Description: Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey (c. 1711-1779). War-dated manuscript DS, signed "John Hart," as Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly with a six-line endorsement in his hand, two pages, 8.25 x 13, May 24, 1777, [Burlington, New Jersey]. Hart approves, "An Act to Exempt a Number of Men, to be employed at the Iron Works at Batsto and Mount Holly in the County of Burlington, from actual Service in the Militia, under the Restrictions and Regulations therein mentioned." Countersigned by Governor of New Jersey William Livingston (1723-1790), signed "Wil: Livingston Presdt."The resolution, reads in part: "Whereas it is highly expedient that the Army and Navy of the United States of America should be furnished as speedily as possible with a Quantity of Cannon, Cannon Shot, Camp Kettles and other Implements and Utensils of Iron, which the Furnaces at Batso, and the Forge and rolling Mill at Mount Holly... are well adapted to Supply...whereas John Cox...the Proprietor and Conductor of the said Works...that he is now under contract for a large Quantity of the said Articles...that the workmen are necessarily employed in the said Iron Works, being Objects of the Militia Law, are so frequently called away, and some times at those Critical Season of Business which the said Works are peculiarly subject to." The law exempted these men who were deemed critical to supplying the war effort. Scattered light soiling, creasing, and toning (heaviest along central vertical fold), small tape repair to reverse of the second page, and some old pin holes near the top edge, otherwise fine condition.The Batsto Iron Works were established in 1766 by iron master, Charles Reed and purchased by John Cox in 1773. The works manufactured supplies for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War including kettles and cooking pots. The works remained in operation well into the 19th century before the town became a center of glassmaking.
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