Revolutionary War dated Josiah Bartlett Document Signed for the arrest of counterfeiters

    [Declaration Signer] Josiah Bartlett Document Signed as Justice of the Peace. One page, 8.5" x 6.75", Exeter NH, April 19, 1777. Judge Bartlett has signed his name to this document concerning the arrest and possible conviction of several counterfeiters at large during the Revolutionary War. In part (errors intact): "To the Keeper of the Public Gaol in Exeter in the County of Rockingham, Greeting. We send you herewith the Bodies of Leonard Whiting, Richard Catts Shannan, John Holland & John Wilkins, apprehended & brot before us... on Suspicion of their being concerned in Counterfeiting the Bills of Credit of this State and of the other United States, and of passing the same And of Spreading or a Design to spread the Small Pox among the good People of these States... you are hereby required to receive them into your Custody & them safely keep until discharged by due course of Law." The document has been signed by Josiah Bartlett, Mescheh Weare, and E. Thompson, as "Justices of Peace throughout the Land." At this time Weare was also serving as the first president for the state of New Hampshire.

    Counterfeiting by British subjects/supporters was somewhat common during the Revolution, but biological warfare was exceedingly rare. Although we cannot ascertain what happened to all of these men, it is known that John Holland escaped confinement and returned to England. Remnants of a paper seal affixed with red wax at upper left corner. Docketed on verso. Heavy age toning and numerous folds, but completely intact and in very good condition.

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    February, 2010
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