Bowdoin, James (1727-1797), son of a French merchant forced into exile by the edict of Nantes. Born in Boston, he was elected to the continental Congress in 1774, and the next year he was Governor of Massachusetts. He did much by speech and writing to advance the cause of American Independence, and when compelled by ill-health to resign his public functions, he gave himself up to science and literature. He was president of the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences and Arts, and fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh. Bowdoin College, in the state of Maine, is named after him.