and many others have left this state, or some other of the United States of America, and joined the enemies thereof and of the United States of America, thereby not only depriving these states of their personal services at a time when they ought to have afforded the utmost aid in defending the said states, against the invasions of a cruel enemy, but manifesting an inimical disposition to the said states, and a design, to aid and abet the enemies thereof in their wicked purposes, whereas many dangers may accrue to this state and the United States, if such persons should again reside in this state:
Sect. 1. Be it therefore enacted by the Council and House of Representatives, in general court assembled, and by the authority of the same, that if either of the said persons, or any other person, though not specifically named in this act, who have left this state or either of said states, and joined the enemies thereof as aforesaid, shall, after the passing of this act, voluntarily return to this state, it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the county, and of the selectmen, committees of correspondence, safety and inspection, grand jurors, constables, and tythingmen, and other inhabitants of the town wherein such person or persons may presume to come, and they are hereby respectively empowered and directed forthwith to apprehend and carry such person or persons before some justice of the peace within the county, who is hereby required to commit him or them to the common gaol within the county, there in close custody to remain until he shall be sent out of the state, as is hereinafter directed; and such justice is hereby directed to give immediate information thereof to the board of war of this state: and the said board of war are hereby empowered and directed to cause such person or persons so committed, to be transported to some part or place within the dominions, or in the possession of the forces of the king of Great Britain, as soon as may be after receiving such information; those who are able, at their own expense, and others at the expense of this state, and for this purpose to hire a vessel or vessels, if need be.
Sect. 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any person or persons, who shall be transported as aforesaid, shall voluntarily return to this state, without liberty first had and obtained from the general court, he shall, on conviction thereof before the superior court of judicature, court of assize and general gaol delivery, suffer the pain of death without benefit of clergy.
Passed, September, 1778.