The Era of the American Revolution: Studies Inscribed to Evarts Boutell Greene

By Richard B. Morris | Go to book overview

The Royal Governors in the Middle and Southern Colonies on the Eve Of the Revolution: a Study in Imperial Personnel

LOUISE B. DUNBAR

BEFORE THE American Revolution the royal governorship in British North America was generally regarded by the home authorities as the best available link between the mother country and the colonies, as the substitution of royal appointees for governors otherwise chosen in eight of the colonies1 and their introduction at the outset in several newly organized governments clearly indicate.2 Excellent studies are available on the institutional aspects of the royal governors,3 but relatively little has been done to delineate their characters and careers.4 A comprehensive study of them would include the chief executives of Nova Scotia, Quebec, the Floridas, and Britain's island possessions, as well as those appointed to preside over the eight royal provinces which joined in supporting the Declaration of Independence. The present study deals with

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1
Virginia, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
2
Notably, Quebec and the two Floridas.
3
For example, Greene, The Provincial Governor in the English Colonies of North America; Dickerson, American Colonial Government, 1696-1765; L. W. Labaree. Royal Government in America; Pargellis, Lord Loudoun in North America; and Flippin, The Royal Government in Virginia, 1624-1775.
4
The royal governors make numerous appearances in Osgood's seven volumes on The American Colonies and in other historical accounts of the colonial period. Nevins , in The American States during and after the Revolution, chaps. i-iii, passim, swiftly reviews the last years of the provincial governors. The Dictionary of American Biography and Dictionary of National Biography contain accounts of many of the governors. (For the most part, data in these reference works concerning their early lives will not be repeated in the present essay.) See Labaree treatise on "The Early Careers of the Royal Governors" in Essays in Colonial History Presented to Charles McLean Andrews by His Students, and his bibliographical note on "Biographies of Governors" in Royal Government in America, pp. 467-68.

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