Photo of Josiah Bartlett at present location is courtesy of Jennifer Haven, Reference Librarian, Amesbury Public Library. From Works of Karl Gerhardt 1888
The figure, over eight feet in height, stands erect, with head uplifted, "the mouth and the brow are brave in bronze," and one foot pressed forward, "a true embodiment of the independence which Governor Bartlett was prominent in obtaining for his country-men." The costume represents the old-time knee breeches, long waistcoat, and loosely-hanging coat with ruffed cuffs of Revolutionary days, such as Governor Bartlett wore. That the face might be a perfect reproduction, an oil painting of Josiah Bartlett, by Trumbull, was procured in Boston, which was valued so highly that it was deposited in a bank vault every day as the sculptor finished his work. In the right hand is a quill pen and in the left a roll on which is the word "Independence," thus illustrating the subject of the statue. The entire work is considered perfect in every detail, and stands in all the grandeur of enduring bronze, a fitting testimonial to the fame of one of Massachusetts' noble sons.
The following poem concluded the events of a day made memorable in the history of Amesbury:
One Of The SignersO storied vale of Merrimac
Rejoice through all thy shade and shine,
And from his century's sleep call back
A brave and honored son of thine.
Unveil his effigy between
The living and the dead to-day;
The fathers of the Old Thirteen
Shall witness bear as spirits may.
Unseen, unheard, his gray compeers
The shades of Lee and Jefferson,
Wise Franklin reverend with his years
And Carroll, lord of Carrollton!
Be thine henceforth a pride of place
Beyond thy namesake's over-sea,
Where scarce a stone is left to trace
The Holy House of Amesbury.
A prouder memory lingers round
The birthplace of thy true man here
Than that which haunts the refuge found
By Arthur's mythic Guinevere.
The plain deal table where he sat
And signed a nation's title-deed
Is dearer now to fame than that
Which bore the scroll of Runnymede.
Long as, on Freedom's natal morn,
Shall ring the Independence bells,
Give to thy dwellers yet unborn
The lesson which his image tells.
For in that hour of Destiny,
Which tried the men of bravest stock,
He knew the end alone must be
A free land or a traitor's block.
Among those picked and chosen men
Than his, who here first drew his breath,
No firmer fingers held the pen
Which wrote for liberty or death.
Not for their hearths and homes alone,
But for the world their work was done;
On all the winds their thought has flown
Through all the circuit of the sun.
We trace its flight by broken chains,
By songs of grateful Labor still;
To-day, in all her holy fanes,
It rings the bells of freed Brazil.
O hills that watched his boyhood's home,
O earth and air that nursed him, give,
In this memorial semblance, room
To him who shall its bronze outlive!
And thou, O Land he loved, rejoice
That in the countless years to come,
Whenever Freedom needs a voice,
These sculptured lips shall not be dumb!
See Jacob Huntington and Family from Amesbury Carriage Museum