chosen and presented, it shall and may be lawful for the electors of such officer to choose two other persons in his stead, and present them to the governor or commander-in-chief, one of whom, at his pleasure, shall receive his commission, and be the officer as aforesaid.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that, as soon as the said companies and regiments are formed, and their officers commissioned as aforesaid, it shall and may be lawful to and for the governor, or commander-in-chief, by and with the advice and consent of the colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and majors of all the regiments, being for that purpose by him called and convened, or by and with the advice and consent of a majority of the said officers that shall be met and present together on such call, to form, make, and establish articles of war, for the better government of the forces that shall be under their command, and for bringing offenders against the same to justice; and to erect and constitute courts-martial, with power to hear, try, and determine any crimes or offences by such articles of war, and inflict penalties by sentence or judgment of the same on those who shall be subject thereto, in any place within this province. Which articles of war, when made as aforesaid, shall be printed, and distributed to the captains of the several companies, and by them distinctly read to their respective companies; and all and every
captain, lieutenant, ensign, or other freeman, who shall, after at least three days' consideration of the said articles, voluntarily sign the same, in presence of some one justice of the peace, acknowledging his having perused or heard the same distinctly read, and that he has well considered thereof, and is willing to be bound and governed thereby, and promises obedience thereto, and to his officers accordingly, shall henceforth be deemed well and duly bound to the observance of the said articles, and to the duties thereby required, and subject to the pains, penalties, punishments, and forfeitures, that may therein be appointed for disobedience and other offences.
Provided always, that the articles, so to be made and established, shall contain nothing repugnant, but be as near as possible conformable, to the military laws of Great Britain, and to the articles of war made and established by his Majesty in pursuance of the last act of Parliament for punishing mutiny and desertion, the different circumstances of this province compared with Great Britain, and of a voluntary militia of freemen compared with mercenary standing troops, being duly weighed and maturely considered.
Provided also, that nothing in this act shall be understood or construed to give any power or authority to the governor or commander-in-chief, and the said officers, to make any articles or rules that shall in the least affect those of the inhabitants of the province who are conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, either in their liberties, persons, or estates; nor any other persons of what persuasion or denomination soever, who have not first voluntarily and freely signed the said articles after due consideration as aforesaid.
Provided also, that no youth under the age of twenty-one years, nor any bought servant or indented
apprentice, shall be admitted to enroll himself, or be capable of being enrolled, in the said companies or regiments without the consent of his or their parents or guardians, masters or mistresses, in writing under their hands first had and obtained.
Provided also, that no enlistment or enrolment of any person in any of the companies or regiments to be formed and raised as aforesaid, shall protect such person in any suit or civil action brought against him by his creditors or others, except during his being in actual service in field or garrison; nor from a prosecution for any offence committed against the laws of this province.
Provided, also, that no regiment, company, or party of volunteers, shall, by virtue of this act, be compelled or led more than three days' march beyond the inhabited parts of the province; nor detained longer than three weeks in any garrison, without an express engagement for that purpose, first voluntarily entered into and subscribed by every man so to march or remain in garrison.
This act to continue in force until the 30th day of October next, and no longer.
BETWEEN X, Y, & Z, CONCERNING THE PRESENT STATE OF AFFAIRS IN PENNSYLVANIA.'
The object of this Dialogue, as the author tells us, was to enlighten the public mind on his Militia Act, and to promote the association necessary to form a militia. In his opinion it had "great effect." Such objections as could be brought against the Act, are stated and answered in a manner suited to the understanding of the people. It was first printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette, December 18th, 1755. The Militia Act and the Dialogue were published in the GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, London, the one in February, the other in March, 1756. In an editorial paragraph it is said, "The conduct of the Assembly of Penn. sylvania, at this time of imminent danger, being thought by many somewhat extraordinary, every thing that tends to give light into the motives of its proceedings must deserve attention." — EDITOR.
X. YOUR servant, Gentlemen; I am glad to see you at my house. Is there any thing new to-day?
Y. We have been talking of the militia act; have you seen it?
X. Yes; I have read it in the papers.
Z. And what do you think of it?
X. The more I consider it, the better I like it. It appears to me a very good act, and I am persuaded will be of good use, if heartily carried into execution.
Z. Ay, that may be; but who is to carry it into execution? It says, that people may form themselves
into companies, and choose their own officers; but there is neither time nor place appointed for this transaction, nor any person directed or empowered to call them together.
X. It is true; but methinks there are some words that point out the method pretty plain to willing minds. And it seems to me, that we who joined so sincerely in the petitions for a militia law, and really thought one absolutely necessary for the safety of our country, should, now we have obtained the law, rather endeavour to explain, than invent difficulties in the construction of it.
Y. What are those words you mention?
X. Here is the act itself; I will read that part of it. "From and after the publication of this act, it shall and may be lawful for the freemen of this province to form themselves into companies, as heretofore they used in time of war without law, and for each company, by majority of votes, in the way of ballot, to choose its own officers, &c." The words I meant are these, “as heretofore they have used in time of war." Now I suppose we have none of us forgot the association in the time of the last war; it is not so long since, but that we may well enough remember the method we took to form ourselves into companies, choose our officers, and present them to the governor for approbation and commissions; and the act in question says plainly, we may now lawfully do, in this affair, what we then did without law.
Y. I did not before take so much notice of those words, but, to be sure, the thing is easy enough; for I remember very well how we managed at that time. And indeed it is easier to effect it now than it was then; for the companies and regiments, and their districts. &c., were then all to form and settle. But now,