Primary tabs

Petition from the Delegates


A Petition from the Delegates of the several Towns and Districts in the Counties of Hampshire and Berkshire, was read, and is as followeth, viz:


To the Honourable House of Delegates for the Province of the MASSACHUSETTS BAY, in NEW ENGLAND, in Provincial Congress assembled, at CAMBRIDGE, in the County of MIDDLESEX, on WEDNESDAY, the 1st day of FEBRUARY, 1775:

The subscribers, Delegates from the several Towns and Districts in the Counties of Hampshire and Berkshire, in the Province aforesaid, in behalf of their constituents, the inhabitants of the said Counties, most humbly shew: That the inhabitants of the said two Counties are very generally determined strictly to keep, perform, and abide by the Association and recommendations of the late Honourable Continental Congress; and also, to the uttermost of their power, to conform and execute the recommendations and directions of the late Congress of this Province, more especially such of them as refer to the payments to Henry Gardner, Esquire, of the publick moneys heretofore granted by the General Court, yet outstanding, and for the organizing and equipping, accoutring, and disciplining the Militia in general, and the Minute-men in particular, and also respecting the procuring full supplies of the Town stocks of Ammunition, according to law; but, upon a careful view and examination of the Arms of the inhabitants of the said Counties, already had by the Military Officers lately chosen there by the people, it appears that, although able-bodied, effective, and well-disposed men generally equip, and furnished with good fire-arm, have already freely offered themselves to fill up and complete their full proportion of Minute-men, as recommended by the Provincial Congress, in the County of Berkshire, and in the greatest part of the Towns in Hampshire, and all the other Towns in said County of Hampshire are proceeding to fill them up. Nevertheless, there are not to be found in the said County good effective fire-arms, fully sufficient to equip all the men there able to bear arms, and to act in defence of their country; and as the enemies of these Colonies frequently throw out that Administration have conceived a bloody plan of mustering great numbers of French Canadians, and remote tribes of Savages, and to bring them against this Province, in order to effect their system of despotism and tyranny over the inhabitants of these Colonies; and as the inhabitants of the said Counties apprehend it highly probable that the first attacks that will be made on the people of this Province by the said Canadians and Indians, if any such should happen, will fall upon them:

The inhabitants of Berkshire and Hampshire are therefore humbly of the opinion, that it is absolutely necessary that every man in both the said Counties, able to bear arms, should be furnished with a good effective fire-lock; and, as there are several such men in both the said Counties utterly unable to furnish themselves with such arms, and as many such able-bodied men there are settled upon lands which are not incorporated into Towns or Districts; and therefore such arms cannot be procured for them, in such manner as prescribed for the procuring of arms for the poor inhabitants which belong to any Town or District, by the Laws of this Province, your Petitioners, therefore, humbly supplicate that this Congress would take some order which shall be effectual, for the procuring such a number of fire-arms, at the expense of the Province, and bestow them upon such poor inhabitants, that there may not be so much as one able-bodied man in either of the said two Counties who shall not be equipped with a good effective fire-arm. All which is most humbly submitted, and your Petitioners, as they ought, shall every pray.

Signed by SETH POMEROY, and nineteen others.

Ordered, That the same be committed to the Committee on the State of the Province, and that the Committee make the Petition publick if they think proper.

Adjourned till to-morrow morning, nine o' clock.