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James the Second by the Grace of God King of England, Scotland France and Ireland Defender of the Faith &c. To our trusty and welbeloved Sr Edmund Andros Knt Greeting: Whereas by our Commission under our Great Seal of England, bearing date the third day of June in the second year of our reign wee have constituted and appointed you to be our Captain Generall and Governor in Chief in and over all that part of our territory and dominion of New England in America known by the names of our Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, our Colony of New Plymouth, our Provinces of New Hampshire and Main and the Narraganset Country or King's Province. And whereas since that time Wee have thought it necessary for our service and for the better protection and security of our subjects in those parts to join and annex to our said Government the neighboring Colonies of Road Island and Connecticutt, our Province of New York and East and West Jersey, with the territories "hereunto belonging, as wee do hereby join annex and unite the same to our said government and dominion of New England. Wee therefore reposing especiall trust and confidence in the prudence courage and loyalty of you the said Sir Edmund Andros, out of our especiall grace certain knowledge and meer motion, have thought fit to constitute and appoint as wee do by these presents constitute and appoint vou the said Sr Edmund Andros to be our Captain Generall and Governor in Cheif in and over our Colonies of the Massachusetts Bay and New Plymouth, our Provinces of New Hampsllire and Main, the Narraganset country or King's Province, our Colonys of Road Island and Connecticutt our Province of New York and East and West Jersey, and of all that tract of land circuit continent precincts and limits in America lying and being in breadth from forty degrees of Northern latitude from the Equinoctiall Line to the River of St. Croix Eastward, and from thence directly Northward to the river of Canada, and in length and longitude by all the breadth aforesaid and throughout the main land from the Atlantick or Western Sea or Ocean on the East part, to the South Sea on the West part, with all the Islands, Seas, Rivers, waters, rights, members, and appurtenances, thereunto belonging (our province of Pensilvania and country of Delaware only excepted), to be called and known as formerly by the name and title of our territory and dominion of New England in America.
And for your better guidance and direction Wee doe hereby require and command you to do & execute all things in due manner, that shall belong unto the said office and the trust wee have reposed in you, according to the severall powers instructions and authoritys mentioned in these presents, or such further- powers instructions and authoritys mentioned in these presents, as you shall herewith receive or which shall at any time hereafter be granted or appointed You under our signet and sign manual or by our order in our Privy Councill and according to such reasonable lawes and statutes as are now in force or such others as shall hereafter be made and established within our territory & dominion aforesaid.
And our will and pleasure is that You the said Sr Edmund Andros having, after publication of these our Letters Patents, first taken the Oath of duly executing the office of our Captain Generall and Governor in Cheif of our said territory and dominion, which our Councill there or any three of them are hereby required authorized and impowered to give and administer unto you, you shall administer unto each of the members of our Councill the Oath for the due execution of their places and trusts.
And Wee do hereby give and grant unto you full power and authority to suspend any member of our Councill from sitting voting and assisting therein, as you shall find just cause for so doing.
And if it shall hereafter at any time happen that by the death, departure out of our said territory, or suspension of any of our Counselors, or otherwise, there shall be a vacancy in our said Councill, (any five whereof wee do hereby appoint to be a Quorum) Our will and pleasure is that you signify the same unto us by the first oppurtunity, that Wee may under our Signet and Sign Manuall constitute and appoint others in their room.
And Wee do hereby give and grant unto you full power and authority, by and with the advise and consent of our said Councill or the major part of them, to make constitute and ordain lawes statutes and ordinances for the public peace welfare and good governmt of our said territory & dominion and of the people and inhabitants thereof, and such others as shall resort thereto, and for the benefit of us, our heires and successors. Which said lawes statutes and ordinances, are to be, as near as conveniently may be, aggreeable to the lawes & statutes of this our kingdom of England: Provided that all such lawes statutes and ordinances of what nature or duration soever, be within three months, or sooner, after the making of the same, transmitted unto Us, under our Seal of New England, for our allowance or disapprobation of them, as also duplicates thereof by the next conveyance.
And Wee do by these presents give and grant unto you full power and authority by and with the advise and consent of our said Councill, or the major part of them, to impose assess and raise and levy rates and taxes as you shall find necessary for the support of the government within our territory and dominion of New England, to be collected and leveyed and to be imployed to the uses aforesaid in such manner as to you & our said Councill or the major part of them shall seem most equall and reasonable.
And for the better supporting the charge of the governmt of our said Territory and Dominion, our will and pleasure is and wee do by these presents authorize and impower you the sd Sr Admund Andros and our Councill, to continue such taxes and impositions as are now laid and imposed upon the Inhabitants thereof; and to levy and distribute or cause the same to be levyed and distributed to those ends in the best and most equall manner, untill you shall by & with the advise and consent of our Councill agree on and settle such other taxes as shall be sufficient for the support of our government there, which are to be applied to that use and no other.
And our further will and pleasure is, that all publick money raised or to be raised or appointed for the support of the government within our said territory and dominion be issued out by warrant or order from you by & with the advise and consent of our Councill as aforesaid.
And our will and pleasure is that you shall and may keep and use our Seal appointed by Us for our said territory and dominion.
And wee do by these presents ordain constitute and appoint you or the Commander in Cheif for the time being, and the Councill of our said territory & dominion for the time being, to be a constant and setled Court of Record for ye administration of justice to all our subjects inhabiting within our said Territory and Dominion, in all causes as well civill as Criminall with full power and authority to hold pleas in all cases, from time to time, as well in Pleas of the Crown and in all matters relateing to the conservation of the peace and punishment of offenders, as in Civill causes and actions between party and party, or between us and any of our subjects there, whether the same do concerne the realty and relate to any right of freehold & inheritance or whether the same do concerne the personality and relate to matter of debt contract damage or other personall injury; and also in all mixt actions which may concern both realty and personalty; and therein after due and orderly proceeding and deliberate hearing of both sides, to give judgement and to award execution, as well in criminall as in Civill cases as aforesaid, so as always that the forms of proceedings in such cases and the judgment thereupon to be given, be as consonant and agreeable to the lawes and statutes of this our realm of England as the present state and condition of our subjects inhabiting within our said Territory and Dominion and the circumstances of the place will admit.
And Wee do further hereby give and grant unto you full power and authority with the advise and consent of our said Councill to erect constitute and establish such and so many Courts of Judicature and public Justice within our said Territory and Dominion as you and they shall think fit and necessary for the determining of all causes as well Criminall as Civill according to law and equity, and for awarding of execution thereupon, with all reasonable and necessary powers authorities fees and privileges belonging unto them.
And Wee do hereby give and grant unto you full power and authority to constitute and appoint Judges and in cases requisite Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, & all other necessary Officers and Ministers within our said Territory for the better administration of Justice and putting the lawes in execution, & to administer such oath and oaths as are usually given for the due execution and performance of offices and places and for the cleering of truth in judiciall causes.
And our further will and pleasure is and Wee doe hereby declare that all actings and proceedings at law or equity heretofore had or don or now depending within any of the courts of our said Territory, and all executions thereupon, be hereby confirmed and continued so fare forth as not to be avoided for want of any legall power in the said Courts; but that all and every such judiciall actings, proceeding and execution shall be of the same force effect and virtue as if such Courts had acted by a just and legall authority.
And wee do further by these presents will and require you to permit Appeals to be made in cases of Error from our Courts in our said Territory and Dominion of New England unto you, or the Commander in Cheif for the time being and the Council, in Civill causes: Provided the value appealed for do exceed the sum of one hundred pounds sterling, and that security be first duly given by the Appellant to answer such charges as shall be awarded in case the first sentence shall be affirmed
And whereas Wee judge it necessary that all our subjects may have liberty to Appeal to our Royall Person in cases that may require the same: Our will and pleasure is that if either party shall not rest satisfied with the judgement or sentence of you (or the Commander in Cheif for the time being) and the Councill, they may Appeal unto Us in our Privy Councill: Provided the matter in difference exceed the value and summ of three hundred pounds stern and that such Appeal be made within one fortnight after sentence, and that security be likewise duly given by the Appellant to answer such charges as shall be awarded in case the sentence of you (or the Commander in Cheif for the time being) and the Councill be confirmed; and provided also that execution be not suspended by reason of any such appeal unto us.
And Wee do hereby give and graunt unto you full power where You shall see cause and shall judge any offender or offenders in capitall and criminall matters, or for any fines or forfeitures due unto us, fit objects of our mercy, to pardon such offenders and to remit such fines & forfeitures, treason and wilfull murder only excepted, in which case you shall likewise have power upon extraordinary occasions to grant reprieves to the offenders therein untill and to the intent our pleasure may Fe further known.
And Wee do hereby give and grant unto you the said Sr Edmd Andros by your self your Captains and Commanders, by you to be authorized, full power and authority to levy arme muster command or employ, all persons whatsoever residing within our said Territory and Dominion of New England, and, as occasion shall serve, them to transfers from one place to another for the resisting and withstanding all enemies pyrats and rebells, both at land and sea, and to transfers such forces to any of our Plantations in America or the Territories thereunto belonging, as occasion shall require for the defence of the same against the invasion or attempt of any of our enemies, and then, if occasion shall require to pursue and prosecute in or out of the limits of our said Territories and Plantations or any of them, And if it shall so please God, them to vanquish; and, being taken, according to the law of arms to put to death or keep and preserve alive, at your discretion. And also to execute martiall law in time of invasion insurrection or warr, and during the continuance of the same, and upon soldiers in pay, and to do and execute all and every other thing which to a Captain Generall doth or ought of right to belong, as fully and amply as any our Captain Generall doth or hath usually don.
And Wee do hereby give and grant unto you full power and authority to erect raise and build within our Territory and Dominion aforesaid, such and so many forts, platformes, Castles, cities, boroughs, towns, and fortifications as you shall judge necessary; and the same or any of them to fortify and furnish with ordnance ammunition and all sorts of armes, fit and necessary for the security & defence of our said territory; and the same again or any of them to demolish or dismantle as may be most convenient.
And Wee do hereby give and grant unto you the said Sr Edmund Andros full power and authority to erect one or more Court or Courts Admirall within our said Territory and Dominion, for the hearing and determining of all marine and other causes and matters proper therein to be heard & determined, with all reasonable and necessary powers, authorities fees and priviledges.
And you are to execute all powers belonging to the place and office of Vice Admirall of and in all the seas and coasts about your Government; according to such commission authority and instructions as you shall receive from ourself under the Seal of our Admiralty or from High Admirall of our Foreign Plantations for the time being.
And forasmuch as divers mutinies & disorders do happen by persons shipped and imployed at Sea, and to the end that such as shall be shipped or imployed at Sea may be better governed and ordered; Wee do hereby give and grant unto you the said Sr Edmund Andros our Captain Generall and Governor in Cheif, full power and authority to constitute and appoint Captains, Masters of Ships, and other Commanders, commissions to execute the law martial, and to use such proceedings authorities, punishment, correction and execution upon any offender or offenders who 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 harbors or bays of our said Territory and Dominion, as the Cause shall be found to require, according to martial law. Provided that nothing herein conteined shall be construed to the enabling you or any by your authority to hold plea or have jurisdiction of any offence cause matter or thing committed or don upon the sea or within any of the havens, rivers, or creeks of our said Territory and Dominion under your government, by any Captain Commander Lieutenant Master or other officer seaman soldier or person whatsoever, who shall be in actuall service and pay in and on board any of our ships of War or other vessels acting by immediat commission or warrant from our self under the Seal of our Admiralty, or from our High Admirall of England for the time being; but that such Captain Commander Lieut Master officer seaman soldier and 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 England as the statute of 28 Henry VIII directs, or by commission from our said High Admirall, according to the Act of Parliament passed in the 13th year of the reign of the late King our most dear and most intirely beloved brother of ever blessed memory (entituled An Act for the establishing articles and Orders for the regulating and better governmt of His Matys navys, shipps or warr, and Forces by sea) and not otherwise. Saving only, that it shall and may be lawfull for you, upon such Captains and Commanders refusing or neglecting to execute. Or upon his negligent or undue execution of any the written orders he shall receive from You for our service, & the service of our said Territory and Dominion. to suspend him the said Captain or Commander from the exercise of the said office of Commander and commit him safe custody, either on board his own ship or elsewhere, at the discretion of you, in order to his being brought to answer for the same by commission either under our Great Seal of England or from our said High Admirall as is before expressed. In which case our will and pleasure is that the Captain or Commander so by you suspended shall during his suspension and commitmt be succeeded in his said office, by such commission or Warrant Officer of our said ship appointed by our self or our High Admirall for the time being, as by the known practice and discipline of our Navy doth and ought next to succeed him, as is case of death sickness of other ordinary disability hapning to the Commander of any of our ships & not otherwise; you standing also accountable to us for the truth & importance of the crimes and misdemeanours for which you shall so proceed to the suspending of such our said Captain or Commander. Provided also that all disorders and misdemeanors committed on shore by any Captain Commander, Lieutent, Master, or other officer seaman soldier or person whatsoever belonging to any of our ships of warr or other vessel acting by immediate commission or warrt from our self under the Great Seal of our Admiralty or from our High Admll from England for the time being may be tryed & punished according to the lawes of the place where any such disorders off'ences and misdemeanors shall be so committed on shore, notwithstanding such offender be in our actuall service and borne in our pay on board any such out shipps of warr or other vessels acting by immediate Commission or warrant from ourself or our High Admirall as aforesaid; so as he shall not receive any protection (for the avoiding of justice for such offences committed on shore) from any presence of his being improved in our service at sea.
And Wee do likewise give and grant unto you full power and authority by and with the advice and consent of our said Councill to agree with the planters and inhabitants of our said Territory and Dominion concerning such lands, tenements & hereditaments as now are or hereafter shall be in our power to dispose of, and them to grant unto any person or persons for such terms and under such moderat Quit Rents, Services and acknowledgements to be thereupon reserved unto us as shall be appointed by us. Which said grants are to pass and be sealed by our Seal of New England and (being entred upon record by such officer or officers as you shall appoint thereunto, shall be good and effectual in law against us, our heires and successors.
And Wee do hereby give you full power and authority to appoint so many faires martes and markets as you with the advise of the said Councill shall think fitt.
As likewise to order and appoint within our said Territory such and so many ports harbors, bayes havens and other places for the convenience and security of shipping, and for the better loading and unloading of goods and merchandise as by you with the advice and consent of our Councill shall be thought flit and necessary; and in them or any of them to erect nominal and appoint Cuxtom houses ware houses and officers relating thereto; and them to alter change, place, or displace from time to time, as with the advice aforesaid shall be thought fitt.
And forasmuch as pursuant to the lawes & customes of our Colony of the Massachusetts Bay and of our other Colonies and Probes aforementioned, divers marriages have been made and performs by the Magstrats of our said territory; Our royall will and please is hereby to confirm all the said marriages and to direct that they be held good and valid in the same manner to all intents and purposes whatsoever as if they had been made and contracted according to the lawes established within our kingdom of England.
And Wee do hereby require and command all officers and ministers, civill and military and all other inhabitants of our said Territory and Dominion to be obedient aiding and assisting unto you the said Sr Edmd Andros in the execution of this our commission and of the powers and authorityes therein contained, and upon your death or absence out of our said Territory unto our Lieut. Governor, to whom wee do therefore by these presents give and grant all and singular the powers and authorityes aforesaid to be exercised and enjoyed by him in case of your death or absence during our pleasure, or untill your arrival within our said Territory and Dominion; as Wee do further hereby give and grant full power and authority to our Lieut. Governor to do and execute whatsoever he shall be by you authorized and appointed to do and execute, in pursuance of and according to the powers granted to you by this Commission.
And if in the case of your death or absence there be no person upon the place, appointed by us to be Commander in Cheif; our will and pleasure is, that the then' present Councill of our Territory aforesaid, do take upon them the administration of the Governmt and execute this commission and the severall powers and authoritys herein contained; and that the first Counselor who shall be at the time of yor death or absence residing within the same, do preside in our said Councill, with such powers and preheminencies as any former President hath used and enjoyed within our said territory, or any other our plantations in America, untill our pleasure be further known, or your arrivall as aforesaid.
And lastly, our will and pleasure is that you the said Sr Edmund Andros shall and may hold exercise and enjoy the office and place of Captain Generall and Governor in Cheif in and over our Territory and Dominion aforesaid, with all its rights members and appurtenances'whatsoever, together with all and singular the powers and authorityes hereby granted unto you, for and during our will and pleasure.
In Witness whereof Wee have caused these our letters to be made Patents. Witness our self at Westminster the seventh day of Aprill in the fourth year of our reign.
By Writ of Privy Seal
(1) Text in " Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Vol. III, pp. 537-542. (Albany, 1S53.) The earlier Commission to Sir Edmund Andros, dated June 3, 1686, appointing him Captain General and Governor of the Territory and Dominion of New England, which included the Colonies of Mass. Bay and New Plymouth and the Provinces of New Hampshire and Maine, the Narragansett Country, otherwise called The Kings Province was very similar in its provisions to this document. It is printed in Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England (Providence, 1858)," Vol. III, pp. 212-218. Back
The Federal and State Constitutions Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Heretofore Forming the United States of America
Compiled and Edited Under the Act of Congress of June 30, 1906 by Francis Newton Thorpe
Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1909.