COMMISSIONS of the PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL FOR NEW ENGLAND 1685 of the GOVERNOR OF THE TERRITORY AND DOMINION OF NEW ENGLAND 1686–1688 and of the GOVERNORS OF THE PROVINCE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY 1691–1774
JOSEPH DUDLEY’S COMMISSION as PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL FOR NEW ENGLAND
8 October, 168584
James the Second by the Grace of God &c To all to Whome these Presents shall come Greeting
Whereas a Writt of Scire facias hath been issued out of our high Court of Chancery against the late Governor & Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Whereby the Government of that Colony & members thereof is now in our hands and Wee being minded to give all protec͞con & Encouragement to our good subjects therein and to provide in the most effectuall manner that due & impartiall Justice may bee admistred in all cases Civill and Criminall and that all possible care may be taken for the just quiet & orderly government of the same know yee therefore that Wee by and with the advice of our Privy Councell have thought fitt to Erect & Constitute and by these prsents for us our heires & Successors do Erect constitute and apoint a President & Councill to take care of all that our Territory & Dominion of New England in America co͞only called & knowne by the name of our Colony of the Massachusetts Bay and our Provinces of New Hampshire & Maine and the Narragansett Country otherwise called the Kings Province with all the Islands Eights and Members thereunto apperteyning and to Order rule & governe the same according to such methods & Regulaco͞ns as are herein after specified & declared vntill our Cheif Governor shall arrive within our said Colonyes And for the better execuc͠on of our Eoyall pleasure in this behalfe Wee do hereby noi͞a͞te & appoint our trusty & Welbeloved subject Joseph Dudley Esqr to be the first President of the said Councell and to continue in the said Office vntill we our Heires or Successors shall otherwise direct And Wee do likewise no͞i͞ate & appoint our Trusty & welbeloved subjects Simon Bradstreet William Stoughton Peter Bulkley John Pinchon Robert Mason Richard Wharton Wait Winthorp Nathaniel Saltenstall Bartholomew Gidney Jonathan Trigg85 John Usher Dudley Bradstreet John Hincks Francis Champernoon Edward Ting John Fitz Winthrop & Edward Randolph Esqrs to be of our Councell within our said Territories & Colonies And that the said Joseph Dudley and every succeeding President of the said Councell shall & may nominate & appoint any one of the members of the said Councell for the time being to be his Deputy and to Preside in his absence And that the said President or his Deputy and any Seaven of the said Councell shalbe a Quorum and our expresse Will and pleasure is that no person shalbe admitted to sitt or have a vote in the said Councell vntill he hath taken the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath hereafter menco͞ned for the due & impartiall Execuco͞n of Justice & the faithfull discharge of the trust in them reposed which Oathes wee do hereby authorize & direct the said Simon Bradstreet William Staughton86 Peter Bulkeley John Pinchon Robert Mason Richard Wharton Wait Winthrop Nathaniel Saltenstall Bartholomew Gidney Jonathan Ting87 John Usher Dudley Bradhurst88 John Hincks Henry89 Champernon Edward Ting John Fitz-Winthrop & Edward Randolph or any three of them first to administer vnto the said Joseph Dudley the First President and the said Joseph Dudley having first taken the said oaths Wee do Will authorize and require him and the President for the time being to administer the same from time to time to all & every other the members of our said Councell And wee do hereby will & require & Comand our said President & Councell and every of them to Whom this our pleasure shalbe made known that all excuses whatsoever sett apart they fail not to assemble & meet together at our Towne of Boston in New England assoon as may be within the space of Twenty dayes at the furthest next after the arrivall of this Our Comission at Our said Towne of Boston and there to cause this our Comission or letters Patents to be read before such of them as shall be there assembled together with the Exemplificaco͞n of the Judgemt passed in high90 Court of Chancery against the said late Governor & Company of the Massachusetts Bay And having duely first taken the said Oathes to proceed to choose no͞i͞ate & appoint such Officers & servants as they shall fitt & necessary for Our service and also to appoint such other time & place for their future meetings as they or the major part of them whereof the president or his Deputy to be one shall thinke fitt & agree And our Will & Pleasure is that our said Councell shall from time to time have & vse such Seal only for the Sealing their Acts and Orders & Proceedings as shall be appointed by vs our heires & successors for that purpose And Wee do by these prsents for vs our heires and successors constitute establish declare & appoint our said President & Councell and their Successors for the time being to be a Constant & settled Court of Record for the administraco͞n of Justice to all our subjects inhabiting within the limitts aforesaid in all Causes aswell Civill as Criminall And that the President or any seaven of the Councell for the time being shall have full power & authority to hold Plea in all Cases from time to time aswell in pleas of the Crowne and in all matters relating to the conservaco͞n of the Peace and punishment of Offenders as in Civill Suits and Acco͞ns between party & party or between vs and any of our subjects there whether the same do concern the Realty & relate to any right of Freehold & Inheritance or whether the same do concern the personalty and relate to some matter of debt Contract damage or other personall Injury And also in all mixt Ac͞cons which may concern both Reality & psonality and therein after due & orderly proceedings & deliberate hearing of both sides to give Judgement & to award Execuco͞n aswell in Criminall as in Civill Cases as aforesaid so alwaies that the formes of proceedings in such Cases & the Judgements thereupon to be given be as consonant & agreeable to the Lawes & Statutes of this our Realme of England as the prsent State & Condico͞n of our subjects Inhabiting within the Limitts aforesaid and the circumstances of the place will admitt And the President & Councell for the time being and every one of them respectively before they be admitted to their severall & respective offices & charges shall also take this oath following you shall sweare well & truely to administer Justice to all his ma͞ties good subjects inhabiting within the Territory and Dominion of New England vnder this his ma͞ties Government and also duely & faithfully to discharge & execute the trusts in you reposed according to the best of your knowledge you shall spare no person for favor or affecc̄on nor any person grieve for hatred or ill will So help you God And Wee doe further hereby give & grant vnto our said President & Councell or to the major part of them full power & authority to erect constitute & establish such and soe many County Courts & other Inferior Courts of Judicature & publick Justice within our said Colony & Dominion as they shall think fitt and necessary for the hearing & determining of all Causes aswell Criminall as Civill according to Law & equity and for awarding of execuco͞n thereupon with all reasonable & necessary powers authoritys Fees & priviledges belonging vnto them Nevertheless It is our Will & pleasure and soe we do hereby expressly declare that it shall and may be lawful from time to time to & for all and every person who shall think him or themselves aggrieved by any sentence Judgement or decree ꝑ nounced given or made as aforesaid in about or concerning the title of any Land Or other reall estate or in any personall Ac͞con or suit above the value of three hundred pounds & not vnder to appeale from such Judgement Sentence & Decree vnto vs in our Privy Councel But with & vnder this Caution & limitaco͞n that the Appellant shall first enter into and give good Security to pay full costs in case no Releife shall be obteyned vpon such Appeale And for the better defence & security of all our Loving Subjects within our said Territory & Dominion of New England our further Will & pleasure is and Wee do hereby authorize require & Comand our said President & Councell for the time being in Our name and vnder the Seale by vs appointed or to bee appointed to be vsed to give & yssue forth Comissions from time to time to such person & persons whom they shall Judge best qualified for the Regulaco͞n & discipline of the militia of our said Territory & Dominion and for the arraying & mustering the Inhabitants thereof & instructing them how to beare & vse their Armes and that care be taken that such good discipline shall be observed as by the said Councell shalbe prescribed And that if any Invasions shall at any time be made or other destrucco͞n Detriment or annoyance made or done by Indians or others vpon or vnto our good subjects inhabiting within the sayd Territory & Dominion We by these prsents for vs our heires and Successors declare ordeyne & grant that it shall & may bee lawfull to & for our said subjects so comissioned by our said Councell from time to time and at all times for their speciall defence & safety to encounter expel repell & resist by force of armes and all other fitting wayes & means whatsoever all and every such person & persons as shall at any time hereafter attempt or enterprize the destrucco͞n Invasion detrement or Annoyance of any of our said Loving Subjects or their plantaco͞ns or Estates And above all things Wee do by these prsents will require & Comand Our said Councell to take all possible Care for the discountenance of all vice and incouragemt of vertue & good Living that by such Example the Infidells may bee invited & desire to partake of the Christian Religion And for the greater Ease & satisfacco͞n of our said loving subjects in matter of Religion Wee do hereby will require & comand that liberty of Conscience shalbe allowed vnto all persons and that such especially as shall be conformable to the Rites of the Church of England shalbe ꝑticulerly countenanced and encouraged And further Wee do by these prsents for vs our heires & successors give & grant vnto the said Councell & their successors for the time being full & free liberty power & authority to heare & determine in all emergencies relating to the peace & good Government of our Subjects within the said Province and also to sum̄on & convene any person or persons before them and Punish Contempts and to cause the oath of Allegiance to be administred to all & every person & persons who shalbe admitted to any office or preferment and for supporting the charge of the Government of our said Territory & Dominion in New England, Our Will & pleasure is, and We do by these presents authorize & require the said President & Councell to continue such Taxes & Imposico͞ns as have been & now are laid & imposed vpon the Inhabitants thereof and that they levy & distribute, or cause the same to be levied & distributed to these Ends in the best & most equall manner they can. Also our will and pleasure is And Wee do hereby direct & appoint that if the said President of Our Councell shall happen to dy that then from and after the death of the said President, his Deputy, shall succeed him in the Office of President, and shall & may nominate and Choose any one of the said Councell to be his Deputy to prside in his absence And the said Deputy so succeeding shall continue in the said Office of President vntill our further Will & pleasure bee knowne therein And if any of the members of the said Councell shall happen to dy Our Will & pleasure is and Wee do hereby direct & appoint the President of our Councell for the time being to elect some other person to be a member of the said Councell for that time, and to send over the name of such person soe chosen, and the names of two more Whom our said President shall judge fittly qualified for the said trust that We our heires & successors may nominate & appoint which of the three shall be the member in the place of the member so dying And lastly our will & pleasure is that the said President & Councell for the time being do prpare and send vnto vs such rules & methods for their owne proceedings as may best suit with the constituco͞n of our Territory & Dominion aforesaid and for the better establishing our authority there and the government thereof that We may alter or approve the same as Wee shall think fitt. In Witnes &c. Witnes the King at Westmr the eighth of October per ipsum Regem.
De Concessione Presidenti et Concilio in Nova Anglia
— Public Record Office, Patent Roll, 1 James II, Part 8, No. 14.