As early as the 1600's, images of the pine trees appeared on Massachusetts coins and flags. In April 1776, the Massachusetts Council resolved that its sea service should carry "a white flag, with a green pine-tree, and the inscription, 'An Appeal to Heaven'."
From the first two years of the war, there are many references to this flag flying on New England Vessels. Pine tree flags with no mottoes and with different background colors were also used.
The motto and tree represented the New Englanders' appeal to God and the natural law in their fight against the British Parliament!