MACNIDER, ADAM LYMBURNER, businessman, militia officer, office holder, and jp; b. 10 Sept. 1778 at Quebec; m. 19 Sept. 1812 Rosina Aird in Montreal, and they had six children; d. 19 Nov. 1840 either in Métis (Métis-sur-Mer, Que.) or on the seigneury of Mitis, and was buried in Côte Sainte-Catherine (Outremont, Que.).
Born into a merchant family of Quebec, Adam Lymburner Macnider was named after a prominent businessman, Adam Lymburner. The boy’s uncles John and Mathew Macnider were Quebec merchants, and his aunt Margaret Macnider was married first to James Johnston*, yet another Quebec merchant. Macnider began business in Montreal some time before 1810, probably as a representative of the family’s commercial interests; in September 1811 he was operating under his own name as an auctioneer and broker. By May 1812 he had entered into a partnership with an old family friend, Samuel Southby Bridge, as Macnider and Bridge, commission merchants and auctioneers. This partnership was dissolved early in 1814. Shortly thereafter Macnider formed a similar association with his brother-in-law, John Aird, which traded in property, liquor, dry goods, and groceries. Macnider also established a partnership with James Scott; they did a large mercantile trade on commission, which in 1824 included 2,000 volumes of “scarce and valuable books.”
By 1825 Macnider was operating under three names, A. L. Macnider and Company, Macnider, Aird and Company, and Macnider and Scott, and was probably among the city’s most important commission merchants and auctioneers. He owned two vessels, the brig Hibernia and the schooner Concordia, and during the 1825 shipping season he and Scott were the largest importers in Montreal, receiving 26 separate consignments. They imported textiles, haberdashery, earthenware, coal, and steel from Liverpool, London, Belfast, Greenock (Scotland), and Leith and exported wood, wheat, and potash.
Although large, the firm of Macnider and Scott was unable to withstand the trade crisis of 1825–26 [see George Garden*]. In the latter year Macnider’s house and store were auctioned by the sheriff for the substantial sum of £3,850. The following year the company declared bankruptcy, unable to meet debts totalling £34,617, of which £22,547 was due to firms in Britain. Macnider and Scott held credits to the amount of £27,931, but some £13,764 was considered bad or doubtful. In addition the company had lost £3,225 on a shipment of wheat, £2,500 on a consignment of potash, and, largely as a result of the failure of Maitland, Garden, and Auldjo [see George Auldjo], £3,000 on bills of exchange. Macnider, however, was not broken. By August 1828 he was again in business under his own name, selling on consignment or by auction everything from coal bricks to Dutch dolls. In fact, he seems to have made a remarkable recovery, and during another crisis, in 1836, he was a major creditor; that year he inherited £500 from the estate of Adam Lymburner.
Macnider’s business interests were not confined to the wholesale trade. In 1819 he was a director of the Montreal Savings Bank and the Montreal agent for the Quebec Fire Assurance Company. He was an incorporator of the Bank of Canada in 1822 and later became a director. A member of the Scotch Presbyterian Church (later known as St Gabriel Street Church), he served on the congregation’s temporal committee in 1816–17, and was its president in 1824 and its vice-president in 1825. In 1817 he joined a special committee to raise financial support for the Reverend Henry Esson*, the learned young clergyman who had recently been selected for the charge, and the following year he was the congregation’s treasurer. Later he would support the Esson side in an unseemly dispute with a faction backing the Reverend Edward Black over the incumbency and over possession of the church. In 1820 he was commissioned an ensign in Montreal’s 1st Militia Battalion, which grouped many leading British businessmen. By 1828 he had been promoted captain, and during the rebellions of 1837–38 he served with that rank in the 3rd battalion of Montreal Loyal Volunteers. In 1821 he helped establish the Montreal General Hospital on Rue Dorchester and in 1828 he became one of its governors. He was appointed a warden of Trinity House in 1822, and from 1824 to 1827 he served as a grand juror. He subsequently received a number of other appointments: justice of the peace in 1830, commissioner on the Montreal Board of Health during the cholera epidemic of 1832, presiding officer in the faubourg Saint-Antoine for the election of town councillors in 1833, and deputy master of Trinity House in 1834.
In June 1839 Macnider was named a commissioner for the repair of the Métis, or Mitis, road. By then he was living on the seigneury of Mitis, which two of his sons had inherited from John Macnider. He died there or in the village of Métis in November 1840. Both Macnider’s business career, marked by its family ties as well as by its diversity, adversity, and recovery, and his participation in the civil and religious life of his community were typical of a man of his class and time.
ANQ-M, CE1-126, 19 sept. 1812, 2 déc. 1840. ANQ-Q, CN1-284, 23 août 1800. McCord Museum, M13630. Montreal Business Hist. Group, Commercial lists, 17, 23 May, 22 July 1825; Cross-reference, protests, Macnider, Aird, Wythe, 7 April 1820; Macnider and Scott to John Moir and Company, 23 Jan. 1827. PAC, RG 5, A1: 81369–2013; RG 68, General index, 1651–1841. L.C., House of Assembly, Report of the special committee, to whom was referred that part of his excellency’s speech which referred to the organization of the militia (Quebec, 1829); Reports and evidence of the special committee . . . to whom were referred the petition of the inhabitants of the county of York, that of the inhabitants of the city of Montreal, and other petitions praying the redress of grievances (n.p., 1829); Statutes, 1821–22,c.27. Canadian Courant and Montreal Advertiser, 16 March, 27 April, 18 May, 1 June 1812; 23 Jan., 27 Feb. 1813; 25 June 1814; 6 April 1816. Montreal Gazette, 16 Sept., 18, 25 Nov. 1811; 25 May, 21 Sept., 12 Oct. 1812; 26 April, 3 May 1814; 4 March 1816; 25 Jan. 1827; 3, 6, 10 Nov. 1828; 28 May, 13 Aug., 26, 29 Oct. 1829; 22 Feb., 1 March 1830. Quebec Gazette, 14 Sept. 1815; 22 May, 14 Aug., 16 Oct. 1817; 26 Oct., 23 Nov. 1820; 24 May 1821; 1 April 1830. Borthwick, Hist. and biog. gazetteer, 55. Montreal directory, 1819. Campbell, Hist. of Scotch Presbyterian Church. Elinor Kyte Senior, Redcoats and Patriotes: the rebellions in Lower Canada, 1837–38 (Stittsville, Ont., 1985), 214. J.-C. Lamothe, Histoire de la corporation de la cité de Montréal depuis son origine jusqu’à nos jours . . . (Montréal, 1903). Henri Masson, Joseph Masson, dernier seigneur de Terrebonne, 1791–1847 (Montréal, 1972). Robert Sweeny, “Internal dynamics and the international cycle: questions of the transition in Montreal, 1821–1828”