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title:“A Bill to Compensate Citizens for Enemy Damage”
authors:George Mason
date written:1779-5-19

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:56 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 19, 2024, 11:13 a.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Letter to Compensate Citizens for Enemy Damage." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 2. Ed. Robert A. Rutland. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 502-03. Print.
Manuscript, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Va.

A Bill to Compensate Citizens for Enemy Damage (May 19, 1779)

[19 May 1779]
Whereas the British King and Ministry, actuated by the Resentment of disappointed Enemies, have threatened to carry on, and are now actually carrying on, against this Commonwealth and the other united States a predatory War, ravaging and endeavouring to ruin a Country they have been unable to conquer, daily committing Acts of Barbarity, which not only disgrace the British Name, but dishonour the human-kind, burning, plundering, and destroying the private property of helpless Individuals, contrary to the principles of Humanity, the Rules of War, or the Custom of civilised Nations; and have thereby rendered Retribution as necessary as just, Be it enacted by the General Assembly that where any such Depredations, since the first Day of this present Month of May, have been, or during the Continuation of the War, hereafter shall be committed by the British Troops, or others acting in Concert with them, upon the private Property of the Inhabitants of any County within this Commonwealth, the Commissioners of the Tax for such County, or any two of them, are hereby empowered and required forthwith, or so soon as the Circumstances of the Case will admit, to issue a Warrant under their Hands to the Assessors of the Hundred wherein such Depredations shall have been committed, or if the Assessors of such Hundred shall be interested, then to two disinterested Assessors of the next or some other convenient Hundred, to take accounts and make valuations of all the private Property so plundered or destroyed, and the Loss and Damage thereby suffered by Individuals, and to take in writing the Evidence and Depositions in Proof of the same: And the said Assessors, having first taken an Oath before some Justice of the peace for the County, to perform the same truly, faithfully, and honestly, according [to the best of] their Skill and Judgment, without Favour or Partiality are hereby required to make such Accounts and Valuations, and take Depositions accordingly, and return them to the said Commissioners of the Tax; who are hereby empowered, at their next Settlement of the Accounts of their County, to make such Assessors such allowance for their Trouble therein as to them shall seem reasonable, apportioning the same to the Allowance made by Law to the Assessors for their other Services. And all such Accounts Valuations and Depositions shall be certified by the said Commissioners of the Tax, and returned to the Auditors of the public Accounts, to be by them safely kept and preserved in their Office, to the End that Compensation may, in due time, be demanded, and if refused, that the Amount of such Loss and Damage may be reimbursed and levied by exclusive Duties on whatever Trade or Commerce the Subjects of the said King shall at any time hereafter carry on within this Common-wealth.

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