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-commissioned 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 may hereafter 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, 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 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 School-Masters,
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 disqualification aforesaid.
Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That is 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 the 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 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 Governour
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 agreeably 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 ithin 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 he hereby 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 may 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
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Clerks
of the several towns, districts and plantations, be directed to read t his act
at the opening of their annual meetings in March and April
In the HOUSE of REPRESPENTATIVES, 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 three several Readings, passed to be enacted.
SAMUEL PHILLIP, jun. President.
By the Governour Approved,
A True copy. Attest
JOHN AVERY, jun, Secretary.