Commission to Sir Ferdinando Gorges as Governor of New England by Charles

Court of Whitehall

July 23, 1637

Manifesting our royal pleasure for the establishing a general government in our territories of New England for prevention of those evils that otherwise might ensue for default thereof, forasmuch as we have understood and been credibly informed of the many inconveniences and mischiefs that have grown and are like more and more to arise amongst our subjects already planted in the parts of New England by reason of the several opinions, differing humors, and many other differences springing up between them and daily like to increase, and for that it rested not in the power of the Council of New England by our gracious father’s royal charter established for those affairs to redress the same, without we take the whole managing thereof into our own hands and apply thereunto our immediate power and authority, which being perceived by the principal undertakers of those businesses, they have humbly resigned the said charter unto us, that thereby there may be a speedy order taken for reformation of the aforesaid errors and mischiefs. And knowing it to be a duty proper to our royal justice not to suffer such numbers of our people to run to ruin and so religious and good intents to languish for want of timely remedy and sovereign assistance, we have, therefore, graciously accepted of the said resignation and do approve of their good affections to a service so acceptable to God and us. And we have seriously advised with our Council both of the way of reformation and of a person meet and able for that employment by whose gravity, moderation, and experience we have hopes to repair what is amiss and settlement of those affairs to the good of our people and honour of our government. And for that purpose we have resolved with ourself to employ our servant Ferdinando Gorges, Knight, as well for that our gracious father of blessed memory as we have had for a long time good experience of his fidelity, circumspection, and knowledge of his government in martial and civil affairs, besides his understanding of the state of those countries wherein he has been an immediate mover and a principal actor to the great prejudice of his estate, long troubles, and the loss of many of his good friends and servants in making the first discovery of those coasts, and taking the first seizure thereof, as of right belongs to us our Crown and dignity, and is still resolved according to our gracious pleasure to prosecute the same in his own person, which resolution and most commendable affection of his to serve us therein as we highly approve, so we hold it properly of our princely care to second him with our royal and ample authority, such as shall be meet for an employment so eminent and the performance of our service therein. Whereof, we have thought it fit to make public declaration of our said pleasure, that thereby it may appear to our good subjects the resolution we have graciously to provide for the peace and future good of those whose affection leads them to any such undertaking, and withall to signify that our further will and pleasure is that none be permitted to go into any those parts to plant or inhabit but that they first acquaint our said governor therewith, or such other as shall be deputed for that purpose during his abode here in England, and who are to receive from him or them allowance to pass with his or their further directions where to set down most for their particular commodities and public good of our service, saving and reserving to all those that have joined in the surrender of the great Charter of New England and have grants immediately to be holden of us for their several plantations in the said country free liberty at all times hereafter to go themselves and also to send such numbers of people to their plantations as by themselves shall be thought convenient. Hereby strictly charging and commanding all our officers and others to whom it shall or may pertain, to take notice of this our pleasure and to be careful the same be firmly observed as they or any of them shall answer the same at their utmost peril.

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