Richard Coote
Painting: by Otis Philbrick, 1927

Royal Governor of Massachusetts: 1699-1700

Governor Coote's noble upbringing led him to serve the Queen as Treasurer and Receiver General in 1689, and to serve in Parliament before being commissioned as Royal Governor of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York in 1697.

He began his administration in New York the next spring in 1698 and did not assert his dominion over Massachusetts until May of 1699, when he presided in person as Massachusetts' Governor. Bellomont had been the primary sponsor of Captain William Kidd's charter as a privateer, and when he was charged with piracy, Captain Kidd came to Boston to enlist Governor Coote's support. The political tide had turned against Kidd, and Governor Coote promptly had Captain Kidd arrested. The accused pirate was given a brief hearing and was then returned to London where he was found guilty of piracy and hung.

Governor Coote's governorship was otherwise uneventful. His attempt to govern three such distant territories took a toll on his health and he succumbed to a severe case of gout in 1701. William Stoughton briefly returned again as acting Governor until his death, resulting in Governor's Council administering the Colony's affairs until John Dudley returned from England to retake the Royal Governorship in June of 1702.