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Proclamation by Governour Gage



By His Excellency the Honourable THOMAS GAGE, Esquire, Governour and Commander-in-Chief, in and over His Majesty' s Province of MASSACHUSETTS-BAY, and Vice-Admiral of the same:


Whereas, the infatuated multitude, who have long suffered themselves to be conducted by certain well known incendiaries and traitors, in a fatal progression of crimes against the constitutional authority of the State, have at


length proceeded to ayowed Rebellion; and the good effect which were expected to arise from the patience and lenity of the King' s Government have been often frustrated, and are now rendered hopeless, by the influence of the same evil counsels; it only remains for those who are invested with supreme rule as well for the punishment of the guilty, as the protection of the well-affected, to prove they do not bear the sword in vain.

The infringements which have been committed upon the most sacred rights of the Crown and People of Great Britain, are too many to enumerate on one side, and are all too atrocious to be paliated on the other. All unprejudiced people, who have been witnesses of the late transactions in this and the neighbouring Provinces, will find, upon a transient review, marks of premeditation and conspiracy, that would justify the fulness of chastisement; and even those who are least acquainted with facts, cannot fail to receive a just impression of their enormity, in proportion as they discover the arts and assiduity by which they have been falsified or concealed.

The authors of the present unnatural revolt, never daring to trust their cause or their actions to the judgment of an impartial publick, or even to the dispassionate reflection of their followers, have uniformly placed their chief confidence in the suppression of truth; and while indefatigable and shameless pains have been taken to obstruct every appeal to the real interest of the people of America, the grossest forgeries, calumnies and absurdities that ever insulted human understanding, have been imposed upon their credulity. The press, that distinguished appendage of publick liberty, and, when fairly and impartially employed, its best support, has been invariably prostituted to the most contrary purposes; the animated language of ancient and virtuous times, calculated to vindicate and promote the just rights and interests of mankind, have been applied to countenance the most abandoned violation of those sacred blessings; and not only from the flagitious prints, but from the popular harangues of the times, men have been taught to depend upon activity in treason, for the security of their persons and properties; till, to complete the horrid profanation of terms and of ideas, the name of God has been introduced in the pulpits, to excite and justify devastation and massacre.

The minds of men have been thus gradually prepared for the worst extremities. A number of armed persons, to the amount of many thousands, assembled on the 19th of April last, and from behind walls and lurking holes, attacked a detachment of the King' s Troops, who, not suspecting so consummate an act of frenzy, unprepared for vengeance, and willing to decline it, made use of their arms only in their own defence. Since that period, the rebels, deriving confidence from impunity, have added insult to outrage; have repeatedly fired upon the King' s ships and subjects, with cannon and small-arms; have possessed the roads, and other communications by which the Town of Boston was supplied with provisions; and with a preposterous parade of military arrangement, they affected to hold the Army besieged; while part of their body made daily and indiscriminate invasions upon private property, and, with a wantonness of cruelty ever incident to lawless tumult, carry depredation and distress wherever they turn their steps. The actions of the 19th of April are of such notority as must baffle all attempts to contradict them, and the flames of buildings and other property from the islands and adjacent country, for some weeks past, spread a melancholy confirmation of the subsequent assertions.

In this exigency of complicated calamities, I avail myself of the last effort within the bounds of my duty, to spare the effusion of blood; to offer, and I do hereby, in His Majesty' s name, offer and promise his most gracious pardon to all persons who shall forthwith lay down their arms, and return to their duties of peaceable subjects, excepting only from the benefit of such pardon, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, whose offences are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration than that of condign punishment.

And to the end that no person within the limits of this offered mercy may plead ignorance of the consequences of refusing it; I, by these presents, proclaim not only the persons above named and excepted, but also all their adherents, associates, and abetters, (meaning to comprehend


in those terms, all and every person and persons, of what class, denomination or description soever,) who have appeared in arms against the King' s Government, and shall not lay down the same as afore-mentioned; and likewise all such as shall so take arms after the date hereof, or who shall in any wise protect or conceal such offenders or assist them with money, provisions, cattle, arms, ammunition, carriages, or any other necessary for subsistence or offence; or shall hold secret correspondence with them by letter, message, single or otherwise, to be Rebels and Traitors, and as such to be treated.

And whereas, during the continuance of the present unnatural rebellion, justice cannot be administered by the common law of the land, the course whereof has for a long time past been violently impeded, and wholly interrupted, (from whence results a necessity of using and exercising the Law-Martial,) I have therefore thought fit, by the authority vested in me by the Royal Charter to this Province, to publish, and I do hereby publish, proclaim and order the use and exercise of the Law-Martial, within and throughout this Province for so long time as the present unhappy occasion shall necessarily require; whereof all persons are hereby required to take notice, and govern themselves, as well to maintain order and regularity among the peaceable inhabitants of the Province, as to resist, encounter, and subdue the Rebels and Traitors above described, by such as shall be called upon for those purposes.

To these inevitable, but, I trust, salutary measures, it is a far more pleasing part of my duty to add the assurance of my protection and support to all who, in so trying a crisis, shall manifest their allegiance to the King, and affection to the Parent State; so that such persons as may have been intimidated to quit their homes in the course of this alarm, may return to their respective callings and professions, and stand distinct and separate from the parricides of the Constitution, till God in his mercy shall restore to his creatures in this distracted land that system of happiness from which they have been seduced — the religion of peace, and liberty founded upon law.

Given at Boston, this 12th day of June, in the fifteenth year of the reign of His Majesty King George the Third, by the grace of God, of Great-Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c˙, Annoque Domini 1775.


By His Excellency' s command:


GOD save the King.