• George Washington Urgently Requests Beef for Troops; Struggles to Keep Troops in the Field

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    Printed Act of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 4 pp, 7 ½ x 12 ½, front and verso. [Boston], “June 22, 1781, supplies of beef hitherto made by the several towns and plantations in this Commonwealth, for the purpose of [furnishing beef]… found to be insufficient; and without a further punctual and adequate supply, and our brethren who are now hazarding their lives for our defence, must soon be obliged to quit the field, and leave the country to merciless ravages of our enemies. And whereas the Commander in Chief of the army hath represented, in the most pressing terms, the necessity of an immediate supply of provisions to enable him to carry on the operations of the present campaign with vigour, and, by the blessing of Heaven, with success.”


    The Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate concurred, “That the inhabitants of the several towns and plantations in this Commonwealth be and to furnish the quantity of live beef, including hides and tallow, set to such towns and plantations respectively, as is …hereunto annexed, or such sums of money as in the judgement of the superintendent shall enable him to purchase the same…”


    The listing of Massachusetts towns and plantations, arranged by counties, begins in the lower portion of the second page and extends through the fourth.  The weight of beef expected from each town is listed as well. 


    The fourth page is signed in type by the Speaker of the House, Nathaniel Gorham, the President of the Massachusetts Senate Samuel Adams, John Hancock, who was governor of the state and John Avery, Secretary of the State.


    This particular copy was sent to Wilmington, MA.  Six weeks earlier, in a “Circular to the New England States” sent to the Governors, the Commander in Chief George Washington, ordered a general “to proceed to several Eastern States, to represent the present distresses of the Army for want of provision…for affording supplies…I have already made representations to the State of the want of Provisions for the army, and the innumerable embarrassments we have suffered in consequence, not merely once or twice…I have struggled to the utmost of my ability, to keep the Army together…[without] supplies, particularly of beef regularly provided, our Posts cannot be maintained or the Army kept in the Field much longer. ”


    Four months after this act was passed, British General Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington on October 19, 1781. The Treaty of Paris, which ended the war, was not signed until 1783.


    Folds, one-inch fold split, even toning, edge chipping, affecting five town names and six beef quotas.  A wonderful piece from the American Revolutionary War and Gen. George Washington.


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