Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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OLIVER, Thomas, lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts, born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, 5 January, 1734; died in Bristol, England, 29 November, 1815. He was graduated at Harvard in 1753, and resided at Cambridge, taking little part in public affairs until, on the death of Andrew Oliver, he was appointed lieutenant-governor at the suggestion of Thomas Hutchinson. He was also one of the councillors that were appointed by the crown under a recent act of parliament, and was made president of the board. The attempt to subvert the charter created intense excitement throughout the province. The mandamus councillors were visited by bands of freeholders and, one after another, forced to resign. On the seizure by the troops of the public stock of powder that was provided for the militia, the yeomen of the neighboring towns marched to Cambridge, some of them bringing their arms. General Gage prepared to send troops against them. Oliver first endeavored to persuade the people to turn back, and then hastened to Boston and prevailed on the general to refrain from military action. On his return the resignation of his seat on the council board was called for. He protested that he would sacrifice his property and his life rather than his honor, but yielded when a threatening multitude surrounded his mansion, 2 September, 1774. He removed then to Boston, and, when the British troops sailed to Halifax, went with them and took passage thence for England. He was proscribed in 1778, and his estate confiscated.
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