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Act of the North Carolina General Assembly concerning treason against the state
North Carolina. General Assembly
May 09, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 769-773

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[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind. Vol. 222.]
In Gov. Martin's (No. 9.) of 15th Sepber 1777.

Copy of a Law of proscription, enacted by the Rebel Powers of North Carolina.

An Act for declaring what crimes and practices against the State shall be Treason and what shall be misprision of Treason and providing punishments adequate to crimes of both classes and for preventing the dangers which may arise from Persons disaffected to the State.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same that all and every Person and Persons (Prisoners of War excepted) now inhabiting or residing within the Limits of the State of North Carolina or who shall voluntarily come into the same hereafter to inhabit or reside do owe and shall pay allegiance to the State of North Carolina

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that if any Person or Persons belonging to or residing within this State and under the Protection of its Laws shall take a Commission or Commissions from the King of Great Britain or any under his authority or other the enemies of this State or of the United States of America or shall levy War against this State of the Government thereof or knowingly or willingly shall aid or assist any enemies at open War against this State or the United States of America by joining their Armies or by enlisting or procuring or persuading others to enlist for that purpose or by furnishing such Enemies with arms, ammunition, provision or any other article for their aid or comfort, or shall form or be anywise concerned in forming any combination, plot or conspiracy, for betraying this State or the United States of America into the hands or power of any foreign enemy or shall give or send any Intelligence to the Enemies of this State for that purpose, every person so offending and being thereof legally convicted by the Evidence of two sufficient Witnesses or standing mute or peremptorily challenging more than Thirty-five Jurors in any Court of Oyer or Terminer or other Court that shall and may be established for the Trial of such offences shall be adjudged guilty of high Treason and shall suffer

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death without the benefit of Clergy and his or her estate shall be forfeited to the State. Provided the Judge or Judges of the Court wherein such conviction may be shall order and appropriate so much of the Traitor's Estate as to him or them may appear sufficient for the support of his or her family.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any Person or Persons within this State shall attempt to convey intelligence to the Enemies of this State of the United States or shall publickly or deliberately speak or write against our Public defence or shall maliciously and advisedly endeavor to excite the People to resist the Government of this State or persuade them to return to a dependence on the Crown of Great Britain or shall knowingly spread false and dispiriting news or maliciously and advisedly terrify and discourage the people from enlisting into the service of the State or shall stir up or excite Tumults, disorders or Insurrections in the State or dispose the people to favour the Enemy or oppose and endeavor to prevent the measures carrying on in support of the Freedom and Independence of the said United States, Every such Person or Persons being thereof legally convicted by the Evidence of two or more credible Witnesses or other sufficient Testimony shall be adjudged guilty of Misprision of Treason and shall suffer imprisonment during the War and forfeit to the State one half of his, her or their Lands, Tenements, Goods & Chattels.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that all offences by this Act declared Misprision of Treason shall be cognizable before any Justice of the Peace of the County where the offence was committed or where the offender can be found and every Justice of the Peace within this State on complaint to him made on the Oath or Affirmation of one or more credible Person or Persons shall cause such offender to come before him and enter into a Recognizance with one or more sufficient sureties to be and appear at the next County Court of the County wherein the offence was committed and abide the Judgment of the said Court and in the mean time to be of the peace and good behaviour toward all people in the State and for want of such surety or sureties the said Justice shall and may commit such offender either to to the Gaol of the County or District where the offence was committed and appoint a Guard for the safe conveying of him to such Gaol. Aud all persons charged on Oath or Affirmation with any

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Crime or Crimes by this Act declared to be Treason against the State shall be dealt with and proceeded against in like manner as the Law directs in respect of other Capital Crimes.

And Whereas the safety of the State and the present critical situation of affairs make it necessary that all persons who owe or acknowledge allegiance or obedience to the King of Great Britain should be removed out of the State.

Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that all the late officers of the King of Great Britain and all persons, Quakers excepted, (being subjects of the State and now living therein or who shall hereafter come to live therein) who have traded immediately to Great Britain or Ireland within ten years last past in their own Right or acted as factors, Store-Keepers or Agents here or in any of the United States of America for Merchants residing in Great Britain or Ireland shall take the following Oath of Abjuration and Allegiance or depart out of the State vizt

“I_______ will bear faithful and true Allegiance to the State of North Carolina and will to the utmost of my powers support maintain and defend the Independent Government thereof against George the third King of Great Britain and his successors and the attempts of any other Person, Prince, Power, State or Potentate who by secret Acts Treasons Conspiracies or by open Force shall attempt to subvert the same and will in every respect conduct myself as a peaceful orderly subject and that I will disclose and make known to the Governor, some member of the Council of State or some Justice of the Peace all Treasons Conspiracies and Attempts committed or intended against the state which shall come to my knowledge.”

And that all Persons being Quakers and under the circumstances above mentioned shall make the following affirmation or depart out of the State. vizt:

“I, A. B. do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will bear true Allegiance to the Independent State of North Carolina and to the Powers and Authorities which are or may be established for the good Government thereof and I do renounce any allegiance to the present King of Great Britain, his Heirs and Successors and that I will disclose and make known to the Governor, some Member of the Council of State or Justice of the Peace all Treasons Conspiracies or attempts committed or intended against the same which shall come to my knowledge.”

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And the said Oath or Affirmation shall be taken and subscribed in open Court in the County where the Person or Persons taking the same shall or do usually reside.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the County Court in each and every County and every Justice of Peace in each respective County shall have full power to issue Citations against Persons coming within the above description as officers, merchants, traders, factors, store-Keepers or Agents and to demand surety or recognizance if necessary and to require their attendance at the next ensuing Court to be held for the County and if any Person so cited (due proof being made thereof) shall fail or neglect to attend, or attending shall refuse to take the said Oath or affirmation as the case may be, then the said Court shall and may have full power and authority to order such person to depart out of this State to Europe or the West Indies within sixty days and may take Bond and Surety in the name of the Governor for the benefit of the State for faithful compliance with such order. And if any Person so ordered shall fail or neglect to depart within the limited time such Bond shall be forfeited to the State, without good and sufficient reason shown to and approved of by the Governor and Council And the Justices or any of them in the County wherein the person so failing or neglecting to depart shall be found shall and may cause him to be apprehended and brought before the Court of the County where the Order was made and the said Court shall in such case send the person so offending as speedily, as may be, out of the State either to Europe or the West Indies at the cost and charges of such offender. Provided, nevertheless, that all and every such Person and Persons shall have liberty to sell and dispose of his or their Estate and after satisfying all just demands to export the amount in Produce (Provisions and Naval Stores excepted) and may also nominate and appoint an attorney or attorneys to sell and dispose of his or their Estate for his or their use and benefit But in case any real Estate belonging to any such person shall remain unsold for more than three months next after the owner thereof hath departed this State the same shall be forfeited to and for the use of the public.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that if any person so departing or sent off from this State shall return to the same then such person shall be adjudged guilty of Treason against

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the State and shall and may be proceeded against in like manner as is herein before directed in cases of Treason.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that each and every Justice in each respective County may cite any person or persons to appear before the County Court where such Person or Persons usually reside and take the aforesaid Oath or Affirmation and in case of non-attendance or refusal the said Court shall and may have full power to compel such Person or Persons to leave the State under the same regulations herein mentioned in other cases.

Read three times and Ratified
in General Assembly the 9th day
of May, Anno Dom. 1777.

(Signed)
SAMl. ASHE S. Senate.
A. NASH. S. Commons.