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January 8th, 1800 General Court of Massachusetts Resolves with Multiple George Washington Tributes Upon His Death

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January 8, 1800-Dated, Printed Booklet "Resolves, &c. of the General Court of Massachusetts.", containing Multiple Tributes to the deceased General & President George Washington, among the many printed official Resolves of Massachusetts, 51 pages, Complete, Printed by Young and Minns, Choice Very Fine.

Historic Printed Booklet titled: "Resolves, &c. of the General Court of Massachusetts", measuring about 9" x 14", with 51 pages, complete, Boston, January 8, 1800. The title pages, internal pages (numbered 36-80), and a 6-page index are string bound as made. Printed by Young and Minns, Printers to the State. The large laid period paper sheets are untrimmed, some pages are slightly chipped at the outer edges and the separately printed crisp front page paper is evenly in tone with most of the internal pages appearing much brighter and cleaner.

The title page is a message from Lieutenant Governor Moses Gill (1733-1800) signed in print, which reads, "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. If you, Gentlemen, should think proper to adopt any measure in conformity with said Resolve of Congress, I shall readily concur with you."

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."

Resolves on pages 39-40 relate to the death of George Washington, "Resolve for commemorating his sublime virtues" (page 39) and "Resolve for erecting a monument to his memory" (page 40). The remaining resolves cover a variety of issues affecting individuals and towns, including appointments, taxes, petitions, and other legislative issues. An important, rarely available original set of multiple Tributes to George Washington who died December 14, 1799, at his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.


Moses Gill (January 18, 1733 - May 20, 1800) was an American merchant and politician who served as the acting governor of Massachusetts from 1799 to 1800, when he died in office, the only acting governor to do so.

A successful businessman, he became one of the most prominent colonists in Princeton, Massachusetts, entering politics shortly before the American Revolutionary War. He served on the Massachusetts Provincial Congress's executive committee until the state adopted its constitution in 1780, after which he continued to serve on the state's Governor's Council.

Elected lieutenant governor in 1794, he served in that office under Governors Samuel Adams and Increase Sumner until the latter died shortly after winning reelection in 1799. Gill served an apparently undistinguished term as acting governor until his own death in 1800, ten days before his successor, Caleb Strong, assumed office.

In 1774 Gill entered politics, winning election to the provincial assembly. The assembly was dissolved by Governor Thomas Gage under the terms of the Massachusetts Government Act (a punishment of Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party), but its members met shortly afterwards and reconstituted themselves as the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Gill served on this body's executive council, which functioned as the de facto executive of the state until its constitution was adopted in 1780.

When the American Revolutionary War broke in April 1775, Gill became involved in the early military organization of the Siege of Boston, heading the provincial congress' supply committee. He was also delegated, along with General Artemas Ward, to meet George Washington in Springfield and escort him to the army camps outside Boston.

Because of his prominence in Worcester County Gill was appointed to the county's district court when it was reorganized after the revolution began. In this role he sat on the panel that heard the preliminary cases in 1781 involving Quock Walker, an African American seeking a declaration of his freedom. Gill's panel decided in Walker's favor, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court eventually confirmed the judgments on appeal, declaring that Slavery was incompatible with the state constitution.

He continued to serve in the General Court (state legislature), winning election to the state senate annually from 1780, and being chosen by that body to serve on the Governor's Council. He stood for election to the United States House of Representatives in the 1789 election (the first after the adoption of the United States Constitution) but was defeated by Jonathan Grout.

After the death of the immensely popular Governor John Hancock in 1793, the state's gubernatorial election of 1794 was a wide open race. Gill was one of several nominees for lieutenant governor, and received more votes than all nominees except the winning gubernatorial candidate, Samuel Adams. With no candidates for lieutenant governor receiving a majority, the General Court decided the election, choosing Gill. He thereafter won annual reelection to that post. In 1796 the aging Adams announced he would not run for reelection the following spring, and again the election was a wide open affair.

The party system was still taking shape in the state, and the Federalists nominated Increase Sumner, while more populist factions that had previously supported Hancock and Adams nominated Gill and James Sullivan. Although Gill polled well in Boston and the eastern counties (present-day Maine), the Federalists won a decisive victory over the divided opposition. Since he was also nominated by one faction as lieutenant governor, Gill was again returned to that post. The principal issues in this and subsequent elections were over federal policy: specifically the national response to threats of war with Revolutionary France, and the consequent need for increased taxes to arm the nation.

Gill's politics are unclear: historian Anson Morse is of the opinion that his popularity was not sufficient to head the ticket of either the Federalists or the Democratic-Republicans. Historian John Barry observes that Gill's term as acting governor, even though it was for essentially a full year, was "too short to be particularly distinguished"

Gill was a significant benefactor and founder of Leicester Academy, and supported the congregational church in Princeton, where the family had a large estate.
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Lot Number: 175
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