William Burnet
Painting: by John Watson, c. 1726

Royal Governor of Massachusetts: 1728-1729

William Burnet had a difficult tenure as Governor of New York (1720-1728). He had advocated involving the English in the fur trade in order to reduce the French influence among native tribes. Though business interests opposed him, he persevered and made nominal progress.

Mr. Burnet's success in New York merited his promotion to govern Massachusetts. However, the Royal Governorship in Massachusetts was hopelessly hobbled. The legislature continued to refuse to pay the Governor a regular salary. They had succeeded in driving an earlier Governor, Samuel Shute, back to England and were accustomed to weak governors.

In September of 1729, Burnet died in office, just eighteen months into his tenure. Acting Governor William Dummer returned to administer Massachusetts' affairs until the arrival of Royal Governor Jonathan Belcher in 1730.