“apprehensive of the most fatal consequences” — Massachusetts State Quarter Coin

Today, the Massachusetts State Quarter Coin remembers the resolution of the Provincial Congress of 243 years ago.

From The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775, under the Supervision of William Lincoln, published in 1838:


Wednesday, October 26, 1774, A. M.

The Congress resumed the consideration of the report of the committee appointed to consider what is necessary to be done for the defense and safety of the province, and ordered that it be read and considered in paragraphs.

Adjourned to three o’clock this afternoon.


Ordered, That the doorkeeper be directed to call in the members.

The Congress then resumed the consideration of the above report, relative to what is necessary to be done for the defense and safety of the province, and ordered that it be recommitted for amendments; which was amended, read and accepted, almost unanimously, and is as followeth, viz:

Whereas, in consequence of the present unhappy disputes between Great Britain and the colonies, a formidable body of troops, with warlike preparations of every sort, are already arrived at, and others destined for the metropolis of this province; and the express design of their being sent, is to execute acts of the British parliament utterly subversive of the constitution of the province:

And whereas, his Excellency General Gage has attempted, by his troops, to disperse the inhabitants of Salem, whilst assembled to consult measures for preserving their freedom, and to subjugate the province to arbitrary government; and proceeding to still more unjustifiable and alarming lengths, has fortified against the country the capital of the province, and thus greatly endangered the lives, liberties and properties of its oppressed citizens;

Invaded private property, by unlawfully seizing and retaining large quantities of ammunition in the arsenal at Boston, and sundry pieces of ordnance in the same town; committed to the custody of his troops, the arms, ammunition, ordnance, and warlike stores of all sorts, provided at the public expense for the use of the province; and by all possible means endeavored to place the province entirely in a defenseless state;

At the same time having neglected and altogether disregarded the assurances from this Congress of the pacific disposition of the inhabitants of the province, and entreaties that he would cease from measures which tended to prevent a restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the colonies:

Wherefore, it is the opinion of this Congress, that notwithstanding nothing but slavery ought more to be deprecated than hostilities with Great Britain; notwithstanding the province has not the most distant design of attacking, annoying or molesting his majesty’s troops aforesaid;

But, on the other hand, will consider and treat every attempt of the kind, as well as all measures tending to prevent a reconciliation between Britain and the colonies, as the highest degree of enmity to the province;

Nevertheless, there is great reason, from the consideration aforesaid, to be apprehensive of the most fatal consequences, and that the province may be in some degree provided against the same; and under full persuasion that the measures expressed in the following resolves are perfectly consistent with such resolves of the Continental Congress as have been communicated to us.

Resolved, That be a committee of safety, to continue in office until the further order of this or some other Congress or house of representatives of the province; whose business it shall be, most carefully and diligently to inspect and observe all and every such person and persons as shall, at any time, attempt or enterprise the destruction, invasion, detriment or annoyance of this province, &c.;

Which said committee, or any five of them, (provided always, that not more than one of the said five shall be an inhabitant of the town of Boston,) shall have power, and they are hereby directed, whenever they shall judge it necessary for the safety and defense of the inhabitants of this province, and their property, against such person or persons as aforesaid, to alarm, muster and cause to be assembled, with the utmost expedition, and completely armed, accoutered, and supplied with provisions sufficient for their support in their march to the place of rendezvous, such and so many of the militia of this province, as they shall judge necessary for the ends aforesaid, and at such place or places as they shall judge proper, and them to discharge as soon as the safety of the province shall permit.

And this body do most earnestly recommend to all the officers and soldiers of the militia in this province, who shall, from time to time, during the commission of the said committee, receive any call or order from the said committee, to pay the strictest obedience thereto, as they regard the liberties and lives of themselves and the people of this province.

Also, Resolved, That or the major part of them, be a committee, in case of any such muster and assembling of the militia as aforesaid, to make such provision as shall be necessary for their reception and support, until they shall be discharged by order of the said committee of safety;

And also sufficient provisions to support them in their return to their respective homes; and shall also, without delay, purchase and provide, upon the credit of the moneys already granted by the province, not paid into the treasury, so many pieces of cannon and carriages for the same, small arms, such quantities of ammunition and ordnance stores as they shall judge necessary, not exceeding the value of twenty thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven pounds, to be deposited in such secure places as the said committee of safety shall direct.

Also, Resolved, That be and they hereby are appointed officers to command, lead and conduct such of the militia as shall be mustered and assembled by order of the said committee of safety, in manner and for the purposes aforesaid, so long as they shall be retained by the said committee of safety, and no longer, who shall, while in the said service, command in the order in which they are above named.

Also, Resolved, That all the said officers and soldiers who may be mustered and retained in service by the above said committee of safety, for the purposes aforesaid, shall be entitled to such an allowance from this province, as shall be adequate to their services from the time that they shall march from their respective places of abode, until they shall be discharged from the said service, and reasonable time for their return home.

Also, Resolved, That it be recommended to the several companies of militia in this province, who have not already chosen and appointed officers, that they meet forthwith and elect officers to command their respective companies; and that the officers so chosen assemble as soon as may be;

And where the said officers shall judge the limits of the present regiments too extensive, that they divide them, and settle and determine their limits, and proceed to elect field officers to command the respective regiments so formed; and that the field officers so elected, forthwith endeavor to enlist one quarter, at the least, of the number of the respective companies, and form them into companies of fifty privates, at the least, who shall equip and hold themselves in readiness, on the shortest notice from the said committee of safety, to march to the place of rendezvous;

And that each and every company so formed choose a captain and two lieutenants to command them on any such emergent and necessary service as they may be called to by the committee of safety aforesaid;

And that the said captains and subalterns so elected, form the said companies into battalions, to consist of nine companies each;

And that the said captains and subalterns of each battalion so formed, proceed to elect field officers to command the same.

And this Congress doth most earnestly recommend that all the aforesaid elections be proceeded in and made with due deliberation and generous regard for the public service.

Also, Resolved, That, as the security of the lives, liberties, and properties of the inhabitants of this province, depends, under Providence, on their knowledge and skill in the art military, and in their being properly and effectually armed and equipped, it is therefore recommended, that they immediately provide themselves therewith;

That they use their utmost diligence to perfect themselves in military skill; and that, if any of the inhabitants are not provided with arms and ammunition according to law, and that, if any town or district within the province, is not provided with the full town stock of arms and ammunition, according to law, that the selectmen of such town or district take effectual care, without delay, to provide the same.

Resolved, That the blanks in the foregoing report be filled up tomorrow morning, at ten o’clock; and that the committees and officers therein recommended be chosen by ballot.

Resolved, That a committee be appointed- to prepare, in the recess of this Congress, a well digested plan for the regulating and disciplining the militia, placing them in every respect on such a permanent footing as shall render them effectual for the preservation and defense of the good people of this province.

Ordered, That Capt. Heath, Capt. Gardner, Mr. Bigelow, Col. Orne, and Col. Thayer, be a committee to take into consideration what exercise will be best for the people of this province at this time to adopt, and report thereon.

Adjourned to nine o’clock to-morrow morning.


The Massachusetts State Quarter Coin shows with an image of the resolution of the Provincial Congress of October 26, 1774.

Massachusetts State Quarter Coin