Robinson, Sir John Beverley
Sir John Beverley Robinson, lawyer, politician, judge (b at Berthier, LC 26 July 1791; d at Toronto 31 Jan 1863). He was enrolled at the school of John STRACHAN
and made a lifelong friend of the Tory Anglican cleric. Appointed acting attorney general in 1813, he became solicitor general after the war and left for England to finish his legal studies. When he returned, he was reappointed attorney general. In 1820 Robinson was elected to the Assembly; he was government spokesman until 1828. As a member of the FAMILY COMPACT
, he was a staunch defender of the imperial connection, an established Church of England and a social hierarchy headed by a chosen elite. He incurred the wrath of reformers and opponents, such as Robert GOURLAY
, whom he prosecuted, and he played a leading role in depriving American settlers of their property and political rights, defining them as "aliens." Nevertheless, Robinson promoted economic development and had an outstanding judicial career. He was appointed chief justice in 1829, Speaker of the Legislative Council and president of the Executive Council. After the trials of the Upper Canadian rebels, he had Samuel LOUNT
and Peter MATTHEWS
executed. Critical of Lord DURHAM's
report, Robinson favoured union of all British N America. He had little political influence after 1841 because he was a judge and a Compact Tory. He was knighted and then became a baronet (1854). After an outstanding judicial career, ill health forced him to retire from the bench in 1863.
Robinson, John Beverley
As a member of the Family Compact, Robinson was a defender of the imperial connection and a social hierarchy headed by a chosen elite. Drawing by George Berthon (courtesy Metro Toronto Library).
Links to Other Sites
John Beverley Robinson
This biography of John Beverley Robinson describes circumstances around the trial sometimes referred to as the “Bloody Assize.” From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
A brief history of Upper Canada’s handling of cases of disloyalty and treason during the War of 1812. Includes digitized images of historical documents, audio clips, and a picture of Sir John Beverly Robinson, then Chief Justice of Upper Canada. From the Archives of Ontario website.