After Lexington and Concord, A Rare Broadside Urging the Election of Son of Liberty and Patriot Firebrand Isaac Sears to the New York Provisional Congress

Printed by John Holt just before the Battle of Bunker Hill, this broadside belonged to New York Merchant Henry Remsen

We found no copies of this Revolutionary Era broadside having reached the market; The only other copies we have managed to locate are in the Library of Congress and the Library Company of Philadelphia

Between 1775 and 1776, the term “provincial congress” (in some colonies “provincial convention”) was used to describe the...

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After Lexington and Concord, A Rare Broadside Urging the Election of Son of Liberty and Patriot Firebrand Isaac Sears to the New York Provisional Congress

Printed by John Holt just before the Battle of Bunker Hill, this broadside belonged to New York Merchant Henry Remsen

We found no copies of this Revolutionary Era broadside having reached the market; The only other copies we have managed to locate are in the Library of Congress and the Library Company of Philadelphia

Between 1775 and 1776, the term “provincial congress” (in some colonies “provincial convention”) was used to describe the primary revolutionary body managing the transition of power from traditional colonial legislative assemblies to independent state legislatures. Inasmuch as the traditional assemblies had been perceived as the “people’s house,” from the early seventeenth century on, it was natural that the popularly elected provincial congresses saw themselves as transitory representatives meeting in lieu of legally considered lower houses of the colonial legislatures. In sum, the Americans were inventing government as they went along.

On April 23, 1775, news of the Battles of Lexington and Concord arrived in New York.

The First Provincial Congress was convened in New York City on May 22, 1775. The congress adapted a “plan of Accommodation between Great Britain and America”, which it sent to its delegates to the Continental Congress urging extreme caution in the quarrel with England. The plan demanded the English authorities repeal all unconstitutional laws affecting the colonies and an acknowledgement of the right of the colonies to self-taxation. In return New York promised to contribute to the costs of defense, the maintenance of civil government, and to recognize England’s right to regulate imperial trade.

Isaac Sears was an early New York merchant and patriot, who opposed the Stamp Act and helped organize the Sons of Liberty in 1765. On April 15, 1775, he was arrested for his anti-British activities, but was rescued at the prison door by his supporters and paraded through the streets as a hero. When news of the Battle of Lexington arrived he and his followers seized the arsenal at the Custom House. He was the de facto commander of New York City until Washington’s Army arrived in June 1776. Sears was an uncompromising presence in the Congress.

Henry Remsen was a noted NY merchant and Deputy Chair of the Provincial Congress.

Printed Broadside, signed in print by Henry Remsen, June 5, 1775: By order of the committee, Henry Remsen, dep. chairman; Ascribed to the press of John Holt by Evans (Evans number: 14331); being the copy handed down through the direct Remsen descendants.

“Resolved, that Mr. Isaac Sears, be nominated by this Committee, for the approbation of the freeholders and freemen, of this city and county, to represent them in Provincial Congress, in the room of Mr. George Folliott, who declines serving: – And that Mr. William Bedlow and Mr. John Woodward, be also nominated as members of this Committee, instead of Mr. John Woodword, be also nominated as members of this committee, instead of Mr. George Folliot, and of Mr. Samuel Jones, who never has attended.

Ordered, that a poll be opened at the City Hall, on Thursday the eighth instant, at nine o’clock in the morning, to elect the above persons, or such others as may be approved of, for the above purposes; at which time and place the freeholders and freemen are requested to attend – The poll will be under the inspecton of Messrs. Robert Ray, and Evert Banker, and the Westrymen of the North-Ward.”

We found no copies of this having reached the market; ESTC lists two copies in the United States. This is Remsen’s copy, passed down by his descendants, and offered for sale here for the first time.

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