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BADDELEY, FREDERICK HENRY, soldier and geologist; b. in London, England, 4 Dec. 1794; d. at Havre des Pas, Island of Jersey, 4 May 1879.

Frederick Henry Baddeley was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Engineers from the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, England, on 1 Jan. 1814. He served in Europe during the Napoleonic wars and was present at the capture of Paris in 1815. He was in the West Indies from 1817 to 1819, and in 1821 was posted to Quebec in Lower Canada. On 9 March 1822 he married Susan Green; the first six of their seven children were born at Quebec, and the last in Madras, India.

Baddeley was one of the original members of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec in 1824 and served as its president in 1829. He read numerous papers before the society describing exploring expeditions he undertook in Canada and giving his observations on the geology of the country. In 1827 he reported to Colonel Elias Walker Durnford*, the commanding officer of the Royal Engineers at Quebec, on a possible “extensive formation of limestone” on the Rivière Saint-Maurice suitable for quarrying, and in that year was chosen a member of an exploring expedition in the area of the “King’s Posts,” lying north of Quebec and including the head waters of the Saguenay and Lac Saint-Jean. While Joseph Bouchette* led one party up the Rivière Saint-Maurice, Baddeley accompanied Andrew Stuart*, chief commissioner of the expedition, and Joseph Hamel to Tadoussac and up the Saguenay before exploring the shores of Lac Saint-Jean and then the area behind Baie-Saint-Paul. Baddeley’s attention was focussed mainly on “mineralogical inquiries,” but he also reported extensively on the area around Baie-Saint-Paul and its suitability for settlement.

In 1831 Baddeley explored the Îles de la Madeleine “for the purpose of reporting on the resources, localities, capabilities . . . ,” as well as on the military significance of the area. Although he stayed only five days he presented an exhaustive paper on the islands to the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec. Two years later he again joined Hamel in exploring the interior of the Gaspé peninsula.

Baddeley was promoted captain on 25 June 1835, shortly after being chosen to accompany John Carthew on an expedition to explore the country north of the dividing line between the Home and Newcastle districts in Upper Canada, towards Lake Nipissing, and to report on the natural features of the area and its capacity to support settlement. On this venture into the Muskoka district, which he described as “slightly dangerous,” Baddeley went primarily as a geologist, but his report is also of interest to naturalists and historians. He returned to Quebec but in 1837 he was posted to Kingston, Upper Canada. He was also appointed in that year a commissioner, along with John Macaulay* and John Solomon Cartwright*, to superintend a survey for a useful link by water between the Ottawa River and Lake Huron. He was troubled from the outset of the project; he resigned at one point because he felt that his other duties would not leave him sufficient time to carry out the functions of commissioner, but he later withdrew his resignation. He was unhappy too with the choice of David Thompson*, the first white man to descend the Columbia River, to lead one of the survey’s three exploring parties, claiming that “there are rumours about that Mr. T. is not trustworthy as to reporting of facts” and that “he would please me better if he had a more humble opinion of his woodland lore.”

Baddeley was transferred to Toronto in late 1837, and the aftermath of the rebellion of that year led him to inquire into the defences of the colony. For much of the next two years he reported on the protection afforded to such places as Cornwall, Kingston, and the southwestern peninsula. He was commanding royal engineer at Toronto when, in September 1839, he sailed for England and brought his Canadian career to an end.

Baddeley lived for some time in Glasgow before going to serve in Ceylon in 1842. He was posted in New South Wales from 1849 to 1851 and in New Zealand from 1853 to 1856. He was promoted major in 1846 and major-general in 1856 when he retired and returned to England. His last years were spent in Jersey. He had been a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Société géologique de France.

The geology of much of southeastern Canada was first studied extensively by British military officers. Baddeley, a well-trained and meticulous observer as well as an ambitious man, was one of the pioneers, and the value of his work was recognized by later geologists such as William Edmond Logan. Richard Henry Bonnycastle* considered him the “most active and best geologist then in Canada.”

Henri Pilon

F. H. Baddeley was the author of the following papers in the Lit. and Hist. Soc. of Quebec Trans.: “Additional notes on the geognosy of Saint Paul’s Bay,” II (1830), 76–94; “An essay on the localities of metallic minerals in the Canadas, with some notices of their geological associations and situation . . . ,” II (1830), 332–426; “A geological sketch of the most southeastern portion of Lower Canada,” III (1833), 271–81; “Geology of a portion of the Labrador coast,” I (1824–29), 71–79; “On the geognosy of a part of the Saguenay country,” I (1824–29), 79–166; “On the Magdalen Islands, being the substance of four reports,” III (1833), 128–90. He was also author of “Discovery of gold in Lower Canada” and “Waterline made from the rock of Quebec,” American Journal of Science (New Haven, Conn.), XXVIII (1835), 111–14, and “On the geology and mineralogy of Canada,” British Association for the Advancement of Science, Report, X (1840), Notices and abstracts . . . , 114–15.

PAC, MG 24, F53 (Sir William Henry Clinton collection); RG 1, L3L, 27, 14767–984; RG 4, B48; RG 8, I, A1, 370, 441–47, 601, 612–14, 1406. PAO, Macaulay family papers, 1837; Misc. 1835, F. H. Baddeley, “Exploring report in Upper Canada in 1835 (north west of the Matchedash, in the direction of the French River)” (printed in Upper Canada, House of Assembly, Appendix to journal, 1836–37, app.37, “Report of Lieut. Baddeley, R.E. . . . ,” pp.8–42). PRO, WO 25/3913. R. H. Bonnycastle, The Canadas in 1841 (2v., London, 1842), I, 58; II, 18–19, 149–50, 319. Lower Canada, House of Assembly, Journal, 1828–29, app.V, “Report of the commissioners for exploring the Saguenay.” Muskoka and Haliburton (Murray). The centenary volume of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, 1824–1924, ed. Henry Ievers (Quebec, 1924), 18, 96, 104–5. Christie, History of Lower Canada, III, 202–5.

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Cite This Article

Henri Pilon, “BADDELEY, FREDERICK HENRY,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 1, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/baddeley_frederick_henry_10E.html.

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Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/baddeley_frederick_henry_10E.html
Author of Article:   Henri Pilon
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1972
Year of revision:   1972
Access Date:   June 1, 2023