John Graves Simcoe
Simcoe, John Graves, army officer, lt-gov of Upper Canada (b at Cotterstock, Eng 25 Feb 1752; d at Exeter, Eng 26 Oct 1806). Commander of the Queen's Rangers in the AMERICAN REVOLUTION , he became in 1791 the first lt-gov of
Simcoe, John GravesSimcoe, John Graves, army officer, lt-gov of Upper Canada (b at Cotterstock, Eng 25 Feb 1752; d at Exeter, Eng 26 Oct 1806). Commander of the Queen's Rangers in the AMERICAN REVOLUTION, he became in 1791 the first lt-gov of UPPER CANADA, where he arrived in 1792. He began the policy of granting land to American settlers, confident that they would become loyal settlers and aware that they were the main hope for rapid economic growth. He saw the southwestern peninsula as the future centre not only of the province but of trade with the interior of the continent. He founded York [ TORONTO ], intending it to be a temporary capital, and laid the foundation of a road system. He wanted to make the colony an example of the superiority of British institutions, and he appointed lieutenants of counties, introduced a court of king's bench and had slavery declared illegal. He also effectively defeated attempts to set up elected town meetings on the New England model. He proposed municipal councils, urged a university with preparatory schools and sought the full endowment of the Church of England. He had few critics in the province but could not persuade the imperial government to finance his projects or to exempt him from the military authority of Guy CARLETON, Lord Dorchester, at Québec. Concerned about defence and in ill health, he left the colony in 1796. He was then governor of Santo Domingo [Dominican Republic] and later commander of the Western District in England. Appointed commander in chief for India in 1806, he died before he could take up the position.
S.R. Mealing, "The Enthusiasms of John Graves Simcoe," Canadian Historical Assn, Report (1958) and "John Graves Simcoe" in R.L. McDougall, ed, Our Living Tradition, Fourth Series (1962).