1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tryon, William

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TRYON, WILLIAM (1729-1788), American colonial governor, was born at Norbury Park, Surrey, England, in 1729. In 1757, when he was a captain of the First Foot Guards, he married a London heiress with a dower of £30,000. In 1764 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of North Carolina, upon Arthur Dobbs's death in 1765 became governor pro tem., and in December of the same year received his commission as governor. Like many other pre-Revolutionary officials in America, he has generally been pictured by American writers as a tyrant. In reality, however, he seems to have been tactful and considerate, an efficient administrator, who in particular greatly improved the colonial postal service, and to have become unpopular chiefly because, through his rigid adherence to duty, he obeyed the instructions of his superiors and rigorously enforced the measures of the British government. By refusing to allow meetings of the Assembly from the 18th of May 1765 to the 3rd of November 1766, he prevented North Carolina from sending representatives to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765. To lighten the stamp tax he offered to pay the duty on all stamped paper on which he was entitled to fees. With the support of the law-abiding element he suppressed the Regulator uprising in 1768-71, caused partly by the taxation imposed to defray the cost of the governor's fine mansion at New Bern (which Tryon had made the provincial capital), and executed seven or eight of the ringleaders, pardoning six others. From 1771 nominally until the 22nd of March 1780 he was governor of New York. While he was on a visit to England the War of Independence broke out, and on the 19th of October 1775, several months after his return, he was compelled to seek refuge on the sloop of war " Halifax " in New York Harbour, but was restored to power when the British took possession of New York City in September 1776, though his actual authority did not extend beyond the British lines. In 1777, with the rank of major- general, he became commander of a corps of Loyalists, and in 1779 invaded Connecticut and burned Danbury, Fairfield and Norwalk. In 1780 he returned to England, and in 1782 was promoted to be lieutenant-general. He died in London on the 27th of January 1788.

See Marshal D. Haywood, Governor William Tryon and his Administration in the Province of North Carolina (Raleigh, North Carolina, 1903).