An ACT for the better regulating the Militia

March 15, 1777, Acts G.A., 1st session, ch.XX, p.26

WHEREAS it is at all Times of great Importance to the Safety of the State, that the Militia should be under proper Regulation and Government ; but more especially so at the present critical and interesting Period, in which the utmost Exertions of a well-disciplined Militia are occasionally necessary to defeat the Designs of the British Court, and to preserve and defend the Freedom and Independence of the United States of America ;

Sect. 1. BE IT THEREFORE ENACTED by the Council and General Assembly of this State, and it is hereby Enacted by the Authority of the same, That every Captain or Commanding Officer of a Company, who now is or hereafter shall be duly appointed and commissioned by the Governor, shall, immediately after the Publication of this Act, take a List of all able-bodied Men, not being Slaves (except as is herein after excepted) between the Ages of sixteen and fifty Years, who reside in his District, and are capable of bearing Arms ; a Copy of which List he shall deliver to the Colonel or commanding Officer of the Regiment or Battalion to which he belongs.

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14. THAT the Fines of young Men living with their Masters, Mistresses, or Parents, who are above the Age of sixteen Years, under that of twenty-one, and of white Servants who shall neglect or refuse to do the Duties enjoined by this Act, shall be levied on the Estates of the Masters, Mistresses, or Parents.

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55. AND WHEREAS it is highly reasonable that the Burden of the publick Service should be laid as equal as possible on all the Inhabitants: AND WHEREAS every Principle of Justice and civil Society requires, that all such as are exempted from actual Service in the Militia should, in a pecuniary Way, contribute their just Proportion towards the Defence and Preservation of the Government, under which they claim, and are entitled to receive, Protection ; BE IT THEREFORE ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That upon and out of the Estates, Real and Personal, of such Persons within this State as are of the Age of fifty Years and upwards, and are exempted from military Service on the Score of Age, and of such as are between the Ages of sixteen and fifty Years, and are exempted on the Score of Inability of Body, and of such as are exempted on the Score of Profession, or Office, or otherwise, there shall yearly and every Year, during the Continuance of this Act, be assessed, levied, and collected, over and besides all other Taxes, a Rate or Tax to the same Amount, in the same Proportion, and in the same Manner, as such Persons and their Estates would be rated and assessed at in Taxes for the Sinking Fund, in such Year when the Sum of Fifteen Thousand Pounds was directed to be raised in this State, and in every Respect agreeably to and under the same Penalties as are expressed in an Act, entitled, An Act to settle the Quotas of the several Counties in this County, for the levying Taxes, and passed the sixth Day of December, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-nine. PROVIDED ALWAYS, That every Person, exempted as aforesaid from actual Service in the Militia, who shall, at his own Expence, fit out any one or more Son or Sons, under Age, and living in his Service, Apprentice or Apprentices, Servant or Servants, and keep him or them properly equipped and accoutred as by this Act is required, shall, for every Son, Apprentice or Servant, so kept equipped and accoutred as aforesaid, be entitled to a Deduction of one Third Part of the said Tax; and if he shall so fit out and keep equipped and accoutred three or more Sons, Apprentices and Servants, he shall not be subject to the Payment of any such Tax.

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58. THAT this Act shall continue in Force for the Space of one Year, and from thence to the End of the next Sitting of General Assembly, and no longer.

Passed at Haddonfield, March 15, 1777.