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Sir William Young, 1st Baronet, of North Dean

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Sir William Young, 1st Baronet (1724/5–1788) was a British politician and sugar plantation owner. He served as President of the Commission for the Sale of Lands in the Ceded Islands, and was appointed the first non-military Governor of Dominica in 1768.

William Young
Sir William Young
Sir William Young
Born1724 (1724)
Died1788 (1789) (aged 64)
OccupationGovernor of Dominica

Sir William Young and his family.


He was born in Antigua in 1725, the son of Dr William Young who had fled from Scotland after the Jacobite uprising of 1715.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1748, his candidature citation reading "Residing at Chalton near Canterbury, A Gentleman well versed in Natural and Experimental knowledge, and alwaies ready to promote whatever may tend to the Improvement of Arts and Sciences".[1]

Early in 1764, Prime Minister George Grenville nominated Young and he was appointed in the same year to be President of the Commission for the Sale of Lands in the Ceded Islands. The islands included Grenada, Tobago, Dominica, and St Vincent, acquired from France as a result of the 1763 Peace of Paris.[2] In late 1764, he and his group sailed for Barbados, spending eight years away from his family during the period of 1764 to 1773, though in fact he made at least two return journeys in 1767 and 1770. James Harris reports on attending concerts at Young's residence in those years.[3] The artist Agostino Brunias travelled with Young, recording Young's progress and the visual context of his Commission's work.[4]

Young recorded "110 voyages of a like nature performed in the course of nine years amongst the ceded islands on the service of the Commission for the sale of lands." In 1768, Young was made Lieutenant Governor of Dominica and was chosen to be the first Governor of the new government, being sworn in on 17 November 1770.[4] He was responsible for building the main military stronghold of Dominica in Roseau, Fort Young (now a hotel) in 1770 and for Government House, Dominica, his residence near the fort. He left Dominica in 1772, rushing to St Vincent to "assist with the Carib War" and to protect his estates there. In 1769 he was made Baronet Young of North Dean.

He was also a diarist and illustrator of works related to the Caribbean islands,[5] although he hired Italian painter Brunias to paint pictures for him of the islands' people and interaction between the colonists and the natives, travelling with him through the islands.[4][6] He was the author of Considerations which may tend to promote the settlement of our new West-India colonies: by encouraging individuals to embark in the undertaking (1764).[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Young and his second wife, Elizabeth (1729–1801), had several children, including Sarah Elizabeth, William, Portia, Elizabeth, Mary, Henry, John, and Olivia.[8] He and ten family members were featured in the oil painting, The Family of Sir William Young, Baronet (ca.1766) by Johann Zoffany.[9] His eldest son, Sir William Young, 2nd Baronet (1749–1815), became a Governor of Tobago.[10]

Sir William purchased some of the best pieces of real estate on Antigua, St Vincent, and Tobago.[4] He left four plantations to his son, William, after his death and a total of 896 African slaves. He had been seriously in debt and left a sum of around £110,000 (£13,635,128 in 2019 pounds[11]) for his son to pay off.[10]


Young Island in the Grenadines is named in his honour.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 27 February 2012.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Quintanilla, Mark (Summer 2003). "The World of Alexander Campbell: An Eighteenth-Century Grenadian Planter". Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies. The North American Conference on British Studies. 35 (2): 229. JSTOR 4054136.
  3. ^ Burrows and Dunhill, Donald and Rosemary (2002). Music and Theatre in Handel's World The Family Papers of James Harris 1732-1780. Oxford: Oxford. pp. 478–479, 582ff. ISBN 0-19-816654-0.
  4. ^ a b c d Honychurch, Lennox (10 October 2003). "Chatoyer's Artist: Agostino Brunias and the depiction of St Vincent". Cave Hill, Barbados: The University of the West Indies. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Sir William Young". Understanding Slavery Initiative. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  6. ^ Sutton, Peter. C. "Agostino Brunias c. 1730-Dominica, c. 1796". Madrid, Spain: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  7. ^ Young, Sir William (1764). Considerations which may tend to promote the settlement of our new West-India colonies: by encouraging individuals to embark in the undertaking. printed for James Robson. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  8. ^ "The Family of Sir William Young, 1st Baronet, ca.1766". Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  9. ^ Tobin, Beth Fowkes (1999). Picturing imperial power: colonial subjects in eighteenth-century British painting. Duke University Press. pp. 40–. ISBN 978-0-8223-2338-9. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Young, William Sir". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (subscription required). Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  11. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  12. ^ Henderson, James (1 October 2005). Caribbean & the Bahamas. New Holland Publishers. pp. 184–. ISBN 978-1-86011-212-6. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
Baronetage of Great Britain
New creation Baronet
(of North Dean)
1769 – 1788
Succeeded by
William Young