Dorill, Richard (c. 1719-1762)

Governor, 1755

Richard Dorill was born in 1719. He joined the Royal Navy in 1732 and was promoted lieutenant in 1739. He served off Toulon in action against the French and Spanish in 1744, and in 1746 was given command of the Jamaica.

Dorill was appointed Governor of Newfoundland in May 1755 and arrived in command of the Penzance. He answered the Heads of Inquiry regarding the inhabitants and fisheries statistics, the strength of the garrisons, and inventories of ordnance.

His term was marked by intolerance of the Irish Catholic inhabitants. He restricted the practice of Roman Catholicism, and had a Roman Catholic priest arrested for officiating at mass in Harbour Grace. Homes and stages were burned in Harbour Main because their owners had celebrated mass. Magistrates in St. John's were instructed to prohibit Irishmen from retailing liquor, and those who did had their land confiscated and homes destroyed. At a time of impending war with France, the Irish - many of whom had joined the French forces - were seen by the British as potentially disloyal.

Dorill became captain of the Royal George at Deptford in 1756, when his health began to fail. He died at Bath, England, on January 1, 1762.

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