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1786 Mass. Sess. Laws An Act to Prevent Routs, Riots, and Tumultuous assemblies, and the Evil Consequences Thereof.




Whereas the provision already made by law for the preventing of routs, riots, and tumultuous assemblies and the evil consequences thereof has been found insufficient: § 1. Be it therefore enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the publication of this Act, if any persons to the number of twelve, or more, being armed with clubs or other weapons; or if any number of persons, consisting of thirty or more, shall be unlawfully, routously, riotously or tumultously assembled, any Justice of the Peace, Sheriff or Deputy-Sheriff of the county, or constable of the town, shall, among the rioters, or as near to them as he can safely come, command silence while proclamation is making, and shall openly make proclamations in these or the like words. [Text of Massachusetts Riot Act] and if such persons, assembled as aforesaid, shall not disperse themselves within one hour after proclamation made, or attempted to be made, as aforesaid, it shall be lawful for every such officer to command sufficient aid, and he shall seize such persons, who shall be had before a Justice of the Peace; and the aforesaid Justice of the Peace, Sheriff or Deputy-Sheriff is hereby further empowered to require the aid of a sufficient number of persons in arms, if any of the persons assembled as aforesaid shall appear armed; and if any such person or persons shall be killed or wounded by reason of his or their resisting the persons endeavoring to disperse or seize them, the said Justice, Sheriff, Deputy-Sheriff, Constable and their assistants shall be indemnified and held guiltless. § 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person being commanded by such Justice, Sheriff, Deputy-Sheriff or Constable, as aforesaid, shall refuse or neglect to afford the assistance required, and shall be convicted thereof upon the oath of either of the said officers so commanding or other legal evidence, he shall forfeit and pay a sum not less than forty shillings.