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Samuel Adams

Election directive signed by Adams as Governor of Massachusetts

Samuel Adams, 17221803.  Founding Father; Signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Partially printed document signed, Samuel Adams, one page, long quarto, Boston, Massachusetts, March 23, 1797.  Countersigned by John Avery.

As Governor of Massachusetts, Adams directs the Selectmen of the town of Pownalboro, in the First Eastern District, to assemble voters to elect a Representative to the United States Congress.  Adams, "in the name of the Commonwealth,” acts

to will and require you, in the manner as the Law directs for calling Town Meeting, to cause the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Pownalboro duly qualified to vote for Representatives to the General Court of this Commonwealth, to assemble on Wednesday the tenth day of May next, to give in their votes for one Representative, that is an inhabitant of the said District, to represent them in the Congress of the United States of America, to the Selectmen who shall preside at the said Meeting; and you, the said Selectmen, or the major part of you, shall, in open Town-Meeting, sort and count the votes, and form a list of the Persons voted for, with the number of votes for each Person set against his name—and shall make a public declaration in Town-Meeting, of the names of the Persons voted for, and of hte number of votes the respectively have; and shall in open Town-Meeting, seal up the said list, certified by you, and transmit the same within fourteen days next after such meeting, to the Secretary of this Commonwealth, or to the Sheriff of the County in which the said town lies, who is hereby directed to  transmit the same to the Secretary aforesaid, on or before the nineteenth day of June next.

Following this directive, the document sets out the names of three candidates who received votes in uncontested elections in "the several Towns . . . in which there is no choice."

Adams was one of the early leaders of the American revolution.  He led resistance against oppressive British legislation, such as the 1765 Stamp Act, which imposed taxes on printed materials, the 1767 Townshend Acts, which led to taxation on goods, and, after the Boston Tea Party, the 1774 Coercive Acts, punitive legislation that the colonists termed the Intolerable Acts.  At the urging of Adams and others such as John Hancock, George Washington, John Jay, and Patrick Henry, in 1774 the Continental Congress denounced Britain for imposing taxes on the colonies without representation in Parliament and for headquartering troops in the colonies without their permission. 

After the first shots of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, Adams “was essential to putting Massachusetts at the center of 1775ʼs Revolutionary universe."  He and other leaders “quickly implemented a domestic and foreign information-cum-propaganda campaign little short of brilliant.” Adams, however, was the “only one full-fledged arch-manipulator."  Kevin Phillips, 1775: A Good Year for Revolution 12 (2012).

Adams, a second cousin of future President John Adams, praised Thomas Paineʼs pamphlet Common Sense and supported the movement for American independence from Britain.  He voted for the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and was one of its 56 signers.

Adams was active in Massachusetts politics after the Revolutionary War.  He served as Lieutenant Governor from 1789 until Governor Hancock died in 1793.  Adams filled Hancockʼs unexpired term and then was elected to four one-year terms of his own.  At his death, the Boston Independent Chronicle called him the “Father of the American Revolution."

This document is very nice.  The embossed wax seal is intact, and Adams has signed it with a full signature in brown ink beneath the seal.  The document has intersecting horizontal and vertical folds, not affecting the signature, minor edge chipping, mostly at left, edge toning from prior framing, and a small fold split at the right edge.  Overall the piece is in fine condition.




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