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    Joseph Warren Partly Printed Document Signed as chairman of the Committee of Correspondence. One page, 8" x 9", Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 21, 1775. An American doctor and soldier, Joseph Warren is best remembered as an important Boston patriot, and for his death as a volunteer private soldier while also serving as chief executive of the revolutionary Massachusetts government.

    As Boston's conflict with the British government came to a head in 1773-75, Warren was appointed to the Suffolk Committee of Correspondence. These committees were organized by the local governments of the original thirteen colonies for the purpose of coordinating written communication outside of the colony. They served an important role by disseminating the colonial interpretation of British actions to foreign governments, by rallying opposition on common causes, and by establishing plans for collective action against British rule. These committees were the beginnings of a formal political union among the colonies.

    While serving as Chairman of the Suffolk County Committee of Correspondence, Warren drafted the Suffolk Resolves which denounced the Intolerable Acts, or Coercive Acts, that had recently been passed by the British Parliament. Warren's well-received proclamation specifically resolved to boycott British imports, curtail exports, and refuse to use British products; to pay "no obedience" to the Massachusetts Government Act or the Boston Port Bill; to demand resignations from those appointed to positions under the Massachusetts Government Act; to refuse payment of taxes until the Massachusetts Government Act was repealed; to support a colonial government in Massachusetts free of royal authority until the Intolerable Acts were repealed; and to urge the colonies to raise militias of their own people. With the success of the Suffolk Resolves, Warren was appointed president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, the highest position in the revolutionary government.

    On April 18, 1775, after receiving intelligence about British troop movements, Warren sent William Dawes and Paul Revere on their famous "Midnight Rides" to warn Hancock and Adams in Lexington about the approaching troops. Warren slipped out of Boston early the following morning, and during that day's Battle at Lexington and Concord, he coordinated and led militia into the fight. During this fierce battle Warren was nearly killed, a musket ball striking part of his wig.

    He then turned to recruiting and organizing soldiers for the Siege of Boston, and true to the Suffolk Resolves, prepared this partly-printed directive to local resistance leaders empowering them to raise a militia. It reads, in full: "In Committee of Safety; Cambridge, Apr. 21st 1775. To Sir, You are hereby empowered immediately to inlist [sic] a Company, to consist of 56 able-bodied and effective Men, including Serjeants [sic], as Soldiers in the Massachusetts Service, for the Preservation of American Liberty; and cause them to pass Muster as soon as possible. Jos. Warren, Chairman."

    Two months later, Warren was appointed a Major General by the Provincial Congress. His commission had not yet taken effect when the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought. But never willing to let others do his own fighting, Warren served as a volunteer private against the wishes of General Israel Putnam and Colonel William Prescott, who requested that he serve as their commander. Taunting the British, Warren reportedly declared: "These fellows say we won't fight! By Heaven, I hope I shall die up to my knees in blood!" Warren fought valiantly, remaining until the British made their third and final assault on the hill, when he was killed instantly by a musket shot to the head, fired by British Captain Walter Laurie, who later claimed that he "stuffed the scoundrel with another rebel into one hole, and there he and his seditious principles may remain." Warren's body was exhumed ten months later by his brothers and Paul Revere, who identified the remains by an artificial tooth, making this possibly the first recorded instance of post-mortem identification by forensic odontology in America.

    This important Revolutionary document is moderately age toned and brittle, with many chips along the edges and a few small areas of separation at fold edges. Framed and matted to an overall size of 14" x 16". Very good condition and very desirable!

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
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