Mendon Town Meeting : March 1, 1773

    Mendon's town meeting on March 1, 1773, at the Fourth Meetinghouse, was one of the most important  
    meetings in the town's history. The outcomes had significant impacts, not only on our town, but on the
    thirteen colonies under British rule. A group of six scholarly residents  eloquently proposed a document
    and supported it with fiery orations that shook the rafters of the wooden building. The spirited voters
    gave approval, and the document gained the attention of Boston's Committee of Correspondence and  
    Sons of Liberty. The document helped to define and focus on the issues of colonial discontent  with
    Great Britain, and it became an influence on the thinking in the early days of the American Revolution.  

    The purpose of the meeting was to respond to a letter that the town had received at a February 10
    meeting, three weeks earlier. It was from Boston's Committee of Correspondence in regards to the
    punitive Acts of Parliament that had shut down the Massachusetts state government and closed the
    port of Boston. Voters at the February meeting created a committee to propose a response and present
    it on March 1st. The committee included Joseph Dorr Esq., Edward Rawson, James Sumner, John
    Tyler, Lt. Joseph Johnson, and William Torrey. The presentation was orated by their chairman, Joseph
    Dorr. It was in the form of nineteen resolves or resolutions. The following are a few examples.

    1. Resolved, that all men have naturally an equal right to life, liberty, and property.  2. Resolved, that all
    just and lawful government must necessarily originate in the free consent of the people.  3. Resolved,
    that the good, safety, and happiness of the people is the great end of civil government and must be
    considered as the only rational object in all original compacts and political institutions.  10. Resolved,
    that introducing and quartering standing armies in a free country in times of peace, without the consent
    of the people, is a violation of their rights as free men.  19....voted that the foregoing Resolves be
    entered into the Town Book, that our children in years to come, may know the sentiments of their
    fathers in regard to their invaluable rights and liberties
    .
    Dorr served in the General Court (Mass. Legislature) during the 1760's, and Rawson served during the
    1770's. With their Boston ties, they were closely acquainted with Sam Adams, John Hancock, Paul
    Revere, Joseph Warren, and other leaders of the revolutionary cause. Mendon had representation at all
    meetings of the Committee of Correspondence and the Provincial Congress. Clamors for freedom
    from tyranny from the radicals in Boston echoed off the walls of Mendon's meetinghouse at the north
    end of Old Cemetery.  Historian William Cullen Bryant wrote that Mendon's Resolves and Thomas
    Paine's  "Common Sense" were the first writings that influenced Thomas Jefferson's authorship of the
    Declaration of Independence. The town meeting on March 1, 1773 was one of the most important in
    our town's history. It not only influenced our town, but to some extent, the early beginnings of our nation!

    Richard Grady  --  April 13, 2014

    All nineteen Resolves and William Cullen Bryant's quotes  may be viewed in historian Dan Malloy's
    web site :  hope1842.com

                                                                                     
Mendon Menu   

    The site of the Fourth Meetinghouse. It was sold and dismantled
    in 1843, and the boards currently exist at 8 Hastings Street. A
    barn replaced it later in the 1800’s, owned by the Vincent family.

    The barn overlooks the graves of Joseph Dorr’s parents,
    Reverend Joseph Dorr and Mrs. Mary Dorr.