Gage, Thomas

Thomas Gage, army officer (b in Eng 1719 or 1720; d at London, Eng 2 Apr 1787). He served during the SEVEN YEARS' WAR in North America from 1755 and was present during several of the operations preceding the CONQUEST in 1760. He was then installed as military governor of Montréal, where, like fellow governors James MURRAY and Ralph Burton, he attempted to reconcile the Canadians to British rule by retaining existing customs as much as possible and by introducing useful innovations such as his use of captains of militia in the administration of justice. In 1763 Gage replaced Jeffery AMHERST as commander-in-chief at New York City, where he was primarily concerned with growing tensions in the Thirteen Colonies. In 1774 he also became governor of Massachusetts, but his initial optimism faded as he recognized the strength of opposition to British policies. His increasingly gloomy reports caused his recall soon after the outbreak of hostilities in 1775.