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D O C U M E N T S  L I B R A R Y

 

TITLE: An Act Repealing An Act...

 

DATE: 4 May 1776

 

PURPOSE: A legal act renouncing Rhode Island's allegiance to the King of England

 

AUTHORITY: The General Assembly of Rhode Island

 

COMMENT: The official journals of the Senate show that this act, repealing the act of allegiance with Great Britain, was passed on the 4th May, 1776. A true Copy, George Brian Sullivan, Ph.D., Witness, August 7, 2011, faithfully and graciously transcribed from The NEWPORT MERCURY, Monday, June 10, 1776.

 

DOCUMENT TEXT:  

 

Colony of Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantations

  

I n    G  e  n  e  r  a   l     A  s  s  e  m  b  l  y

mAY Session 1776

 

An ACT repealing an Act, entitled  “An Act for the more effectual securing to His Majesty, the Allegiance of His Subjects, in this His Colony and Dominion of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations;” and altering the Forms of Commissions, of all Writs and Processes in the Courts, and of the Oaths prescribed by Law.*

 

     Whereas, in all States, existing by Compact, Protection and Allegiance are reciprocal; the latter being only due in Consequence of the former:

And whereas, george the Third, King of Great-Britain, forgetting his Dignity, regardless of the Compact most solemnly entered into, ratified and confirmed, to the Inhabitants of this Colony, by his illustrious Ancestors; and till of late, fully recognized by Him--and entirely departing from the Duties and Character of a good King, instead of protecting, is endeavoring to destroy the good People of this Colony, and of all the United Colonies, by sending Fleets and Armies to America, to confiscate our Property, and spread Fire, Sword and Desolation, throughout our Country, in order to compel us to submit to the most debasing and detestable Tyranny; whereby, we are obliged, by Necessity, and it becomes our highest Duty, to use every Means, with which God and Nature have furnished us, in Support of our invaluable Rights and Privileges; to oppose that Power which is exerted only for our Destruction.

   

    Be it therefore Enacted by this General Assembly, and by the authority thereof, it is Enacted, that an Act, entitled “An Act to the more effectual securing to His Majesty, the Allegiance of His Subjects, in this Colony and Dominion of Rhode- Island and Providence Plantations,” be, and the same is hereby, repealed.

    

   And be it  further Enacted by this General Assembly, and by the Authority thereof, it is Enacted, that all Commissions for Offices, civil and military, and in all Writs and Processes in Law, whether original, judicial, or executory, civil or criminal, wherever the Name and Authority of the said King is made Use of, the same shall be omitted; and in the Room thereof, the Name and Authority of the Governor and Company of this Colony, shall be substituted, in the following words, to wit:  “The Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations.”  That all such Commissions, Writs and Processes shall be otherwise of the same Form and Tenor as they heretofore were:  “That the Courts of Law be no longer entitled, nor  considered as the King’s Courts:   And that no Instrument in Writing of any Nature or Kind, whether public or private,  shall in the Date thereof mention the Year of the said King’s Reign:  Provided nevertheless, That nothing in this Act contained shall render void or vitiate any Commission, Writ, Process or Instrument, heretofore made or executed, on Account of the Name and  Authority of the said King being therein inserted.

     And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Oaths or Engagements to be administered to the Officers appointed in the Colony shall be as follow, to wit:

General Officers.

     “You, ______, being by the free Vote of the Freemen of this Colony of Rhode- Island and Providence Plantations elected into the Place of ______ do solemnly engage to be true and faithful unto this said Colony, and in your said Office equal Justice to do unto all Persons, poor and rich, within this Jurisdiction, the utmost of your Skill and Ability, without Partiality, according to the Laws established, or that may be established, by the General Assembly of this Colony, as well in matters military as civil:  And this Engagement you make and give upon the Peril of the Penalty of Perjury.”

Deputies.

     “You, ______, being chosen to the Place of a Deputy, to sit in the General Assembly, do solemnly engage, that you will be true and faithful to this Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations; and that you will do equal Right and Justice to all Persons who shall appeal unto you for your judgment in their respective Cases, according to the Laws established, or that may be established by the General Assembly of this said Colony:  And this Engagement you make and give upon the Peril of the Penalty of Perjury.”

 

Judges of the Superior Court.

     “You, ______, being by the General Assembly of the Colony chosen to the Place of a Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize, and General Gaol Delivery, in and throughout the Colony, do solemnly engage to be true and faithful to this said Colony, and to execute the Office unto which you are chosen as aforesaid with Fidelity, to the best of your Skill and Knowledge, according to the Laws established, or that may be established by the General Assembly of this said Colony:  And this Engagement you make and give the Peril of the Penalty of Perjury.”

[Public Notaries, Clerks of the Superior and Inferior Courts, Justices of the 

 Inferior Courts, and Sheriffs to take the same Oath as the Justices of the Superior Court, mutatis mutandis.]

 

 

 

Grand Jurors.

      “You, A. B., being of the Grand Inquest, on the Behalf of the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, do hereby promise and engage to make a true Return to this Court of all such Bills as shall be presented to you, or such Breakers of Law as shall come to your Knowledge:  And this Engagement you make and give upon the Peril of the Penalty of Perjury.”

 

Petit Jurors in civil Causes.

     “You, A. B., being of this Jury of Trials, shall well & truly try the Issue of this Case, and all Cases that shall be committed unto you from this Court. Between the Parties, Plaintiff, and Defendant, according to Law and Evidence; and to keep together until you agree of a Verdict in the Case or Cases committed to you, and make true Return of the Verdict or Verdicts unto this Court; and to keep your own and Fellow’s Secrets:   And this Engagement you make and give upon the Peril of the Penalty of Perjury.”

 

Petit Jurors in criminal Causes.

     “You, A. B., being of Jury of Trials, shall well and truly, and true Deliverance make, between the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, and the Prisoner at the Bar, according to Law and Evidence, and to keep together until you are agreed of a Verdict or Verdicts, in the Case or Cases that shall be committed to you from this Court, and to keep your own and Fellow’s Secrets:  And this Engagement you make and give upon the Peril of the Penalty of Perjury.”

 

Town Officers.

     “You, A. B., do hereby solemnly engage to be true and faithful unto this Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, and that you will well and truly, according to the Laws established, or that may be established, by the General Assembly of said Colony, execute the Office of ______ for the ensuing Year, or until another be engaged in your Room; or you be legally discharged therefrom:  And this Engagement you make and give upon the Peril of the Penalty of Perjury.”

 

Military Commissioned Officers.

     “You, A. B., being by the General Assembly chosen and elected to the Place and Office of ______ do solemnly swear to be true and faithful unto this Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, and to the Authority therein established by the General Assembly:  And you do also, further engage well and truly to execute the Office of ______ , to which you are elected according to your Commission; and to perform and observe all the Laws made and provided for the Support and well ordering the Militia, without Partiality; and that you will observe and follow such Orders and Instructions as you shall from Time to Time receive from your Superiors.  So help you God.”

 

Clerk of a Company of Militia.

     “You, A. B., do solemnly swear well and truly to perform and execute the Office of Clerk of the Company, or Trained Band, under the Command of C. D. to the utmost of your Skill and Ability, without Partiality, according to the Laws of this Colony which relate to your Office.  So help you God.