Charles Edward Poulett Thomson, 1st Baron Sydenham
Charles Edward Poulett Thomson Sydenham, 1st Baron, politician, colonial administrator (b at Wimbledon, London, Eng 13 Sept 1799; d at Kingston, Canada W 19 Sept 1841).
Charles Edward Poulett Thomson Sydenham, 1st Baron, politician, colonial administrator (b at Wimbledon, London, Eng 13 Sept 1799; d at Kingston, Canada W 19 Sept 1841). Son of a prominent merchant, he entered the family firm at age 16. An outspoken free trader, he was first elected to the House of Commons in 1826 and became vice-president (1830) then president (1834) of the Board of Trade. Appointed governor general of British North America in 1839, he persuaded the legislature of Upper Canada to consent to a union with Lower Canada and framed the constitution of the united province. Although he opposed the principle of RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT and acted as his own prime minister, he turned the Executive Council into a Cabinet composed of heads of departments who sat in the legislature. He also established a variant of this system in NS in 1840. It could work only so long as the proponents of complete responsible government did not control the Assembly, and in Canada he interfered flagrantly in the 1841 election to prevent a Reform victory. His policy of anglicization won him the support of the anglophone majority in the colony but the hatred of the French Canadians. His system was already beginning to collapse when he died in 1841.
Adam Shortt, Lord Sydenham (1926); J.M.S. Careless, The Union of the Canadas (1967).