1768-1773: The Baron in Waiting & Other Quebec Curios

Part of “A Colony in Transition”, 1763-1791

Military man Guy Carleton was one of the men who had power thrust upon him: at the time of his appointment as Governor of Quebec, his experiences had been chiefly military. Taken under the wing of James Wolfe, Guy Carleton participated in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and received a head injury during battle (it was just a flesh wound). That same year, in 1759, he returned to England only to return to the fighting a couple of years later, but not in Canada.

Perhaps Carleton never thought he might return to the cold, snowy shores of Quebec, but return he did in 1766 as Lieutenant Governor under James Murray. After the Crown recalled James Murray in 1768, King George III named Carleton as the Governor, on October 26, to be exact. Unlike Murray, Carleton had political support in high places, in fact, the highest seat in the British Empire. Sympathetic to the British merchants, he recommended to levy restrictions on the fur trade and delayed the implementation of the British bankruptcy laws. Mindful of the French Canadians, Carleton was instrumental in appointing the first French-Canadian bishop in the Province in 1772. He was also important in passing the 1774 Quebec Act, which would implement the status quo that James Murray had helped to protect, notably, the retention of French civil law within Quebec. The British merchants, pleased with Carleton’s actions towards them, were supportive of the Quebec Act. Everyone seemed happy with the Quebec Act, except the Americans. And there was much rejoicing (except from the Americans).

Guy Carleton would be knighted in 1776. He would serve again as Governor, this time as the Governor of British North America, in 1785, and helped British Loyalists settle in British North America following the American War of Independence. One year later, would later become Baron Dorchester, the first of his name.

Guy Carleton is so beloved by all even that the Freemasons want to claim him. Read about that here.