Dom. 1547–80; Literary Remains of King Edward VI, ed. Nichols (Roxburghe Club); Froude's Hist. of England, ch. xxiii. xxx.]
GATES, Sir THOMAS (fl. 1596–1621), governor of Virginia, was knighted in 1596 while serving in the expedition against Cadiz. He entered Gray's Inn 14 March 1597–8. In July 1604 he was in the Netherlands with Sir Henry Wotton, then proceeding to Vienna as ambassador. Sir Henry wrote in a letter of introduction to Winwood: ‘I entreat you to love him [Gates], and to love me too, and to assure you that you cannot love two honester men.’ Together with his fellow-captain Thomas Dale [see Dale, Sir Thomas], Gates served subsequently in garrison in Oudewater, in South Holland. In April 1608 he obtained from the States-General leave of absence for one year. The special occasion for his absence was a commission from the king of England to proceed to Virginia. The first attempt to colonise Virginia having proved abortive, James I granted a new charter, dated 23 May 1609, with larger powers and privileges. Among the new adventurers were the Earl of Salisbury, Sir Francis Bacon, Captain John Smith, Sir Oliver Cromwell (uncle to the Protector), together with a number of public companies of London. The chief officers of the company were Sir Thomas Gates, lieutenant-general; Lord De la Warr, captain-general of Virginia; Sir George Somers, admiral; and Sir Thomas Dale, high marshal. The project excited great enthusiasm. Large sums of money were contributed, and so many persons desired to be transported that nine ships, with more than five hundred emigrants, were despatched in charge of Gates, Somers, and Captain Newport. They sailed from England at the close of May 1609, but only seven vessels arrived in Virginia. The ship of the three commissioners, the Sea Venture, was separated from the rest of the fleet by a furious hurricane, and stranded on the rocks of Bermuda. The passengers effected a landing, but six of the company died on the island. An account of the disaster written by one of the passengers, William Strachey, was published by Purchas in 1625, under the title of ‘A True Reportory of the Wracke and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates upon and from the Ilands of the Bermudas.’ In 1610 appeared Silas Jourdan's ‘Discovery of the Barmudas … by Sir T. Gates … with diuers others,’ which was reprinted without acknowledgment with additional information in 1613. To both of these accounts Shakespeare is said to have been indebted for the groundwork of his play of ‘The Tempest.’ Gates and his fellow-voyagers remained nine months in Bermuda, where they constructed two vessels, partly from the wreck of the Sea Venture, and partly from cedars which they felled. Reaching Virginia on 24 May 1610, Gates found the colony in a desolate and miserable condition. After the departure of John Smith the colonists, uncontrolled by authority, had given way to excesses, and their numbers were further reduced by famine. They resolved to burn the town, but were prevented by Gates, who determined to sail for Newfoundland with the surviving colonists, in order to seek a passage for England. Lord De la Warr, however, arrived on 9 June 1610 with new colonists and supplies, and Gates returned with him to Jamestown.
Before the close of 1610 De la Warr despatched Gates to England for further supplies. The treasurer and council were inclined to abandon the enterprise altogether. Gates's report on oath, describing the territory, revived the hopes of the council. Nevertheless, many influential supporters withdrew from the undertaking, and their action seemed justified by the immediate return of De la Warr. But, as Gates still retained faith in the scheme, he succeeded in collecting new recruits. In March 1611 Sir Thomas Dale sailed from England with a year's supply in three ships for the colony; and about three months later Gates followed him with six ships carrying three hundred men, with ample supplies. Gates was accompanied by his wife and their two daughters. His wife died on the voyage, and his daughters had to be sent back. He arrived at Jamestown in August, and assumed the office of governor in succession to Sir Thomas Dale. Gates endeavoured to make religion the foundation of law and order. He effected a new settlement, and built a town called Henrico in honour of Prince Henry. His administration appears to have been discreet and provident. A third patent for Virginia, signed March 1612, granted to the shareholders in England the Bermudas and all islands within three hundred leagues of the Virginia shore, but this acquisition was subsequently transferred to a separate company. Gates returned to England in 1614, and endeavoured to revive and strengthen the fallen hopes of the London company of shareholders. He contemplated once more resuming his post in Virginia, but after De la Warr's death the treasurer and council appointed Captain Yeardley as captain-general and governor. Some time after his return to England in 1614 Gates repaired to the Netherlands, mainly for the purpose of obtaining the arrears of his pay, and was favoured by the States-General with immediate payment. Stith, in his ‘History