SAMUEL SHUTE’S COMMISSION as GOVERNOR OF THE PROVINCE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY
15 June, 1716
DRAUGHT OF A COMMISSION FOR SAMUEL SHUTE ESQR TO BE GOVERNOR OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY
May the 10th
George by the Grace of God, king of great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &ca To Our Trusty & Well beloved Samuel Shute Esqr Greeting.
Whereas by a Royal Charter, under the Great Seal of England bearing date the seventh day of Octr in the third Year of the Reign of King William the third, the Colony of the Massachusets Bay, the Colony of New Plimouth, the Province of Maine in New England, the Territory of Accadie or Nova Scotia, and the Lands lying between the said Territory of Nova Scotia and the Province of Maine aforesaid, were united, erected & incorporated into one Real Province, by the name of our Province of the Massachusets Bay in New England, & his said Majesty did thereby grant to our loving Subjects the Inhabitants of our said Province or Territory of the Massachusets Bay in New England & their Successors, that there shall be a Governor, a Lieut Governor & Secretary of our Said Province and Territory, to be from time to time appointed & Commissionated by the said King William, his Heirs and Successors with several Priviledges, Franchises and Immunities thereby granted to our said loving subjects; We therefore reposing especial Trust & Confidence in your Prudence, Courage and Loyalty, out of our especial Grace, certain Knowledge and Meer Motion, have thought fitt to constitute and appoint, and by these Presents, do constitute and appoint You the said Samuel Shute to be our Capt General and Governor in Chief in and over Our said Province of the Massachusets Bay in New England; And for your better Guidance and Direction,
We do hereby require and command you to do and execute all things in due manner, that shall belong unto the Trust We have reposed in you, according to the several Powers and Authorities mentioned in the said Charter, and in these Presents, and such further Powers and Instructions & Authorities as you shall receive, or which shall at any time hereafter be granted or appointed you under our Sign Manual and Signet, or by Order of our Privy Council, in pursuance of the said Charter, and according to such reasonable Laws and Statutes as are now in Force or which hereafter shall be made and agreed upon, in such manner and form as by the said Charter is directed.
To execute this Commission according to Instructions
And Our Will and Pleasure is, that you the said Samuel Shute after the Publication of these our Letters Patents do in the first Place take the Oaths appointed by Act of Parliament to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance & Supremacy & the Oath mentioned in an Act pass’d in the first year of our Reign, entituled, An Act for the further Security of his Majesty’s Person and Government & the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia, being Protestants; And the Extinguishing the Hopes of the Pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret Abettors. As also that you make and subscribe the Declaration mentioned in an Act of Parliamt made in ye 25th year of the Reign of King Charles the 2nd Entituled An Act for preventing Dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants; And likewise that you take the usual Oath for the due Execution of the Office & Trust of our Captn General and Govr in Chief in and over Our said Province, for the due and impartial Administration of Justice; And further that you take the Oath required to be taken by Govrs of Plantations to do their utmost that the several Laws relating to Trade and Plantations, be observed; which said Oaths and Declarations Our Council of Our said Province or any three of the Members thereof have hereby full Power and Authority and are required to tender and administer unto you, and in your Absence to Our Lieut Governor of our said Province, if there be any upon the Place. All which being duly performed, You shall administer to Each of the members of our said Council, and to Our said Lieut Governor, if there be any upon the Place, the said Oaths appointed by Law to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and the Oath mentioned in the said Act entituled, An Act for the further Security of his Majesty’s Person and Govemmt & the succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants, and for extinguishing the Hopes of the Pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret Abettors. As also to cause them to make and subscribe the foremention’d Declaration, & to administer to them the Oath for the due Execution of their Places and Trusts. As also that you administer or cause to be administered unto all the Members that shall be elected to serve in the Generall Assembly of our said Province the said Oaths appointed by Act of Parliament to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance Supremacy, and the Oath mention’d in the foresaid Act Entituled, An Act for the further Security of his Majesty’s Person and Government & the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants, and for extinguishing the Hopes of the Pretended Prince of Wales, and his open and secret Abettors. And likewise cause them to make and subscribe the forementioned Declaration, And until the same shall be so taken & subscribed, no person shall be capable of sitting, tho’ elected.
To take the Oaths
To administer the Oaths to the Lt Govr and Council
To Administer the Oaths to Assembly Men
And We do hereby give and grant unto you full Power and Authority, where you shall see cause, and shall judge any Offender or Offenders in Capitall or Criminal Matters, or for any Fines or Forfeitures due unto Us, fit objects of our Mercy, to pardon all such Offenders, & to remit such Fines and Forfeitures (Treason and Wilfull Murder only excepted) In which Cases you shall likewise have Power upon extraordinary Occasions to grant Reprieves to the Offenders therein, to the End and until our Pleasure shall be further known.
To pardon or Reprieve Offenders
And We do hereby give and grant unto You the said Samuel Shute, by yourself, your Captains & Commanders by you to be Authorized, full Power and Authority, to levy, arm, muster, Com̄and or employ all Persons whatsoever, residing within our said Province & Territory of the Massachusets Bay in New England, and as occasion shall require, them to transport from one Place to another, for resisting & withstanding of all Enemies, Pirates & Rebels, both at Land & Sea, and such Forces with their own Consent or with the Consent of our Council and Assembly to transport to any of our Plantations in America as occasion shall require, for the Defence of the same, against the Invasion or Attempts of any of our Enemies; and such Enemies, Pirates and Rebels, if occasion shall require, to persue and prosecute in or out of the Limits of our said Province or any parts thereof.
To Arm &c the People against Enemies
And if it shall so please God, them to vanquish apprehend and take, and being taken, either according to the Law of Arms, to put to Death, or to keep and preserve alive, at your Discretion.
To put Enemies to Death at Discretion
We do further give and grant unto you full Power and Authority to erect, raise and build, within our Province and Territory aforesaid, such and so many Forts, Platforms, Castles and Fortifications as you shall judge necessary; And the same or any of them to fortify and furnish with Ordinance, Ammunition, and all sorts of Arms, fit and necessary for the Security and Defence of our said Province, and from time to time to commit the Government of the same to such Person or Persons as to you shall seem meet, and the said Forts and Fortifications again to demolish or dismantle as may be most Convenient; And to do and execute all & every other thing wch to a Captain Genl doth or ought of Right to belong, as fully & amply as any other our Capt General doth or hath usually done, according to the Powers hereby granted or to be granted to You.
To build Forts
And we do hereby give and grant unto You the said Samuel Shute full Power and Authority to constitute and appoint Captains, Masters and other Commanders of Ships, and grant unto such Captains, Masters and other Commanders of Ships, Commissions to execute the Law Martial, during the time of actual War, Invasion or Insurrection, and to use such Proceedings, Authorities, Punishmts Correction & Execution upon any Offender or Offenders which shall be Mutinous, Seditious, disorderly or any way unruly either at sea, or during the time of their Abode or Residence in any of the Ports, Harbours or Bays of our said Province and Territory, as the Cause shall be found to require, according to Martial Law, during the time of War, as aforesaid.
To appoint Commander of ships
Provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed to the inabling you or any by your Authority, to hold plea or have Jurisdiction of any Offence, Cause Matter or thing committed or done upon the high Sea, or within any of the Havens Rivers or Creeks of our said Province or Territories under your Governmt by any Captain, Commander, Lieut, Master or other Officer, Seaman, Soldier or Person whatsoever, who shall be in actual Service & Pay in or on Board any of our Ships of War or other Vessells acting by Immediate Commission or Warrant from our Commissrs for executing the Office of Our High Admiral of Great Brittain under the Seal of Our Admiralty, or from our High Admiral of Great Brittain for the time being; But that such Captain, Commander, Lieut, Master, officer Seaman, Soldier or other Person so offending, shall be left to be proceeded against, and tryed, as the merit of their Offences shall require, either by Commission under our Great Seal of Great Brittain, as the Statute of the 28th of Henry the 8th directs, or by Commission from our said Commissioners for executing the Office of Our High Admiral of Great Britain or from Our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being, according to the Act of Parliamt passed in the 13th year of the Reign of King Charles the 2d, Entituled An Act for the establishing Articles and Orders for the regulating and better Government of His Majesty’s Navy, Ships of War and Forces by sea, and not otherwise. Provided also that all Disorders and Misdemeanors committed on Shore, by any Capt, Commander, Lieut, Master or other Officer, Seaman, Soldier or Person whatsoever, belonging to any of Our Ships of War, or other Vessells, acting by im̄ediate Commission or Warrant from Our Commissrs for Executing the Office of Our High Admiral of Great Brittain under the Seal of our Admiralty, or from Our High Admiral of Great Brittain for the time being, may be tryed and punished according to the Laws of the Place, where any such Disorders, Offences & Misdemeanors shall be so committed on shore, notwithstanding such Offender be in Our actual service, & born in our Pay on Board any such our Ships of War or other Vessells acting by Immediate Commission or Warrant from Our Commissrs for executing the Office of Our High Admiral, or from Our High Admiral, as aforesaid, so as He shall not receive any Protection for the avoiding of Justice, for such Offences com̄itted on shore from any pretence of his being imployed in Our Service at Sea.
Not to punish offences on Board Ships of War
And further Our Will & Pleasure is, that you shall not at any time hereafter, by colour of any Power or Authority hereby granted or mention’d to be granted, take upon You to give, grant or dispose of any Office or Place within our said Province and Territories, which now is, or shall be granted, under the Great Seal of Great Brittain, any further than that You may upon the Vacancy of any such Office or Suspension of any Officer by You, put in any Person to officiate in the Interval until the said place be disposed of, by Us Our Heirs, or Successors under the Great Seal of Great Brittain, or that Our Directions be otherwise given therein.
Not to dispose of Patent Places
And We do hereby require and Command all Officers and Ministers Civil and Military, And all other the Inhabitants of Our said Province and Territory, to be obedient, aiding and assisting unto you the said Samuel Shute in the Execution of this Our Commissn and of the Powers & Authorities therein contain’d, and in case of your Death or Absence out of Our said Province and Territories, to be obedient, aiding and assisting unto such Person as shall be appointed by Us to be Our Lieut Governor Commander in Chief of Our said Province and Territories, to whom We do therefore by these Presents give and grant all and singular the Powers and Authorities herein granted, to be by him executed and enjoyed during Our Pleasure, or until your Arrival within Our said Province.
All persons to aid the Governor
And if upon your Death, or Absence out of Our said Province, there be no Person upon the Place commissionated or appointed by us to be our Lieut Govr or Commander in Chief of Our said Province and Territories, Our Will and Pleasure is, that Our Council of Our said Province for the time being do take upon them the Administration of the Government, and execute Our said Commission and Instructions, and the several Powers and Authorities therein contained, in the same manner and to all Intents and Purposes, as Our Govr or Commander in Chief of Our said Province & Territory should or ought to do in case of your Absence untill your Return or in all cases untill Our further109 be known therein and that in such case the Eldest Councillor: present at each Meeting of the said Council shall always preside therein.
Devolution of Government
And Our Pleasure is that You the said Samuel Shute shall and may hold execute and enjoy the Office and Place of Our Capt General and Govr in Chief in and over Our said Province and Territories of the Massachusets Bay in New England, with all and singular the Powers and Authorities hereby granted unto You, for & during Our Will and Pleasure.
To be Govr during the King’s Pleasure
And whereas there are divers Colonies adjoyning to Our Province of the Massachusets Bay, for the Defence and Security whereof, it is requisite that due care be taken in the time of War, We have therefore thought it further necessary for Our Service, and for the better Protection & Security of Our Subjects inhabiting those Parts, to constitute and appoint, And We do by these Presents constitute and appoint You the said Saml Shute to be Our Capt General and Commander in Chief of the Militia and of all the Forces by Sea and Land, within Our Collonies of Rhode Island & Providence Plantation, the Narraganset Country or King’s Province, and of all Our Forts and Places of Strength within the same in time of War or imminent Danger.
To Command the Militia of Rhode Island
And for the better ordering Governing, and ruling Our said Militia & all Our Forces, Forts and Places of Strength within Our said Colonies of Rhode Island & Providence Plantation, and the Narraganset Country or King’s Province; We do hereby give and grant unto You the said Samuel Shute, and in your absence to Our Lieut Govr or Commander in Chief of Our Province of the Massachusets Bay, all & every the like Powers as in these Presents are before granted and recited, for the Ruling, Governing and Ordering our Militia, and all Our Forces, Forts & Places of Strength within Our Province of the Massachusets Bay to be exercised by You the said Samuel Shute and in your Absence from Our Territory and Dominion of New England, by Our said Lieut Govr or Commander in Chief of our said Province of the Massachusets Bay for the time being, within Our said Colonies of Rhode Island & Providence Plantation, & the Narraganset Country or King’s Province, during time of War or imminent Danger, as aforesaid.
Lieut Governor To Command the same Militia of Rhode Island in Govrs Absence
Lastly, We have revoked, determined & made void, & by these Presents do revoke, determine & make void the like Commission or Letters Patents granted by Us unto Elizeus commission Burgess Esqr for the Govt of our said Province of ye Massachusets Bay, under the Great Seal of Great Brittain bearing Date at Westminster the day of in the first Year of our Reign,
Revocation of Col: Burgess’s Commission
In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Lrs to be made Patents. Witness Ourself at Westminster, the day of second Year of Our Reign.
Teste 15o Junii 1716, Ao Regni 2do
— Public Record Office, Colonial Office, Class 5, Volume 914, pp. 331–368.