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1775 Document to Elect Representatives to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress

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1775 Document to Elect Representatives to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress



Important Document to Elect Representatives to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress of May 31, 1775

“Dated Amesbury - 20 May: 1775,” Manuscript Document Signed, “Caleb Pilsberry” and “John Currier,” Choice Very Fine.

This highly significant Revolutionary War Political Document is written just one month after the Battles at Lexington and Concord, which took place on April 19, 1775. It is calling for the town citizens to assemble and elect their Representatives to attend the Massachusetts Provincial Congress to be held on May 31, 1775 at Watertown, Massachusetts. This remarkable, early piece of American Revolutionary War history measures 8” x 7.25” and is signed by the Selectmen of the Town of Amesbury, Massachusetts, being Caleb Pilsberry and John Currier (who would later be Captain John Currier of the Continental Army). This well written and very clean, clear document would have been passed among the citizens of Amesbury to be read. This concisely worded document reads in part:

“In observance of the Resolves and Recommendations of the Provincial Congress: The Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the town of Amesbury that are qualified for Voting agreeable to the Laws of choosing Representatives are hereby Notified to meet together at the west meeting house in said town on Thursday, the twenty fifth day of May instant at two of the clock in the after noon (firstly) to elect and Depute one or more person or persons to represent them in a provincial Congress to be held at Watertown Meeting House on the thirty first day of this instant May - and (secondly) to put out the poor and indigent people belonging to the town of Amesbury to Some place or places to be supported for won (sic) year or as the town shall see fit... .” - “Dated Amesbury 20 May: 1775 - Caleb Pilsberry and John Currier.”

This very rare and historically important manuscript document is in very good condition - intact with no large stains, significant soiling or loss of text. There are a few small spots of ink staining and professionally repaired fold separations. The document will frame and display nicely. The signatures are bold and beautiful, as is the manuscript text of the document. A rare and important piece of American Revolutionary War and Independence Political history.

Spurred by the 1774 British “Intolerable Acts,” which significantly altered the original 1692 Massachusetts Bay Royal Charter, closed the Port of Boston, and allowed the quartering of British troops within the town of Boston itself, the General Court of Massachusetts was dissolved and re-formed itself into the First Provincial Congress on October 7, 1774 at Concord. Despite its “Provisional” nature, this Provincial Congress came to be seen by the general population as the legitimate government for all of Massachusetts, except that of the area around the City of Boston itself, that was still under direct British military control. The First Congress dissolved on December 10, 1774. After new elections were held, the Second Provincial Congress met at Cambridge on February 1, 1775, and later at Concord and then Watertown, being dissolved on May 29, 1775. The Third and newly elected Congress met at Watertown on May 31, 1775, and dissolved on July 19, 1775, on the same day that the new state government was inaugurated. On April 19, 1775 the first true Battles of the Revolutionary War took place at Concord and Lexington. On May 12, 1775, after the battles of Concord and Lexington and the subsequent gathering of the Continental Army around Boston, the Provincial Congress applied to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia to clarify the situation regarding a permanent government. Acting on that request, the Continental Congress resolved that Massachusetts was correct in recognizing that the positions of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Council were vacant. They recommended that the Massachusetts towns elect a new Assembly that would choose a Council from among its members. It is in answer to this recommendation that the citizens of Amesbury acted to elect representatives to send to Watertown - these representatives to the Third Provisional Congress would set up the first true American State Government, of the old Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Item Number: 78933
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