Pownall, Thomas pou´nəl [key], 1722–1805, English colonial governor in North America. In 1753 he went to New York as secretary to Sir Danvers Osborn, newly appointed governor. Following Osborn's suicide after their arrival, Pownall aided the English in their attempt to expel the French from North America, entered into a study of colonial administration and defense, and was lieutenant governor of New Jersey. He was appointed (1757) governor of Massachusetts, where he vigorously pressed the last of the French and Indian Wars, but was transferred (1759) to the governorship of South Carolina. Upon return to England in 1760, however, he resigned that post and became director of supply for the English forces in Germany (1761–63). In 1764 he published The Administration of the Colonies, in which he proposed the unification of the American colonies into one dominion and urged a stronger union of the colonies with the mother country. From 1767 to 1780 he was a member of Parliament. He opposed Edmund Burke's bill for conciliation with the colonies in 1775; but, protesting the hopelessness of the English cause, he introduced a peace bill in 1780. He spent the latter part of his life in travel and in writing.
See biography by J. A. Schutz (1951).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies