Act for regulating and ordering the Troops that are or may be raised for the defence of this Colony

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An Act for Regulating and Ordering the Troops that are or may be raised for the defence of this Colony.

Whereas God in his providence hath been pleased in great mercy to bestow upon the inhabitants of this Colony all the rights, liberties, and immunities of the free and natural-born, subjects of the Realm of England, which have been established and confirmed by a sacred compact, and secured by a Royal Charter — which rights, liberties, and immunities were the birthright of our brave, virtuous, and religious ancestors whilst in England, who, rather than submit to religious or civil tyranny, chose to leave their, pleasant seats and all their happy prospects in their native Country, bravely encountered the danger of untried seas and coasts of a howling wilderness, barbarous men and savage beasts, at the expense of their ease and safety of their blood, their treasure, and their lives, transplanted and reared the English Constitution in these wilds upon the strong pillars of civil and religious liberty, and having led the way by their great example, bequeathed their inestimable purchase as a sacred and inalienable legacy to their posterity, who have ever since united the sincerest loyalty to their Sovereign and the warmest affection for their elder brethren in England with the enjoyment of their aforesaid rights, liberties, and immunities; nor have they till lately been thought incompatible:

And whereas since the close of the last war the British Parliament, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America by Statute in all cases whatsoever hath, in some Acts, expressly imposed taxes upon them; and in others, under various pretences, but in fact for the purpose of raising a Revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these Colonies, established a Board of Commissioners with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of Courts of Admiralty, not only for collecting said duties, but, also for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a County:

And whereas, in consequence of other Statutes, Judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made to depend on the Crown alone, for their salaries; and Standing Armies kept up in time of peace; and it has been lately resolved in Parliament that, by force of a Statute made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, Colonists may be transported to England and tried there upon accusations for treason and misprision, or concealment of treasons committed or alleged to be committed in the Colonies; and by a late Statute such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned:

And whereas three Acts of Parliament have been passed, by one of which the Port of Boston is shut up, and thousands reduced from affluence to poverty and distress; by another the Charter of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay is subverted and destroyed; and by the third, under pretence of the impartial administration of justice, all hope of justice is taken away in certain cases:

And whereas another Statute hath been made, by which the Roman Catholick Religion is established, the equitable system of English laws abolished, and a tyranny exercised in the Province of Quebeck, to the great danger of the neighbouring Colonies; and also in the present session of Parliament another Act is passed, by which the New-England Colonies are in a great measure deprived of their Trade and Fishery — the blessings which God and nature, have indulged them, being thus attempted by force to be wrested from them:

And whereas all our humble, dutiful, and loyal Petitions to the Throne for redress of grievances, have been treated with contempt, or passed by in silence by His Majesty' s Ministers of State; and the refusal to surrender our just rights, liberties, and immunities, hath been styled rebellion, and Fleets and, Armies have been sent into a neighbouring

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Colony to force them to submit to slavery, and awe the other Colonies to submission, by the example of vengeance inflicted on her; who have, besides the usual calamities and insults that proceed from standing armies, fortified the Town of Boston, driven the peaceable inhabitants from their dwellings, and imbrued their hands in the blood of our countrymen; all which acts and measures have relation to all the British Colonies, in the principles from which they flow, and are evidently intended to force or terrify them into a submission to Parliamentary taxation, or at least into a surrender of their property at the pleasure of the British Parliament, and in such proportions as they shall please to prescribe, with which we must comply, or lie at the mercy of those who cannot know our situation and circumstances, and will be interested to oppress and enslave us; our liberty, our lives and property, will become precarious and dependant on the will of men over whom we can have no check or control; religion, property, personal safety, learning, arts, publick and private virtue, social happiness, and every blessing attendant on liberty, will fall victims to measures advanced and pursued against us, whilst shameless vice, infidelity, irreligion, abject dependance, ignorance, superstition, meanness, scurrility, and the whole train of despotism present themselves to our view in melancholy prospect:

And whereas, although this Assembly wish for no new rights and privileges, and desire only to preserve their ancient Constitution, as it has been understood and practised upon from the beginning; freely yielding to the British Parliament the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of all the Dominions of our Sovereign to the Mother Country, and the commercial benefits of its several members, excluding every idea of taxation for raising a revenue without our consent, and claiming only a right to regulate our internal police and Government, and are most earnesly desirous of peace, and deprecate the horrours of war; yet, when they see military preparations against them at hand, and the hopes of peace and harmony placed at a greater distance; being fully determined never to make a voluntary sacrifice of their rights, and not knowing how soon Parliamentary and Ministerial vengeance may be directed against them immediately, as it is now against the Province of Massachusetts-Bay, who are suffering in the common cause of British America; trusting in the justice of their cause, and the righteous providence of Almighty God for the restoration of quiet and peace, or success in their efforts for their defence, have thought it their duty to raise Troops for the defence of this Colony:

And whereas it is necessary that such Troops, both officers and soldiers, should be made acquainted with their duty, and that Articles, Rules, and Regulations should be established to preserve order, good government, and discipline in the Army, agreeable to the mild spirit of our Constitution, and not according to the severities practised in Standing Armies:

Therefore, be it enacted by the Governour, Council, and Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by authority of the same: ARTICLE I. That all officers and soldiers not having just impediment shall diligently frequent divine service and sermon, in the places appointed for assembling the Regiment, Troop, or Company to which they belong; and such as wilfully absent themselves, or being present behave indecently or irreverently, shall, if commissioned officers, be brought before a Regimental Court Martial, there to be publickly and severely reprimanded by the President; if non-commissioned officers or soldiers, every person so offending shall, for his first offence, forfeit One Shilling, to be deducted out of his wages; for his second offence, he shall not only forfeit One Shilling, but be confined not exceeding twenty-four hours, and for every like offence shall suffer and pay in like manner; which money so forfeited shall be applied to the use of the sick soldiers of the Troop or Company to which the offender belongs. That whatever non-commissioned officers and soldiers shall use any unlawful oath or execration, shall incur the penalties expressed in the first Article; and if a commissioned officer be thus guilty of profane cursing or swearing, he shall forfeit and pay for each and every such offence the sum of Four Shillings, lawful money.

ART˙ III. That any officer, or soldier who shall behave

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himself with contempt or disrespect towards the General or Generals, or Commander-in-Chief, or shall speak words tending to his or their hurt or dishonour, shall be punished according to the nature of his offence, by the judgment of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ IV. That any officer or soldier who shall begin, excite, cause, or join in any meeting or sedition jn the Regiment, Troop, or Company to which he belongs, or in any other Regiment, Troop, or Company of the forces of this Colony, either by land or sea, or in an party, post, detachment, or guard, on any pretence whatsoever, shall suffer such punishment as by a General Court Martial shall be ordered.

ART˙ V. That any officer, non-commissioned officer, or soldier, who being present at any meeting or sedition, does not use his utmost endeavours to suppress the same, or, coming to the knowledge of any mutiny or intended mutiny, does not, without delay, give information thereof to the, commanding officers, shall be punished by order of a General Court Martial according to the nature of his offence.

ART˙ VI. That any officer or soldier who shall strike his superiour officer, or draw or offer to draw, or shall lift up any weapon or offer any violence against him, being in the execution of his office, on any pretence whatsoever, or shall disobey any lawful command of his superiour officer, shall suffer such punishment as shall, according to the nature of his offence, be ordered by the sentence of a General Court Martial,

ART˙ VII. That any non-commissioned officer or soldier who shall desert, or without leave of his commanding officer absent himself from the Troop or Company to which he belongs, or from any detachment of the same, shall, upon being convicted thereof, be punished according to the nature of his offence, at the discretion of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ VIII. That whatsoever officer or soldier shall be convicted of having advised or persuaded any other officer or soldier to desert, shall suffer such punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ IX. That all officers of what condition so ever shall have power to part and quell all quarrels, frays and disorders, though the persons concerned should belong to another Regiment, Troop, or Company, and either order officers to be arrested, or non-commissioned officers or soldiers to be confined and imprisoned, till their proper superiour officers shall be acquainted therewith; and whoever shall refuse to obey such officer, though of an inferiour rank, or shall draw his sword upon him, shall be punished at the discretion of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ X. That no officer or soldier shall use any reproachful or provoking speeches or gestures to another, nor shall any officer or soldier presume to send a challenge to any person to fight a duel; and whoever shall, knowingly and willingly, suffer any person whatsoever to go forth to fight a duel, or shall second, promote, or carry any challenge, shall be deemed a principal therein; and whatsoever officer or soldier shall upbraid another for refusing a challenge shall also be considered as a challenger, and all such offenders in any of these or such like cases, shall be punished at the discretion of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ XI. That every officer commanding in quarters, or on a match, shall keep good order, and to the utmost of his power redress all such abuses or disorders which may be committed by any officer or soldier under his command; if upon any complaint made to him of officers or soldiers beating or otherwise ill treating any person, or of committing any kind of riot to the disquieting of the inhabitants of this Continent, be the said commander who shall refuse or omit to see justice done on the offender or offenders; and reparation make to the party or parties injured, as far as the offender' s wages shall enable him or them, shall, upon due proof thereof be punished as ordered by a General Court Martial, in such manner as if he himself had committed the crimes or disorders complained of.

ART˙ XII. That if any officer shall think himself to be wronged by his Colonel, or his Commanding Officer of the Regiment, and shall, upon due application made to him, be refused to be redressed, he may complain to the General or Commander-in-Chief of the forces of this Colony, in order to obtain justice, who is hereby required to examine into said complaint and see that justice be done.

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ART˙ XIII. That if any inferiour officer or soldier shall think himself wronged by his Captain or other officer commanding the Troop or Company to which he belongs, he is to complain thereof to the Commanding Officer of the Regiment, who is hereby required to summon a Regimental Court Martial for the doing justice to the complainant, from which Regimental Court Martial either party may, if he think himself still aggrieved, appeal to a General Court Martial; but if, upon a second hearing, the appeal shall appear to be vexatious and groundless, the person so appealing shall be punished at the discretion of the General Court Martial.

ART˙ XIV. That whatsoever non-commissioned officer or soldier shall be convicted at a Regimental Court Martial of having sold, or designedly, or through neglect, wasted the Ammunition, Arms, or Provision, or other Military Stores delivered out to him to be employed in the service of this Colony, shall, if an officer, be reduced to a private sentinel, and if a private soldier, shall suffer such punishment as shall be ordered by a Regimental Court Martial.

ART˙ XV. That all non-commissioned, officers and soldiers who shall be found one mile from the camp, without leave in writing from their Commanding Officer, shall suffer such punishment as shall be inflicted on him or them by the sentence of a Regimental Court Martial.

ART˙ XVI. That no officer or soldier shall be out of his quarters of camp without leave from their Commanding Officer of the Regiment, upon penalty of being punished, according to the nature of his offence, by order of a Regimental Court Martial.

ART˙ XVII. That every non-commissioned officer or soldier shall retire to his quarters or tent at the beating of the retreat, in default of which he shall be punished according to the nature of his offence, by order of the Commanding Officer.

ART˙ XVIII. That no officer, non-commissioned officer, or soldier, shall fail of repairing at the time fixed, to the place of parade or exercise, or other rendezvous appointed by the Commanding Officer, if not prevented by sickness or some other evident necessity, or shall go from the said place of rendezvous, or from his guard, without leave from his Commanding Officer, before he shall be regularly dismissed or relieved, on penalty of being punished according to the nature of his offence, by the sentence of a Regimental Court Martial.

ART˙ XIX. That whatsoever commissioned officer shall be found drunk on his guard, party, or other duty, under arms, shall be cashiered for it; any non-commissioned officer or soldier so offending, shall suffer such punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a Regimental Court Martial.

ART˙ XX. That whatsoever sentinel shall be found sleeping upon his post, or shall leave it before he shall be regularly relieved, shall suffer such punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ XXI. That any person belonging to the Troops of this Colony, who, by discharging of fire-arms, beating of drums, or by any other means whatever, shall occasion false alarms in camp or quarters, shall suffer such punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ XXII. That, any officer or soldier who shall, without urgent necessity, or without leave of his superiour officer, quit platoon or division, shall be punished according to the nature of his offence, by the sentence of a Regimental Court Martial.

ART˙ XXIII˙ That no officer or soldier shall do violence or offer any insult or abuse to any person who shall bring provisions or other necessaries to the camp or quarters of the Army; any officer or soldier so offending shall, upon complaint being made to the Commanding Officer, suffer such punishment as shall be ordered by a Regimental Court Martial.

ART˙ XXIV. That whatsoever officer or soldier shall shamefully abandon any post committed to his charge, or shall speak words inducing others to do the like in time of an engagement, shall suffer death immediately.

ART˙ XXV. That any person belonging to the forces raised, or that may be raised for the defence of this Colony, who shall make known the watchword to any person who is not entitled to receive it according to the rules and discipline of war, or shall presume to give a parole or watchword different from; what he received, shall suffer

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death, or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the se' ntence of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ XXVI. That whosoever belonging to the forces raised, or that may be raised for the defence of this Colony, shall relieve the enemy in Money, Victuals, or Ammunition, or shall knowingly harbour or protect an enemy, shall suffer such punishment as by a General Court Martial shall be ordered.

ART˙ XXVII. That whosoever belonging to the forces already raised, or that may be raised for the defence of this Colony, shall be convicted of holding correspondence with, or of giving intelligence to, the enemy, either directly or indirectly, shall suffer such punishment as by a General Court Martial shall be ordered.

ART˙ XXVIII. That all Publick Stores taken in the enemy' s camp or magazines, whether of Artillery, Ammunition, Clothing, or Provisions, shall be secured for the use of the Colony.

ART˙ XXIX. That if any officer or soldier shall leave his Post or Colours, in time of an engagement, to go in search of plunder, he shall, upon being convicted thereof before a General Court Martial, suffer such punishment as by said Court Martial shall be ordered.

ART˙ XXX. That if any Commander of any Post, Intrenchment, or Fortress, shall be compelled by the officers or soldiers under, his command to give it up to the enemy, or to abandon it, the commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, or soldiers, who shall be convicted of having so offended, shall suffer death, or such, other punishment as shall be inflicted upon them by the sentence of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ XXXI. That all sutlers and retailers to a camp, and all persons whatsoever serving with the forces already raised, or that may be raised for the defence of this Colony in the field, though not enlisted soldiers, are to be subjected to the same orders, rules, and regulations, to which the officers and soldiers are or shall be subjected.

ART˙ XXXII. That no General Court Martial shall consist of legs than thirteen, none of which shall be under the degree of a commissioned officer; and the President of each and every Court Martial, whether General or Regimental, shall have power to administer an oath to every witness, in order to the trial of offenders; and the members of all Courts Martial shall be duly sworn by the President, and the next in rank on the Court Martial shall administer the oath to the President.

ART˙ XXXIII. That the members both of General and Regimental Courts Martial shall, when belonging to different Corps, take the same rank which they hold in the Army; but when Courts Martial shall be composed of officers of one Corps, they shall take their ranks according to their commissions by which they are mustered in the said Corps.

ART˙ XXXIV. That all the members of a Court Martial are to behave with calmness, decency, and impartiality, and in giving of their votes are to begin with the youngest or lowest in commission.

ART˙ XXXV. That no Field Officer shall be tried by any person under the degree of a Captain; nor shall any proceedings or trials be carried on, excepting between the hours of eight in the morning and three in the afternoon, except in cases which require an immediate example.

ART˙ XXXVI. That the commissioned officers of a Regiment may, by the appointment of their Colonel or Commanding Officer, hold Regimental Courts Martial for the inquiry into such disputes or criminal matters as may come before them, and for the inflicting corporeal punishments for small offences, and shall give judgment by the majority of votes; but no sentence shall be executed till the Commanding Officer (not being a member of the Court Martial) shall have confirmed the same.

ART˙ XXXVII. That no Regimental Court Martial shall consist of less than five officers, excepting in cases where that number cannot be conveniently assembled, when three may be sufficient, who are likewise to determine by the majority of voices, which sentence is to be confirmed by the Commanding Officer, not being a: member of the Court Martial.

That every officer commanding in any Fort, Castle, or Barrack, or elsewhere, where the Corps under his command consists of detachments from different, Regiments, or of independent Companies, may assemble

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Courts Martial for the trial of offenders, in the same manner as if they were Regimental, whose sentence is not to be executed till it shall be confirmed by the said Commanding Officer.

ART˙ XXXIX. That no person whatsoever shall use menacing words, signs or gestures, in the presence of a Court Martial then sitting, or shall cause any disorder or riot so as to disturb their proceedings, on the penalty of being punished at the discretion of the Court Martial˙

ART˙ XL. That to the end that offenders may be brought to justice, whenever any officer or soldier shall commit a crime deserving punishment, he shall, by his Commanding Officer, if an officer, be put in arrest; if a non-commissioned officer or soldier, be imprisoned till he shall be either tried by a Court Martial, or shall be lawfully discharged by proper authority.

ART˙ XLI. That no officer or soldier who shall be put in arrest or imprisonment, shall continue in his confinement more than eight days, or till such time as a Court Martial can be conveniently assembled.

ART˙ XLII. That no officer commanding a Guard, or Provost Marshal, shall refuse to receive or keep any prisoner committed to his charge by an officer belonging to the forces, aforesaid, which officer shall, at the same time, deliver an account in writing, signed by himself, of the crime with which the said prisoner is charged.

ART˙ XLIII. That no officer commanding a Guard, or Provost Martial, shall presume to release any prisoner committed to his charge, without proper authority for so doing; nor shall he suffer any prisoner to escape, on the penalty of being punished for it by the sentence of a General Court Martial.

That every Officer or a Provost Martial to whose charge prisoners shall be cornmitted, is hereby required, within twenty-four hours after such commitment, or as soon as he shall be relieved from his guard, to give, in writing, to the Colonel of the Regiment to whom the prisoner belongs, (where the prisoner is confined upon the guard belonging to the said Regiment, and that his offence only relates to the neglect of duty in his own Corps,) or to the Commander-in-Chief, their names, their crimes, and the names of the officers who committed them, on the penalty of being punished for his disobedience or neglect, at the discretion of a General Court Martial.

ART˙ XLV. And if any officer under arrest shall leave his confinement before he is set a liberty by the officer who confined him, or by a superiour power, he shall, be cashiered for it.

ART˙ XLVI. That whatsoever commissioned officer shall be convicted before a General Court Martial of behaving in a scandalous, infamous manner, such as is unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman, shall be discharged from the service.

ART˙ XLVII. That all officers, conductors, matrosses, drivers, or any other persons whatsoever, receiving pay or hire in the service of the Artillery of this Colony, shall be governed by the aforesaid. Rules and Articles, and shall be subject to be tried by Court Martial in like manner with the officers and soldiers of the Troops.

ART˙ XLVIII. That for offences arising amongst themselves, or in matters relating solely to their own Corps, the Courts Martial may be composed of their own officers; but where a number sufficient of such officers cannot be assembled, or in matters wherein other Corps are interested, the officers of Artillery shall sit in Courts Martial with, the officers of the other Troops.

ART˙ XLIX. That all crimes not capital, and all disorders and neglects which officers and soldiers may be guilty of to the prejudice of good order and military discipline, though not mentioned in the Articles of War, are to be taken cognizance of by a General or Regimental Court Martial, according to the nature or degree of the offence, and be punished at their discretion.

ART˙ L. That no Courts Martial shall order any offender to be whipped or receive more than thirty-nine stripes for one offence,

ART˙ LI. That the Field Officers of each and every Regiment are to appoint some suitable person belonging to such Regiment, to receive all such Fines as may arise within the same for any breach of any of the foregoing Articles, and shall direct the same to be carefully and properly

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applied to the relief of such sick, wounded, or necessitous soldiers as belong to such Regiment, and such persons shall account with such officer for all Fines received, and the application thereof.

ART˙ LII. That all members sitting in Courts Martial shall be sworn by the President of said Courts, which President shall himself be sworn by the officer in said Court next in rank; the oath to be administered previous to their proceeding to the trial of any offender, in form following, viz: "You, A B, swear that you will well and, truly try and impartially determine the cause of the prisoner now to be tried, according to the Rules for Regulating the Forces raised or to be raised for the defence of the Colony of Connecticut, so help you God."

ART˙ LIII. That all persons called to give evidence in any case before a Court Martial, who shall refuse to give evidence, shall be punished for such refusal at the discretion of such Court Martial; the oath to be administered in the form following, viz: "You swear the, evidence you shall give in the case now in hearing shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God."