World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Peter Russell (politician)

Article Id: WHEBN0000651711
Reproduction Date:

Title: Peter Russell (politician)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Peter Hunter, Legislative Council of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, People from York, Upper Canada, List of lieutenant governors of Ontario
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Peter Russell (politician)

Peter Russell
Born
(1733-06-11)11 June 1733
Cork, Ireland
Died 30 September 1808(1808-09-30) (aged 75)
York, Upper Canada
Education Cambridge - did not finish studies
Occupation Military officer,
government official, politician and judge of Upper Canada

Peter Russell (11 June 1733 – 30 September 1808) was a gambler, government official, politician and judge in Upper Canada.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Politics 2
  • Later years 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

Born in Cork, Ireland, later living in England, Russell attended the University of Cambridge briefly. His debts forced him to enter the British Army during the Seven Years' War. He was commissioned into the 14th Foot and served in the 94th Foot and the 64th Foot.

After fleeing due to gambling debts, Russell returned to the American colonies during the Revolutionary War, seeking promotion in the military and being promoted Captain in 1781. He was appointed superintendent of the port of Charleston in 1782 before returning to England.

Politics

Again in debt, Russell came to Upper Canada in 1790 to join the administration of John Graves Simcoe serving on the Executive Council and Legislative Council. Russell was appointed to a temporary judgeship in 1794 and also became Speaker of the Legislative Council.

Simcoe requested a leave of absence in December 1795 and recommended that Russell act as administrator of Upper Canada in his absence. Russell assumed the position in July 1796 and remained administrator until 1799 when Simcoe's permanent replacement was appointed.

Russell’s administration saw the peaceful transfer of six border posts from the British to the Americans under the terms of the Jay Treaty. During his temporary appointment, Russell was at a disadvantage, however, as Simcoe had taken the vast majority of his official papers with him, leaving only 12 documents behind. This left Russell ignorant of British policy and of Simcoe's proposals for management of the province.

Russell attempted to tighten up the system of land grants in order to curtail speculation, nepotism and corruption. He clashed with the new chief justice, John Elmsley, (who served on the Executive Council as part of his duties) over issues such as the seat of government with Elmsley objecting to the implementation of Simcoe's directions on making York the capital.

Elmsley also objected to Russell's self-appointment to the Court of King's Bench due to Russell's lack of legal training and the violation of the separation of judicial and executive powers. Russell needed the extra income, however, and ignored Elmsley's objections.

Peter Russell was a supporter of Native issues in the town of York, supporting them when they had issues with encroaching pioneers. However, he was seen as a hypocritical figure by later historians because he owned and traded in slaves.[1]

Later years

By 1798 it became evident that Simcoe would never return. Russell hoped to become the new lieutenant-governor and was disappointed when Peter Hunter was given the position in 1799.

Russell remained on the Executive Council but his influence waned and he had little power. When Hunter died in 1805, Russell again hoped to be named administrator but was passed over in favour of Alexander Grant. Tired of Canada, he wished to return to England but, unable to find a buyer for his 6,000 acres (24 km²) of land, he could not afford the trip and remained in the province until his death in 1808.

References

  1. ^ Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 41: A Sketch of Russell Abbey". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited. 

External links

  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography OnlineBiography at the
Government offices
Preceded by
John Graves Simcoe
Administrator of Upper Canada
1796–1799
Succeeded by
Peter Hunter
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.