The Powers of the Governors of the Governor in Early Eighteenth-Century Virginia

“The powers of the royal governor were generally defined in the commission which he received from the crown. The governor’s instructions were more specific in nature and usually stated the exact manner in which the governor was to execute his powers. The commissions and instructions were “issued in the spirit of government ’by royal grace and favor’ and remained static and unchanging throughout the century prior to the American Revolution.

These documents nevertheless, retained an Important place in the governmental system of the colonies. Constitutionally speaking, they formed a basis for the provincial constitutions, and “there were no documents above these to which appeal could be taken.” They were to serve the governor as a guide to the actual frame of government and to the policies which the home officials expected him to pursue.

Of these two documents, the commission was the highest in authority. It was issued under the great seal of England and contained the actual appointment of the governor to his post.”

Lonnes, Anita Joy, “The Powers of the Governor in Early Eighteenth-Century Virginia” (1964). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1539624556.