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Thomas Gage

Gage, Thomas, 1721–87, English general in North America. He came to America (1754) with Gen. Edward Braddock and took part in the ill-fated expedition against Fort Duquesne (1755). Later in the last of the French and Indian Wars he served under James Abercromby and Jeffery Amherst. Gage was appointed (1760) governor at Montreal and later succeeded Amherst (1763) as commander in chief of British forces in North America. He thus had a highly significant post in the years when trouble between the colonists and the British government grew, and the British soldiers were receiving the brunt of the colonists' resentment. In the critical year of 1774, Gage was chosen to succeed Thomas Hutchinson as governor of Massachusetts, where affairs were most serious. He tried to put down the dissident forces in the colony and to enforce the Intolerable Acts. He ordered the arrest of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. In Apr., 1775, he sent soldiers to seize military stores at Concord, and the colonial militia resisted; the battles of Lexington and Concord on Apr. 19 began the American Revolution. In Oct., 1775, he resigned and was succeeded by Gen. William Howe as commander in chief in the colonies, and by General Guy Carleton as commander in Canada.

See biography by J. Alden (1948); study by A. French (1932, repr. 1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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