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ARTHUR, Sir GEORGE, army officer and colonial administrator; b. 21 June 1784 in Plymouth, England, youngest son of John Arthur and Catherine Cornish; m. 13 June 1814 Elizabeth Orde Usher Smith in Half Way Tree (Kingston), Jamaica, and they had seven sons and five daughters; d. 19 Sept. 1854 in London.

George Arthur passed his youth in “comfortable circumstances” in Plymouth, where his father, a wealthy brewer, had been elected mayor the year prior to his birth. On 25 Aug. 1804 George became an ensign in the 91st Foot and the following June he was promoted to lieutenant in the 35th Foot. His military career was not unusually distinguished, since it was confined to participation in a series of relatively unimportant and mainly ill-fated campaigns against Napoleon. In 1806 he was incapacitated by fever while serving in Sir James Henry Craig*’s abortive expedition in Italy. The following year he was wounded during the unsuccessful siege of Rosetta (Rashīd) in Egypt. On 5 May 1808 while on leave in England he purchased his captaincy.

During the disastrous expedition to Walcheren, Netherlands, in 1809, he served as deputy assistant adjutant-general and received praise for his part in the attack on Flushing (Vlissingen), in which he was wounded once again. From 1810 to 1812 he acted as aide-de-camp and military secretary to Lieutenant-General George Don, the lieutenant governor of Jersey, and on 5 Nov. 1812 he was gazetted major in the 7th West India Regiment, which he joined in Jamaica. There he acted as assistant quartermaster general and for a few months as paymaster general, and he met and married Elizabeth, the second daughter of Colonel John Frederick Sigismund Smith, the officer commanding the artillery in the colony. Shortly after the marriage, Arthur was appointed superintendent and commandant of the British settlement on the coast of Honduras (Belize) and assumed office in July 1814. He was given the local rank of colonel and on 1 June 1815 became a lieutenant-colonel in the army.

Although Honduras was technically in Spanish territory, its rich timber resources had attracted British settlers who established a community that by 1816 numbered 3,800, of whom 2,740 were slaves. Initially, as he embarked upon a program of civic improvement, Arthur was popular with the small white élite. Gradually, however, his authoritarian manner and the rigid way in which he enforced the imperial customs regulations caused his popularity to wane. In 1820 an expedition which he led to suppress a slave revolt aroused his hitherto dormant humanitarianism and he sought to introduce the Jamaican slave code into Honduras in order to provide legal protection for the local slaves. In 1822 he decided to free the descendants of the Miskito Indians who he believed had been illegally enslaved. These actions alienated the slave owners and led to growing opposition. Arthur responded by dismissing his opponents from office and by attempting to render the system of government in the settlement less democratic. When he went back to England on sick leave in 1822, the settlers sent an agent to London to lobby against his return. Arthur was also embarrassed by a court action brought by Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Bradley whom he had dismissed for disobedience and thrown into prison in 1820. Bradley was awarded compensation for his ten-month confinement and a confidential report from Sir Herbert Taylor, secretary to the commander-in-chief, the Duke of York, criticized Arthur for his “most tyrannical, arbitrary and capricious conduct.” None the less Arthur was appointed lieutenant governor of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania, Australia) in 1823 and took control of the government in May the following year.

In 1824 half of the population of Van Diemen’s Land were convicts and their number would increase from 6,000 to 18,000 by 1836. Faced with this rapidly growing convict population and persistent complaints in Britain that transportation was not a sufficiently severe deterrent to crime, Arthur created a carefully graded system of reward and punishment for convicts sent to the colony. At one extreme were the penal settlements, particularly Port Arthur which he founded in 1830, where conditions were harsh and the labour unremitting. At the other extreme was the assignment of prisoners to work for settlers. In between were the work gangs where conditions varied with the behaviour of the convicts. Arthur personally supervised every part of the system and believed in its efficiency as a means of discouraging criminal behaviour. Although his primary concern was to control the convict population, he also sought to prevent unnecessary brutality and to encourage reformation, particularly of younger offenders for whom he established a separate institution. In two pamphlets published in 1833 and 1835 and in the evidence he gave to a select committee of the House of Commons in 1837, he defended transportation as “the most effective, as well as the most humane punishment that the wit of man ever devised.” Viewing Van Diemen’s Land as “an extensive Gaol,” he opposed the introduction of trial by jury and representative institutions and thus antagonized the free settlers and the emancipated convicts. As in Honduras, he reacted violently to any sign of opposition and sought to muzzle the local press and to dismiss his opponents from office. Amid a growing volume of criticism he was recalled in 1836 but again succeeded in vindicating his conduct on his return to England in 1837. That spring he received a kch from William IV and on 19 July was among the first to be knighted by the young Queen Victoria. In November he was appointed lieutenant governor of Upper Canada and, when word of rebellion there reached England, he was given the local rank of major-general.

Arthur took control of the government of Upper Canada from Sir Francis Bond Head* on 23 March 1838. His immediate problem was to dispose of the prisoners arrested during the abortive rebellion. The reformers appealed to him to adopt a “lenient Course” while the conservatives demanded “energetic measures.” Since Arthur believed that “a few” of the leading rebels ought to be punished “with comparative severity,” he allowed Samuel Lount* and Peter Matthews* to be put to death on 12 April, even though he received numerous petitions on their behalf. Arthur was also prepared to execute the Irish-American Patriot Edward Alexander Theller, but, in view of the legal objections raised by Chief Justice John Beverley Robinson*, granted a respite and referred the case to London for instructions. The execution of Lount and Matthews was a harsh act but both Head and the members of the Executive Council had wanted more Draconian measures and most moderates, including many reformers, approved of Arthur’s decision. Moreover, Arthur sought to “temper justice with mercy” by releasing those against whom the evidence was weak, by keeping to a minimum the number sentenced to transportation, and by pardoning as many as possible. The Executive Council wished to banish anyone implicated in the rebellion, but Arthur refused, even though he distrusted the loyalty of the reformers and was aware that his policy was not popular with the conservatives.

During 1838, the activities of American Patriots and Canadian refugees kept the Upper Canadian border in a state of almost constant turmoil. Though subordinate to and occasionally at odds with Sir John Colborne*, the commander-in-chief of the forces in the Canadas, Arthur personally supervised the defence of Upper Canada. For 12 months, he noted at the end of 1839, he had had nearly 18,000 men under his command and he greatly improved the efficiency of the militia. Although Arthur shared the anti-American sentiments of his predecessor and at times exaggerated the extent of rebel activity, he believed that Head’s incautious language was partly responsible for the crisis along the border and he sought to establish cordial relations with officials in New York State. When the American government failed to restrain the Patriots, Arthur gloomily predicted that a war with the United States was inevitable, but he adhered to a policy of cooperating with American officials and of preventing the militia from engaging in actions that would give the Americans grounds for retaliation. By his moderation he thus contributed to a peaceful solution to the crisis in American-Canadian relations.

None the less, in order to crush “this most unparalleled, wicked conspiracy,” Arthur concluded that it was necessary to deal more severely with those captured in the border raids than with those involved in the original rebellion. His reaction in June 1838 to the Short Hills raid on the Niagara frontier was to call for the execution of “no less than four prisoners,” one in ten of those arrested. In fact, only James Morreau was put to death before the new governor-in-chief, Lord Durham [Lambton*], decided to issue a general amnesty. Arthur had learned “with equal surprise and disappointment” that Durham was to be given extensive powers over the lieutenant governors. Although Arthur, with the full support of his Executive Council, continued to deny that Durham had the constitutional authority to interfere with “the ordinary course of justice” in Upper Canada when not actually in residence there, he followed Durham’s orders and in late August commuted the sentences of Jacob R. Beamer*, Samuel Chandler*, and Benjamin Wait*. Relations between the two men remained strained. When Durham had visited Upper Canada in July, he found Arthur “full of littlenesses about etiquette, precedence, official dignity, etc.” Arthur was convinced that Durham’s initial constitutional proposals for a union of the Canadas were unsound and that Durham’s policy of granting clemency to captured Patriots had failed to act as a deterrent to further raids, although on 1 October he claimed to “deeply lament” Durham’s decision to resign.

Following two major clashes, at Prescott in November 1838 and at Windsor in December, 17 of those taken prisoner were executed. Arthur examined each case with “the utmost deliberation” and ensured that only the most prominent of those captured, such as Nils Gustaf von Schoultz* and Joshua Gwillen Doan*, were put to death. Over the objections of Henry Stephen Fox, the British minister in Washington, he released all those recommended for mercy and all those under 21 years of age. After tempers had cooled in Upper Canada, he also released a number of those condemned to transportation to Australia and induced his Executive Council to approve a more lenient policy than they wished. Even Francis Hincks*’s Examiner, a Toronto reform newspaper usually critical of Arthur, admitted in 1840 that he deserved “credit for a greater degree of tact than we had previously thought him possessed of.” Yet Arthur’s position was a difficult one since he was concerned not to antagonize the loyalist militia of the colony. For this reason he did not publicly criticize Colonel John Prince* for ordering the summary execution of five prisoners at Windsor, although he was enraged by Prince’s “injudicious and improper” behaviour.

In allying himself with the province’s conservatives on most issues Arthur was following the instructions he had been given in London. But these instructions had been prepared before the Colonial Office realized that Head had deliberately underestimated the extent of the discontent in the colony, and after the rebellion the Colonial Office stressed the need to reconcile the moderate reformers who had been alienated by Head’s partisanship. Arthur, too, soon came to believe that disaffection was more widespread than Head had indicated, but feared that the number of reformers “decidedly attached to British Connexion” was “limited.” En route to Upper Canada in March 1838 he had visited the home of Governor William Learned Marcy of New York where he met Marshall Spring Bidwell*, a meeting which convinced him that the “real object of the leaders” of the reform party was “the subversion of the Government.” Although he was prepared to allow the majority of Canadian refugees in the United States to return to Upper Canada, he would not encourage Bidwell to return from the exile into which he had unfairly been forced by Head. Arthur also supported Head’s refusal to reinstate George Ridout*, a known reformer, as a district judge and he declined to restore James Scott Howard* to the office of postmaster of Toronto, even though there was no evidence that Howard was linked to the rebellion. Arthur justified his policy by arguing that it was important not to annoy the “loyal population” since upon them “I must mainly depend for the protection of this Province.” He surrounded himself with advisers associated with the old “family compact,” such as John Beverley Robinson, Christopher Alexander Hagerman*, and John Macaulay. He even reappointed Head’s secretary, John Joseph, as his own, though he soon replaced him with Macaulay. Although claiming that he sought “Recruits” from among the moderate reformers, Arthur, in fact, made no serious effort to do so, thus confirming the suspicion of moderates such as Egerton Ryerson* that he was not to be trusted.

Arthur also antagonized many colonists by his cool and aloof manner. A devout evangelical, he preferred to abstain “from all public amusements” and refused to patronize activities, such as horse-racing, of which he disapproved. He normally dressed in dark clothes and entertained reluctantly. Like many evangelicals, he was extremely conservative in his political and social views. But he also embraced the evangelical commitment to the doctrine of “imperial trusteeship.” In Honduras he had espoused the cause of the slaves and the native peoples. In Van Diemen’s Land he issued a proclamation warning the settlers that he would prosecute those who committed acts of aggression against the rapidly declining aboriginal population but, because of pressure from the colonists, he decided to remove the natives from the settled areas of the colony and thus inadvertently contributed to the extinction of the very people he sought to help. In Upper Canada he also revealed a genuine concern for the welfare of the “much ill used” native peoples. In September 1838 he visited the Six Nations Indians, who had loyally responded to his request for military assistance during the Short Hills affair, and he promised to prevent any further alienation of their land without their consent. That December he instructed the provincial secretary, Richard Alexander Tucker*, to examine how intruders upon Indian lands could be summarily removed and two years later he argued that the Ojibwas of the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula should be given additional compensation for the land that Head had persuaded them to surrender to the government in 1836. Yet Arthur’s ultimate concern, like that of most evangelicals and indeed of most men of the time, was not to preserve the Indians’ culture but to ease their total assimilation into white society.

As a devout evangelical, Arthur was also determined to assist the activities of the Church of England, including its missionary efforts. He corresponded with the archbishop of Canterbury and with the bishop of London and, according to George Ryerson*, travelled in Upper Canada “with two and sometimes three Episcopal ministers.” His relations with Archdeacon John Strachan* of Toronto were less cordial. In 1838 he supported Strachan’s imminent appointment as the first bishop of Upper Canada solely because Strachan was willing to serve without an additional salary. During 1839 and 1840 the two men quarrelled violently over educational policy as Arthur proposed diverting funds from King’s College (University of Toronto) to Upper Canada College, and in 1840 Arthur privately rebuked Strachan for publicly opposing government policy. Arthur also disagreed with Strachan’s efforts to secure all the funds arising from the sale of the clergy reserves for the Church of England, but he himself favoured the Anglican church and seriously underestimated the degree of resentment which had developed in Upper Canada against its privileged position. He approved of former lieutenant governor Sir John Colborne’s unpopular decision to endow 44 rectories for the Church of England, the legality of which had been affirmed in January 1838 while Arthur was en route to Canada. His own efforts to resolve the clergy reserves issue were well intentioned but naïve. In 1839 he persuaded the Upper Canadian legislature to pass a bill reinvesting the reserves in the crown, but his critics legitimately viewed the proposed division of the reserves by an Anglican-dominated British parliament as unfairly benefiting the established church. Arthur’s Clergy Reserves Bill was disallowed in London on technical grounds and his intervention simply added to the distrust in which he was held by the reformers. So did his support for Wesleyan Methodists connected with the conservative British Wesleyan Conference instead of for the more numerous members of the Canada Conference led by Egerton Ryerson and his brothers William* and John*.

Arthur repeatedly claimed he was not a “party man” and in a literal sense this was so. His relationship with the conservative majority in the House of Assembly was extremely tenuous and during the 1839 session he was unable to persuade them to adopt most of the measures he had recommended in his speech from the throne. Sensitive to complaints that the “Canadian Party . . . monopolized all Political influence and Patronage,” he did broaden the base of his administration by distributing appointments to recent immigrants to the colony, such as Richard Alexander Tucker, the former chief justice of Newfoundland, who had become his provincial secretary in 1838, and Samuel Bealey Harrison*, whom he recruited as his civil secretary in 1839. None the less, he did bestow his patronage almost exclusively on conservatives. In 1838 he had submitted to Lord Glenelg, the colonial secretary, a list of 27 names he recommended as possible appointees to the Legislative Council; 20 were members of the Church of England and the nominees included such prominent conservatives as Robert Sympson Jameson, John Simcoe Macaulay, and Peter Boyle de Blaquière. According to the British Colonist in March 1839, Arthur’s opinions were largely “derived from the clique by whom he is surrounded.” When Lord Durham delivered a stinging attack on that clique in his famous Report on the affairs of British North America (1839), Arthur claimed that he was “much misinformed.” He rejected Durham’s proposals for reform and vainly sought to contain the rapidly growing popular movement in favour of responsible government. At the same time he did not deny that many of Durham’s specific criticisms of the administrative structure of the colony were valid.

Arthur had already taken some measures to improve the efficiency of the government. In 1838 he had pushed for, and eventually was allowed to make, changes in the commissariat but failed to get “a good Militia Act” through the assembly the following year. Early in 1839 he had commissioned John Macaulay to investigate and redefine the secretarial offices and to suggest which functions of the civil secretary might be transferred to the provincial secretary. That February he asked Justice James Buchanan Macaulay to report on the workings of the Indian Department. In April he ordered an investigation into the management of the endowments of Upper Canada College and King’s College and subsequently dismissed the bursar, Colonel Joseph Wells, for misusing the funds placed under his control. The publication of the Durham report in February added to the pressure for administrative reform and in May the assembly asked Arthur to appoint a commission of inquiry into the operation of most public offices. Although the commission and the eight subcommittees appointed by Arthur were staffed mainly by office holders, including William Allan, Augustus Warren Baldwin*, and Henry Sherwood, sweeping changes were recommended in 1840 for a number of departments. Particularly damning were the revelations of financial incompetence and mismanagement in the offices of Robert Baldwin Sullivan (commissioner of crown lands and surveyor general), John Henry Dunn (receiver general), and John Macaulay (inspector general of public accounts). Arthur began introducing reforms in various departments but the union of the Canadas delayed the further implementation of the commission’s reports and it was Charles Edward Poulett Thomson* who would reap the benefits of Arthur’s labours.

To Arthur’s dismay, Thomson was commissioned governor-in-chief in September 1839 with the same extensive powers over the lieutenant governors as Durham had possessed. On 21 November Thomson arrived in Toronto and assumed control of the administration in order to persuade the legislature to vote for union with Lower Canada. Arthur believed that union would give power to the reformers whose loyalty was suspect and would ultimately lead to separation from Great Britain. Although he tried to dissuade Thomson from implementing union, he obediently followed his instructions. He acted as Thomson’s intermediary with William Henry Draper* and other Upper Canadian conservatives and helped to persuade several of them to vote for union. In private, he remained sympathetic to the views of those ultra conservatives, such as John Beverley Robinson, who continued to oppose union. As well, he caballed with a former lieutenant governor, Lord Seaton [Colborne], to undermine those parts of Thomson’s measure, particularly the creation of powerful district councils, which were most objectionable to the conservatives. Ironically, in playing this double game Arthur alienated Robinson and many other former friends among the ultra conservatives.

On 19 Feb. 1840 Thomson, who would become Baron Sydenham that summer, returned to Lower Canada and, though Arthur resumed only nominal control of the government of Upper Canada, he became actively involved in the political prelude to union. He repeatedly warned Thomson against placing too much faith in Robert Baldwin and correctly assessed the danger which Baldwin posed to the governor’s system of non-party government under union, as Thomson later admitted. After the conservatives won the municipal election in Toronto in late 1840, Baldwin withdrew as a candidate for the city in the subsequent provincial election but Arthur claimed some responsibility for persuading his running mate, the influential pro-union reformer John Henry Dunn, to stay in the race. Yet Arthur antagonized the reformers by showing favouritism to the conservatives in the distribution of patronage in Upper Canada. Baldwin warned Sydenham in January 1841 that Arthur’s actions were causing “jealousies & dissentions.” Sydenham therefore increasingly distributed patronage himself, but was sufficiently pleased with Arthur’s behaviour to ask him to remain in Upper Canada after union was proclaimed. He reluctantly agreed and on 10 February assumed office as deputy governor of the united province.

Despite his conservative sympathies, when the first general election under the union was held in March 1841 Arthur assisted Samuel Bealey Harrison, the provincial secretary and a moderate reformer, in ensuring that a majority of the candidates elected were sympathetic to Sydenham’s views. But Arthur’s health was not good and he found the role of deputy governor “unpleasant”; in late March he left for England. His departure was little mourned. Many conservatives considered him a turncoat and they boycotted a public dinner held in his honour. He was only marginally more popular with the reformers, who justly remained suspicious of his commitment to the new order.

Upon his return to England Arthur was created a baronet as a reward for what Sydenham described as the “very generous and disinterested assistance” he had given him. For nearly a year Arthur sought more tangible proof of the government’s gratitude and in March 1842 was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of the presidency of Bombay. He arrived in India in June and was plunged into the war against Afghanistan. He also assisted in the campaign in Sind (Pakistan) and in 1844–45 suppressed a rebellion in his presidency. Although subordinate to the central government in Calcutta, he was able to introduce some useful reforms in Bombay and supported a revision of the land assessment system. In 1846 he was nominated to succeed Lord Hardinge as governor general of India in the event of an emergency but fell seriously ill and was forced to resign. That September he arrived back in England and two months later was promoted to major-general. He was also made a member of the Privy Council and was awarded the honorary degree of dcl by the University of Oxford. But he did not forget Canada and maintained a private correspondence on affairs there. He regarded Robert Baldwin’s appointment as attorney general for Upper Canada in 1848 as an “extraordinary” step and predicted trouble from the association in the “Responsible Govt. party” of “some Ultra Republicans of Upper Canada” and the “most violent men of the French Party in Lower Canada.” In May 1849 he joined with his predecessor as lieutenant governor, Sir Francis Bond Head, in blaming Durham’s policy of responsible government for the rebellion losses crisis in Montreal in late April [see James Bruce*]. Arthur devoted most of his time, however, to family and personal business. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in June 1854, and died in retirement in London that September.

Over the next half-century Arthur’s reputation was blackened by hostile and exaggerated accounts of his activities in Van Diemen’s Land and Canada circulated in North America by Patriots who had been exiled to Australia [see Daniel D. Heustis*]. These stories hardened into a tradition perpetuated by later apologists of the Patriots such as Charles Lindsey* and Edwin Clarence Guillet*. Despite the efforts of Charles Rupert Sanderson* and Alan George Lewers Shaw to redeem Arthur’s reputation, he is still best remembered in Canada for allowing the execution of Lount and Matthews and for opposing responsible government. This emphasis is undoubtedly unfair. Arthur was not primarily responsible for the blood shed in 1838 and 1839. Indeed he played a moderating role under difficult circumstances and may well have prevented greater violence. He did oppose responsible government but he also introduced a number of useful administrative reforms into the existing system of government in Upper Canada, and the claim of his opponents that he was not fit for the government of a free colony was patently unfair. None the less, while he was neither bloodthirsty nor completely reactionary, he remains a rather unattractive figure. He was frequently petty and vindictive and he could be self-serving and hypocritical. By his dutiful support of Sydenham’s policies, he did betray those conservatives who had trusted him. He condemned land speculation and nepotism in Upper Canada but had been guilty of both in Van Diemen’s Land. In the midst of a severe financial crisis in Upper Canada he spent more than £2,000 on improvements to Government House and asked for another £l,000 for furniture.

George Arthur was the last lieutenant governor of Upper Canada. He was also one of the last of a dying breed of soldier-administrators who served their apprenticeship in the Napoleonic Wars and rose by ability rather than through interest. The Upper Canadian House of Assembly praised his “ability, uprightness and impartiality,” yet Charles Poulett Thomson was also justified in describing him as “well intentioned” but “with the narrowest mind I ever met.” While Arthur was a competent administrator he was also immune to most of the currents of reform of the period. He believed that his duty was simply “to serve faithfully the Government” in London, even if it meant abandoning his own principles, and since the British government of the day was more liberal than he was, his term of office in Canada was productive of more good than evil.

Phillip Buckner

[A handsome oil portrait of Sir George Arthur, now in the possession of Lady Raynor Arthur, is reproduced on the frontispiece of A. G. L. Shaw’s biography, cited below.

The major sources for this study were the Colonial Office files in the PRO, especially CO 42/446–77, and Arthur’s Canadian papers in the MTL. Most of these have been published in the Arthur papers (Sanderson), but an additional volume of Canadian material remains in manuscript, as does the MTL’s collection of Arthur’s India papers, which deal with his later Indian career and the last few years of his life in England. Other useful primary sources include the Upper Canada state books (PAC, RG 1, E1), vols.55–57, and the Journal of its House of Assembly for 1839; [Charles] Grey, Crisis in the Canadas: 1838–1839, the Grey journals and letters, ed. W. G. Ormsby (Toronto, 1964); [C. E. P. Thomson, 1st Baron] Sydenham, Letters from Lord Sydenham, governor-general of Canada, 1839–1841, to Lord John Russell, ed. Paul Knaplund (London, 1931); and Benjamin Wait, The Wait letters, ed. Mary Brown (Erin, Ont., 1976). Numerous references to Arthur occur in Toronto newspapers of the period 1838–41, especially in the British Colonist, Christian Guardian, and Examiner. There is a useful “Military obituary” in the United Service Gazette, and Naval and Military Chronicle (London), 30 Sept. 1854, also published as a separate pamphlet under the title Lieutenant General the Right Hon. Sir George Arthur, bart., K.C.H., D.C.L. (n.p., n.d.); a copy of the latter is available at MTL.

The definitive biography is A. G. L. Shaw, Sir George Arthur, bart., 1784–1854: superintendent of British Honduras, lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen’s Land and of Upper Canada, governor of the Bombay presidency (Melbourne, Australia, 1980). Also useful are W. D. Forsyth, Governor Arthur’s convict system, Van Diemen’s Land, 1824–36: a study in colonization (London, 1935); S. W. Jackman, A slave to duty: a portrait sketch of Sir George Arthur, bart., PC, KCH (Melbourne, 1979); M. C. I. Levy, Governor George Arthur, a colonial benevolent despot (Melbourne, 1953); Walter Sage, “Sir George Arthur and his administration of Upper Canada,” Queen’s Univ., Depts. of Hist. and of Political and Economic Science, Bull. (Kingston, Ont.), no.28 (July 1918); C. R. Sanderson, “Sir George Arthur, last lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, 1838–1841: a vindication” (ma thesis, Univ. of Toronto, 1940); and the entries in D. B. Read, The lieutenant-governors of Upper Canada and Ontario, 1792–1899 (Toronto, 1900), ADB, and DNB. Particularly valuable for Arthur’s Canadian career is B. C. Murison, “‘Enlightened government’: Sir George Arthur and the Upper Canadian administration,” Journal of lmperial and Commonwealth Hist. (London), 8 (1979–80): 161–80, which is based upon her ma thesis, “Sir George Arthur in Upper Canada: politics and administration, 1838–41” (Univ. of Western Ont., London, 1977).

Arthur’s role in dealing with the unrest along the border is variously assessed in Guillet, Lives and times of Patriots; Fred Landon, An exile from Canada to Van Diemen’s Land; being the story of Elijah Woodman, transported overseas for participation in the Upper Canada troubles of 1837–38 (Toronto, 1960); J. P. Martyn, “Upper Canada and border incidents, 1837–38: a study of the troubles on the American frontier following the rebellion of 1837” (ma thesis, Univ. of Toronto, 1962); two works by Colin Read, The rising in western Upper Canada, 1837–8: the Duncombe revolt and after (Toronto, 1982) and “The Short Hills raid of June, 1838, and its aftermath,” OH, 68 (1976): 93–109; and R. C. Watt, “The political prisoners in Upper Canada,” English Hist. Rev. (London and New York), 41 (1926): 526–55. Other aspects of Arthur’s career are discussed in I. M. Abella, “The ‘Sydenham election’ of 1841,” CHR, 47 (1966): 326–43; C. M. H. Clark, A history of Australia (5v., [Melbourne], 1962–81); G. [S.] French, Parsons & politics: the rôle of the Wesleyan Methodists in Upper Canada and the Maritimes from 1780 to 1855 (Toronto, 1962); J. E. Hodgetts, Pioneer public service: an administrative history of the united Canadas, 1841–1867 (Toronto, 1955); A. G. L. Shaw, Convicts and the colonies: a study of penal transportation from Great Britain and Ireland to Australia and other parts of the British Empire (London, 1966); Clive Turnbull, Black war: the extermination of the Tasmanian aborigines (Melbourne and London, 1948); and [G.] A. Wilson, The clergy reserves of Upper Canada, a Canadian mortmain (Toronto, 1968).  p.b.]

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Phillip Buckner, “ARTHUR, Sir GEORGE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 8, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed October 21, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/arthur_george_8E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/arthur_george_8E.html
Author of Article: Phillip Buckner
Title of Article: ARTHUR, Sir GEORGE
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 8
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1985
Year of revision: 1985
Access Date: October 21, 2014