The Fundamental Constitutions for the Province of East New Jersey in America, (1683) art. VII

  • Year:
  • 1683

. . . the great Assembly should have power, by act confirmed as there expressed, to erect, raise and build within the said Province, or any part thereof, such and so many forts, castles, cities and other places of defense, and the same, or any of them, to fortify and furnish with such provisions and proportions of ordnance, powder, shot, armour and all other weapons, ammunition and abilments of war, both offensive and defensive, as shall be thought necessary and convenient for the safety and welfare of the said Province; as also to constitute train bands and companies, with the number of the soldiers . . . And that amongst the present Proprietors there are several that declare, that they have no freedom to defend themselves with arms, and others who judge it their duty to defend themselves, wives and children, with arms; . . . no man that declares he cannot for conscience sake bear arms, whether Proprietor or planter, shall be at any time put upon so doing in his own person, nor yet upon sending any to serve in his stead. And on the other side, those who do judge it their duty to bear arms for the publick defence, shall have their liberty to do in a legal way. In pursuance whereof, there shall be a fourth committee erected, consisting of six proprietors, or their proxies, and three of the freemen, that are to set in the other three committees, which shall be such as to understand it their duty to use arms for the publick defence; which committee shall provide for the publick defence without and peace within, against all enemies whatsoever; and shall therefore be stiled the committee for the preservation of the publick peace: And that all things may proceed in good order, the said committee shall propound-to the great Council what they judge convenient and necessary for the keeping the peace within the said Province, and for publick defence without, by the said great Council to be approved and corrected, as they, according to exigence of affairs, shall judge fit; the execution of which resolutions of the great Council shall be committed to the care of the said committee . . .