Massachusetts

April 8, 1775: The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts Resolves To Raise an Army — And To Tell Everyone

Eleven days before the shot heard ‘round the world, a committee of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts met in Cambridge and resolved that their dangerous and alarming situation required them to raise an army.

John Hancock

John Hancock

In October 1774, Gov. Thomas Gage dissolved the provincial assembly in Salem. The members adjourned to Concord and reorganized themselves as a Provincial Congress on October 7, 1774. John Hancock was president, and the members included Joseph Warren, James Warren, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, Samuel Osgood and Artemas Ward. They became the de facto government of Massachusetts outside of Boston.

They met in houses and taverns, moving their meeting site often because Hancock and Sam Adams were liable to be arrested.

On Saturday morning, April 8, 1775, the Provincial Congress met in Cambridge. The Committee of the State of the Province passed a resolution to raise and establish an army. That afternoon, 96 of the 103 members of the congress voted for the resolution and to send two delegates to the other three colonies (Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire) to tell them about it.

The Congress resumed the consideration of the Report made in the forenoon, which passed. Present, 103 Members; in favour, 96 — and is as follows:

In Provincial Congress, Concord, April 8, 1775.

Resolved, That the present dangerous and alarming situation of our publick affairs, renders it necessary for this Colony to make preparations for their security and defence by raising and establishing an Army, and that Delegates be appointed forthwith to repair to Connecticut, to Rhode-Island, and New-Hampshire, informing them that we are contemplating upon, and are determined to take effectual measures for that purpose, and for the more effectual security of the New England Colonies and the Continent, to request them to co-operate with us, by furnishing their respective quotas for general defence.

Resolved, That there be sent two Delegates to each New England Colony with the above Resolve.

Resolved, That the Congress choose, in the first place, Delegates to repair to Connecticut. Accordingly, chose Colonel Foster and Mr. Bliss.

Resolved, That they choose in the second place, Delegates to repair to Rhode-Island. Accordingly chose Colonel Timothy Walker and Doctor Perkins.

Resolved, That in the third place, the Congress choose Delegates to repair to New-Hampshire. Accordingly chose Mr. Freeman and Captain Osgood.

Ordered, That Mr. Gerry, Mr. Adams, and Captain Osgood, draught a Letter to each of the Colonies, viz: Connecticut, Rhode-Island, and New-Hampshire.

Resolved, That the Committee on the State of the Province take into consideration what number of men, in their opinion, will be necessary to be raised by the four New England Governments, for their general defence, and report.

Adjourned to Monday next, nine o' clock, A. M.

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