Association Test (also known as the “Patriot Test”)
In New Hampshire the “Association Test,” or “Articles of Association,” were written by the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, under the chairmanship of Meshech Weare.
Generally the wording was similiar to the following: “We, the Subscribers, do hereby solemnly engage and promise, that we will, to the utmost of our power, at the Risque of our Lives and Fortunes, with arms, oppose the Hostile proceedings of the British Fleets and Armies, against the United States Colonies.”
The document refers to a resolution passed by the Continental Congress (March 14, 1776) which called for two actions: the signatures of every adult male who was willing to take arms against the British, and the names of all who refused to sign. Their signature indicated their obligation to oppose the “hostile proceedings” of the British fleets and armies. The returns of these documents gave the signers of the Declaration assurance that their acts would be sanctioned and sustained by the citizens of our country.
Town officers in New Hampshire were requested to obtain these signatures, who in turn sometimes selected a local “Committee of Safety,” to carry out this order. Only white males above twenty-one years of age (“lunaticks, idiots, and negroes excepted”) were asked to sign this document.
Not everyone qualified to sign this document agreed to do so, and not all of those who refused to sign should be considered “Tories” or “Loyalists.”
[SEE copy of original document and discussion regarding same – PDF file]