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George Washington

Vintage Letter

1248541-1

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George Washington. Printed booklet "Resolves, &c. of the General Court of Massachusetts. Passed at the Session begun and held at Boston, on Wednesday, the eighth day of January, Anno Domini 1800," 52 pages, including index, 8.75" x 13.75". Pages are numbered 35-80 with a six-page index of resolves passed from May 29, 1799 to March 4, 1800. Printed by Young and Minns, Printers to the State. Boston: March 1800. On the title page [page 35 is a message from Lieutenant Governor Moses Gill, Council Chamber, January 8, 1800, addressed to the members of the Massachusetts Senate and House (known as the General Court). In part, "The death of General George Washington is an event truly distressing. The President of the United States, on the 24th of December last, agreeably to a Resolve of Congress of that day, has, by Proclamation recommended to the Citizens a uniform mode to express their profound sorrow on this occasion…"

When Governor Increase Sumner died on June 7, 1799, Moses Gill became Acting Governor. By law, he retained the title of Lieutenant Governor. When Gill died on May 20, 1800, Massachusetts did not have a governor for the only time in the history of the commonwealth and was governed by the Governor's Council. On May 30, 1800, Caleb Strong was elected Governor. Gill's speech, delivered in the State House on January 10, 1800 before the Senate and House, is printed on pages 36-37. A "State of the Commonwealth" address, it covered topics such as education, agriculture, and the enforcement of "the law for the due observance" of the Sabbath. Referring to the "unfeigned sorrow universally exhibited" after death of Governor Sumner, Gill laments "the loss of another Patriot, General George Washington, whose invaluable life was the ornament, example and defence of our Nation." There are resolves of the Senate and House followed by a resolution calling for "the uniting in public solemn worship of the Deity in the Church in Brattle-Street in Boston, (with consent of its proprietors) on Saturday, the twenty-second day of February next, at eleven of the Clock in the forenoon…" Most of the remaining resolves in the booklet relate to petitions of citizens of the commonwealth concerning various issues such as $100 for two men for "the risque, trouble and expense in arresting" two burglars in Middlesex, and $500 "to the Society for propagating the Gospel among the Indians." There are also resolves for erecting monuments for General Washington and the Battle of Lexington. The worn pages are sewn together with string. The edges of the pages are intact but frayed. Thin paper covering on front and back, titled by hand, "Resolves March 1800," is markedly tattered at the edges. Internally sound, overall, the booklet is in good condition.

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