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Deerfield Town Warrant regarding making peace with Great Britain
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This town meeting warrant from Deerfield, Massachusetts, dated January of 1781 shows that early town meetings sometimes dealt with national and international issues. This warrant calls on the town meeting to instruct the local representative to the Massachusetts General Court (legislature) to support peace negotiations with the British. Prior to their defeat at the battle of Yorktown (October, 1781), the British had proposed a peace that accepted most American demands but did not grant independence. The town meeting resolution in Deerfield was promoted by local "loyalists" (British sympathizers) and passed by a vote of 34 to 31. It essentially supported the British position. The same town meeting majority also had resisted voting support for George Washington's army a few weeks earlier. The leaders of the Massachusetts General Court rejected the Deerfield petition and local loyalists were threatened with arrest.
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