Pre-constitutional Rhode Island Regulating Her Militia

“If these enactments could be described as exemplifying a species of “gun control”, their purpose was to certify that Rhode Islanders controlled their own firearms and ammunition themselves, by possessing the full table of necessary equipment in their own homes, in good working order. These statutes presumed that any and all of the inhabitants might, and probably should, have been fully armed at all times—indeed, that some individuals might possess a superfluity of firearms and ammunition, and that extensive private arsenals were not only not unlikely but even desirable.”

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 178.

Also see To “Settle” the MilitiaTo “Regulate” the Militia • Pre-constitutional Virginia Island Regulating Her Militia • Militia: Not Private Associations • Militia: Near Universal Membership • National Guard: Not a Militia


 Rhode Island Regulating Her Militia

As was the case in Virginia and throughout the other Colonies and then independent States, (footnote 1) in their titles, their bodies, or both, Rhode Island’s pre-constitutional Militia statutes often explicitly described themselves as “regulating” her Militia:

  • • [1699, 1701, and 1705] An Act for the better regulating the militia, and for punishing offenders as shall not conform to the law thereunto relating. (footnote 2)
  • • [1718, 1730, and 1744] An Act for the Repealing several Laws relating to the Militia within this Colony, and for further Regulation of the same. (footnote 3)
  • • [1726] An Act for regulating the Militia, and the Election of the Officers of each respective Company in this Colony(footnote 4)
  • • [1730] “[N]o Constraint shall be laid upon the Conscience of any Person whatsoever, by Force of any Act or Law for the keeping up or regulating the Militia within this Colony”. (footnote 5)
  • • [1755] Petitioners seeking a charter for an Independent Company “proposed the Laws of the Colony made for regulating the Militia, for the Rule of their Conduct”. (footnote 6)
  • • [1755] An ACT in Addition to the several Acts regulating the Militia in this Colony. (footnote 7)
  • • [1756] An ACT in Addition to, and Amendment of the several Acts regulating the Militia. (footnote 8)
  • • [1766] An ACT, regulating the Militia in this Colony. (footnote 9)
  • • [1774] An ACT in addition to, and amendment of, an Act entitled “An Act regulating the Militia of this Colony[”]. (footnote 10)
  • • [1779] “WHEREAS the Security and Defence of all free States essentially depend, under God, upon the Exertions of a well regulated Militia: * * * Wherefore, for the better forming, regulating and conducting the military Force of this State, Be it Enacted * * * [.]” An ACT for the better forming, regulating and conducting the military Force of this State. (footnote 11)

 Rhode Island Regulating Her Militia Arms

Rhode Island provided for regular inspections in order to insure that her inhabitants possessed all of their requisite firearms and ammunition in serviceable condition. Violations were subject to fines.

During the pre-constitutional era, Rhode Island did not merely mandate that her able-bodied free adult male inhabitants should acquire firearms and ammunition adequate for Militia service, and thereafter possess them in their own homes at all times, but also searchingly inquired into their actual compliance with her regulations.

From the very earliest days onwards, Rhode Island required inspections of the firearms and ammunition actually in her inhabitants’ hands, in order to determine who possessed—or did not possess—what, and the condition of serviceability in which those arms were maintained:

  • Inspections that occurred during the regular course of Militiamen’s musters for training and exercise. Four Militia statutes spanning the course of 48 years—from 1718 to 1766.

    Some of these inspections occurred more or less automatically in the normal course of events during Militiamen’s regular musters for training and exercise, without any specific statutory directives to that effect. For example—

    • • [1718, 1730, and 1744] “[E]very Listed Soldier of the * * * Militia, shall be always provided with one good Musket, or Fuzee * * * to the Satisfaction of the Commission Officers of the Company ; also one pound of good Gunpowder, thirty Bullets, fit for his Gun, six good Flints, fit for Service; one good Sword, or Baionet, a Cartouch Box, ready fitted with Cartriges of Gunpowder and Bullets, on the penalty of Three Shillings, for each time he shall be found not provided * * * .

      “ * * * [T]he Captain of each respective Company or Train-band * * * shall * * * Call together the Company under his Command, and Exercise them in Martial Discipline, two Days in each Year in time of Peace and Four in War * * * .

      “ * * * [E]very Enlisted Person, that shall Refuse or Neglect to make his Personal appearance Accoutred as aforesaid, on such Training Days * * * shall for every such Default pay * * * Three Shillings in Mony[.]” (footnote 1)

    • • [1766] ““[E]very enlisted Soldier of the * * * Militia, shall be always provided with One good Musket, or Fuzee * * * to the Satisfaction of the Commission Officers, also One Pound of good Gun-Powder, thirty Bullets, fit for his Gun, six good Flints, One good Sword or Bayonet, a Cartouch Box, ready filled with Cartridges of Powder and Ball, under the Penalty of Four Pence, for each Article of Accoutrement * * * which he shall be deficient in, for every Time he shall be unprovided therewith * * *.

      “ * * * [T]he Captain of each respective Company or Trained Band * * * shall * * * call together the Company under his Command, and exercise them in martial Discipline, Two Days in each Year * *

      * * * * * *

      “ * * * [E]very Enlisted Person who shall refuse or neglect to make his personal Appearance, accoutred as aforesaid, on such training Days * * * shall for every such Default pay a Fine[.]” (footnote 2)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-275 — 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 87-88; in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1730, at 93; and in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1744, at 67-68. 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 175.

    2.) EN-276 — 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 182. 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 175-176.

  • Other inspections were the products of explicit and specific mandates. Fifteen Militia statutes spanning the course of 140 years—from 1639 to 1779.

    • • [1639] The “Clerke of the Traine Band” was “to take a view of the Armes, and to Returne [that is, report on] the defects”. (footnote 1)

    • • [1643] Inspectors were to go “to every inhabitant” in the Town of Portsmouth to “see whether every one of them has powder, and what bullets run”(footnote 2)

    • • [1643] Inspectors were to look “up all the armes in the Towne [of Portsmouth] w[ithin] the month * * * and * * * go to every house and [see] what armes are defective”. (footnote 3)

    • • [1655] “[A]n accompt shall begiven within ten dayes * * * to ye head officer of everie Towne * * * of what powder, lead and shot there is in the possession of everie inhabitant of ye townes”. (footnote 4)

    • • [1665] “[T]he Clarke of the traine band in each towne” was “required to informe himselfe” as to the “gunpowder, * * * lead or bulletts” in the home of “every man in each towne”, “and finding any man unsuplyed * * * to make report to the * * * magistrates”. (footnote 5)

    • • [1667] Inspectors were “to goe from house to house throughout the towne of Newport, the villages and precincts thereof, and to take a precise and exact account of all the armes, amunition and weapons of warr each person is furnished with, or hath in his house to spare to others, and in what condition with regard to service the same is in”. (footnote 6)

    • • [1669] Each “Towne Councill” was “to see that the inhabitants * * * bee furnished with ammunition according to law; and that the armes bee fixed and in readiness for service”. (footnote 7)

    • • [1676] Inspectors in Newport and Portsmouth were “to take account how all persons are provided with * * * guns, powder, shot and lead, and make returne [that is, a report] thereof”. (footnote 8)

    • • [1718, 1730, and 1744] “[A]ll * * * Persons * * * excus’d from Training, yet shall notwithstanding be provided with the same Arms, Ammunition, &c. as * * * is required of such as are obliged to Train, & * * * once every year, or oftner, * * * there shall be * * * a Survey and Examination made, whether such Persons are provided as * * * is Required[.]” (footnote 9)

    • • [1755] “[E]very Person * * * by Law to be accoutred” was “directed to provide himself with Arms, and other Accoutrements * * * by the last Monday of April next, * * * at which Time, Examination shall be made, and also, on the third Monday of October, and last Monday of April annually, for the future[.]” (footnote 10)

    • • [1766] “[A]ll * * * Persons * * * excused from training, shall, notwithstanding, be provided with the same Arms, Ammunition, & as * * * is required of such as are obliged to train. And * * * Twice in every Year * * * there shall be an Examination and Survey made, whether such Persons are provided as * * * is required[.]” (footnote 11)

    • • [1774] For all Militiamen, including “all those who, being exempted from appearing on the Days of Training, are notwithstanding, obliged to be provided with Arms and other Accoutrements, * * * the examination and survey [of arms] * * * shall be made * * * on the First Monday in February, and on the last Monday in April”. (footnote 12)

    • • [1775] Inspectors were “directed to take an account * * * of the powder, arms and ammunition, in the several towns in this colony, * * * including private as well as public stock”, and “to go to the house of each person * * * to take an account of [those items]”. (footnote 13)

    • • [1776] “[E]ach captain * * * of the several independent companies, and companies of militia in this state, [shall] notify his company to appear at some proper place * * * under arms, with all accoutrements, agreeably to law.

           “That such captain * * * make out a list of the deficiency of each person in each article.

           “That he send a proper officer to the dwelling-house of each person not attending, to examine how far such person be deficient.

           “That each captain * * * of the companies of militia, make a proper return thereof, to the colonel of the regiment * * * .

           “That each captain * * * of the independent companies, make a like return to th[e General] Assembly[.]” (footnote 14)

    • • [1779] An inspector was “directed to cause strict examination to be made of the state of the arms * * * of the militia, alarm and independent companies, within this state” (footnote 15)—which would have included all able-bodied free adult men from sixteen to sixty years of age.

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-277 — By the Body Politicke in the Ile of Aqethnec, Inhabiting this present, 25 of 9: month. 1639, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 93.  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 176.

    2.) EN-278 — [General Town Meeting in Portsmouth,] The 10th of Aprill, 1643, Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 80 (emphasis supplied). 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 176.

    3.) EN-279 — [A General Town Meeting in Portsmouth,] 5th of October, 1643, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 77 (emphasis supplied).

    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 176.

    4.) EN-280 — [Number] 13, June ye 28th, 1655. The Court of Commissioners at Portsmouth, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 320 (emphasis supplied). 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 176.

    5.) EN-281 — Acts and Orders of the Generall Assembly, sitting at Newport, May the 3, 1665, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 117 (emphasis supplied). 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 176.

    6.) EN-282 — [Number] 2, By the Governor and Councill att Newport, the 13th and 14th of May, 1667, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 196 (emphasis supplied). 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 176.

    7.) EN-283 — Att a meeting of the Generall Councill, at Newport, on Thursday, August 26, 1669, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 282. 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 177.

    8.) EN-284 — Proceedings of the Generall Assembly of the Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, held at Newport, the 13th of March, 1675-6, [Session of] Aprill the 4th[, 1676], in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 536 (emphasis supplied). 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 177.

    9.) EN-285 — 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 69. 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 177.

    10.) EN-286 — 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 seeThe 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 177.

    11.) EN-287 — 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 184-185. 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 177.

    12.) EN-288 — An ACT in addition to, and amendment of, an Act entitled “An Act regulating the Militia of 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 holden, in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Honor the Governor, at Providence, within and for the said Colony, on the First Monday in December, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-four, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 7, at {151}. 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 177.

    13.) EN-289 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on Wednesday, the 28th day of June, 1775, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 356 (emphasis supplied). 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 177.

    14.) EN-290 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at East Greenwich, on Thursday, the 21st day of November, 1776, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 8, at 44-45. 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 177-178.

    15.) EN-291 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at East Greenwich, on the second Monday in September, 1779, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 8, at 595. 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 178.

  • One purpose of inspections was to direct defaulters to have their defective firearms repaired or replaced. Three Militia statutes referenced.

    Not surprisingly, one purpose of these inspections was to direct defaulters to have their defective firearms repaired or replaced. In early statutes, this purpose was explicit:

    • • [1643] An inspector was to “go to every house [in Portsmouth] and [see] what armes are defective; and that the men whose armes are [to be handed] in to be mended”. (footnote 1)

    • • [1650] Certain private gunsmiths, “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”; and “all men that have gunns and pieces to mend, and have need to have them mended for their present defence, shall forthwith, according to order, carrie those pieces to mende”. (footnote 2)

    • • [1667] Inspectors were “to goe from house to house throughout the towne of Newport, the villages and precincts thereof,” and “call vpon such [persons] as have deffects [in their arms and ammunition], that they may be supplyed in the place forthwith * * * to repaire to such persons as may supply them”. (footnote 3)

    Later, the requirement to keep firearms in good repair was implicit in the process of regular inspection of arms, coupled with the imposition of fines against those men whose equipment proved unavailable, unusable at all events, unsuitable for service in the Militia, or unsatisfactory because defective in condition or operation.

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-292 —[A General Town Meeting in Portsmouth,] 5th of October, 1643, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 1, at 77 (emphasis supplied). 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 178.

    2.) EN-293 — 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 178.

    3.) EN-294 — [Number] 2, By the Governor and Councill att Newport, the 13th and 14th of May, 1667, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 196. 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 178.

  • Reliance on the free market for personal purchase of firearms and ammunition by common Militiamen to be kept in their homes. Ten Militia statutes spanning the course of 116 years—from 1665 to 1781.

    The actual existence of, and encouragement for, what Rhode Island’s lawmakers presumed was an adequate free market for firearms is reflected most directly in her Militia statutes’ requirements that men should obtain their firearms and ammunition through private purchases. For example:

    • • [1665] “[A]ll men from sixteene years of age to sixtye years old are hereby required to” find themselves armes[.]” (footnote 1)

    • • [1699, 1701, and 1705] “[A]ll persons that are willing to list themselves in * * * troops [of horse]; and to accoutre themselves with * * * carbine and pistol * * * shall be excused from any other duty in militia exercise[.]” (footnote 2)

    • • [1718, 1730, and 1744] “[E]very Listed Soldier of the * * * Militia, shall always be provided with one good Musket, or Fuzee * * * ; also one pound of good Gunpowder, thirty Bullets, fit for his Gun, six good Flints, fit for Service; one good Sword, or Baionet, a Cartouch Box, ready fitted with Cartriges of Gunpowder and Bullets, on the penalty of Three Shillings, for each time he shall be found not provided[.]

         *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [A]ll such Persons * * * excus’d from Training, yet shall notwithstanding be provided with the same Arms, Ammunition, & as * * * is required of such as are obliged to Train, & that once every year, or oftner * * * , there shall be * * * a Survey and Examination made, whether such Persons are provided as * * * is Required; and all such Persons as shall be found unprovided with such Arms * * * shall pay the Fine of Five-Shillings for each default[.]” (footnote 3)

      This statute did not specify from what source the “Listed Soldier[s]” and “all such Persons * * * excus’d from Training” were to acquire the equipment with which they “shall always be provided”. But as no statute mandated that the government should provide that equipment (except to the poor), and as the “Soldier[s]” and other “Persons” were personally fined for being “not provided”, the only possible source was the free market.

    • • [1755] “[E]very Person * * * by Law to be accoutred * * * is hereby directed to provide himself with Arms, and other Accoutrements[.]”. (footnote 4)

    • • [1766] “[E]very enlisted Soldier of the * * * Militia, shall always be provided with one good Musket or Fuzee * * * , also One Pound of good Gun-Powder, Thirty Bullets fit for his Gun, six good Flints, One good Sword or Bayonet, a Cartouch Box, ready filled with Cartridges of Powder and Ball, under the Penalty of Four Pence for each Article of Accoutrement * * * which he shall be deficient in, for every Time he shall be unprovided therewith[.]   

      *  *  *  *  *

      “ * * * [A]ll such Persons * * * excused from training, shall, notwithstanding, be provided with the same Arms, Ammunition, &c. as * * * is required of such as are obliged to train. And * * * Twice in every Year, * * * there shall be an Examination and Survey made, whether such Persons are provided as * * * is Required; and all such Persons as shall be found unprovided, shall pay the Fine of Four Pence for each Article of Accoutrement they shall be deficient in[.]” (footnote 5)

      The observation made immediately above in reference to the statute of 1718 (continued through 1730 and 1744) applies here as well.

    • • [1775] “[E]very man in the colony, able to bear arms, [is directed] to equip himself completely with arms and ammunition, according to law.”. (footnote 6)

    • • [1776] “[A]ll persons in their towns, being inhabitants” “who are by law obliged to equip themselves with a good fire-arm, bayonet and cartouch box; and who shall not * * * be reported incapable of providing themselves * * * , do provide themselves[.]”  (footnote 7)

    • • [1779] “[E]ach and every effective [that is, able-bodied] Man * * * shall provide, and at all times be furnished, at his own Expence (excepting such Persons as the Town Councils of the Towns in which they respectively dwell or reside shall adjudge unable to purchase the same) with one good Musquet, and a Bayonet fitted thereto, * * * one Ram-rod, Worm, Priming-wire and Brush, and one Cartouch-Box.”. (footnote 8)

    • • [1781] “[E]ach of the * * * non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers [of the Militia shall] furnish himself with a good Musket, Bayonet, Cartouch-Box[.]”(footnote 9)

    • • [1781] “[E]ach Person, liable to do military Duty * * * (unless excused by the Town-Council of the Town to which he belongs for Inability to procure the same) who shall at any Time be found destitute of a good Gun, being his own Property, shall pay * * * a Fine[.]”  (footnote 10)

    •  

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-295 — Acts and Orders of the Generall Assembly, sitting at Newport, May the 3, 1665, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 115 (emphasis supplied). 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 182.

    2.) EN-296 — 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 433 (emphasis supplied).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 in 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 182.

    3.) EN-297 — 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 87, 88; in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1730, at 93, 94; and in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1744, at 67, 69. 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 183.

    4.) EN-298 — 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} (emphasis supplied). 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 183.

    5.) EN-299 — 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 182, 184-185. 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 183.

    6.) EN-300 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on Wednesday, the 28th day of June, 1775, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 358 (emphasis supplied). 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 183.

    7.) EN-301 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on the second Monday in January, 1776, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 423 (emphasis supplied). 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 184.

    8.) EN-302 — 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 {31-32}. 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 184.

    9.) EN-303 — An ACT for embodying and bringing into the Field Twelve Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and no longer Term, and not to be marched out of the same, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden (by Adjournment) at South-Kingstown, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in February, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {8} (emphasis supplied). Accord, An ACT for incorporating and bringing into the Field Five Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and no longer, and not to be marched out of the same, AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at Providence, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in May, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {15}; and An ACT for incorporating and bringing into the Field Five Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and for no longer Term, and not to be marched out of the same, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden by Adjournment at Newport, within and for the said State, on the Third Monday in August, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {41}. 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 184.

    10.) EN-304 — An ACT in Addition to, and Amendment of, an Act, passed in October, A.D. 1779, entituled, “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, by Adjournment, at South-Kingstown, within and for the said State, on the Third Monday in March, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {51-52} (emphasis supplied). 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 184.

     

  • The government relied on the free market for the purchase of firearms for the Militia and the regular armed forces. Eleven Militia statutes spanning the course of 26 years—from 1755-1781.

    When Rhode Island’s Colonial (later, State) and Local governments needed to acquire firearms and ammunition for her Militia or regular armed forces, they generally purchased or otherwise obtained them in the free market. These enactments prove that significant numbers of firearms must have been held in private hands, available for sale; that if owners were willing to sell their firearms at reasonable prices they must have expected to be able to replenish their stocks in due course; and that public officials routinely served as middlemen between the Militia and the free market in arms:

    • • [1755] “That the Committee of War * * * purchase on the best Terms they can, all the Arms that shall be necessary; and that any Person who shall * * * sell to the Colony, a good small Arm, shall be exempted from all Military Duty, for and during the Term of one Year”. (footnote 1)

      The incentive this statute offered demonstrates the extent of Rhode Island’s dependence on the free market. It also illustrates the fairness with which these matters were conducted, in that an individual who sold his only firearm to the government could not have fulfilled the requirement that he appear at Militia musters fully armed.

    • • [1757] “[T]hat the deputies of the several towns be * * * empowered to procure, at the expense of the colony, half a pound of gun powder, twenty bullets, six flints * * * for each soldier[.]” (footnote 2)

    • • [1774] Certain individuals were to “purchase * * * at the expense and for the use of the colony, three hundred half-barrels of pistol powder * * * ; three tons of lead and forty thousand flints * * * to be delivered to the several colonels of the militia, and the colonels of the independent companies * * * ; so that each soldier, equipped with arms, according to law, may be supplied with such quantities thereof, as by law is directed; he or they paying for the same, at the prime cost given by the colony”. (footnote 3)

    • • [1775] The General Assembly appointed “a Committee, to enquire at what Price good Muskets, for the Use of the Continental Army, can be made in this Colony”. (footnote 4)

    • • [1776] Each “town shall immediately make order for the supplying such persons [as are too poor to purchase their own firearms] with a good fire-arm, bayonet and cartouch box, at such town’s expense, to be lodged with the captains of such district wherein such poor persons belong, for their use upon any proper occasion”. (footnote 5)

    • • [1776] “That Two Thousand Stand of good Fire-Arms, with Bayonets, Iron Ramrods, and Cartouch-Boxes, be purchased for the Use of the Colony * * * , and distributed to each Town, in Proportion to the Number of Polls upon the Alarm List therein[.]” (footnote 6)

    • • [1777] The General Assembly ordered “Bills * * * to be Paid” to “Azariah Crandall, for a gun, bayonet and cartouch box, delivered into the Continental store”; and to “Oliver Eddy, for a small arm, delivered by him into the store at Prospect Hill, for the use of the Continent”. (footnote 7)

    • • [1777] “Daniel Mowry * * * presented * * * an Account, by him charged against the State, for twenty-six Guns and Bayonets, purchased by Order of the Town-Council of Smithfield, for the poor Inhabitants of the said Town * * * the Amount thereof * * * [to] be paid * * * out of the General Treasury.” (footnote 8)

    • • [1777] “That the Small-Arms heretofore purchased by this State, for such Persons as should be adjudged unable to furnish themselves therewith, be delivered to the Committees of Safety, for the Use of the fifteen Months Battalions, and Train of Artillery, raising within this State.” (footnote 9)

    • • [1777 and 1778] “That General Cornell immediately apply to the several Committees of Safety for Two Hundred Small Arms and Bayonets, and cause the same to be repaired, and fitted for immediate Service: That if the said Number cannot be procured from the said Committees, he * * * purchase the Number deficient upon the best Terms he can, and as many other Bayonets as the State may require[.]” (footnote 10)

    • • [1781] “That each of the * * * non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers furnish himself with a good Musket, Bayonet, Cartouch-Box * * * : That if he shall not be of sufficient Ability, or shall otherwise neglect to do it, the Town-Council of the Town to which he belongs be * * * directed, to furnish him with a Gun, Bayonet, Cartouch-Box * * * at the Expence of such Town; and receive therefor, out of the Wages of such delinquent Person, Ten Shillings, in Gold or Silver, or paper Money equivalent * * * ; and that the Persons receiving the said Accoutrements return them, or account therefor with the Town-Council who shall furnish the same.” (footnote 11)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-305 — An ACT in Addition to an Act of the General Assembly of this Colony, made and pass’d at Providence the sixth Day of March last, for raising Four Hundred Men, to be employed in Conjunction with the Troops of other Governments, upon an Expedition, for erecting a strong Fort upon the rocky Eminence near Crown-Point, 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 at Newport, on the first Wednesday of May, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-five, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 2, at {17}. 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 184-185.

    2.) EN-306 — An Act for raising one-sixth part of the militia in this colony, to proceed immediately to Albany, to join the forces which have marched, to oppose the French, near Lake George, Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Newport, on the 10th day of August, 1757, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 6, at 77. 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 185.

    3.) EN-307 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on the first Monday in December, 1774, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 266. 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 185.

    4.) EN-308 — 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 holden (in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Honor the Deputy-Governor) at Providence, within and for the Colony aforesaid, on Tuesday the Thirty-first Day of October, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-five, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 7 [8], at {198}. 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 185.

    5.) EN-309 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on the second Monday in January, 1776, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 423. 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 185.

    6.) EN-310 — An Act for purchasing Two Thousand Arms for the Colony, &c., 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 holden (in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Honor the Governor) at East-Greenwich, within and for the said Colony, on Monday the Eighteenth Day of March, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-six, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 8 [9], at {303}. 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 185.

    7.) EN-311 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at South Kingstown, on Thursday, the 17th day of April, 1777, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 8, at 210. 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 185.

    8.) EN-312 — AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the GOVERNOR and COMPANY of the STATE of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at Providence, within and for the said State, on the Third Monday in June, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-seven, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 9 [10], at {14}. 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 185.

    9.) EN-313 — AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the GOVERNOR and COMPANY of the STATE of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at Providence, within and for the said State, on the Third Monday in June, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-seven, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 9 [10], at {32}. 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 185.

    10.) EN-314 — At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden (in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Excellency the Governor) at Providence, within and for the State aforesaid, on Friday the Nineteenth Day of December, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-seven, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 9 [10], at {10}. See also AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the GOVERNOR and COMPANY of the STATE of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden (in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Excellency the Governor) at Providence, within and for the State aforesaid, on Thursday the Twenty-eighth Day of May, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-eight, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 9 [11], at {6, 7}. 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 185-186.

    11.) EN-315 — An ACT for embodying and bringing into the Field Twelve Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and no longer Term, and not to be marched out of the same, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden (by Adjournment) at South-Kingstown, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in February, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {8}. Accord, An ACT for incorporating and bringing into the Field Five Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and no longer, and not to be marched out of the same, AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at Providence, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in May, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {15}; An ACT for incorporating and bringing into the Field Five Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and for no longer Term, and not to be marched out of the same, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden by Adjournment at Newport, within and for the said State, on the Third Monday in August, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {41-42}. 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 186.

  • Besides firearms, Rhode Island’s government supplied ammunition to her Militia acting as an intermediary to the free market. Two Militia statutes referenced.

    Besides firearms, Rhode Island’s government supplied ammunition to her Militia, sometimes acting simply as an intermediary for the free market. For example, in 1774 the General Assembly ordered its agents to

    “purchase * * * at the expense and for the use of the colony, three hundred half-barrels of pistol powder * * * ; three tons of lead and forty thousand flints * * * to be delivered to the several colonels of the militia * * * so that each soldier, equipped with arms, according to law, may be supplied with such quantities thereof, as by law is directed; he or they paying for the same, at the prime cost given by the colony”. (footnote 1)

    Of course, the government also endeavored to maintain public stocks of ammunition by the age-old method of taxing the market, sometimes by ingenious methods. For example, in 1704 (continued through 1744) the General Assembly directed “[t]hat there shall be paid by the Master of every Ship or other Vessel, of above Ten Tons, coming into any Port * * * of this Colony to Trade or Traffic, which are not wholly Owned by the Inhabitants of this Colony * * * , Twelve-pence per Ton, or one Pound of good New Gun Powder”. (footnote 2) This, however, would prove a problematic procedure today, because “[n]o State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty on Tonnage”. (footnote 3) 

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-316 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on the first Monday in December, 1774, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 266. 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 186.

    2.) EN-317 — AN ACT, for Levying of a Duty on Tonnage of Shipping, LAWS Made and Past by the General Assembly of Her Majesties Colony of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, &c. Held at Newport, the Fourth Day of January, 1704, in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1719, at 51, and in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1744, at 34. 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 186.

    3.) See U.S. Const. art. I, § 10, cl. 3.

  • Rhode Island’s reliance on the free market was not limited simply to muskets, rifles, pistols, and gunpowder, either, but encompassed heavy crew-served weaponry in personal possession for Militia service. Six Militia statutes referenced.

    Rhode Island’s reliance on the free market was not limited simply to muskets, rifles, pistols, and gunpowder, either, but encompassed heavy crew-served weaponry, for the Militia also. For example, in 1774 her General Assembly

    “empowered and directed [the Captain of the Independent Company known as ‘The Train of Artillery, for the County of Providence’], to purchase at the Expence, and for the Use, of the Colony, Four Brass Cannon, Four Pounders, with Carriages, Implements, and Utensils, necessary for exercising them; And that they be lent to the said Company, to improve them in the Exercise of Cannon”. (footnote 1)

    Thus, the notion proponents of “gun control” sometimes advance today, that pre-constitutional Militiamen retained only small arms in their personal possession, lacks evidentiary support. Indeed, in those days even some Rhode Islanders who were not members of Militia Artillery Companies might nevertheless have possessed cannon. Self-evidently, the Train of Artillery did not “purchase [cannon] at the Expence, and for the Use, of the Colony” from the Colony, but looked to private owners—which meant, of course, that such private owners existed. This was no isolated incident, either. On different occasions in 1776, the General Assembly “voted and resolved, that this colony purchase of Metcalfe Bowler, Esq., nine cannon, with the shot and other stores belonging to him”(footnote 2) “that the standing committee of audit * * * inquire into the number of cannon now in service, * * * and of whom they were purchased, and what price they cost”; (footnote 3) and that an appointee determine “who are the present owners of any of the cannon in this state’s possession” (footnote 4)—indicating that the “number of cannon” the State had acquired from the free market must have been significant. Then, again in 1776, the General Assembly “recommended to the Inhabitants of th[e] State, who are possessed of Cannon, Warlike Stores and Sails, that they forthwith remove them to Places of Safety: And that if they shall neglect to do it, the Commanding Officers * * * [shall] cause the same to be removed”(footnote 5) If these “Cannon” had been in public officials’ charge, or in the possession of the Militia, such a directive would have been unnecessary. So, even a year into the War of Independence, some cannon still remained in private hands, where officials apparently were satisfied to leave them if their owners took care to “remove them to Places of Safety”. And in 1777, the General Assembly ordered a “Bill[ ] * * * to be Paid” to “Paul Allen, as agent for the privateer sloop Independence, for sundry cannon and warlike stores, taken out of the prize- ship Friendship, for the use of the state”. (footnote 6)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-318 — 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 holden, in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Honor the Governor, at Providence, within and for the said Colony, on the First Monday in December, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-four, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 7, at {141}. 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 186-187.

    2) EN-319 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on the second Monday in January, 1776, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 410. 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., page187.

    3.) EN-320 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on the first Monday of September, 1776, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 606. 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 187.

    4.) EN-321 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Providence, on the first Monday of September, 1776, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 606-607. 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 187.

    5.) EN-322 — At the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the GOVERNOR and COMPANY of the STATE of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at Providence, within and for the said State, on Monday the Twenty-third Day of December, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-six, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 8 [9], at {40}. 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 187.

    6.) EN-323 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at South Kingstown, on Thursday, the 17th day of April, 1777, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 8, at 210. 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 187.

  • Individuals possessed of firearms or ammunition in excess of their own requirements were expected or encouraged to lend them to others. Two Militia statutes referenced.

    Individuals possessed of firearms or ammunition in excess of their own requirements were expected or encouraged to lend them to others:

    • • [1667] Certain individuals were “to goe from house to house throughout the towne of Newport, the villages and precincts thereof, and to take a precise and exact account of all the armes, ammunition and weapons of warr each person is furnished with, or hath in his house to spare to others”. (footnote 1)

    • • [1755] “That the Committee of War * * * borrow * * * on the best Terms they can, all the Arms that shall be necessary; and that any Person who shall lend * * * to the Colony, a good small Arm, shall be exempted from all Military Duty, for and during the Term of one Year[.]” (footnote 2)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-324 — By the Governor and Councill att Newport, the 13th and 14th of May, 1667, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 2, at 196 (emphasis supplied). 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 187-188.

    2.) EN-325 — An ACT in Addition to an Act of the General Assembly of this Colony, made and pass’d at Providence the sixth Day of March last, for raising Four Hundred Men, to be employed in Conjunction with the Troops of other Governments, upon an Expedition, for erecting a strong Fort upon the rocky Eminence near Crown-Point, 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 at Newport, on the first Wednesday of May, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-five, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 2, at {17}. 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 188-189.

  • In times of particularly urgent need, privately owned firearms were impressed—that is, taken by force of law—into public service. Five Militia statutes spanning the course of 26 years—from 1755 to 1781.

    In times of particularly urgent need, privately owned firearms were impressed—that is, taken by force of law—into public service:

    • • [1755] “That in Case the Committee of War shall not be able to procure or purchase a sufficient Number of good Arms, * * * the Governor issue a Warrant for impressing as many as shall be found wanting and necessary.(footnote 1)

    • • [1757] “[I]f * * * arms * * * or any other necessaries cannot be procured but by an impress, the deputies are * * * empowered to press each and every article which they shal have occasion for[.]” (footnote 2)

    • • [1777] “[I]f any Person * * * shall appear not duly equipped, that the Commanding Officer * * * be empowered to impress a Gun, or whatever Accoutrements he may stand in Need of.” (footnote 3)

    • • [1780] “[I]n case any Town shall neglect or refuse to furnish and supply the Troops * * * , the Commanding-Officer of the Militia in such Town * * * [shall] impress from the Inhabitants thereof, so many of the Articles [that is, ‘One good Musket, with a good Ram-Rod, One suitable Bayonet, * * * One Cartouch-Box’] * * * deficient[.]” (footnote 4)

    • • [1781] “[T]he respective Town-Councils be empowered, if necessary, to impress Guns, Bayonets, Cartouch-Boxes * * * sufficient for equipping the Delinquents who shall be detached in Pursuance of this Act, giving Certificates therefor to the Persons from whom the same shall be taken.” (footnote 5)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-326 — An ACT for raising Four Companies in this Colony, of One Hundred Men each, Officers included, to be imployed on a secret Expedition, in case other Governments shall join and carry on the proposed Enterprize, 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, in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Honor the Governor, and held at Providence on Thursday the sixth of March, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-five, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 2, at {87}. 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 188.

    2.) EN-327 — An Act for raising one-sixth part of the militia in this colony, to proceed immediately to Albany, to join the forces which have marched, to oppose the French, near Lake George, Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Newport, on the 10th day of August, 1757, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 6, at 77. 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 188.

    3.) EN-328 — AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the GOVERNOR and COMPANY of the STATE of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at South-Kingstown, within and for the State aforesaid, on Monday the Twenty-second Day of September, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-seven, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 9 [10], at {9}. 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 188.

    4.) EN-329 — An ACT for furnishing the Soldiers who shall inlist into this State’s Service for Three Months with Guns, and necessary Accoutrements, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden (by Adjournment) at Newport, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Third Monday in July, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 10 [13], at {54-55}. 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 188.

    5.) EN-330 — An ACT for embodying and bringing into the Field Twelve Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and no longer Term, and not to be marched out of the same, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden (by Adjournment) at South-Kingstown, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in February, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {8}. Accord, An ACT for incorporating and bringing into the Field Five Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and no longer, and not to be marched out of the same, AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at Providence, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in May, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {15}; and An ACT for incorporating and bringing into the Field Five Hundred able-bodied effective Men, of the Militia, to serve within this State for One Month, from the Time of their Rendezvous, and for no longer Term, and not to be marched out of the same, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden by Adjournment at Newport, within and for the said State, on the Third Monday in August, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {42}. 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 188.

  • Firearms the government borrowed it later returned to their original owners. Two Militia statutes referenced.

    Firearms the government borrowed it later returned to their original owners:

    • • [ 1777] “That so many of the Guns, now in the Service of this State, be delivered to Mr. Oliver Ring Warner, as he shall prove * * * to be his Property.” (footnote 1)

    • • [1778] “WHEREAS Rowse J. Helme * * * furnished a Gun for one of the Soldiers who marched * * * upon the intended Expedition against Rhode-Island, which was turned into the State’s Store * * * That Major James Sumner deliver the said Gun, unto the said Rowse J. Helme[.]” (footnote 2)

     Footnotes:

    1.) EN-331 — AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the GOVERNOR and COMPANY of the STATE of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at South-Kingstown, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in March, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-seven, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 8 [10], at {5}. 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 188.

    2.) EN-332 — AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the GOVERNOR and COMPANY of the STATE of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden (in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Excellency the Governor) at Providence, within and for the State aforesaid, on Thursday the Twenty-eighth Day of May, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-eight, Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 9 [11], at {9}. 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 188.

  • The government eventually paid just compensation for any firearms it pressed into public service. Six Militia statutes referenced.

    The government eventually paid just compensation for any firearms it pressed into public service:

    • [1757] “[I]f * * * arms, horses, or any other necessaries cannot be procured but by an impress, the deputies are * * * empowered to press each and every article which they shal have occasion for, * * * taking and keeping an exact account of what they shall procure of any man, that the same may be paid for by the colony[.]” (footnote 1)

    • • [1777] “Timothy Hopkins, late a Soldier * * * in the Service of this State, had his Gun detained in Service by Orders from his Excellency General Washington * * * , and as yet has had no Allowance for the same: It is therefore Voted and Resolved, That two Pounds, eight Shillings, lawful Money, be paid to the said Timothy Hopkins, out of the General Treasury, for his said Gun.” (footnote 2)

    • [1780] “That the * * * Commanding-Officer of the Militia* * * make Return of all the Guns and Accoutrements which he shall impress * * * unto [a designated] Committee, who thereupon shall appraise all such Guns and Accoutrements, and make a fair Entry thereof, with the Names of the Persons from whom the same shall be taken, with the Prices affixed thereto * * * ; and that * * * Allowances shall be made unto the Owner thereof, to wit: For a good Musket, Ram-Rod and Bayonet, * * * Forty Continental Dollars, and for a good Cartouch-Box, * * * Ten Continental Dollars, for the Use thereof; which * * * Sums shall * * * be paid out of the General-Treasury, or be deducted out of [the owner’s] Proportion of the State-Tax”. And “if any of the Muskets, or other Accoutrements shall be lost or spoiled, or shall not within One Month after the * * * Regiment shall be disbanded be sent into the respective Towns, in Order to be returned to the Owners, the same shall be paid for out of the General-Treasury”. (footnote 3)

    • • [1781] “TH E Account of Mr. Thomas Allen * * * , amounting to Twelve Pounds Nineteen Shillings * * * , for Three Muskets and Accoutrements taken from him * * * for the Use of the Militia * * * , being duly considered, * * * the Secretary [shall] issue an Order in his Favour to draw the said Sum out of the General-Treasury.” (footnote 4)

    • • [1782] “That the Sum of Two Pounds Eight Shillings, Silver Money, be * * * paid by the General-Treasurer to Mr. Hezekiah Medbury,* * * for a Gun which was taken from him for public Use, in the Year 1775.” (footnote 5)

    • • [1784] “A CERTIFICATE given to Mr. Richard Smith * * * for a Gun taken from him and turned into the public Store * * * being duly considered, * * * Eighteen Shillings, Lawful Money, be allowed and paid * * * out of the General-Treasury, in full for said Gun.” And “[T]HE Representation of Freeman Perry * * * that he had taken from him a Gun, Cartridge-Box, and Twenty-four Rounds of Ammunition, for the Expedition in August, A.D. 1778, * * * for which he hath never received any Compensation, being duly considered, * * * One Pound Four Shillings, Lawful Money, be allowed and paid * * * out of the General-Treasury, in full Compensation therefor”. (footnote 6)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-333 — An Act for raising one-sixth part of the militia in this colony, to proceed immediately to Albany, to join the forces which have marched, to oppose the French, near Lake George, Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Newport, on the 10th day of August, 1757, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 6, at 77. 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 189.

    2.) EN-334 — AT the GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the GOVERNOR and COMPANY of the STATE of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at Providence, within and for the said State, on the Third Monday in June, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-seven, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 9 [10], at {9}. 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 189.

    3.) EN-335 — An ACT for furnishing the Soldiers who shall inlist into this State’s Service for Three Months with Guns, and necessary Accoutrements, At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden (by Adjournment) at Newport, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Third Monday in July, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 10 [13], at {55}. 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 189.

    4.) EN-336 — At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence-Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at South-Kingstown, within and for the said State, on the Third Monday in March, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-one, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 11 [14], at {4}. 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 189.

    5.) EN-337 — At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden by Adjournment, at East-Greenwich, within and for the State aforesaid, on the last Monday in November, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-two, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 12 [15], at {25}. 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 189.

    6.) EN-338 — At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden by Adjournment at South-Kingstown, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in August, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-four, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 13 [16], at {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 189-190.

  • In other instances the government replaced firearms it had taken from private owners. Two Militia statutes referenced.

    In other instances the government replaced firearms it had taken from private owners:

    • • [1782] “That Mr. Paul Allen * * * purchase, at the Expence of the State, and deliver to Mr. Joseph Rogers, a Gun, Bayonet, Gun-Case, Cartridge-Box, Priming-Brush and Wire * * * ; it being in Lieu of a Gun and similar Accoutrements which the said Paul Allen received of the said Joseph Rogers, for the Use of the State, in the Year 1775.” (footnote 1)

    • • [1786] “[T]hat a gun, bayonet and cartouch-box, out of the guns, &., in the town of Richmond, belonging to this state, be delivered to Mr. Simeon Clarke, Jr., in lieu of the gun and like accoutrements impressed from him * * * in the year 1778, and turned into the public store.” (footnote 2)

    Footnotes:

    1.) EN-339 — At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden by Adjournment, at Newport, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Second Monday in June, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-two, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 12 [15], at {4}. 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 190.

    2.) EN-340 — Proceedings of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Newport, on the fourth Monday in June, 1786, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 10, at 202. Also in At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, begun and holden, by Adjournment, at Newport, within and for the State aforesaid, on the Fourth Monday in June, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-six, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 14 [17], at {3}. 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 190

The borrowing and impressment of firearms in those days show how a purely personal “right * * * to keep and bear Arms” (what today’s legal controversialists label an “individual right”) was inextricably linked with a “right * * * to keep and bear Arms” related to service in the Militia (what those people label a “collective right”), such that the two effectively merged into one—just as any commonsensical reading of the Second Amendment would lead any literate American to conclude. (footnote 12)

  • Footnotes

    1.) See generally The Selective Service System, Backgrounds of Selective Service, Military Obligation: The American Tradition, A Compilation of the Enactments of Compulsion From the Earliest Settlements of the Original Thirteen Colonies in 1607 Through the Articles of Confederation 1789, Special Monograph No. 1, Volume II (14 Parts) (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1947).

    2.) EN-2— 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 in 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. Dated “1701”, it appears At the Generall Assembly and Election held for the Collony at Newport, the 7th of May, 1701, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 3, at 430. 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 71.

    3.) EN-3 — 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 85; in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1730, at 90; and in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1744, at 65. 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 71.

    4.) EN-4 — Proceedings of the General Assembly, held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Newport, the 14th day of June, 1726, in Rhode Island Records, Volume 4, at 377, identified by title when repealed by An Act for repealing an Act made and pass’d the Fourteenth Day of June, 1726, being, An Act for regulating the Militia, and the Election of the Officers of each respective Company in this Colony, LAWS, Made and pass’d by the General Assembly of His Majesty’s Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence-Plantations, in New-England, held at Newport, on the first Wednesday of May, 1730, in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1730, at 212. 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 71.

    5.) EN-5 — An Act for the Relief of Tender Consciences, and for preventing their being burthened with Military Duty, LAWS, Made and pass’d by the General Assembly of His Majesty’s Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence-Plantations, in New-England, held at Newport, by Adjournment, on the third Monday of June, 1730, in Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1730, at 217. 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 71.

    6.) EN-6 — An ACT for erecting an ARTILLERY COMPANY in the Towns of Westerly and Charlestown, 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 (in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Honour the Governor) and held at Providence, on Wednesday the first of January, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty- five, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 2, at {63}. 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 71.

    7.) EN-7 — 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 {71}. 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 71.

    8.) EN-8 — 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 South-Kingston, upon the last Monday in February, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-six, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 2, at {73}. 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 71.

    9.) EN-9 — Public Laws of Rhode Island, 1767, at 179. This Act was 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 3-5. 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 71.

    10.) EN-10 — 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 holden, in Consequence of Warrants issued by his Honor the Governor, at Providence, within and for the said Colony, on the First Monday in December, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-four, in Rhode Island Acts and Resolves, Volume 7, at {150}. Also in Rhode Island Records, Volume 7, at 269. 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 71.

    11.) EN-11 — 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 {29}.

    12.) 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 191.