May. 28,Report of the Committee appointed to frame a law to prevent the dangers to which the Colony is exposed by its internal enemies


Whereas the honourable the Continental Congress, by their Resolve of the 6th day of October last, did recommend to the several Provincial Assemblies or Conventions, and Councils or Committees of Safety, to arrest and secure every person in their respective Colonies whose going at large might, in their opinion, endanger the safety of the Colony or the liberties of America; and whereas his Excellency General Washington hath lately exhibited to this Congress sundry informations and evidences, from which it appears that the enemies of American liberty have a general communication with each other through this and part of the neighbouring Colonies; by reason whereof the influence of the British Government is much extended, and the minds of the people poisoned by false reports and suggestions:


And whereas many ill-disposed persons have lately resorted unto and a great number dwell in King' s County, particularly in the southern and eastern parts thereof; and there are also several ill-disposed persons in the City and County of New-York, in King' s County, Richmond County, and in sundry other parts of this Colony, many of whom will most probably take up arms on the part of our foes whenever they shall see a prospect of success:

And whereas from the various reports and the best intelligence which can be obtained from Europe, as also from the positive assertions of the disaffected throughout this and the neighbouring Colonies, and from the measures by them taken, there is no room to doubt that a large hostile armament will soon arrive in this Colony:

And whereas many of those who now hold offices and commissions under the Crown, and many others who are generally reputed inimical to American liberty, will be liable to suffer injuries from the resentment of the people, and the Colony in general exposed to great danger from the active exertions of those among us who are determined to assist in the subjection of America:

Wherefore, as well out of regard to the safety of individuals as for the general welfare of America, it is highly and indispensably necessary to take speedy and effectual measures to prevent the hostile intentions of our foes, to stop the channels of intelligence and communication among the disaffected, and to quell the spirit of opposition which hath hitherto prevailed; for which purposes it is hereby ordered that the following persons be apprehended, by the assistance of the Continental troops now stationed in and near this City, to wit: * * * * * *

That a Committee to confer with the Commander-in-Chief now here, upon the subject of apprehending the persons above-named and to superintend the taking of them; that upon and after the apprehending of the said persons, such of them as shall give good and sufficient security on oath and otherwise, as the said Committee shall think proper, that they will not be concerned in any measures taken or to be taken against the United American Colonies, or any or either of them; and that they will discover all measures taken, or to be taken, against the said Colonies, or any, or either of them, as far as the same shall come to their knowledge respectively, be permitted to go at large.

That as to such persons as shall refuse such security, it shall be taken in the discretion of the said Committee to admit ay many of the said persons as may, in the judgment of the said Committee, be safely trusted, on their parole or word of honour to reside in such part of one of the neighbouring Colonies as shall be chosen by the said respective persons, approved of by the said Committee, such persons giving their parole or word of honour respectively to the said Committee to reside in the place marked out as aforesaid for their residence until the further order of the Continental Congress, and to be subject to such order as to their removal to any other pace.

That all such persons as, in the opinion of the said Committee, cannot safely be trusted on their said parole, or if to be trusted, shall refuse to give such parole, shall be reported to this Congress, to be severally dealt with as this Congress shall think proper. And

That it be recommended to all the General County Committees in the several Counties in this Colony to apprehend all persons holding military commissions under the King of Great Britain; and also all such persons holding civil offices under the said King, or being possessed of influence in their respective Counties as are suspected of holding principles inimical to the said United Colonies; and after they shall have been apprehended, to deal with them in such manner as is prescribed for the conduct of the Committee above-named.