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On the Departure of Governor Shute on January 1, 1723,1 the government devolved upon Lieutenant-Governor Dummer; and on January 2
His Honour William Dummer Esq' L Gov? having the Government devolved upon him by the Absence of His Excellency Samuel Shute
time to time, since the Misunderstandings that have arisen betwixt that Honourable House and Governour Shute: Which being done we hope it can't but be thought very expedient for one of those two Gentlemen to reside at the British Court, there to give their Attendance, in solliciting and negotiating the Affairs of this Province: For sure it is, that no Man of Knowledge and Experience can believe, that an Agent appointed, who is a Resident in England, and was never in this Country, can be a suitable Person to apear at Court for it, since he must be ignorant of the Springs and Motives upon which the original Misunderstandings were grounded, as well as of the Laws, Customs, Trade, and Temper of the People, &c. Besides, who can imagine, that an utter Stranger, and a Person that has no Interest here, will so heartily lay forth himself to serve this Country, as one that is born here, and that has an Interest among us. There is some here that have seen (when in England) great Damage accrue to some Plantations, for want of their Agents knowing the true Interest of the Places they appeared for. We shall conclude this Letter with a Passage out of a learned Author, who has sometime since wrote concerning the Affairs of Barbadoes. Says he, No prudent Man can think, that a Gentleman, who is not bred up in the Business, and has no Interest in the Island, can be fit to make an Agent, nor even a Merchant, who has many Commissions; for there is no kind of Affairs that makes a Man so busie, and keeps him in such a continual Hurry as Factorage. 'Tis without doubt proper, the Agent should fully understand the true Interest of Barbadoes; that he should have full Leisure to carry on his Agency, be a Man of Sense and Honour, and one that needs not make use of a borrowed Pen, to set forth its Grievances, and petition for Redress.
We are, Yours, &c. Quære, Whether (pursuant to the Charter) the Ministers of this Province, ought now to pray for Samuel Shute Esq; as our immediate Governour, and at the same time pray for the Lieut. Governour as Commander in Chief? Or, Whether their praying for his Success in his Voyage, if he designs to hurt the Province (as some suppose) be not in Effect to pray for our Destruction?
Monday, Jan. 7, 1723.
1 "On Tuesday Morning last the first Instant, His Excellency SAMUEL SHUTE, Esq; Our Governour, set sail in the Ship Ann, Capt. Finch Commander from Nantasket for Great Britain; as then also did His Majesty's Ship Sea-Horse Capt. Durrel Commander, for Barbadoes" (Boston News Letter, January 7, 1723, p. 2/1). The following notice had appeared in the Boston Gazette of October 15, 1722: R. John Boydell Secretary to His Excellency the Governour designing for
London by Capt. Lethred, Desires that if any Persons have any Demand on him (or His Excellency) they would forthwith call at his Ofice in His Excellency's House in order to be paid (p. 4/2).
Esq? Was Sworn to a faithfull discharge of his office of Lieut Gov' & Command" in Cheif of this his Majesties Province, and likewise took an Oath, that he would do the Utmost in his Power, That all & every the Clauses Matters & things, Contained, in an Act pass'd the Twelfth Year of King Charles the Second Entituled an Act, for the Encouraging & Increasing Shipping and Navigation, & in all other Acts since made & now in force, Relating to this Colony or Plantation, & more particularly in an Act made & pass'd in the Seventh & Eighth Year of King William the third, Entituled An Act for preventing Frauds and Regulating Abuse3 in the Plantation trade be punctually & Bona fide Observed according to the true Intent & Meaning thereof."
Lieutenant-Governor Dummer was Acting Governor from January 2, 1723, to July 19, 1728; ? for, in spite of frequent rumors 3 of his intended return, Shute never came back.
i Court Records, xi. 467.
? During Dummer's term of office as Acting Governor, the Explanatory Charter of 1725 was accepted: see Publications of this Society, xiv. 389–400.
In 1727 the accession of George I was celebrated in Boston on August 1. (New England Weekly Journal, August 7, p. 2/1). The news of his death, which occurred June 11, reached Boston August 14 (Council Records, viii. 579), and the Council ordered George II to be proclaimed August 16th. At ten o'clock on the morning of the 16th Lieutenant-Governor Dummer, being "confined to his House by a sickness,” sent a draft of a proclamation to the Council, which approved it; it was then sent to Dummer, who signed it and returned it to the Council; and at 1 o'clock George II was proclaimed from the Town House. The Council Records then proceed to say:
After the Proclamation was ended & the loud & joyful acclamations that succeeded it, The Regiments & Troops fired three Volleys, and (upon a signal given) the Cannon at His Majesty's Castle wm at the Town Battery & on Board the Ships & Vessels in the Harbour were discharged, and the Council Ministers, Representatives & other Gentlemen were entertained with a Public Dinner provided this Occasion.
After Dinner the Members of His Maty's Council being returned to the Council Chamber, wm Tailer, Nath' Byfield & Addington Davenport Esq's (Members of ye Council) waited on His Honour the Lieute Governour at his house to administer to him the oaths of fidelity to His present Majesty King George the second.
And in the presence of the sd Gentlemen His Honour the Lieutt Governour took the Oath appointd by Act of Parliamt to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance & Supremacy, & repeated & subscribed the Test or Declaration in the said Act with the Oath of Abjuration (xviii. 582).
: "On Monday last the 23d. arrived here Capt. John Ruggles from London, by whom we have Advice that His Excellency SAMUEL SHUTE Esq; Governour of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, &c. intends for his Government
WILLIAM BURNET was commissioned Governor by George II on March 7, 1728. He reached Boston July 19 and was sworn the same day:
This Day his Excellency William Burnet Esq' arrived at Boston, . . And His Excellency being come to the council Chamber the Doors were set open And Proclamation was made that all Persons keep silence whilst His Majesty's Commission is in reading. And then the Attorney General with an audible voice and · His Majestys Commission or Letters Patent, bearing date at Westminster the seventh day of March in the first year of His Majestys Reign constituting & appointing His Excy William Burnet Esq' Capt Gen' & Governour in Cheif in and over His Majestys Province of ye Massachusetts Bay, after which the Secretary in ye presence of ye Lieut. Governour administered to His Excelloy the Oaths appointed to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance & Supremacy & he repeated & subscribed the Test or Declaration contained in the said Act, together with ye Oath of Abjuration as also an oath for the true and faithful discharge of his sd Office of Captain General &c.? On August 12, 1728, –
This Day His Majestys Commission bearing date the 14th day of March in the first year of His Majestys Reign, appointing His Excellency Wm Burnet Esq. Vice Admiral of ye Provinces of the Massachusetts Bay & New Hampshire & ye Colony of Rhode Island was published in Council the Doors being opened.
And the Secretary directed to record it.3
early in the Spring. In whom came the Reverend Dr. Timothy Cutler and the Reverend Mr. Johnson, as also John Boydell Esq; with his Family, Gillam Phillips Esq; and Mr. John Checkley” (Boston Gazette, September 20, 1723, p. 4/1).
“London, Nov. 25. Samuel Shute Esq; Governour of New England & NewHampshire in America, is preparing to set out for that Government” (Boston News Letter, February 3, 1726, p. 2/2).
In a letter to E. Quincy dated May 25, 1727, Jeremiah Dummer said:
Colo Shute is expecting a Man of War to transport him to his Government, which [he] may probably now obtain, there being Pacification made between the Powers of Europe which will bring home our Fleets. It looks to me as if Our Assembly woull hardly come into his demands, but whatever turn that takes, I depend upon your wisdom & moderation, & the influence You have in both Houses to keep things from coming to an extremity (Massachusetts Historical Society, 81. 1. 28). 1 Error for "read."
2 Council Records, ix. 79–80. 3 ix. 83.
Burnet was Governor from July 19, 1728, to his death on September 7, 1729, when the government again devolved upon LieutenantGovernor Dummer. On September 10 the following proceedings took place in Council:
The Government of this Province being by the death of His Excellency William Burnet Esq* late Governour deceasd devolved upon the Honble William Dummer Esq? Lieut Governour, as Commander in Chief, His Honor did this day before His Majestys Council, take 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 & took an Oath for the faithful discharge of his office of Lieut Governor & Commander in Chief of this Province His Honour likewise took an Oath that he would do the utmost in his power, that all and every the clauses matters & things containd in an Act of Parliamo passed in the twelfth year of the Reign of King Charles the second, entituled, “An Act for the encouraging & encreasing of Shipping & Navigation & in all other Acts since made & now in force relating to this Colony or Plantation more particularly in an act made & passed in yo seventh and eighth years of the Reign of King William the third Entituled an Act for preventing of Frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade, be punctualling? & Bona Fide observed according to the true intent & meaning thereof.
Dummer remained Acting Governor from September 10, 1729, to June 11, 1730, when he was superseded by Lieutenant-Governor Tailer, who was sworn June 11, 1730:
The Honble Wm Tailer Esq' having received His Majestys Commission bearing date at St. James's the fifteenth day of April 1730, appointing him
1 The New England Weekly Journal of September 15 said:
This Town was excedingly surpriz'd on Monday last with the sad News of the Death of His Excellency our Governour WILLIAM BURNET Esq; He had been very ill
the Week before, but on Fryday the symptoms grew threatning; after which he very little recover'd any Use of his Understanding.
He expir'd about Eleven of the Clock the Lords-day Night; a teaching and monitory Instance to us of the Vanity of Humane Life and Greatness (p. 4/1).
Error for “punctually.” 8 Council Records, ix. 165–166.
Lieutt Governor of this His Majestys Province of the Massachusetts Bay in the room of the Honble Wm Dummer Esq' Which being laid before the Members of His Majestys Council, they together with ye Gentlemen that had been of the Council, His Majesty's Justices of the Peace, the officers of ye Militia & other Officers & Gentlemen attended His Honour from the House of Colo Nathan' Byfield to the Council Chamber, And the door being set open and Proclamation made that all Persons keep silence, His Majestys sd Comiss" was publickly read; And the sd Willm Tailer Esq' in the presence of His Majestys Council took ye oaths appointed by act of Parliamt to be taken instead of the oaths of Allegiance & Supremacy, Repeated & Subscribed the Test or Declaration in the said Act, together with the Oath of Abjuration and took an Oath for the faithful discharge of the said Office of Lieutenant Governour.
His Honour likewise took an oath that he would do the utmost in his power, that all and every the clauses matters & things contained in an Act of Parliamt passd in the twelfth year of the reign of King Charles the second, entituled An Act for encouraging & increasing shipping & navigation & in all Acts since made & now in force relating to this Colony or Plantation, more particularly in an Act made and pass'd in the seventh & eighth years of King William the third entituled, An Act for preventing of Frauds & regulating of Abuses in ye Plantation Trade be punctually and bone fide observed according to the true intent and mean thereof.1
Tailer was Acting Governor from June 11 to August 10, 1730.
JONATHAN BELCHER was commissioned Governor by George II on January 28, 1730. He reached Boston Harbor August 8, and on August 10 the following proceedings took place in Council:
1 Council Records, ix. 215–216.
2 ix. 227–228. The following notice appeared in the New England Weekly Journal of February 9, 1730: By a Letter from a Gentleman in London, Dated London, November 28th
1729. we have the following Advice. THI THis is just to tell you, That Yesterday His Majesty in Council appointed Mr.
Belcher Governour of New-England, and to Morrow he is to kiss the KING’s Hand on that Occasion, attended with several of us. I reckon it will be Matter of great Surprize, and hope and believe will be very happy for New-England (p. 2/1).
The same paper of April 14, 1730 contained this rumor:
By Capt. Homans from London, we are informed that His Majesty has been pleased to confer the Honour of Knighthood on His Excellency JONATHAN