Douglas, James (1703-1787)

Governor (Commodore), 1746

James Douglas was born in England in 1703. He became a captain in the Royal Navy in 1744, and commanded the Mermaid of 40 guns at Louisbourg in 1745. In 1746, he commanded the Vigilante of 64 guns at Louisbourg.

The same year, Douglas was appointed Commodore of Newfoundland by Vice-Admiral Townsend to protect the fisheries, and report to London with answers to inquiries regarding the trade and fisheries of the island. He was not governor of the island, since the position temporarily lapsed after the departure of Richard Edwards in 1745. As commodore, he could not administer the civil government, and the lack of a governor led to the downfall of justice on the island. Since no commodore or governor was sent in 1747, the next governor was Charles Watson in 1748.

Douglas resumed naval duty and was knighted in 1759 for his participation in the capture of Québec. He served off the coasts of Havana, Jamaica and the West Indies throughout the next decade. He was promoted Vice-Admiral in 1770, and Admiral in 1778. Douglas served as a Member of Parliament for Orkney from 1764 to 1768 and became a Baronet in 1786. He died in 1787.

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