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William Bollan was born in England and studied law. He removed to Massachusetts about 1740. He was married 8 September 1743 at Kings Chapel in Boston to Frances Shirley, daughter of Governor William Shirley. William Bollan became advocate-general and agent of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in London from 1746 to 1762. He published numerous political pamphlets, and represented the interests of Massachusetts in the British government until the beginning of the American Revolution.
The William Bollan Papers (Mss 1074), written between 1749 and 1757, consist primarily of petitions and memorials presented by colonial agent William Bollan to the British parliament and/or Lords Commissioners, and correspondence exchanged with British and American government officials. The government officials include William Wildman Barrington, Viscount Barrington; Thomas Hubbard (speaker of Massachusetts House, 1750-1758); Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle; George Montague-Dunk, Second Earl of Halifax (president of the British Board of Trade); and John Pownall (secretary to British Board of Trade and Plantations). Subjects include the sugar trade, colonial boundaries, the Louisburg Expedition, and British military forces in America.
For additional information about the collection, please see the finding aid (PDF). The entire collection has been digitized and is now available online.
William Bollan Papers, Mss 1074, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society.