Militia Fines: A Means of Enforcement to Regulate the Militia

“Additional evidence that most Militiamen personally possessed firearms and ammunition even when not actually at musters, in training, or in the field appears in the elaborate scheme of fines Virginia’s statutes imposed on men who were discovered to have defaulted on any part of that obligation.”

The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 480.

Also see Alarm ListExemptions: A Means to Organize the Militia Militiamen Firearms Kept in the Home • To “Settle” the Militia To “Regulate” the Militia • Regular Armed Forces and Militia FirearmsMilitia: Not Part of the Regular Armed Forces of the Union or of the StatesMilitia: Immune From Contemporary “Gun Control” 


Fines: A Means of Enforcement to Regulate the Militia

Pre-constitutional Militia enforced discipline by levying fines against defaulters. And that these statutes were not paper tigers, either, an order from the Governor of Virginia and Council in 1736 evidences:

[T]o the End all Persons oblig’d to serve in the Militia, and who ought to be furnished with Arms and Ammunition, as the Law directs, may no longer be excused from this necessary part of their Duty, * * * the County Lieutenant * * * in each County * * * do take care, that a Court Martial be appointed and held * * * and to cause to be fined, all Persons whatsoever, who shall have absented themselves from General or Private Musters, or shall have appeared there not Armed and Accoutred as the Act of Assembly doth direct and require. (footnote 1)

The pattern throughout these statutes is pellucid: They imposed fines on the vast majority of Militiamen if they failed:

(i) to furnish and provide themselves with firearms and ammunition suitable for Militia service;

(ii) to keep in their houses or places of abode such arms, accoutrements, and ammunition as were required, ready for use at all times; and

(iii) to appear completely armed and accoutred with their equipment at musters, in training, or for other duty in the field—including such assignments as going armed to church. Even when the statutes granted a Militiaman an allowance of time in which to obtain the particular type of firearm the laws required, he nonetheless was liable to a fine if he did not “appear * * * with such arms as he is already furnished with” (1723, 1738, 1755, 1757 through 1771, and 1775), or if he “hath any arms or ammunition of his own property, and hath not brought the same” (1755 through 1771). Thus, the statutes’ plain intent was that the typical Militiaman’s appearance “compleatly armed and accoutred” depended upon his own acquisition and possession of that equipment; and such possession was not only personal but also permanent, by himself in his own home at all times. (footnote 2)

  • Typically, the moneys collected were allotted directly to the Militia itself or to Local governmental units to subsidize the procurement of firearms, ammunition, and accoutrements for the Localities’ own Militiamen. Twelve Militia statutes spanning the course of 126 years—from 1659 to 1785.

    An old adage recommends that one “follow the money” in order to assess where real political power, influence, and benefit lie. In pre-constitutional Virginia, enforcement of Militia discipline usually resulted in the assessment of fines against defaulters. (footnote 1) And, typically, the moneys collected were allotted directly to the Militia itself or to Local governmental units to subsidize the procurement of firearms, ammunition, and accoutrements for the Localities’ own Militiamen:

    • • [1659 and 1662] “BEE it enacted that a provident supplie be made of gunn powder and shott to our owne people, and this strictly to bee lookt to by the officers of the militia, (vizt.) That every man able to beare armes have in his house a fixt gunn two pounds of powder and eight pound of shott at least which are to be provided by every man for his family * * * , and whosoever shall faile of makeing such provision to be fined ffiftie pounds of tobacco to bee laied out by the county courts for a common stock of amunition for the county.” (footnote 2)

    • • [1705 and 1723] “[T]he * * * ffield officers and captains * * * have full power and authority to order and dispose the tobaccoes which shall * * * accrew and arise upon the ffines, penaltys and fforfeitures * * * , in such manner as in their discretions shall seem best * * * for furnishing the severall troops and companys belonging to the county with necessary drums, colours, trumpets, leading staffes, partizans and halberts, and for procuring such and so many books of military dissipline as shall be thought convenient [footnote 3], and after all these for providing arms and ammunition for the countys use with the overplus.” (footnote 4)

    • • [1738] Courts-martial composed of “the field officers, and captains, of every county * * * shall have power * * * to order and dispose of all * * * fines, in the first place, for buying drums, trumpets, and trophies, for the use of the troop or company from whence the same arise; and afterwards, for supplying the militia with arms.” (footnote 5)

    • • [1738, 1757, 1759, 1762, 1766, and 1771] The fine against “the lieutenant of any county * * * failing to appoint a general muster” was to be dispersed “one moiety to our sovereign lord the king * * * for and towards the better supplying the county with arms; and the other moiety to the informer”. (footnote 6)

    • • [1740] Penalties under this statute were “[t]o be recovered * * * to the same uses” as stipulated in the statute of 1738. (footnote 7)

    • • [1748 and 1753] “[O]ne moiety of all * * * forfeitures” assessed against delinquent Militiamen “shall go * * * for and towards the better supplying with arms that county where such offence shall be committed, and the other moiety to him or them that will inform or sue for the same”. (footnote 8)

    • • [1755, 1757, 1759, 1762, 1766, and 1771] Fines imposed on persons selling or buying public arms were to be dispersed, “one moiety * * * for the use of the county, to which the arms shall belong, for the purchasing other arms, and the other moiety to the informer”.

      The courts-martial of every County were to “order and dispose of all * * * fines [imposed on delinquents for not performing their duties], for buying drums, trumpets and trophies for the use of the militia of the county, and for supplying the militia of the said county with arms.” (footnote 9)

    • • [1757, 1758, 1759, 1761, 1762, 1764, 1766, 1769, and 1772] “[A]ll the fines * * * shall be one half * * * for and towards supplying with arms the militia of the county to which the offender belongs, and the other half to the informer[.]” (footnote 10)

    • • [1766 and 1771] “[T]he persons so exempted (not being Quakers) shall provide compleat sets of arms * * * required for soldiers, for the use of the county, city or borough, wherein they shall respectively reside: And if they shall fail or refuse so to do, * * * the courts of the several counties, city or borough * * * are hereby impowered and required to levy the value of such arms on each of them respectively.” (footnote 11)

    • • [1775] The Militia “captains [of each Company] shall provide drums, fifes, colours, and halberds, at the publick expense, to be reimbursed out of the fines [imposed on delinquents]”.

      Certain fines “levied by a court-martial” in each County against officers were to be “appropriated to the purchasing arms and ammunition for the use of such as are not able to procure the same”.

      And “the fines imposed * * * on the chief officer for not enlisting the men in his county, and on the commanding-officer present in the county for not appointing general musters, shall be to the use of the county, for providing arms[.]” (footnote 12)

    • • [1777] “All fines * * * shall be appropriated, in the first place, to the payment of the salaries [of certain Militia personnel] * * * , then to reimbursing the publick treasury for any arms purchased for the poor soldiers of such county, and for drums, fifes, and colours, bought for the several companies; and if any surplus remain, it shall be laid out * * * in establishing and furnishing, for the use of their county, a magazine of small arms, field pieces, ammunition, and such other military stores as may be useful in case of invasion or insurrection.” (footnote 13)

    • • [1784 and 1785] “[E]ach sergeant shall have a pair of moulds fit to cast balls for their respective companies, to be purchased by the commanding officer, out of the monies arising on delinquencies; * * * [and] the court[-martial] * * * appointed for trying delinquencies * * * shall cause * * * [arms for poor Militiamen] to be purchased out of the money arising from delinquents.

      * * * * *

      “ * * * The lieutenant or commanding officer of a county shall cause to be purchased out of the money arising from the fines, for every regiment in his county, the usual set of colours, * * * also a drum and fife for each company[.]” (footnote 14)

    Footnotes:

    1.) The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., pages 666-697

    2.) EN-1370 — ACT XXV, Provision to bee made for Amunition, ATT A GRAND ASSEMBLY, HELD AT JAMES CITTIE, MARCH 7, 1658-9, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 1, at 525. Reënacted, ACT CXX, Supply of ammunition, AT A GRAND ASSEMBLY HELD AT JAMES CITY MARCH THE 23D[,] 1661-2, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 2, at 126-127. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 539.

    3.) The Act of 1723 dispensed with “books of military dissipline”.

    4.) EN-1371 — CHAP. XXIV, An act for settling the Militia, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AT THE CAPITOL, IN THE CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG, THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF OCTOBER, 1705, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 3, at 342; CHAP. II, An Act for the settling and better Regulation of the Militia, § XXIII, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SUMMONED TO BE HELD AT Williamsburg, the fifth day of December, 1722, and by writ of prorogation, begun and holden on the ninth day of May, 1723, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 4, at 124-125. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 539.

    5.) EN-1372 — CHAP. II, An Act, for the better Regulation of the Militia, § IX, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SUMMONED TO BE HELD AT The Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on the first day of August, [1735]. And from thence continued, by several prorogations, to the first day of November, 1738, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 5, at 19- 20. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 539.

    6.) EN-1373 — CHAP. II, An Act, for the better Regulation of the Militia, § X, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SUMMONED TO BE HELD AT The Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on the first day of August, [1735]. And from thence continued, by several prorogations, to the first day of November, 1738, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 5, at 20.

         CHAP. II, An Act for the better regulating and training the Militia, § XIX, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the College in the City of Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty seventh day of February, one thousand seven hundred and fifty two. And from thence continued by several prorogations, to Tuesday the fifth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and fifty five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 541.

         CHAP. III, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, § XIX, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty-fifth day of March, 1756, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fourteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 102. Continued, CHAP. IV, An Act for continuing an Act, intitutled, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the twenty-second of February, 1759, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 274; CHAP. III, An Act for amending and further continuing the act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, §IX, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 538; CHAP. XXXI, An act to continue and amend the act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, § X, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 245; CHAP. II, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, the seventh day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine, and from thence continued by several prorogations, and convened by proclamation the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 503. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 539.

    7.) EN-1374 — CHAP. I, An Act, for the better security of the Country in the present time of Danger, § IV, AT A General Assembly, SUMMONED TO BE HELD AT The Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Friday, the first day of August, [1735]. And from thence continued, by several prorogations, to the 22nd day of May, 1740, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 5, at 91. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 539.

    8.) EN-1375 — CHAP. XXXIX, An Act for making provision against Invasions and Insurrections, § IV, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AND HELD AT The College in Williamsburg, the twenty-seventh day of October, 1748, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 114. Continued, CHAP. II, An Act for continuing an act, intituled, An Act for making provision against invasions and insurrections, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the College in the City of Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty seventh day of February, 1752. And from thence continued by several prorogations, to Thursday the first day of November, 1753, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 350. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 539.

    9.) EN-1376 — CHAP. II, An Act for the better regulating and training the Militia, §§ V and IX, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the College in the City of Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty seventh day of February, one thousand seven hundred and fifty two. And from thence continued by several prorogations, to Tuesday the fifth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and fifty five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 532, 535.

         CHAP. III, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, §§ IV and X, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of March, 1756, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fourteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and fifty- seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 94, 97. Continued, CHAP. IV, An Act for continuing an Act, intitutled, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the twenty-second of February, 1759, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 274; CHAP. III, An Act for amending and further continuing the act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, § IX, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 538; CHAP. XXXI, An act to continue and amend the act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, § X, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 245; continued, CHAP. II, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, the seventh day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine, and from thence continued by several prorogations, and convened by proclamation the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 503. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 540.

    10.) EN-1377 — CHAP. IV, An Act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, § XXII, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of March, 1756, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fourteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 115. Continued, CHAP. IV, An Act for continuing an act, intituled, An Act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 237; CHAP. V, An Act for further continuing an Act, intituled, An Act for reducing the several Acts for making provision against Invasions and Insurrections, into one Act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the twenty-second of February, 1759, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 275; CHAP. II, An Act for further continuing an act, entituled, An Act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fifth of March, 1761, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 384; CHAP. IV, An Act for further continuing the act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 539; CHAP. I, An act for further continuing the act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 30th of October, 1764, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 37; CHAP. I, An Act for further continuing the act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 189; CHAP. V, An Act for further continuing the Act, intituled an Act for reducing the several acts of Assembly for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday, in the seventh day of November, 1769, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 334; CHAP. III, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for reducing the several acts of assembly, for making provision against invasions and insurrections, into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Monday the tenth day of February, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-two, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 514. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 540.

    11.) EN-1378 — CHAP. XXXI, An act to continue and amend the act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, § II, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 242. Continued, CHAP. II, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, the seventh day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty nine, and from thence continued by several prorogations, and convened by proclamation the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 503. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 540.

    12.) EN-1379 — CHAP. I, An ordinance for raising and embodying a sufficient force, for the defence and protection of this colony, AT a Convention of Delegates for the Counties and Corporations in the Colony of Virginia, held at Richmond town, in the county of Henrico, on Monday the seventeenth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 9, at 31, 31, 33. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 540.

    13.) EN-1380 — CHAP. I, An act for regulating and disciplining the Militia, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AND HELD At the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Monday the fifth day of May, one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 9, at 272-273. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 540.

    14.) EN-1381 — CHAP. XXVIII, An act for amending the several laws for regulating and disciplining the militia, and guarding against invasions and insurrections, §§ II and VI, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY Begun and held at the Public Buildings in the City of Richmond, on Monday the eighteenth day of October[,] one thousand seven hundred eighty-four, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 11, at 479, 485; CHAP. I, An act to amend and reduce into one act, the several laws for regulating and disciplining the militia, and guarding against invasions and insurrections, §§ III and VI, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGUN AND HELD At the Public Buildings in the City of Richmond, on Monday the seventeenth day of October[,] one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 12, at 12, 16. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 540.

  • Fines imposed on Militiamen who did not possess the necessary arms in their personal possession and kept in their homes. Eleven Militia statutes spanning the course of 80 years—from 1705 to 1785.

    Additional evidence that most Militiamen personally possessed firearms and ammunition even when not actually at musters, in training, or in the field appears in the elaborate scheme of fines Virginia’s statutes imposed on men who were discovered to have defaulted on any part of that obligation.

    The statutes extended over a long period of time and were mutually consistent in substance:

    • • [1705] “[T]he persons of a councellor, of a speaker of the house of burgesses, of a justice of the peace, of an attorney-general, and of a captain or an higher officer in the militia, are exempted from being listed and serving * * * , and that notwithstanding * * * all and every such person or persons, and also the clerk of the councill, the clerk of the general court, and every county court clerk shall provide and keep * * * at their respective places of abode a troopers horse, furniture, arms and ammunition * * * , and to produce or cause the same to be produced in the county where they respectively reside yearly, and every year at the generall muster * * * , upon pain of forfeiting for every neglect * * * twenty shillings current money of Virginia.

          *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * That every ffoot soldier be provided with a firelock, muskett or fusee well fixed, a good sword and cartouch box, and six charges of powder, and appear constantly with the same * * * for muster and exercise, and that besides these each foot soldier have at his place of abode two pounds of powder and eight pounds of shott, and bring the same into the field with him when thereunto specially required, and that every soldier belonging to the horse be provided with a good * * * horse, * * * a case of good pistolls well fixed, sword and double cartouch box, and twelve charges of powder, and constantly appear with the same * * * to muster and exercise, and that besides those each soldier belonging to the horse have at his usual place of abode a well fixed carbine, * * * two pounds of powder, and eight pounds of shott, and bring the same into the ffield with him when thereunto specially required.

      “ * * * [W]hatsoever trooper or ffoot soldier * * * shall not be furnished and provided with arms and ammunition * * * for muster and exercise, or shall not keep at his place of abode what * * * he is directed there to have and bring into field with him all and singular the arms and ammunition * * * when thereunto specially required, such trooper or ffoot soldier shall for his neglect in any of the premises, be fined one hundred pounds of tobacco, every time he is * * * to appear.” (footnote 1)

    • • [1723] “That every soldier belonging to the horse, be provided with a good * * * horse, * * * a case of pistols, cutting sword, or cutlace, and double cartouch box, and six charges of powder, and constantly appear with the same * * * for muster and exercise; and shall keep at his pace of abode, a well fixed carbine, * * * one pound of powder, and four pounds of shot, and bring the same into the field with him when thereunto specially required. And that every foot soldier be provided with a firelock, musquet, or fuzee, well fixed, and bayonet fitted to such the musquet or fuzee, * * * a cartouch box, and three charges of powder, and appear constantly with the same, at * * * muster and exercise; and shall keep at his place of abode, one pound of powder, and four pounds of shot, and bring the same into the field with him, when thereunto specially required.

      “ * * * [W]hatsoever soldier * * * shall not be furnished and provided with arms and ammunition * * * for muster and exercise, or shall not keep at his place of abode, what * * * he is directed, such soldier, for every such failure, shall be fined one hundred pounds of tobacco.

      “ * * * [T]hat no soldier be fined for appearing without [arms and ammunition], or not having the same at his place of abode, until he hath been listed eighteen months * * * —So as every soldier, during the said eighteen months, do appear at all musters with such arms as he is already furnished with.” (footnote 2)

    • • [1738] “Every horse-man shall be furnished with a serviceable horse, * * * carbine or fuzee, * * * a case of pistols, cutting sword or cutlass, double cartouch-box, and six charges of powder; and constantly appear with the same * * * for muster and exercise; and shall keep at his place of abode, one pound of powder, and four pounds of ball, and bring the same into the field with him, when thereunto required. And every footman shall be furnished with a firelock, musket, or fuzee, well fixed, a bayonet fitted to the same, * * * a cartouch-box, and three charges of powder; and appear with the same at * * * muster and exercise * * * ; and shall also keep at his house, one pound of powder, and four pounds of ball; and bring the same into the field, when he shall be required.

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * Every person listed to serve in the horse, shall pay sevenshillings and six pence, or seventy five pounds of tobacco: And every person listed in the foot, shall pay five shillings, or fifty pounds of tobacco, at their election, for not appearing at muster, compleatly armed and accoutred * * * .

      “ * * * [T]hat no soldier be fined for appearing without [arms and ammunition], or not having the same at his place of abode, until he hath been listed eighteen months * * * so as every soldier, during the said eighteen months, do appear at all musters, with such arms as he is already furnished with. 

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [E]very person ordered to go to church armed, failing todo his duty therein, shall pay five shillings.” (footnote 3)

    • • [1748, 1753, 1757, 1758, 1759, 1761, 1762, 1764, 1766, 1769, and 1772] “[E]very [Militiaman] who shall be summoned to appear [upon an invasion or insurrection]* * * and shall fail so to do, or shall fail to bring with him his arms and accoutrements, together with one pound of powder, and four pounds of ball, shall forfeit and pay the sum of ten pounds[.]” (footnote 4)

    • • [1755] “[E]very horseman shall be furnished with a serviceable horse, * * * carbine * * * , a case of pistols, cutting sword, double cartouch box, and six charges of powder, and constantly appear with the same * * * for muster and exercise, and shall keep at his place of abode, one pound of powder and four pounds of ball, and bring the same into the field with him when thereunto required: And every footman shall be furnished with a firelock well fixed, a bayonet fitted to the same, a cutting sword, a double cartouch box, and three charges of powder, and constantly appear with the same, * * * for muster and exercise * * * , and shall also keep at his place of abode, one pound of powder and four pounds of ball, and bring the same with him into the field when he shall be required.

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [E]very person inlisted to serve in the horse, appearing without a serviceable horse, * * * carbine * * * , a case of pistols, cutting- sword, double cartouch boxes, and six charges of powder and ball shall pay five shillings, for every such failure; and every person listed to serve in the foot, appearing at such muster without a firelock well fixed, and a bayonet fitted to the same, * * * a cutting-sword, a double cartouch-box, and three charges of powder and ball shall pay three shillings, for every such failure; * * * every soldier ordered to go armed to church, neglecting to do so, shall pay five shillings, for every such failure[.]

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * That twelve months time be given and allowed to eachsoldier, to furnish and provide himself with arms and ammunition, * * * and that no soldier be fined for appearing without, or not having the same at his place of abode, until he hath been inlisted twelve months, * * * so as such soldier do appear at all musters, during the said twelve months, with such arms as he hath, and is already furnished with[.]” (footnote 5)

    • • [1757, 1759, 1762, 1766, and 1771] “Every soldier shall be furnished with a firelock well fixed, a bayonet fitted to the same, a double cartouch-box, and three charges of powder, and constantly appear with the same * * * for muster and exercise, and shall also keep at his place of abode one pound of powder and four pounds of ball, and bring the same with him into the field when he shall be required[.]

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [E]very soldier appearing at muster without a firelock well fixed, and a bayonet fitter to the same, shall pay three shillings for every such failure, and for appearing at muster without a double cartouch-box shall pay one shilling, and without three charges of powder shall pay two shillings for every such failure * * * . Every soldier ordered to go armed to church neglecting to do so shall pay five shillings for every such failure[.]

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [T]welve months shall be given and allowed to each soldier, not already inlisted, to furnish and provide himself with arms and ammunition according to the directions of this act, * * * so as such soldier do appear at all musters during the said twelve months with such arms as he hath and is already furnished with[.]” (footnote 6)

    • • [1762, 1766, and 1771] “[E]very person * * * exempted [from regular Militia duty by these statutes, other than Quakers,] shall always keep in his house or place of abode such arms, accoutrements, and ammunition, as are * * * required to be kept by the militia of this colony; and if he shall fail or refuse so to do he shall forfeit and pay the sum of five pounds * * * : And such exempts shall also, in case of any invasion or insurrection, appear with their arms and ammunition * * * , and shall be incorporated with, and be subject to the same * * * fines, forfeitures and penalties, for non-appearance * * * as the other militia[.]” (footnote 7)

    • • [1775] “[E]very [regular] soldier or minute-man failing to appear, and not bringing with him his arms, shall forfeit and pay the sum of five pounds[.]

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [E]very militia man * * * enlisted shall furnish himselfwith a good rifle, if to be had, or otherwise with a * * * common firelock, bayonet, pouch, or cartouch box, three charges of powder and ball, and appear with the same * * * for mustering, and shall constantly keep by him one pound of powder and four pounds of ball, to be produced whenever called for by his commanding-officer.

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [E]very soldier [in the Militia] * * * appearing without proper arms, [shall forfeit and pay] five shillings; or for not bringing with him three charges of powder and ball, three shillings; or failing to bring into the field, when required by his commanding-officer, one pound of powder, and four pounds of ball, five shillings.

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [T]he soldiers shall be allowed six months after enlisting to provide themselves with arms, and in the mean time shall bring with them such arms as they have, under the penalty of five shillings[.]” (footnote 8)

    • • [1775] “[E]ach minute-man who shall furnish himself with a good musket, or other gun, to be approved of by his captain, shall be allowed by the publick ten shillings per annum, as a consideration for the use thereof, and shall be liable to a fine of twenty shillings for not appearing with the same when called on duty.

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [O]verseers * * * shall be obliged to furnish themselves with arms and ammunition, in the same manner as militia men * * * ; and if any militia man, or overseer, shall neglect or refuse to do so, he or they * * * shall be liable to a fine of five shillings for every neglect or refusal[.]” (footnote 9)

    • • [1777] “For failing to appear at any general or private muster, properly armed and accoutred, * * * every non-commissioned officer or soldier [shall pay] five shillings. * * * Every officer failing to furnish himself with one pound of powder shall forfeit and pay ten shillings, and the same for failing to furnish himself with four pounds of ball; and every soldier failing therein shall likewise be liable[.]” (footnote 10)

    • • [1784 and 1785] “By a non-commissioned officer or soldier, for failing to attend any muster, with the arms, ammunition, and equipments, as directed by th[e statute], he shall forfeit and pay ten shillings[.]” (footnote 11)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-1213 — CHAP. XXIV, An act for settling the Militia, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AT THE CAPITOL, IN THE CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG, THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF OCTOBER,1705, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 3, at 337, 338. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 480-481.

    2.) EN-1214 — CHAP. II, An Act for the settling and better Regulation of the Militia, §§ VII, VIII, and IX, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SUMMONED TO BE HELD AT Williamsburg, the fifth day of December, 1722, and by writ of prorogation, begun and holden on the ninth day of May, 1723, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 4, at 120. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 481.

    3.) EN-1215 — CHAP. II, An Act, for the better Regulation of the Militia, §§ V, X, XI, and XIII, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SUMMONED TO BE HELD AT The Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on the first day of August, [1735]. And from thence continued, by several prorogations, to the first day of November, 1738, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 5, at 17, 21, 22. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 481-482

    4.) EN-1216 — CHAP. XXXIX, An Act for making provision against Invasions and Insurrections, § IV, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AND HELD AT The College in Williamsburg, the twenty-seventh day of October, 1748, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 114. Continued, CHAP. II, An Act for continuing an act, intituled, An Act for making provision against invasions and insurrections, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the College in the City of Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty seventh day of February, 1752. And from thence continued by several prorogations, to Thursday the first day of November, 1753, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 350.

         CHAP. IV, An Act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, § IV, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday, the twenty- fifth day of March, 1756, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fourteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 108. Continued, CHAP. IV, An Act for continuing an act, intituled, An Act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 237; CHAP. V, An Act for further continuing an Act, intituled, An Act for reducing the several Acts for making provision against Invasions and Insurrections, into one Act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the twenty-second of February, 1759, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 275; CHAP. II, An Act for further continuing an act, entituled, An Act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fifth of March, 1761, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 384; CHAP. IV, An Act for further continuing the act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 539; CHAP. I, An act for further continuing the act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 30th of October, 1764, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 37; CHAP. I, An Act for further continuing the act for reducing the several acts for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 189; CHAP. V, An Act for further continuing the Act, intituled an Act for reducing the several acts of Assembly for making provision against invasions and insurrections into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday, in the seventh day of November, 1769, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 334; CHAP. III, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for reducing the several acts of assembly, for making provision against invasions and insurrections, into one act, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Monday the tenth day of February, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-two, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 514. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 482.

    5.) EN-1217 — CHAP. II, An Act for the better regulating and training the Militia, §§ V, X, and XIII, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the College in the City of Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty seventh day of February, one thousand seven hundred and fifty two. And from thence continued by several prorogations, to Tuesday the fifth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and fifty five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 531-532, 536-537, 537- 538. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 482.

    6.) EN-1218 — CHAP. III, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, §§ IV, XI, and XIV, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of March, 1756, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fourteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 94, 98-99, 99. Continued, CHAP. IV, An Act for continuing an Act, intituled, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the twenty-second of February, 1759, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 274; CHAP. III, An Act for amending and further continuing the act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, § IX, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 538; CHAP. XXXI, An act to continue and amend the act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, § X, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 245; CHAP. II, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, the seventh day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine, and from thence continued by several prorogations, and convened by proclamation the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 503. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 483.

    7.) EN-1219 — CHAP. III, An Act for amending and further continuing the act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, §V, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 537. Continued with amendment, CHAP. XXXI, An act to continue and amend the act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, § VII, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 243- 244 (providing an exemption for Quakers); continued, CHAP. II, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, the seventh day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine, and from thence continued by several prorogations, and convened by proclamation the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 503. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 483.

    8.) EN-1220 — CHAP. I, An ordinance for raising and embodying a sufficient force, for the defence and protection of this colony, AT a Convention of Delegates for the Counties and Corporations in the Colony of Virginia, held at Richmond town, in the county of Henrico, on Monday the seventeenth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 9, at 26-27, 28, 30, 31. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 483-484.

    9.) EN-1221 — CHAP. I, An Ordinance for raising an additional number of forces for the defence and protection of this colony, and for other purposes therein mentioned, At a Convention of Delegates held at the town of Richmond, in the colony of Virginia, on Friday the first of December, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 9, at 87, 89. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 484.

    10.) EN-1222 — CHAP. I, An act for regulating and disciplining the Militia, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AND HELD At the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Monday the fifth day of May, one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 9, at 270. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 484.

    11.) EN-1223 — CHAP. XXVIII, An act for amending the several laws for regulating and disciplining the militia, and guarding against invasions and insurrections, § XI, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY Begun and held at the Public Buildings in the City of Richmond, on Monday the eighteenth day of October[,] one thousand seven hundred eighty- four, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 11, at 493; CHAP. I, An act to amend and reduce into one act, the several laws for regulating and disciplining the militia, and guarding against invasions and insurrections, § XI, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGUN AND HELD At the Public Buildings in the City of Richmond, on Monday the seventeenth day of October[,] one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 12, at 24. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 484.

  • Fines were a means to provide the poor with firearms and accoutrements. Ten Militia statutes spanning the course of 132 years—from 1647 to 1779.

    Fines were a means to provide the poor with firearms and accoutrements to perform their Militia service. In pre-constitutional times Rhode Island herself provided her poor citizens with the firearms and ammunition requisite for their service in her Militia.

    One method was to supply impecunious members of the Militia with equipment the purchase of which was subsidized by funds the Militia itself amassed from fines statutorily imposed on defaulters:

    • • [1647] “[I]f any shall come defective in his Armes or furniture [to Militia service], he shall forfeit and pay ye sum of twelve pence”; and “all the fines and forfeitures shall be employed to the use and service of the [Train] Band”. (footnote 1)

    • • [1650] “[Certain named individuals], all excuses sett aparte, shall mende and make all lockes, stockes and pieces that by order from the warden of each Towne shall be from any of the inhabitants thearof presented to them, for just and suitable satisfaction in hand payed, without delay, under the penaltie of ten pounds, to be levied * * * to the use of the sayd Towne’s militia”; and “all men that have gunns and pieces to mend, and have need to have them mended for their present defence, shall * * * carrie those pieces to mende, upon paine of forfeiting ten shillings a piece, which shall be levied * * * to the use of the * * * Towne’s militia.” (footnote 2)

    • • [1658 ] “[T]he Town councill have power * * * to lay out * * * what fines are taken for men’s defect in traininge for such as they judge not able to buy armes[.]” (footnote 3)

    • • [1676] “[A]ll fines or forfeitures of the Traine Bands in each towne are * * * to be returned to the Treasurer of said towne by him to ke kept apart, that it may be for disbursements to furnish the said Traine Band with colors, drums, and other publicke instruments; and what may be more, is to be kept for a magazine.” (footnote 4)

    • • [1680] “[F]ines * * * relating to the millitary exercise, shall be returned to the Clerke of every * * * Traine Band, and to be disposed of * * * for the use of the * * * Company[.]” (footnote 5)

    • • [1699, 1701, and 1705] “[A]ll fines and forfeitures that shall arise upon persons neglecting in training and watching, shall be disposed of by the commissioned officers of each respective company, to provide drums, colors, ammunition, &c.” (footnote 6)

    • • [1718, 1730, and 1744] “[A]ll such Fines taken * * * shall be laid out to and for the Use of such Company * * * for the defraying their Incident Charge[.]” (footnote 7)

    • • [1755] “[A]ll the * * * Fines [shall] be lodged in the Town Treasury * * * to purchase Arms and Ammunition * * * to be used by such Soldiers as are not able to provide for themselves, after all Military Accoutrements * * * for the Company are purchased[.]” (footnote 8)

    • • [1766] “[T]he * * * Fines * * * shall be paid * * * into the Town-Treasury * * * to purchase Arms and Ammunition * * * for the use of such Town to be used by such Soldiers as are not able to provide for themselves, after all military Accoutrements * * * for the Company are purchased[.]” (footnote 9)

    • • [1779] “[A]ll Fines * * * [shall] be deposited in the Town- Treasurer’s Office * * * to be appropriated for purchasing Arms and Ammunition for those who shall be unable to provide for themselves, [after deducting certain other costs.]” (footnote 10)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-222 — Acts and Orders Made and agreed upon at the Generall Court of Election, held at Portsmouth, in Rhode Island, the 19, 20, 21 of May, 1647, for the Colonie and Province of Providence, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 153, 154. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 158.

    2.) EN-223 — Acts and Orders made at the Generall Courte of Election held at Newport, May the 23d, (1650), for the Colonie of Providence Plantations, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 221-222. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

    3.) EN-224 — [Number] 7, The General Court of Commissioners held for the Collony, at Portsmouth, March the 10th, 1657-8, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 373. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

    4.) EN-225 — Proceedings of the Generall Assembly of the Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, held at Newport, the 25th of October, 1676, [Session of] October 27th, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 555. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

    5.) EN-226 — Proceedings of the Generall Assembly held for the Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at Newport, the 27th day of October, 1680, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 3, at 93-94. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

    6.) EN-227 — An Act for the better regulating the militia, and for punishing offenders as shall not conform to the law thereunto relating, At the Generall Assembly and Election held for the Collony at Newport, the 7th of May, 1701, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 3, at 434-435. This statute is dated “1699” in LAWS AND ACTS OF RHODE ISLAND, AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS Made from the First Settlement in 1636 to 1705, at 92, reprinted from J.D. Cushing, Editor, The Earliest Acts and Laws of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (Wilmington, Delaware: M. Glazier, 1977), at 107. Reprinted from a compilation dated “1705”, it appears in Military Obligation, Rhode Island, at 37. Also see, The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

    7.) EN-228 — An Act for the Repealing several Laws relating to the Militia within this Colony, and for further Regulation of the same, LAWS Made and Past by the General Assembly of His Majesties Colony of Rhode- Island, and Providence-Plantations, in New-England, begun and Held at Newport, the Seventh Day of May, 1718, and Continued by Adjournments to the Ninth Day of September following, in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1719, at 88; in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1730, at 94; and in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1744, at 68. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

    8.) EN-229 — An ACT in Addition to the several Acts regulating the Militia in this Colony, At the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, in New-England, in AMERICA; begun and held by Adjournment at Providence, on the first Monday of February, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-five, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 2, at {72}. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

    9.) EN-230 — An ACT, regulating the Militia in this Colony, part of An ACT, establishing the Revisement of the Laws of this Colony, and for the putting the same in Force, in A LAW, Made and passed at the General Assembly of the Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, held at Providence on the First Monday in December, 1766, in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1767, at 183. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

    10.) EN-231 — An ACT for the better forming, regulating and conducting the military Force of this State, AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden at South-Kingstown, within and for the State aforesaid, on the last Monday in October, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-nine, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 10 [12], at {37-38}. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 159.

  • Regular inspections performed of the firearms and ammunition required by law to be kept in the home. Militiamen would be fined for non-compliance.

    The statutory provisions for verification of Militiamen’s possession of firearms and ammunition must have been rather broadly interpreted and applied. For example, statute after statute specified that every Militiaman should keep certain equipment “at his place of abode” or be fined for noncompliance. (footnote 1) Nevertheless, none of Virginia’s statutes explicitly set out a procedure for house-by-house inspections of Militiamen’s stores of arms, as Rhode Island’s Militia laws did. (footnote 2) To be sure, regular inspections that occurred at musters and other service in the field, or ad hoc inspections incident on some special call-up, would have discovered what a Virginian who was required to appear actually possessed in his home, because that is what he would have brought with him. And if he brought nothing (or not enough), many of the statutes mandated that he could be interrogated “upon oath” about what he did possess. (footnote 3) Yet some Virginians were both exempted from the normal duty to muster and enjoined to maintain arms in their own homes, subject to fines if they failed to do so. (footnote 4) Plainly, these individuals’ compliance with the requirement personally to possess firearms and ammunition in their homes could not have been enforced through their attendance at musters, because they were exempt from appearing. And although they were ordered to appear, armed and accoutred, “in case of any invasion or insurrection”, the discovery of noncompliance at such a critical time would doubtlessly have proven too late for effective remedy. The Act of 1705 did require all such exempts “to produce or cause the[ir arms] to be produced in the county where they * * * reside[d] yearly, and every year at the generall muster”. (footnote 5) But no such procedure appeared in later Militia statutes. So some practical measures, not specifically prescribed by statute, must have been put into operation to see to it that the men so exempted did possess the arms required of them. And if for them, then for others as well.

    Footnotes:

    EN-1225 — CHAP. XXIV, An act for settling the Militia, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AT THE CAPITOL, IN THE CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG, THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF OCTOBER, 1705, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 3, at 337, 338.

         CHAP. II, An Act for the settling and better Regulation of the Militia, §§ VII and VIII, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SUMMONED TO BE HELD AT Williamsburg, the fifth day of December, 1722, and by writ of prorogation, begun and holden on the ninth day of May, 1723, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 4, at 120.

         CHAP. II, An Act, for the better Regulation of the Militia, §§ V and XI, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SUMMONED TO BE HELD AT The Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on the first day of And from thence continued, by several prorogations, to the first day of November, 1738, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 5, at 17, 21.

         CHAP. II, An Act for the better regulating and training the Militia, §§ V and XIII, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the College in the City of Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty seventh day of February, one thousand seven hundred and fifty two. And from thence continued by several prorogations, to Tuesday the fifth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and fifty five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 531-532, 535.

         CHAP. III, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, §§ IV and XIV, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of March, 1756, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fourteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and fifty- seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 94, 99. Continued, CHAP. IV, An Act for continuing an Act, intitutled, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the twenty-second of February, 1759, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 274; CHAP. III, An Act for amending and further continuing the act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, § IX, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 538; CHAP. XXXI, An act to continue and amend the act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, § X, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 245; CHAP. II, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, the seventh day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine, and from thence continued by several prorogations, and convened by proclamation the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 503. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 486.

    2.) The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., Chapter 8.

    3.) EN-1226 — CHAP. II, An Act for the better regulating and training the Militia, § XIII, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the College in the City of Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty seventh day of February, one thousand seven hundred and fifty two. And from thence continued by several prorogations, to Tuesday the fifth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and fifty five, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 6, at 538.

         CHAP. III, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, § XIV, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the twenty-fifth day of March, 1756, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the fourteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 99-100. Continued, CHAP. IV, An Act for continuing an Act, intitutled, An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on Thursday the fourteenth day of September, 1758; and from thence continued by several prorogations to Thursday the twenty-second of February, 1759, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 274; CHAP. III, An Act for amending and further continuing the act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, § IX, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 538; CHAP. XXXI, An act to continue and amend the act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, § X, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 245; CHAP. II, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, the seventh day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine, and from thence continued by several prorogations, and convened by proclamation the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 503. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 486.

    4.) EN-1227 — CHAP. XXIV, An act for settling the Militia, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AT THE CAPITOL, IN THE CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG, THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF OCTOBER, 1705, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 3, at 337; CHAP. III, An Act for amending and further continuing the act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, § V, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, on Tuesday the 26th of May, 1761, and from thence continued by several prorogations to Tuesday the 2d of November[,] 1762, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 7, at 537; and CHAP. XXXI, An act to continue and amend the act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, § VII, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol in Williamsburg, on Thursday the sixth day of November, 1766, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 243-244. The Acts of 1762 and 1766 continued by CHAP. II, An act for further continuing the act, intituled An act for the better regulating and disciplining the militia, At a General Assembly, begun and held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg, the seventh day of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty nine, and from thence continued by several prorogations, and convened by proclamation the eleventh day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 8, at 503. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 486.

    5.) EN-1228 — CHAP. XXIV, An act for settling the Militia, AT A GENERAL ASSEMBLY, BEGUN AT THE CAPITOL, IN THE CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG, THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF OCTOBER, 1705, in Laws of Virginia, Volume 3, at 337. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 486.

  • Footnotes

    1.) EN-1224 — A Proclamation for the more effectual putting in Execution the Laws concerning the Militia: And for preventing the unlawful Concourse of Negros, and other slaves (29 October 1736), in Executive Journals of Virginia, Volume 4, at 471. Also see The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 484.

    2.) The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the several States”, Front Royal, Virginia CD ROM Edition 2012, by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., page 484-485.