Explanatory Charter of Massachusetts Bay (1725)

This charter is written as one block of text, without punctuation or break, and a lot of “olde English”. I did my best to find any natural breaks in the text, and corrected what are now misspellings in order to ease its legibility.

Any mention of Nova Scotia or Acadia are in bold in order to make it easier to pick them out, not as a representation of how they are presented in the original text.


GEORGE BY THE GRACE OF GOD of Great Britain France and Ireland king Defender of the Faith &c

To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting

Whereas Our late Royal Predecessors William and Mary King and Queen of England &c Did by their letters Patents under their Great Seal of England bearing Date at Westminster the Seventh day of October in the Third year of their Reign for themselves their Heirs and Successors Unite Erect and Incorporate the Territories and Colonies commonly called or known by the Names of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay and Colony of New Plymouth the Province of Main the Territory called Acadia or Nova Scotia and all that Tract of land lying between the said Territories of Nova Scotia and the said Province of Main into One Real Province by the Name of Our Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England

And Whereas their said late Majesties King William and Queen Mary did by the said recited letters Patents (among other things therein contained) for themselves their Heirs and Successors Ordain and Grant that there should and might be Convened held and kept by the Governor for the time being upon every last Wednesday in the Month of May every year forever and at all such other times as the Governor of their said Province should think fit and Appoint a Great and General Court or Assembly which said Great and General Court or Assembly should Consist of the Governor and Council or Assistants for the time being and of such Freeholders of their said Province or Territory as should be from time to time elected or deputed by the major part of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the respective Towns or places who should be present at such Elections each of the said Towns and places being thereby empowered to Elect and Depute two Persons and no more to Serve for and represent them respectively in the. said Great and General Court or Assembly and that the Governor for the time being should have full Power and Authority from time to time as he should Judge necessary to adjourn Prorogue and Dissolve all Great and General Courts or Assemblies met and Convened as aforesaid And did thereby also for themselves their Heirs and Successors Provide Establish and Ordain that in the Framing and Passing of all Orders laws Statutes and Ordinances and in all Elections and Acts of Government whatsoever to be passed made or done by the said General Court or Assembly or in Council the Governor of the said Province or Territory of the Massachusetts Bay in :New England for the time being should have the Negative Voice and that without his Consent or Approbation Signified and Declared in writing no such Orders laws Statutes Ordinances Elections or other Acts of Government whatsoever so to be made passed or done by the said General Assembly or in Council should be of any force Effect or Validity any thing therein contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding as in and by the said letters Patents (reason being thereunto had) may more fully and at large appear

And Whereas no provision is made by the said recited letters Patents touching the Nomination and Election of a Speaker of the Representatives Assembled in any Great and General Court of Our said Province nor any particular Reservation made of the Right of Us Our Heirs and Successors to approve or disapprove of such Speaker by the Governor of the said Province appointed or to be appointed by Us or them for the time being And no power is Granted by the said recited letters Patents to the said House of Representatives to adjourn themselves for any time whatsoever by means whereof divers Doubts and Controversies have Arisen within Our said Province to the Interruption of the Public Business thereof and the obstruction of Our Service

Know Ye therefore that for removing the said Doubts and Controversies and preventing the like mischief for the future And also for the further Explanation of the said recited letters Patents Wee of Our Especial Grace certain knowledge and mere motion Have Granted Ordained and Appointed And by these Presents for Us Our Heirs and Successors Do Will Grant Ordain and Appoint that for ever hereafter the Representatives Assembled in any Great or General Court of Our said Province to be hereafter Summoned shall upon the first day of their Assembling Elect a fit Person out of the said Representatives to be Speaker of the House of Representatives in such General Court and that the Person so Elected shall from time to time be presented to the Governor of Our said Province for the time being or in his absence to the lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief of Our said Province for the time being for his Approbation to which Governor lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief respectively Wee do hereby for Us Our Heirs and Successors give full power and Authority to approve or disapprove of the Person so Elected and presented which approbation or disapprobation shall be Signified by him by Message in writing under his Hand to the said House of Representatives And in Case such Governor lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief shall disapprove of the Person so Elected and presented or the Person so Elected and presented being approved as aforesaid shall happen to dye or by Sickness or otherwise be disabled from Officiating as Speaker in every such Case the said Representatives so Assembled shall forthwith Elect an other Person to be Speaker of the House of Representatives to be presented and approved or disapproved in manner as aforesaid and so from time to time as often as the Person so Elected and presented shall be disapproved of or happen to dye or become disabled as aforesaid

And Our further Will and Pleasure is and Wee do by these presents of Our more abundant Grace for Us Our Heirs and Successors Grant Ordain and Appoint that it shall and may be lawful to and for the Representatives assembled in any Great or General Court of Our said Province for the time being for ever hereafter to Adjourn themselves from day to day (and if occasion shall require) for the space of two days but not for any longer time than for the space of two days without leave from the Governor or in his Absence from the lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief of Our said Province for the time being first had and obtained in that behalf any thing in the said recited letters Patents contained to the Contrary thereof in any wise Notwithstanding Provided always that nothing in these presents contained shall Extend or be Construed to Extend to revoke alter or prejudice the Power and Authority by the said recited letters Patents Granted to the Governor of the said Province for the time being to Adjourn Prorogue and Dissolve all Great and General Courts or Assemblies of Our said Province.

And Lastly Wee do by these presents for Us Our Heirs and Successors Grant that these Our letters Patents or the Enrollment or Exemplification thereof shall be in and by all things good firm valid and Effectual in the law according to the true intent and meaning thereof notwithstanding the not rightly or fully reciting mentioning or describing the said recited letters Patents or the Date thereof or any other Omission Imperfection Defect matter Cause or thing whatsoever to the Contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding

In witness whereof Wee have Caused these Our letters to be made Patents Witness William Archbishop of Canterbury and the rest of the Guardians and Justices of the Kingdom at Westminster the Six and twentieth day of August in the twelfth year of Our Reign

By Writ of Privy Seal

COCK

Thorpe, Francis Newton. “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” Washington : Govt. Print. Off. 1909. https://archive.org/details/federalstatecons03thor/page/1888/mode/2up