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Act of Renunciation, 1776

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  • Act of Renunciation, 1776

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Title

Act of Renunciation, 1776

Description

The Act of Renunciation addressed from the Rhode Island General Assembly to King George III, 1776.

On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island became the first of the American colonies to repeal by official legislative act its allegiance to King George III of England.

AN ACT repealing an Act, entitled, "An Act for the more effectually securing to his Majesty the Allegiance of his Subjects, in this his Colony and Dominion of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations;" and altering the forms of commissions, of all writs and processes in the courts, and of the oaths prescribed by law.

WHEREAS in all states, existing by compact, protection and allegiance are reciprocal, the latter being only due in consequence of the former: And whereas George the Third, King of Great Britain, forgetting his dignity, regardless of the compact most solemnly entered into, ratified and confirmed, to the inhabitants of this Colony, by his illustrious ancestors, and till of late fully recognized by him—and entirely departing from the duties and character of a good King, instead of protecting, is endeavoring to destroy the good people of this Colony, and of all the United Colonies, by sending fleets and armies to America, to confiscate our property, and spread fire, sword and desolation, throughout our country, in order to compel us to submit to the most debasing and detestable tyranny, whereby we are obliged by necessity, and it becomes our highest duty, to use every means, with which God and nature have furnished us, in support of our invaluable rights and privileges; to oppose that power which is exerted only for our destruction.

BE it therefore enacted by this General Assembly, and by the authority thereof it is enacted, that an Act entitled, "An Act for the more effectual securing to His Majesty the Allegiance of his Subjects in this his Colony and Dominion of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," be, and the same is hereby, repealed.

AND be it further enacted by this General Assembly, and by the authority thereof it is enacted, that in all commissions for offices, civil and military, and in all writs and processes in law, whether original, judicial or executory, civil or criminal, wherever the name and the authority of the said King is made use of, the same shall be omitted, and in the room thereof the name and authority of the Governor and Company of this Colony shall be substituted, in the following words, to wit: "The Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations:" That all such commissions, writs and processes, shall be otherwise of the same form and tenure as they heretofore were: That the courts of law be no longer entitled nor considered as the King's courts: and that no instrument in writing, of any nature or kind, whether public or private, shall in the date thereof mention the year of the said King's reign: Provided nevertheless, that nothing in this Act contained shall render void or vitiate any commission, writ, process or instrument, heretofore made or executed, on account of the name and authority of the said King being therein inserted.

Source: Rhode Island State Library- Act of Renunciation

 

See also:

Rhode Island Colony Records, 1646 - 1851

Records of the Isle of Rhode Island

Records Created by Rhode Island. General Assembly

Proceedings of the General Assembly

Body of Laws of the Colony

Gyles transcription record

 

Related Publications:

Bartlett, John Russell, Rhode Island Colony Records, 1636 – 1792, 10 volumes, Providence, 1856 – 1865

Bartlett, John Russell, Index to the Acts & Resolves of Rhode Island, 1758 - 1850

Rhode Island Historical Society, Rhode Island Court Records, Records of the Court of Trials of the Colony of Providence Plantations, 1647 - 1662 / 1662 - 1670, 2 vols., Providence, 1920, 1922

Fiske, Jane  Fletcher, Rhode Island General Court of Trials, 1671 - 1704, Boxford, MA, 1998, 261 pp.; abstract public laws, acts & resolves / schedules

Publisher

Rhode Island State Archives

Date

1776 May 4

Rights

Copyright is in the public domain unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to restrict reproduction of materials due to preservation concerns.

Format

jpeg

Document Item Type Metadata

Text

An Act repealing an Act entitled “An Act for the effectual securing to His Majesty
the Allegiance of His Subjects in this His Colony and Dominion of Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations” and altering the Form of Commissions of all Writs and
Processes in the Courts, and of the Oaths prescribed by Law.

Whereas George the Third King of Great Britain entirely departing from the
Duties and Character of a good King instead of protecting is endeavouring to
destroy the good People of this Colony and of all the United Colonies by sending
Fleets and Armies to America to confiscate our Property and spread Fire Sword
and Desolation throughout our Country in order to compel us to submit to the most
debasing and detestable Slavery And whereas Protection and Allegiance are
reciprocal, the latter being only due in Consequence of the former:

And Be it further Enacted by this General Assembly, and by the Authority
thereof It is Enacted that in all Commissions for Offices Civil and Military
and in all Writs and Processes in Law whether original, judicial or executory
civil or criminal
^ wherever the Name and Authority of the said King is made Use of the same
shall be omitted and in the Room thereof the Name and Authority of the
Governor and Company of this Colony shall be substituted in the following
Words to wit: “The Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode
Island and Providence Plantations” That all such Commissions
Writs and Processes shall be otherwise of the same Form and Tenor as they
nor considered as
heretofore were: That the Courts of Law be no longer entitled ^ the Kings
Courts: And that no Instrument in Writing of any Nature or Kind,
whether publick or private, shall in the Date thereof mention the Year of
the said King’s Reign: Provided nevertheless, That nothing in this Act
contained shall render void or vitiate any Commission, Writ, Process or
Instrument, heretofore made or executed, on Account of the Name and
Authority of the said King being therein inserted.
or Engagements
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Oaths ^
to be administered to the Officers appointed in this Colony shall be as follows, to wit

General Officers

“You being by the free Vote of the Freemen of this Colony of Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations elected unto the Place of do solemly
engage to be true and faithful unto this said Colony, and in your said Office equal
Justice to do unto all Persons, poor and rich, within this Jurisdiction, to the utmost of
your Skill and Ability, without Partiality, according to the Laws established, or that
may be established, by the General Assembly of this Colony, as well in Matters military
as civil: And this Engagement you make and give upon the Peril of the Penalty of
Perjury.”




[The next two paragraphs are the replacement for the stricken out paragraph in the original document. These replacement paragraphs appear on a separate page in the original document.]

Whereas in all States existing by Compact Protection and
allegiance are reciprocal the latter being only due in Consequence
of the former: And Where as George the Third King of Britain
forgetting his dignity, regardless of the Compact most solemly
entered into ratified & confirmed to the Inhabitants of this Colony
by his illustrious Ancestors- and till of late fully recognized
by him and entirely departing from the duties and Character
of a good king- instead of Protecting is endeavoring to destroy
the good people of this Colony, and of all the united Colonies
confiscate our Property and
by sending Fleets and Armies to America ^ to spread Fire, Sword
and Desolation throughout our Country in order to
compel us to submit to the debasing and detestable Tyranny
and it becomes our highest Duty
whereby we are obliged by necessity ^ to use every means with
which God and Nature have furnished us, in support of
our invaluable rights, & privileges
to opposed that Power which is exerted only for our
destruction
Be it therefore Enacted by this General Assembly and by the Authority thereof
it is Enacted that an Act entitled “An Act for the more effectual securing to His
Majesty the Allegiance of his Subjects in this His Colony and Dominion of Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations” be and the same is hereby repealed.

Original Format

paper

Citation

Rhode Island. General Assembly, "Act of Renunciation, 1776," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #68, http://www.sos.ri.gov/virtualarchives/items/show/68 (accessed October 31, 2014).