Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Committee of Safety

   Here from the journal of the Second Provincial Congress is the resolution, dated May 19,1775  authorizing a Committee of Safety and ratifying all of the acts of its predecessor Committee of Safety that had been established by the First Provincial Congress.

   And it is also Resolved, That [Hon John Hancock, Esq., Doct Joseph Warren, Doct Benjamin Church, Capt Benjamin White, Col Joseph Palmer, Mr. Richard Devens, Mr Abraham Watson, Mr. John Pigeon, Col Azor Orne, Hon Benjamin Greenleaf, Esq., Mr. Nathan Cushing, Doct Samuel Holten, Hon Enoch Freeman, Esq.,] be a committee of safety for this colony hereafter, until some further order of this, or some future congress or house of representatives of this colony shall revoke their, or either of their appointments.
   And it is also Resolved, That the said committee of safety shall be, and hereby are empowered, when they shall think it necessary, in defence of the lives and properties of the inhabitants of this colony, to assemble such and so many of the militia thereof, and then to dispose and place where, and detain so long, as the said committee of safety of this colony shall admit of it; and the officers of the said militia are herby enjoined to pay strict obedience to the orders and directions of the said committee of safety.  
   And it is also Resolved, That the said committee of safety shall be, and herby are empowered, to direct the army of this colony to be stationed where the said committee of safety shall judge most conducive to the defence and service of the colony; and the general, and other officers of the army, are required to render strict obedience to such orders of said committee: provided always, that it shall be in the power of this, or any future congress, to control any order of the said committee of safety, respecting this or any other matter.
   And, whereas, the former committee of safety were, by a resolve of this congress, empowered to nominate persons to this congress, to be commissioned to be officers in the army now establishing for the defence of this colony, and said committee having already given orders to a number of persons, to enlist men for that purpose: Resolved, that the committee of safety now appointed, proceed in that matter, that such officers, where the regiments are completed, may be commissioned by this Congress; and if any regiments should be nearly completed, and the officers thereof ready to be commissioned, agreeably to the resolve of this Congress, during the time between the dissolution of this Congress and the meeting of the next, the said committee shall have power to fill up and deliver out commissions to them, and blank commissions, signed by the president of this Congress, and attested by the secretary, shall be delivered to the said committee for this purpose.
   And it is also Resolved, That any five of the said committee be a quorum, with full power to transact any business which the committee, by the resolves above, are empowered and vested with the authority to do.

   The Committee members were listed in order of importance. This resolution was enacted after Lexington/Concord and before Bunker Hill.
Samuel Holten House, Danvers, Massachusetts. Holten gave up his medical practice to serve the revolution. He later became a judge, signed the Articles of Confederation and became an early member of Congress.

The ancestral home of Colonel Azor Orne in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Col Orne was with Elbridge Gerry in Weathersby's Tavern on April 18/19, 1775.

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