Commission of Richard Saltonstall as Justice of the Superior Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, 1745 January 24

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Content Notes

In this commission, signed by Massachusetts Governor William Shirley and Secretary Josiah Willard, King George II of England appointed Richard Saltonstall as Justice of the Superior Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. It begins: "George the Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France & Ireland King, Defender of the Faith &ca. To our trusty and well-beloved Richard Saltonstall Esqr. Greeting [...]" The commission specifies that the Chief Justice and four other justices of the Superior Court are responsible for "hav[ing] Cognizance of all Pleas, real personal or mixt, as well as Pleas of the Crown & all matters relating to the Conservation of the Peace & Punishment of Offenders as civil causes or actions between party & party & between his Majesty & any of his subjects [...]." Saltonstall had already served in the Superior court for almost a decade when this commission was issued.

Biographical Notes

Richard Saltonstall (1703-1756), member of a prominent New England family and son of Colonel Richard Saltonstall (Harvard A.B. 1695), was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts on June 14, 1703. When his father died in 1714, he was placed in the care of an uncle, Rowland Cotton, who would later send him to Harvard College to study. Saltonstall graduated from the College in the class of 1722, and he received an A.M. in 1725. He was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1722, the same year he received his A.B., and is believed to be the youngest man ever commissioned into that role in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. He was appointed Colonel of the militia in 1726 and served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1728, 1729, 1735, 1736, 1738 and from 1743 to 1746. He was commissioned to serve as judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts in 1736 and served in that role for the rest of his life. Saltonstall married Abigail Waldron on January 6, 1726; they would have four children together before her death in 1736. He remarried twice. Richard Saltonstall died on October 20, 1756.