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Gazette Text of Sept. 1786 Proclamation by James Bowdoin

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Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


WHEREAS information has been given to the Supreme Executive of this Commonwealth, that on Tuesday last, the 29th of August, being the day appointed by law for the sitting of the Court of Common Pleas and Court of General Sessions of the Peace, at NORTHAMPTON, in the county of HAMPSHIRE, within this Commonwealth, a large concourse of people, from several parts of the county, assembled at the Court-house in NORTHAMPTON, many of whom were armed with guns, swords, and other deadly weapons, and with drums beating and fifes playing, and in contemp and open defiance of the authority of this Government, did, by their threats of violence and keeping possession of the Court-House until twelve o-clock on the night of the same day, prevent the sitting of the Court, and the orderly administration of justice in that county:

AND WHEREAS this high-handed offence is fraught with the most fatal and pernicious consequences, must tend to subvert all law and government; to dissolve our excellent Constitution, and introduce universal riots, anarchy and confusion, which would probably terminate in absolute despotism, and consequently destroy the fairest prospects of political happiness, that any people was ever favoured with; and which this people will realize, if they do not suffer themselves to be misguided by the machinations of internal real enemies, who treacherously assume the character of their best and most zealous friends:

I HAVE therefore thought fit, by and with the advice of the council, to issue this proclamation, calling upon all Judges, Justices, Sheriffs, Grand Jurors, Constables,
and other officers, civil and military; within this Commonwealth, to prevent and suppress all such violent and riotous proceedings, if they should be attempted in their several counties.

AN I DO hereby, pursuant to the indispensable duty I owe to the good people of this Commonwealth, most solemnly call upon them, as they value the blessings of freedom and Independence, which at the expence of so much blood and treasure they have purchased—as they regard their faith, which in the sight of God and the world, they pledged to one another, and the people of the United States, when they adopted the present Constitution of Government—as they would not disappoint the hopes, and thereby become comtemptible in the eyes of other nations, in the view of whom they have risen to glory and empire—as they would not deprive themselves of the security derived from well-regulated Society, to their lives, liberties and property; and as they would not devolve upon their children, instead of peace, freedom and safety, a state of anarchy, confusion and slavery,-- I do most earnestly and most solemnly call upon them to aid and assist with their utmost efforts the aforesaid officers, and to unite in preventing and suppressing all such treasonable proceedings, and every measure that has a tendency to encourage them. And the Attorney-General is hereby directed to prosecute and bring to condign punishment the Ringleaders and Abettors of the aforesaid attrocious violation of law and government; and also the Ringleaders and Abettors of any similar violation in future, whensoever or wheresoever it shall be perpetrated within this Commonwealth.

GIVEN at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, this second day of September, in the year of
our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, and in the eleventh year of the Independence of the United States of America.

By his Excellency's command.
JOHN AVERY, jun. Secretary.