John Hancock Appoints a Revolutionary War General to Serve as Justice of the Peace – to Enforce the Laws and Do Justice

The document is also signed by Revolutionary War General Benjamin Lincoln, who accepted the British surrender at Yorktown.

January 7, 1789 was in a sense the culmination of the American Revolution. The United States held its first presidential election, in accordance with procedures set out in the Constitution, and elected George Washington as its first President. This was a result that John Hancock had fought so long and hard to...

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John Hancock Appoints a Revolutionary War General to Serve as Justice of the Peace – to Enforce the Laws and Do Justice

The document is also signed by Revolutionary War General Benjamin Lincoln, who accepted the British surrender at Yorktown.

January 7, 1789 was in a sense the culmination of the American Revolution. The United States held its first presidential election, in accordance with procedures set out in the Constitution, and elected George Washington as its first President. This was a result that John Hancock had fought so long and hard to achieve.

John Frost, who had been an officer in the French and Indian War, served the patriot cause in the Revolutionary War. He commanded a regiment of Maine men as a colonel in the New York campaign. Thereafter he was brigadier general of the York County Militia through to the end of thew war. He also served in the Massachusetts legislature, the General Court.

Document signed, during his second term as Governor of Massachusetts, Boston, January 9, 1789, just two days after the first election under the Constitution, naming “The Honorable John Frost, Esq. of Kittery” a justice of the peace in the “county of York, for the term of seven years if he shall during that time behave well in the same office.” The document further authorizes Frost to see that the laws are adhered to, and do as justice requires, according to the laws of the Commonwealth. The state seal remains present. York County, then in Massachusetts, is now part of Maine.

On the verso of the document is its certification, dated March 20, 1789. “John Frost Esq. appeared & subscribed the declaration and took the several oaths required by the Constitution of this Commonwealth to qualify himself for the trust reposed in him by virtue  of the within commission.” It is signed by Benjamin Lincoln as Lieut. Governor, a post he held for just one year.

Lincoln was himself a Major General in the Revolutionary War, and was notable for being involved in three major surrenders of the war: his participation in the Battle of Saratoga (sustaining a wound shortly afterward) contributed to Burgoyne’s surrender of a large British army; he oversaw the largest American surrender of the war at the 1780 Siege of Charleston; and, as George Washington’s second in command, he formally accepted the British surrender at Yorktown.

A rare document for being signed by both Hancock and Lincoln, the first we have had.

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