Guy Carleton

(1724—1808) army officer and colonial governor

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(1724–1808, military officer, colonial administrator. Born in Ireland, Carleton played important roles at critical junctures of early British rule in Canada. Following his service as an officer in the Seven Years' War, Carleton won appointment as lieutenant-governor of Quebec (1766) through his connections at court. After being promoted to captain in chief and governor of Quebec (1768), he went to London to advise imperial authorities on Quebec reform in 1770. He returned to implement the terms of the Quebec Act (1774), marking the abandonment of Britain's policy of anglicization. Sanctioning the appointment of elites to the legislative council and the judiciary, he believed that the seigneurial system and the Catholic Church would help maintain the bond between imperial authority and Canadian society. As commander of troops defending the province from an invasion of American revolutionaries in 1775, he was disappointed with the habitants' lukewarm response to the British call to arms. After supervising the evacuation of British troops and Loyalists from New York, Carleton returned to England, where he secured the title Baron Dorchester and the governorship of Canada (1786). He was consulted by the metropolitan government on major reforms for British North America, including the Constitutional Act (1791), which introduced full colonial government in Lower Canada, with Catholics afforded full participation as voters and members of the elected provincial legislature.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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