Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan
Finding aid for Thomas Gage Warrants, 1763-1775
Finding aid created by Meg Hixon and Clements Staff, October 2010
Title: Thomas Gage warrants Creator: Gage, Thomas, 1720-1787 Inclusive dates: 1763-1775 Extent: 10 linear feet Abstract:
The Thomas Gage warrants are financial documents authorizing payment for the British military forces in North America from the conclusion of the French and Indian War through the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The warrants are one series within the larger Thomas Gage papers.
Language: The material is in English Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave. The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190 Phone: 734-764-2347 Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
William L. Clements purchased the collection from Henry Rainald Gage, 6th Viscount Gage, in 1930. In 1937, the collection was moved from Clements' home in Bay City, Michigan, to the Clements Library.
Thomas Gage Warrants, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is organized into three series:
Series I: Subsistence warrants
Series II: Warrants
Series III: Accounts and miscellaneous
The Subsistence warrants series is arranged by regiment number, the Warrants series is arranged chronologically, and the Accounts and Miscellaneous series is loosely organized according to document type.
Warrants, though commonly used today with regard to property search and seizure, have historically represented a variety of legal purposes and functions, including payment authorization for civil or military functions. During the second half of the eighteenth century, the British forces in North America used two main types of warrants: subsistence warrants and warrants for extraordinary expenses.
Subsistence warrants were used to disburse Parliament-approved funding for soldiers' pay and rations (including clothing, medical care, and pensions), and were usually created on behalf of individual regiments. As commander-in-chief of His Majesty's forces on the continent, Thomas Gage (1721-1787) controlled disbursement by issuing warrants to the deputy paymaster general in North America, who would then transfer the funds to individual regiments' paymasters. Each warrant was copied in triplicate for use by the warrant issuer, the War Office in London, and the recipient of the relevant funds.
Warrants for extraordinary expenses covered other expenditures incurred by the army, including frontier expeditions, building costs for fortifications or barracks, transportation, and payments to local Native American tribes. Because these funds were approved by Parliament after they had been spent, they were first issued by the Paymaster General in London through various private (civilian) merchants. These middlemen would directly pay the contractors supplying the necessary equipment or labor, submitting the receipts to Gage. Gage would then issue a warrant for the relevant amount, sending the original to London and retaining a copy for his own records.
Various other financial documents, including vouchers, receipts, and accounts, were also generated during these processes, which relied more heavily on the issuing of credit than on actual monetary transactions.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The financial records contained in this collection represent financial accounts for British forces in North America from the conclusion of the French and Indian War to the beginning of the Revolutionary War. These documents are secretarial copies retained by Thomas Gage (1720-1787) for his personal records.
Types of documents in the collection:
Subsistence warrants : Documents issued by Gage authorizing payment for regular salaries and rations.
Warrants for extraordinary expenses : Documents issued by Gage authorizing payment for irregular expenses.
Temporary warrants : Documents signed by Gage allowing financial advances.
Annexed accounts : Detailed lists or accounts affixed to warrants, often including vouchers and receipts from various middlemen and agents. These may be lists of bills of exchange and are occasionally signed.
Abstracts of accounts : Abstracts or explanations of complex accounts.
Vouchers : Receipts showing payment.
These may include:
Bills of lading : Used when dealing with hired ships.
Pay rolls : Listing of personnel, their occupations, and their wages.
Invoices : Enumerating goods received.
Bills of exchange : Calling for one party to pay a certain amount to a second party; may be accompanied by receipts.
The miscellaneous documents in the collection include:
Memorials : Signed statements certifying that a service has been performed.
Legal documents : Depositions, testimonies, contracts, or other witnessed and sworn statements.
Discharges : Documents releasing men or vessels from military service.
Wrappers : Papers in which documents were originally contained.