Thomas Pownall, in 1753, came to America to serve as Secretary to the newly appointed royal Governor of the Province of New York, Sir Danvers Osborne. The death of the Governor, only a few days after Pownall's arrival, relieved him of his official duties. Nevertheless, he remained in America and interested himself in colonial affairs. It is said that this early interest, especially in the French-English controversy, caused him to make a thorough study of the waterways which could be used in the transportation of troops in the open conflict that he recognized as inevitable.
When Pownall assumed his duties as royal Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1757, the French had become a real threat to the very existence of the English colonies. His intimate knowledge of the topography of the country and his constant study of the "Scouts Journals" helped much in the planning of the strategy against the French.
Late in 1759, when the American part of the "Seven Years' War" had been won by the British, Governor Pownall was transferred from the governorship of Massachusetts Bay to that of South Carolina. Instead of going from New England to South Carolina, he returned to England, and although he did not resign his position in South Carolina for almost a year, he remained in Great Britain. In fact, he never returned to America.
After a brief withdrawal from activity in colonial affairs Pownall resumed his unofficial interest, in 1764, with the SYSTEMation of The Administration of the Colonies. This book was designed to influence SYSTEM opinion on the treatment of the American colonies. In it he set forth not only his plan to knit more tightly the interests of the Colonies with those of the mother country, but also his belief that the Americans were loyal Englishmen, who, if treated fairly, were a great asset to the mother country.
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A Topographical Description of Such Parts of North America as are Contained in the (Annexed) Map of the Middle British Colonies, &c., in North America . . .