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His Majestys Commission or Letters Pattents dated at Westminster the seventeenth day of June in the third year of His Majestys reign constitut Joseph 1 Willard Esq' Secretary of this His Majestys Province of the Massachusetts Bay was read & publishd Then M. Secretary took the oaths appointed by Act of Parliament passed in the first year of the reign of King William & Queen Mary to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance & Supremcay unto his present Majesty King George, & repeated & subscribed the Declaration by the same Act appointed, also took an oath for the due & faithfull performance of his duty in the office & place of Secretary of the sd Province, And the Council advised to the making His Majestys sd Letters Patent of publick record accordingly
Ordered That Joseph Marion Deputy Secretary to Sam' Woodward Esq* late Secretary of this Province, with all convenient speed make delivery of all publick records books & records of the Council & Assembly with the Seal of the Province, enrowlment of the Laws and Files of Papers & all utensils &ca of & belonging to the sd Secretarys Office
And that the sd M' Secretary Willard pass a receipt therefore in discharge to the sd M. Marion accordingly.?
Willard was commissioned Secretary by George II on March 28, 1728, and was sworn on June 18:
Josiah Willard Esq? haveing His Majestys Letters Patents, under the Great Seal of Gt Britain bearing date at Westminster the twenty eighth of March 1728, constituting him Secretary to His Matyø Province of the Massachusetts Bay, His Majesty's Commission was read at the Board. And then the sd Josiah Willard took the Oaths appointed by Act of Parliam to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, repeated & subscribed the Test or Declaration in ye said Act, together with the Oath of abjuration and likewise took an oath for the true and faithful performance of his said office of Secretary of this Province.3
Willard was Secretary from December 4, 1717, until his death on December 7, 1756.4
1 Error for “Josiah."
4 "Last Tuesday Morning died here to the great Loss of this Town and Province, in the 76th Year of his Age, that extraordinary, accomplished, pious and publick-spirited Gentleman, the Honourable JOSIAH WILLARD Esq; Secretary to this Province near 40 Years, and late Judge of Probate for the County of Suffolk, which, on account of his other growing, weighty and laborious Business, he earnestly resigned some Years since; as also his place at the Council
On December 7, 1756, the Council took the following action:
It having pleased Almighty God in his Holy Providence to remove the Honble Josiah Willard Esq' the late Worthy and Faithfull Secretary of this Province by Death, whereby that Office is become Vacant, and it being necessary that some meet Person be appointed to officiate as Clerk of the Council until his Majesty shall be pleased to appoint & Commissionate some person to the Office of Secretary agreeable to the Royal Charter Therefore
Ordered that M. Thomas Clarkel be appointed Clerk of his Majestys Council until a Secretary be appointed as aforesaid or until the further order of this Board, and that he be Impowered & directed forthwith to take into his Custody & care as well the Publick Seal of the Province as the public Records & Papers, and to do & Transact the Business proper to such Office of Clerk of Council, & to be under the Obligation of an Oath for the faithfull Discharge of said Trust.
By Order of Council
S PRIPS 2 On December 13th Lieutenant-Governor Phips, then Acting Governor, appointed Andrew Oliver Secretary:
His Honour the Lieutenant Governour appointed the Honble Andrew Oliver Esq' to be Secretary of the Province in the Room of the late Honble Josiah Willard Esq' deced until his Majestys pleasure should be known.”
And on December 15 Andrew Oliver took the oaths of office:
The Honble Andrew Oliver Esq' Secretary of the Province took the Oaths appointed by Act of Parliament to be Taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance & Supremacy Repeated and Subscribed the Test or Declaration in the said Act contained, together with the Oath of Abjuration,
Board the last Year, on account of his advanc'd Age, to the Reluctance of his Country: .. (Boston Gazette, December 13, 1756, p. 2/1).
1 Thomas Clarke was Deputy-Secretary. 2 Council Records, xiii. 143.
3 Council Records, xiii. 145. The following extract is from the Boston Evening Post of December 20, 1756:
His Honour the Lieutenant Governor hath, by virtue of his Majesty's Royal Commission, appointed and commissioned the Hon. ANDREW OLIVER, Esq; to be Secretary of this Province in the room and stead of the Hon. JOSIAH WILLARD, Esq.; deceas'd, until his Majesty shall be pleased otherwise to order and appoint; or until the further Order of the Commander in Chief of this Proyince for the Time being (p. 2/1).
and an Oath appointed by a Law of the Province respecting the Recieving & paying the Bills of Publick Credit of the neighbouring Governments within this Province ? & entered into the Execution of his Office after having taken an Oath for the faithfull Discharge of the same.?
ANDREW OLIVER was commissioned Secretary by George II on March 2, 1758, and was sworn June 1st. He was commissioned Secretary by George III on April 10, 1761, and was sworn November 26th. He retained the office of Secretary until March 11, 1771.
THOMAS FLUCKER was commissioned Secretary by George III on November 12, 1770, and was sworn March 11, 1771:
Boston 11th March 1771 Massa* Bay
Thomas Flucker Esq' within named took the Oaths appointed by Act of Parliament to be taken instead of the Oaths of alligiance & supremacy, repeated & subscribed the Test or Declaration therein contained, together with the Oath of Abjuration; and also an Oath, that he would faithfully discharge the Duties of the Office of Secretary of the said Province 5
Flucker was the last Royal Secretary, and left Boston with General Gage on October 10, 1775.6
1 An Act for the effectual preventing the Currency of the Bills of Credit of Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, within this Province, passed December 27, 1753, published January 26, 1754 (Massachusetts Province Laws, ü. 714-716).
2 Council Records, xiii. 145–146.
3 In the Council Records (xiii. 404) for June 1, 1758, nothing is said about the oaths taken by Oliver. Appended to Oliver's Commission as Secretary (Crown Commissions, 1628–1663, p. 166) is the following:
Province of Mass Bay — June 1. 1758
Sworn in Council
Before T. PowNALL Govt 4 See p. 95, above. In the Council Records (xv. 66) for November 26, 1761, nothing is said about the oaths taken by Oliver.
5 Crown Commissions, 1677–1774, p. 118. In the Council Records (xvi. 532–534) for March 11, 1771, nothing is said about the oaths taken by Flucker.
6 Cf. p. 87 note 1, above. The following paragraph appeared in the Boston Gazette of October 23, 1775:
THOM. GAGE, on the Third Instant (5 or 6 Days before his Departure for England,) issued a Proclamation, offering a Reward of TEN GUINEAS, to
Edward Randolph Edward Randolph Joseph Dudley Joseph Dudley Sir Edmund Andros Sir Edmund Andros Sir Edmund Andros Francis Nicholson Edward Randolph Sir Edmund Andros Sir William Phips Sir William Phips William Stoughton Isaac Addington Earl of Bellomont Earl of Bellomont Joseph Dudley Joseph Dudley Joseph Dudley Thomas Povey William Tailer Elizeus Burges Elizeus Burges William Tailer
Collector, etc. Secretary, etc. President Vice-Admiral Governor Vice-Admiral Governor Lieutenant-Governor Secretary, etc. Vice-Admiral Governor Vice-Admiral Lieutenant-Governor Secretary Governor Vice-Admiral Governor Vice-Admiral Governor Lieutenant-Governor Lieutenant-Governor Governor Vice-Admiral Lieutenant-Governor
In this section the material is summarized in the following lists:
A Chronological List of Commissions, 1681-1774
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF COMMISSIONS
1681 Oct. 15
any one who shall discover the Thief or Thieves, that some Time in the Month of September last stole from the Council Chamber in Boston, the Public SEAL, his private SEAL, and the SEAL of the Supreme Court of Probate of the Province. — Quere, Whether as he carried his Secretary, T. Flucker, with him, 'tis not as likely that he might have carried them off, as any one else? (p. 3/2).
1715 June 23 1716 June 13 1716 June 15 1716 1717 June 17 1727 Oct. 17 1728 March 7 1728 March 14 1728 March 28 1730 Jan. 28 1730 March 2 1730 April 15 1732 April 29 1741
May 25 1741 Aug. 21 1757 Feb. 25 1757 Feb. 28 1758 Feb. 10 1758 March 2 1760 Jan. 14 1760 Feb. 12 1761 March 13 1761 April 4 1761 April 10 1761 May 18 1770 Oct. 19 1770 Nov. 12 1770 Nov. 28 1771 Jan. 4 1774 April 5 1774 April 7 1774 May 28
Samuel Woodward Samuel Shute Samuel Shute William Dummer Josiah Willard William Dummer William Burnet William Burnet Josiah Willard Jonathan Belcher Jonathan Belcher William Tailer Spencer Phips William Shirley William Shirley Thomas Pownall Thomas Pownall Thomas Hutchinson Andrew Oliver Francis Bernard Francis Bernard Thomas Hutchinson Francis Bernard Andrew Oliver Francis Bernard Andrew Oliver Thomas Flucker Thomas Hutchinson Thomas Hutchinson Thomas Gage Thomas Gage Thomas Oliver
Secretary Vice-Admiral Governor Lieutenant-Governor Secretary Lieutenant-Governor Governor Vice-Admiral Secretary Governor Vice-Admiral Lieutenant-Governor Lieutenant-Governor Governor Vice-Admiral Governor Vice-Admiral Lieutenant-Governor Secretary Governor Vice-Admiral Lieutenant-Governor Governor Secretary Vice-Admiral Lieutenant-Governor Secretary Governor Vice-Admiral Vice-Admiral Governor Lieutenant-Governor