The City Seal was adopted by "An ordinance to establish the City Seal," passed January 2, 1823. The ordinance provides that the seal shall:
- be circular in form,
- bear a view of the city,
- include the motto "SICUT PATRIBUS, SIT DEUS NOBIS,"
- include the inscription "BOSTONIA CONDITA AD. 1630 CIVITATIS REGIMINE DONATA AD. 1822,"
The design was sketched by John R. Penniman. The motto is taken from 1 Kings viii: 57. It is translated as "God be with us as he was with our fathers."
The seal first shown on page 221 of the Volume of Laws and Ordinances, commonly known as the "First Revision," published in 1827. It is established as the City Seal at the present time by Revised Ordinances of 1914, Chapter I, Section 5.