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HOPE, HENRY, army officer and colonial administrator; probably b. after 1746, perhaps at Craigie Hall, in Linlithgowshire, Scotland, son of Charles Hope Weir and Lady Anne Vane, grandson of the 1st Earl of Hopetoun; m. Sarah Jones of Mullaghbrack (District of Armagh, Northern Ireland); d. 13 April 1789 at Quebec.

Henry Hope was commissioned captain in the 27th Foot in 1764 while it was in Canada. It is likely that he served with the regiment in Ireland from 1767 to 1775 and met his wife there. In 1775 he went with it to Boston but at once transferred to the 44th Foot, with which he was serving in Halifax the following spring when he received promotion to major. He campaigned for at least three years in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and in 1777 he received his lieutenant-colonelcy. He was absent in England in 1779 and again from 1780 to 1781. The next year he was in Canada once more; he was promoted colonel and visited Michilimackinac (Mackinac Island, Mich.) as a member of a board investigating excessive expenditures at that post. Hope was made quartermaster general in the colony in 1783, and by 1785 he was also commandant at Quebec since the commander-in-chief, Barrimore Matthew St Leger, based himself in Montreal. In October 1785 Hope succeeded St Leger as commander-in-chief.

Hope had secured the patronage of key ministers in the British government. Recommended by Thomas Townshend, Viscount Sydney, who was then in charge of the colonies, on 2 Nov. 1785 he was sworn in as lieutenant governor of Quebec, succeeding Henry Hamilton who had been administrator of the colony since Governor Haldimand’s departure. Hope’s instructions were to subdue party strife until a new governor should arrive. However, he was already committed to the French party, led by his close friend Dr Adam Mabane, which opposed the commercial interests of the English merchants. His view of colonial administration was profoundly influenced by the American revolution. Convinced that he was preventing a dangerous infringement of the royal prerogative, he was one of those who delayed the consecration of Jean-François Hubert as coadjutor bishop. Because of the “invincible obstacle of having to do with an Assembly composed of Americans,” he refused the lieutenant governorship of New Brunswick. Although in the provision of mill sites he offended the loyalists in Quebec by insisting on the preservation of seigneurial limitations to the crown’s benefit, his genuine concern for the refugees shows in his extension of the duration of their provisioning, his facilitation of their claims for war losses, and his support of the isolated Gaspé settlers. He had been delegated much responsibility by British ministers unwilling to be involved openly in the use of Indians to protect Quebec’s western flank, and he revealed a shrewd appreciation of the dangers of the developing confrontation between the Indians and Americans in the Ohio country [see Egushwa].

Hope was apparently hot-tempered but “a very polite Man,” and he kept table “in very genteel Fashion,” in fact beyond his means. He was thought an efficient administrator, and after the arrival of Lord Dorchester [Carleton*] as governor general late in 1786, he retained “the management of all business, both civil and military.” The new leader of the English party, Chief Justice William Smith, thoroughly disconcerted him, however. Cool and subtle, Smith repeatedly drew Hope into admitting ignorance of council business though he was chairman, changing his votes at meetings, and giving the impression that he lacked self-control and impartiality. In his weakness Hope foolishly tried to hide his association with the French party from the British government and his compromises at council and his gestures to Smith from his party. As opposition to the chief justice grew, however, Hope found it easier again to maintain himself as a champion of the Canadians.

Hope visited Britain in 1788 on private business – perhaps reunion with a wife he had not seen for years, for she accompanied him back to Quebec that autumn. A stormy voyage brought him down with what Mabane diagnosed as a consumption with complications, complications which soon proved to be venereal disease. In April he died from “his improper Gallantries . . . the most shocking object that can be imagined – his Features & the greatest part of his Face entirely destroy’d.”

A. J. H. Richardson

BL, Add. mss 21734, ff.419–19v, 421–22; 21736, ff.183–84, 232–37, 276–80, 312–14; 21737, ff.87–88v, 111–11v, 112, 132–33, 204; 21758, ff.679–80. PAC, MG 23, GII, 12, 14 April 1779, 30 April 1789; 21, 30 June 1789; 22, 8 July 1785; HI, 8; MG 24, L3, p.5201. PRO, CO 42/16, p.240; 42/17, pp.94, 110, 119, 131, 146; 42/18, pp.88–93, 133; 42/22, p.29 (copy at PAC); CO 42/47, ff.298–302; 42/48, ff.23–24, 29–29v, 31–33, 34–34v, 168–68v, 174–74v, 176–76v, 194–99v, 209–10v, 215–16v; 42/49, ff.59–67, 77–79, 104–8, 208–10v, 242–44v, 338–41, 371–73 (mfm. at PAC). [C. L. Baurmeister], Revolution in America: confidential letters and journals, 1776–1784 . . . , trans. and ed. B. A. Uhlendorf (New Brunswick, N.J., 1957), 395. General Sir William Howes orderly book at Charlestown, Boston and Halifax, June 17, 1775, to 1776, 26 May . . . , ed. B. F. Stevens, intro. E. E. Hale (London, 1890; repr. Port Washington, N.Y., and London, 1970). Gentlemans Magazine, 1746, 164. Thomas Hughes, A journal . . . 1778–1789, intro. E. A. Benians (Cambridge, Eng., 1947), 137. Michigan Pioneer Coll., X (1886), 656–59. PAC Report, 1889, 138–39, 226–27. PAO Report, 1904, 23, 1326, 1331, 1357–58, 1367. Quebec Gazette, 16 May 1765, 27 June 1782, 25 Sept. 1788, 9 July 1789. [William Smith], The diary and selected papers of Chief Justice William Smith, 1784–1793, ed. L. F. S. Upton (2v., Toronto, 1963–65), II, 157, 161–80, 197, 204, 270. Burkes peerage (1967), 1283, 1523, 1526. DNB. G.B., WO, Army list, 1763–84. A. L. Burt, Old prov. of Que. (1933), 352–53, 360, 386–87, 419–21; The United States, Great Britain and British North America from the revolution to the establishment of peace after the War of 1812 (Toronto and New Haven, Conn., 1940), 142. Neatby, Quebec, 209–10. W. C. Trimble, The historical record of the 27th Inniskilling regiment . . . (London, 1876), 36–37. L. F. S. Upton, The loyal whig: William Smith of New York & Quebec (Toronto, 1969), 177, 180–82.

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A. J. H. Richardson, “HOPE, HENRY,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed August 2, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hope_henry_4E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hope_henry_4E.html
Author of Article: A. J. H. Richardson
Title of Article: HOPE, HENRY
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1979
Year of revision: 1979
Access Date: August 2, 2014