THOMAS GAGE’S COMMISSION as VICE-ADMIRAL OF THE PROVINCE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY
5 April, 1774
George the Third by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland king defender of the Faith. To our beloved the honble Thomas Gage Esquire Lieutenant General of our Forces and our Captain General and Governor in Chief of our Province of Massachusetts Bay in America Greeting.
We confiding very much in your fidelity care and circumspection in this behalf do by these presents which are to continue during our pleasure only, ordain, constitute and depute you the said Thomas Gage Esquire our Captain General and Governor in Chief aforesaid, our Vice Admiral Commissary and Deputy in the office of Vice Admiralty in our Province of Massachusetts Bay in America aforesaid and Territories thereon depending in the room of Thomas Hutchinson Esqr and in the Maritime parts of the same and thereto adjoining whatsoever with power of taking and receiving all and every of the Fees, profits, advantages, emoluments Commodities and appurtenances whatsoever due and belonging to the said office of Vice Admiral, Commissary and Deputy in our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories dependant thereon and maritime parts of the same and adjoining to them whatsoever according to the Ordinances and Statutes of our high Court of Admiralty of England and We do hereby commit and grant unto you the aforesaid Thomas Gage Esquire our power and authority in and throughout our Province of Massa Bay in America aforementioned and Territories thereof and maritime parts whatsoever adjacent thereto and also throughout all and every the Sea shores, public streams, Ports, fresh waters, Rivers, Creeks and Arms as well of the sea as of the Rivers and Coasts whatsoever of our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories dependant thereon & maritime parts whatsoever of the same and thereto adjacent as well within liberties and franchises as without to take cognizance of and proceed in all causes Civil & Maritime and in Complaints, Contracts, offences or suspected offences, Crimes, pleas, debts, Exchanges, accounts, Charter parties, agreements, Suits, trespasses, injuries, extortions and demands and businesses Civil and Maritime whatsoever commenced or to be commenced between Merchants or between owners and proprietors of Ships and other Vessels and Merchants or others whomsoever with such owners and proprietors of Ships and all other Vessels whatsoever employed or used within the maritime Jurisdiction of our Vice Admiralty of our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America aforementioned and Territories depending on the same or between any other persons whomsoever had, made began or contracted for any matter, thing, cause or business whatsoever done or to be done within our maritime Jurisdiction aforesaid, together with all and singular the incidents, emergencies, dependencies annexed and connexed causes whatsoever wheresoever or howsoever and such Causes, Complaints, Contracts and other the premises abovesaid or any of them which may happen to arise be contracted had or done to hear and determine according to the Rights Statutes, Laws Ordinances and Customs anciently observed and moreover in all and singular complaints, contracts, agreements, causes and businesses civil and maritime to be performed beyond the Sea or contracted there howsoever arising happening and also in all and singular other Causes and matters which in any matter whatsoever touch or any way concern or anciently have & do or ought to belong unto the Maritime Jurisdiction of our aforesaid Vice Admiralty in our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories thereon depending and Maritime parts thereof and to the same adjoining whatsoever and generally in all and singular other Causes, Suits, Crimes, offences, Excesses, injuries, complaints, misdemeanors or suspected misdemeanors Trespasses, regratings, forestallings and Maritime businesses whatsoever throughout the places aforesaid within the maritime Jurisdiction of our Vice Admiralty of our Province of Massachusetts Bay in America aforesaid and Territories thereon depending by Sea or water or the Banks or Shores of the same howsoever done, committed, perpetrated or happening And also to enquire by the Oath of honest and lawful Men of our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories dependant thereon & maritime parts of the same and adjoining to them whatsoever dwelling hath within liberties and franchises and without as well of all and singular such matters and things which of right and by the Statutes Laws and Ordinances and customs anciently observed were wont and ought to be enquired after as of Wreck of the Sea and of all and singular the Goods and Chattels of whatsoever Traitors Pirates, manslayers and Felons howsoever offending within the Maritime Jurisdiction of our Vice Admiralty of our Province of Massachusetts Bay in America aforementioned and Territories thereunto belonging and of the Goods, Chattels and debts of all and singular their maintainers, accessaries, counsellors, abettors or assistants whomsoever And also of the Goods, debts and Chattels of whatsoever person or persons, felons of themselves by what means or howsoever coming to their death within our aforesaid Maritime Jurisdiction wheresoever any such Goods, debts & Chattels or any parcel thereof by Sea, Water or Land in our said Province of Massa Bay in America and Territories thereon dependant and maritime parts of the same and thereto adjacent whatsoever as well within liberties and franchises as without have been or shall be found forfeited or to be forfeited or in being And moreover as well of the Goods, debts and Chattels of whatsoever other Traitors, felons & manslayers wheresoever offending and of the Goods, debts and Chattels of their maintainers, accessaries, Councellors abettors or assistants as of the Goods, debts and Chattels of all fugitives, persons convicted attainted, condemned, outlawed or howsoever put or to be put in exigent for Treason Felony, Manslaughter or Murder or any other offence or crime whatsoever And also concerning Goods waving flotson Jetson Lagon shares and treasure found or to be found deodands and of the Goods of all others whatsoever taken or to be taken as derelict or by chance found or to be found or howsoever done or to be done and of all other casualties as well in upon or by the Sea and Shores Creeks or Coasts of the Sea or Maritime parts as in upon or by all fresh waters, ports, public streams Rivers or Creeks or places overflown whatsoever within the ebbing and flowing of the Sea or high water or upon the shores or Banks of any of the same within our maritime Jurisdiction aforesaid howsoever whensoever or by what means soever arising happening or proceeding or wheresoever such Goods debts and Chattels or other the premises or any parcel thereof may or shall happen to be met with or found within our maritime Jurisdiction aforesaid And also concerning Anchorage, lastage and ballast of Ships and of Fishes Royal namely Sturgeons, Whales, porpusses, dolphins, Riggs and Crampusses196 & generally of all other Fishes whatsoever which are of a great or very large bulk or fatness anciently by right or custom or any way appertaining or belonging to us and to ask require levy take collect receive and obtain and to the use of us and the office of our high admiral of Great Britain aforesaid for the time being to keep and preserve the said Wreck of the Sea and the Goods, debts and chattels and all and singular other the premises together with all and all manner of fines, mulcts, issues, forfeitures, amerciaments, ransoms and recognizances whatsoever forfeited or to be forfeited and pecuniary punishments for Trespasses crimes injuries, extortions, contempts and other misdemeanors whatsoever howsoever imposed or inflicted or to be imposed or inflicted for any matter cause or thing whatsoever in our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories thereunto belonging and maritime parts of the same and thereto adjoining in any Court of our Admiralty there held or to be held presented or to be presented assessed brought forfeited or adjudged and also all amerciaments, issues, fines, perquisites, mulcts and pecuniary punishments whatsoever and forfeitures of all manner of Recognizances before you or your Lieutenant, deputy or deputies in our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories thereunto belonging and maritime parts of the same and thereto adjacent whatsoever happening or imposed or to be imposed or inflicted or by any means assessed presented, forfeited or adjudged or howsoever by reason of the premises due or to be due in that behalf to us or our Heirs and successors. And further to take all manner of Recognizances, cautions, obligations and stipulations as well to our use as at the instance of any parties for agreements or debts and other causes whatsoever and to put the same in execution and to cause and command them to be executed And also to Arrest and cause and command to be arrested according to the Civil and maritime Laws and ancient custom of our said Court all Ships, persons, things Goods Wares & Merchandizes for the premises and every of them and for other causes whatsoever concerning the same wheresoever they shall be met with or found throughout our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories thereunto belonging and maritime parts thereof and thereto adjoining as well within the liberties and franchises as without and likewise for all other agreements, causes or debts howsoever contracted or arising so that the Goods or the persons of the Debtors may be found within our Jurisdiction aforesaid and to hear examine, discuss and finally determine the same with their emergencies dependances incidents annexed and connexed causes and businesses whatsoever together with all other causes civil and maritime and complaints contracts and all and every the respective premises whatsoever above expressed according to the Laws and customs aforesaid and by all other lawful ways means and methods according to the best of your skill and knowledge and to compel all manner of persons in that behalf as the case shall require to appear and to answer with power of using any temporal correction and of inflicting any other penalty or mulct according to the Laws and customs aforesaid and to do and minister Justice according to the right order and course of the Law summarily and plainly looking only into the truth of the fact And to fine correct punish chastize and reform & imprison and cause and command to be imprisoned in any Goals being within our Province of Massachusetts Bay in America aforesaid and Territories thereunto belonging the parties guilty and the contemners of the Law and Jurisdiction of our Admiralty aforesaid and violaters, usurpers, delinquents and contumacious absenters Masters of Ships, Mariners, Rowers, fishermen, Shipwrights and other workmen and artificers whatsoever exercising any kind of maritime affairs according to the rights, Statutes, Laws or Ordinances and customs anciently observed and to deliver and absolutely discharge and cause and command to be discharged whatsoever persons imprisoned in such cases who are to be delivered And to preserve and cause to be preserved the public streams, Ports, Rivers, fresh waters and Creeks whatsoever within our maritime Jurisdiction aforesaid in what place soever they be in our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories thereunto belonging and maritime parts of the same and thereto adjacent whatsoever as well for the preservation of our Navy Royal and of the Fleets and Vessels of our Kingdoms and dominions aforesaid as of whatsoever fishes increasing in the Rivers and places aforesaid. And also to keep and cause to be executed and kept in our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories thereunto belonging and maritime parts thereof and thereto adjacent whatsoever the rights Statutes Laws Ordinances and customs anciently observed, and to exercise expedite and execute all and singular other things in the premises and every of them as they by right & according to the Laws and Statutes ordinances and customs aforesaid should be done. And moreover to reform Nets too close and other unlawful Engines or instruments whatsoever for the catching of Fishes wheresoever by Sea or public streams Ports, Rivers Fresh Waters or Creeks whatsoever throughout our Province of Massachusetts Bay in America aforesd and Territories dependant thereon and maritime parts of the same and thereto adjacent used or exercised by Water within our maritime Jurisdiction aforesaid wheresoever and to punish and correct the exercisers and occupiers thereof according to the Statutes Laws ordinances and customs aforesaid and to pronounce, promulge and interpose all manner of Sentences and Decrees and to put the same in execution with Cognizance and jurisdiction of whatsoever other causes civil and maritime which relate to the Sea or which any manner of ways respect or concern the Sea or passage over the same or Naval or Maritime voyages or our said maritime Jurisdiction or the places or limits of our said Admiralty and cognizance aforementioned and all other things done or to be done with power also to proceed in the same according to the Statutes Laws Ordinances and customs aforesaid anciently used as well of meer office mixt or promoted as at the instance of any party as the case shall require and seem convenient and likewise with cognizance and decision of Wreck of the Sea great or small and of the death drowning and view of Seas, bodies of all persons howsoever killed or murdered or which shall happen to be killed drowned or murdered or by any other means come to their death in the Sea or public streams Ports fresh waters or Creeks whatsoever within the flowing of the Sea and high water mark throughout our aforesaid Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories thereunto belonging and maritime parts of the same and thereto adjacent or elsewhere within our Maritime Jurisdiction aforesaid together with the cognizance of Mayhem in the aforesaid places within our Maritime Jurisdiction aforesaid and flowing of the Sea and water there happening with power also of punishing all delinquents in that kind according to the exigencies of the Law and customs aforesaid And to do exercise, expedite and execute all and singular other things which in and about the premises only shall be necessary or thought meet according to the Rights Statutes Laws, Ordinances and customs aforesaid with power of deputing and surrogating in your place for the premises one or more deputy or deputies as often as you shall think fit and also with power from time to time of naming appointing ordaining assigning making and constituting whatsoever other necessary fit and convenient officers and Ministers under you for the said office and execution thereof in our said Province of Massachusetts Bay in America and Territories thereunto belonging and maritime parts of the same and thereto adjacent whatsoever (saving always the right of our high Court of Admiralty of England and also of the Judge and Registrar of the said Court from whom or either of them it is not our intention in any thing to derogate by these presents and saving to every one who shall be wronged or aggrieved by any definitive Sence197 or interlocutory decree which shall be given in the high admiralty Court of our Province of Massachusetts Bay aforesaid and Territories thereunto belonging the right of appealing to our aforesaid high Court of Admiralty of England). Provided nevertheless and under this express condition that if you the aforesaid Thomas Gage Esquire our Captain General and Governor in Chief aforesaid shall not yearly (to wit) at the end of every year between the Feasts of Saint Michael the Archangel and all Saints duly certify and cause to be effectually certified (if you shall be thereunto required) to us and our Lieutenant official principal and Commissary General and special & Judge and President of the high Court of our Admiralty of England aforesaid all that which from time to time by virtue of these presents you shall do execute collect or receive in the premises or any of them together with your full & faithful account thereupon to be made in an authentic form and sealed with the Seal of our Office remaining in your custody that from thence and after default therein these our Letters Patent of the office of Vice Admiral aforesaid as above granted shall be null and void and of no force or effect. Further We do in our name command all and singular our Governors, Justices, Mayors Sheriffs Captains Marshals, Bailiffs keepers of all our Jails and Prisons Constables and all other our officers & faithful and liege Subjects whatsoever and every of them as well within liberties & franchises as without that in and about the execution of the premises and every of them they be aiding, favouring, assisting, submissive and yield obedience in all things as is fitting to you the aforesaid Thomas Gage Esqr our Captain General and Governor in chief of our Province of the Massachusetts Bay in America aforesaid and your deputy whomsoever and to all other officers (by you appointed or to be appointed of our said Vice Admiralty in our Province of Massa Bay in America aforesaid and Territories thereunto belonging and maritime parts of the same and thereto adjoining under pain of the Law and the peril which will fall thereon. Given at London in the high Court of our Admiralty of England aforesaid under the Great Seal thereof the fifth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy four and of our Reign the fourteenth.
GODF: LEE FARRANT Registrar
— Crown Commissions, 1677–1774, pp. 143–150.