Sir John harvey
Sir John Harvey was a military officer with distinguished service record on the Niagara frontier in the War of 1812. Later variously served in Colonial Service as Lieut. Governor of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and, Nova Scotia.
b. 23 April 1778 in England; m. 16 June 1806 to Lady Elizabeth Lake. They had five sons and one daughter; d. 22 March 1852 in Halifax
Harvey Settlement was named after Sir John Harvey.
Unlike most of his contemporaries in the higher ranks of the British army and the colonial service, John Harvey was not born into the aristocracy. He described himself as the child of an obscure Church of England clergyman of modest means who had persuaded William Pitt the younger to give his son a commission in the army.
Early Military Career
On 10 Sept. 1794 sixteen year old John Harvey became an ensign in the 80th Foot. This assignment was to prove fortunate for Harvey. This regiment was raised by Henry William Paget, the future Marquess of Anglesey, a distinguished cavalry officer whose family was part of a widespread and influential military network. It was through this network patronage that Harvey was to owe much of his future advancement. Unfortunately he lacked the personal wealth that would have enabled him to rise through the ranks quckly by purchase. Harvey's progress was therefore slow and was achieved primarily by hard work, talent, and the quality most prized in the 18th-century British army - personal courage in the face of danger. From 1794 to 1796 Harvey saw active service in the Netherlands and along the coast of France where he was promoted to Lieutenant on 15 July 1795. In 1796 he served at the Cape of Good Hope, from 1797 to 1800 in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and in 1801 in Egypt. From 1803 to 1807 he served in India during the campaigns against the Marathas. It was during this campaigne where by an unusual act of daring that he came to the attention of the commander-in-chief, Lord Lake, and was invited to join his staff. He was promoted to Captain on 9 Sept 1803. While serving in India he also married Lake's daughter Elizabeth, forging another connection that would prove useful in later years. Lady Elizabeth would also prove in later years to be the perfect consort for a colonial governor. She was a gracious hostess and actively involved herself in charitable activities. Harvey was affectionately described by one of his friends as a "Soldier of Fortune," and to the extent that his life was to be spent in a perennial search for a high station in an aristocratic society the description is an apt one. Since he lacked private means, Harvey had to live with financial insecurity, but thanks to his wife his domestic life was relatively stable and untroubled. Harvey returned to England in September 1807 and on 28 Jan. 1808 he was promoted major. From January to June 1808 he was employed in England as an assistant quartermaster general and in July 1808 he joined the 6th Royal Garrison Battalion in Ireland under the command of the Earl of Dalhousie.
The War of 1812
On 25 June 1812 Harvey was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and appointed to Upper Canada as deputy adjutant general to John Vincent. In his haste to reach his new post he traveled overland on snowshoes across New Brunswick in the depth of winter to arrive in Upper Canada to take up his post by early 1813.
For the duration of the War of 1812 Harvey played a conspicuous part in the campaigns along the Niagara peninsula. His greatest triumph was at the battle of Stoney Creek, one of the most decisive encounters of the war. In May 1813 a large American force of more than 6,000 men landed at Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.) and drove the British from Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Upper Canada. Vincent, with 1,600 infantry, retreated to Burlington Heights (Hamilton), pursued by about 3,500 Americans who encamped at Stoney Creek on 5 June. Vincent's position was precarious since his opponents were expecting reinforcements and he was not. As senior staff officer, Harvey was responsible for reconnaissance. He recommended a surprise attack at night to disperse the Americans before they could be reinforced. At 2:00 a.m. he led about 700 men to carry out the attack. Fortunately, the night was dark and the American pickets were bayoneted before they could give the alarm. As typical of many American armies during the War of 1812 era the enemy encampment was poorly organized, which made it difficult for them to react once the attack began. Although the battle rapidly degenerated into confused fighting in the dark, Harvey was able to withdraw his men in an orderly fashion before dawn with a number of prisoners including two of the American generals. The enemy force, now lacking an experienced commander, retreated. Harvey owed much to luck in this attack but his calculated risk had succeeded. If Harvey had failed though, the whole of the Niagara district might have fallen to the Americans. Harvey's victory greatly raised the morale of the British forces throughout Upper Canada and also established him as an officer of unusual "zeal intelligence and gallantry." His reputation was further enhanced in November 1813 at the battle of Crysler's Farm, where he earned a medal, and again at Oswego, Lundy's Lane, and Fort Erie in 1814. Despite numerous acts of bravery and the loss of several horses shot from under him, Harvey was wounded only once, at the siege of Fort Erie on 6 Aug. 1814.
Sir John Harvey
From these heights, Lieutenant-Colonel John Harvey set out with about 700 men on the night of June 5, 1813, to launch a surprise attack on an invading United States force of some 3,000 men camped at Stoney Creek. His rout of the troops commended by Brigadier-General John Chandler under cover of darkness in the early hours of June 6, is generally credited with saving Upper Canada from being overrun by the enemy. Harvey was knighted in 1824, served as Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, 1834-41, Governor of Newfoundland, 1841-46, and Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, 1846-51
Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historical Sites Board
Some dates listed on plaque for subsequent appointments are erroneous.
As deputy adjutant general, Harvey also had onerous administrative responsibilities. He negotiated terms for paroles and prisoners of war with his American counterpart, Colonel (later General) Winfield Scott, and the two men formed a friendship that was to prove useful when Harvey later became Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick. Harvey also acted as a liaison with Britain's Indian allies, was responsible for collecting intelligence, and assisted in organizing the provincial militia. Bravery was not an unusual quality among British officers of the period but administrative competence, particularly those assigned to North America during the War of 1812, when Britain was fighting for her life in Europe against Napolean, was less common. Harvey's talents were recognized and he was clearly marked out for future advancement
These ramparts were erected by the British troops during the war of 1812-15. From this place on the night of June 5th 1813, 700 men under command of Lieut. Colonel Harvey, marched to Stoney Creek where they surprised and routed an American force of 3750 men ridding the Niagara Peninsula of the invaders.
Parts of the old earthworks built by the British Army across the high ground of Burlington Heights are still visible today. The stone marker shown above is located in the Hamilton Cemetery on a section of earthworks that is approximately 2 meters in height and 100 meters long. In 1914 the Wentworth Historical Society placed four stone markers (shown below) on the Heights to indicate where the British forces built their two lines of defenses. Many of the original lead letters have disappeared.
Post War Years
Unfortunately for Harvey the war came to an end in December 1814, and a few months later hostilities ceased in the main theatre of war in Europe. Harvey was now simply one of hundreds of young officers who faced an uncertain future in a period of military retrenchment. Future promotion was slow because in peace time it was now done principally by seniority in the British army. Since he had little "Parliamentary Interest" and most of the patronage within the post Napoleanic War British army was distributed by the Duke of Wellington to those who had served under him in Spain or at the battle of Waterloo, Harvey's chances of employment were slim. Although Harvey became a colonel by May 1825, he would not reach the rank of major-general until January 1837 and was not promoted to lieutenant-general until November 1846. Moreover, though awarded a kch and knighted at Windsor, England, in 1824, he was not given the kcb, to which he felt entitled, because his rank in the army was too low. It is not surprising that in 1829 he proclaimed to Dalhousie that "no Credit was to be gained in Canada."
With the conclusion of hostilities in Canada, Harvey moved to Quebec City where he continued to act as deputy adjutant general. In 1817 he was placed on half pay and in 1824 he returned to England. The timing of his return was fortunate though. The Colonial Office had decided to appoint a five-man commission to evaluate the price at which crown land should be sold to the recently formed Canada Company and Harvey was selected as one of the two government appointees. The members sailed for Upper Canada late in December 1825 and remained there until June 1826 when the commissioners returned to present their report, which immediately became the focus of a bitter controversy. They had recommended the sale of waste lands to the company at a price critics claimed was too low. The Colonial Office ordered a second study, which concluded that the first commission had performed their work hastily and inadequately. Ironically, Harvey had been the only commissioner to advocate a higher price, but for the sake of unanimity he had signed the report. Despite his efforts to dissociate himself from it, he was censured along with his fellow commissioners and his prospects for a future career in the colonial service became remote.
In 1828 though through the influence of Anglesey, Harvey was appointed inspector general of police for the province of Leinster (Republic of Ireland). He assumed this post at a critical moment in Irish history. Ireland had remained unusually calm during the struggle for Catholic emancipation in the 1820s, but between 1830 and 1838 strife developed over the collection of tithes by the Church of Ireland. The centre of agitation was Leinster and, although Harvey did everything in his power to promote compromise and prevent violence, one of the bloodiest incidents of the disturbance took place within his district when on 14 Dec. 1831, 13 policemen were killed and 14 wounded during a riot. Despite this bloody incident Harvey's reputation emerged unscathed. He remained popular both with Dublin Castle and with Irish Roman Catholics and in 1832 he was called as a witness before the House of Commons select committee on collection of tithes in Ireland, where he recommended a solution to the problem that was eventually adopted six years later. He continued to seek an appointment in the British North American colonies though, an ambition which came to fruition in April 1836 when he was made lieutenant governor of Prince Edward Island.
Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island (1836 - 1837)
On Prince Edward Island Harvey found himself confronted by problems not dissimilar to those that he had faced in Ireland. All of the British North American colonies entered a period of turmoil in the 1830s, but those that developed on the Island were unique in one respect; absentee land owners. Absentee landlords in Britain, who were as unpopular on the island as their counterparts in Ireland, owned most of Prince Edward Island. By 1836 a popular movement on PEI led by William Cooper was demanding that the absentee landlords be dispossessed for not fulfilling the original conditions of their grants. Although the leaders of the Escheat party, to which Cooper was allied hoped to achieve their goals without violence, they encouraged tenants to withhold rents. As in Ireland, the efforts of the government to enforce laws, which were considered unjust lead to civil disobedience and ultimately to retaliation against the property of the landlords and their agents. On the other hand the government was under pressure by British interests to enforce the collection of rents. To complicate matters many of the original grants were passing into the hands of land speculators, who had been able to purchase lots at low prices, or were managed by agents in England and Scotland who were determined to secure an income from estates long ignored. Conscious that the rising tide of immigration to British North America was increasing the value of colonial properties these men were not interested in the prestige that the possession of large estates might bring but in maximizing profits. Led by David and Robert Bruce Stewart, two London merchants who had purchased large tracts of land on the Island, and by the agents of some of the largest proprietors (e.g. William Waller and Andrew Colvile) the Prince Edward Island Association (PEIA) was formed to act as a lobby group in London.
Before departing for the Island in July 1836, Harvey had met with representatives from the PEIA who had assured him that if the escheat issue were resolved they would deal leniently with their tenants and invest more capital in the colony. However, Harvey discovered upon his arrival on 30 August that the escheat movement was gaining momentum. An early frost led to a partial failure of the Island's potato crop. This distress, which led to a shortage of hard currency, strengthened the resolve of the tenants. Although Harvey optimistically predicted that he could restore the Island to "a state of perfect tranquillity," an escheat meeting that fall in Kings County attracted 1,300 people. At Harvey's request the colonial secretary, Lord Glenelg, prepared a dispatch ruling out escheat, which Harvey published in October. On 20 Dec. 1836 though another mass meeting was held at Hay River, attended by Cooper and two other activists; John MacKintosh and John Windsor LeLacheur. At the conclusion of the meeting the participants not only demanded escheat but also voted to encourage the tenants to withhold their rent.
This meeting convinced Harvey that more vigorous measures had to be taken to open "the eyes of the deluded Tenantry." He dismissed from office the magistrate who had chaired the meeting and stripped Cooper of several minor governmental posts. However, Harvey placed his greatest faith in the assembly, which was dominated by an elite sympathetic to some of the complaints made against the proprietors butt who also determined to uphold the rights of property. Working through the speaker of the house, George R. Dalrymple, and councilors Thomas Heath Haviland and Robert Hodgson, two of the Island's most influential politicians, Harvey persuaded the assembly to adopt a series of resolutions condemning the Hay River meeting. Indeed, in its enthusiasm the assembly committed the three men who had attended the meeting to the sergeant-at-arms and they remained in custody for two full sessions until the assembly was dissolved. Harvey publicly predicted that these measures would lead to a "moral revolution" and claimed that the question of escheat had been "settled & forever . " Privately though he confided that by arresting Cooper and his fellow escheators the assembly might eventually turn them into martyrs. Harvey quickly realized that the escheat issue would not disappear so easily. In March 1837 he prepared a dispatch requesting permission to establish a special commission to discover which proprietors had not fulfilled the conditions of settlement imposed in 1826. Although he did not send this request until the eve of his departure in May, rumors that he was at least partially in favor of escheat circulated freely on the Island.
The major reason why Harvey delayed his dispatch was his desire to unofficially persuade the absentee landlords that the escheat agitation would end if they offered more lenient terms to their tenants. Harvey had toured much of Prince Edward Island in 1836 and what most impressed him was "how exact an Epitome this Island in some respects is, of the Island . . . which I have so recently left." Because the proprietorial system diffused settlement and the large blocks of remaining wilderness lands between hindered development, communications on the Island were primitive. Many landlords would give only short leases and would not compensate tenants for improvements. Rents were high and frequently had to be paid in hard currency, which was in short supply. The result was that many tenants eventually owed substantial arrears, which they could never hope to pay. Moreover, the Island elite, many of whom owned property or were agents of the proprietors, had only limited sympathy with the absentees, who contributed little to development in the colony. Harvey was opposed to the "extreme & unjust proposition of extinguishing vested rights for the non fulfillment of impracticable conditions," but he admitted that his ideas had "undergone some change since my arrival here" and he supported the introduction of "a very moderate 'Penal Assessment'" on unsettled lands to raise funds for internal development. He also appealed to the landlords in February and March 1837 to grant longer leases with lower rents, to accept the payment of rent in kind and to abandon the arrears already due. He wrote to a friend in January 1837 that "between the Proprietors & the tenants I have had a somewhat difficult card to play but I hope to satisfy both."
This was a noble objective, but impracticable. Although the assembly passed the Land Assessment Act in April 1837, the proprietorial lobby in London delayed its implementation until 12 Dec. 1838. They also did not respond to Harvey's request to deal leniently with the tenantry. In fact, several proprietors announced their determination in March 1837 to force the tenants to live up to the terms of existing leases. Harvey considered this action "ill timed & premature," yet he was bound to enforce their legal rights. Anticipating violence, he asked that the garrison on the Island be strengthened. In his dispatches though Harvey continued to give the impression that the Island was basically tranquil, and it is true that while he remained in the colony he was able to maintain order. Unfortunately, the failure of the proprietors to follow Harvey's advice inevitably aided Cooper and the Escheat party. Thus by May 1837 Harvey had decided to send the dispatch recommending partial escheat in order to take the initiative out of the hands of Cooper. Of Harvey's influence over the assembly there can be little doubt. Among the numerous measures passed during the 1837 session at Harvey's request was not only an act levying a moderate assessment on all land in the colony to be used to erect a public records repository, but also bills to create a more effective system of elementary education and to improve the administration of justice. Harvey seems to have overestimated his influence on "the honest, warm-hearted, simple minded People of this Island" though. Far from disappearing, the escheat agitation continued to gain momentum and Cooper's party formed the majority in the next assembly. Fortunately, Harvey did not have to witness this event. He was promoted to New Brunswick and on 25 May 1837 he left Prince Edward Island, to be replaced by Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy.
Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick (1837 - 1841)
On the surface the turbulence in New Brunswick politics resembled that elsewhere in British North America during the 1830s. In reality though, the struggle was one for power and place between different factions within the provincial elite. Harvey's predecessor, Sir Archibald Campbell, had distributed patronage almost exclusively to a handful of the colony's leading families, mainly resident in Fredericton and mainly members of the Church of England. He had thus created a bureaucratic elite at least as inbred as its counterpart in 1820's Upper Canada. The Upper Canadian elite was motivated by ideological considerations though that simply were not present in New Brunswick, where the politically articulate population was relatively homogeneous in ethnic background and in social and political attitudes, as well as being united in its commitment to the imperial connection. The homogeneity did not mean that there were not disagreements in the colony though. Since New Brunswick was divided into a series of communities, each of which was concerned to advance its own immediate self-interest, factionalism was endemic. That problem aside, party divisions were slow to develop and political rivalries were muted by the existence of a consensus upon fundamental principles. Those excluded from official patronage or resentful of government policies did combine though in the mid 1830s to form a coalition that came to control the assembly. Led by the wealthy timber merchants and by the representatives of the dissenting interests, including Charles Simonds, they demanded control over the rapidly increasing crown revenues and over the policies of the Crown Lands Office, headed by the immensely powerful and equally unpopular Thomas Baillie. When the reformers succeeded in convincing the British government of their moderation and extracted from Glenelg a series of major concessions, Lieutenant Governor Campbell proffered his resignation.
Harvey, as historian James Hannay has noted, was "a man of a very different spirit" from Campbell. Although basically conservative, Harvey's patron Anglesey was a member of the Whig ministry and Harvey recognized that the winds of change were sweeping not only across Britain but into British North America as well. In 1837 he warned an old friend in Upper Canada, Solicitor General Christopher Alexander Hagerman that "you deceive yourself - the spirit of real, downright, old Style Toryism being extinct, dead, defunct, defeated and no more capable of revisiting the Nations of the Earth than it is possible for the sparks to descend or the stream to flow upwards." While on Prince Edward Island, Harvey had applauded the "equitable, just & liberal principles, upon which the Colonial Policy of England is now happily conducted" and had criticized the "anomolous & defective composition" of the Island's Legislative Council. Immediately upon his arrival in Fredericton on 1 June 1837 he embarked upon the policy of conciliation that Campbell had refused to implement. In July he hastily convened the assembly to present it with a bill surrendering the revenues of the crown for a permanent civil list. He also sought to end "the dissatisfaction which has long & I fear so justly prevailed, throughout the whole colony, regarding the conduct & management of the Crown Land Department." But although he was able to limit "the undue, uncontrolled, almost irresponsible Financial Powers" exercised by Baillie, he could not suspend him from office until 1840, after Baillie had become insolvent. Indeed, Baillie's refusal to retire upon terms that the assembly would accept was the one issue that threatened to disrupt Harvey's harmonious relationship with the house.
This harmony was based on more than just the concession of crown revenues and the reorganization of the Crown Lands Office. Adjustments were necessary in the personnel of the government to place power in the hands of those having the confidence of the assembly. In New Brunswick, since the challengers resembled the existing ruling class in background and attitude, all that was required was the distribution of patronage upon a less exclusive basis. Thus Harvey appointed a number of reformers as justices of the peace and he selected "men of Liberal opinions" such as Lemuel Allan Wilmot and William Boyd Kinnear as queen's counsels "for the purpose of counter balancing the Barristers of opposite Politics who had been previously preferred." He also expanded the Legislative Council to include those speaking for the "Dissenting Interests" and areas of the colony long underrepresented. Among the latter was the city of Saint John. Unlike many of the aristocratic and military governors of the 1830s Harvey did not look down upon commercial men. He sought to ally his government with the entrepreneurial leaders of the colony and frequently visited Saint John where he promoted urban reforms.
Harvey's most important decision, however, was to bring into his Executive Council the leading figures in the assembly, especially Simonds, the speaker of the house. It is frequently asserted that Harvey actually established a form of responsible government in New Brunswick. If one uses that term in its broadest sense, as it had been used in Britain for more than a century, then Harvey did indeed introduce into New Brunswick, as historian William Stewart MacNutt has claimed, "the essential ingredients of the British system, an executive responsible to the elected representatives of the people." This form of governance was not responsible government, as it was later understood though as Harvey did not turn the Executive Council into a cabinet of ministers and he did not feel that he had to follow the advice he was given. Neither Harvey nor his superiors in London wished to introduce into the colony a system of party government similar to that which had evolved at Westminster by the early 19th century. The New Brunswick assembly clearly indicated in its resolutions of 29 Feb. 1840 that it wanted "an efficient responsibility on the part of the Executive officers to the Representative Branch of the Provincial Government," but in the absence of a coherent party system there could be no demand for party government. Harvey's Executive Council was thus a coalition of the leading political figures in the colony, who felt free to disagree amongst themselves. The absence of parties also allowed Harvey to initiate policies and to control patronage.
Although Harvey did not intend to exclude from his Executive Council the leaders of the old official party, their stubborn resistance to his policies left him little choice. William Franklin Odell, George Frederick Street, and Baillie, all interrelated by marriage, were sufficiently influential in Fredericton to be able to embarrass the lieutenant governor on several occasions. He therefore welcomed the arrival of Lord John Russell's famous dispatch of 16 Oct. 1839 announcing a change in the tenure of public office in the colonies and circulated it to the leading officials in New Brunswick. Those opponents of his regime whom he could not conciliate, he could now at least silence.
Yet, as Harvey clearly understood, there were distinct limits to his authority and influence. One of the fundamental principles to which the members of the assembly were committed was their right to decide how the provincial revenues would be distributed and they would support the government only upon this condition. Undeniably, this system could be abused and to a considerable extent the colony's financial resources were frittered away on purely local projects. But Hannay was right to stress that "a glance at the statute books [during the Harvey years], discloses the fact that there was great activity in many lines of enterprise." Much of this activity was in response to private or local pressures and frequently served merely to advance the interests of a particular community, a specific interest group, or even an individual entrepreneur. None-the-less, this decentralized system made sense in a colony divided by geography into a series of distinct communities which had little contact with one another. Harvey's successor, Sir William MacBean George Colebrooke, would discover in the 1840s that he could not artificially create a provincial mentality. Until the railway era, perhaps even later, such a mentality did not exist, at least outside limited circles in Fredericton and Saint John. In any case, a system of party government and executive centralization, as the history of the Canada's in the 1850s shows, would not have prevented the government from becoming the agent of particularistic interests in an age when the pursuit of private gain was considered the most effective way to advance the public interest. Brokerage politics was an inevitable development in a pre-industrial society where the scope of government was extremely limited and the vast majority of the population was only intermittently affected by government activities. To criticize Harvey, as MacNutt has done, for acquiescing in the uncontrolled expenditures of an assembly "whose political horizons were for the most part limited by the parish pump" is to apply anachronistic standards. Indeed, by yielding to pressures, which were too strong to resist, Harvey did help preserve a respect for the imperial authority that to a limited degree would persist into the industrial era. During his administration he initiated or supported, with varying degrees of success, major reforms in the colony's legal system, revisions in public and higher education, improved communications, the first geological survey of the province, by Abraham Gesner, the development of agriculture, a revitalized militia, and an improved system of support for paupers and the insane. These objectives he was to pursue in all the colonies in which he served.
Much of Harvey's time was devoted to military affairs. Within 24 hours of his arrival he became embroiled in the Maine-New Brunswick boundary dispute as a result of the arrest of Ebenezer Greeley, a census taker from Maine who had been working in the territory claimed by the British government. With Maine threatening to retaliate by occupying the disputed area, Harvey sent troops to Woodstock and Grand Falls and personally visited the area. His main objective was to deter American encroachments before they led to a confrontation that would engulf Britain and the United States in another war. Although the possibility of conflict receded during the autumn of 1837, by the following spring Maine renewed its efforts to establish control over the area. Harvey was now in an awkward position. Because of the rebellions ongoing in the Canada's, New Brunswick was denuded of troops, and he was forbidden by Sir Colin Campbell, military commander for the Atlantic region, from stationing troops, when they did arrive, in positions above Fredericton on the Saint John River. Yet between December 1837 and the spring of 1839 Harvey became responsible for conveying overland five regiments and two companies of British troops to Lower Canada, and the security of the route thus became his major concern. For this reason he sought to reduce tensions with Maine by releasing Greeley from prison and entered into a personal correspondence with the governor of Maine, John Fairfield. As a sign of good faith he also turned a blind eye to Maine's encroachments into the valley of the Aroostook River. By March 1839, though, Harvey decided that another show of strength was necessary and re-established a British force in the disputed territory. He warned the officer in charge though to retreat at the first sign of real danger. He subsequently eagerly assented to an agreement with the governor of Maine, negotiated by his friend General Winfield Scott, who represented the American federal government, to withdraw his force if Maine would also recall her troops.
Through these actions Harvey prevented the "Aroostook war" from evolving into a serious confrontation at a time when Britain was unenthusiastic for one. Harvey's personal prestige was never higher than during this period. Through is conciliatory actions he not only pacified New Brunswick but the colony had volunteered men and money to put down the Canadian rebellions. Harvey was in charge of the New Brunswick mission that met with Lord Durham in 1838, the year in which he received his long overdue kcb, and he was fulsomely praised in the subsequent Durham report. Charles Edward Poulett Thomson, later Lord Sydenham, visited New Brunswick in 1840 and flatteringly described Harvey as "the Pearl of Civil Governors." However, his relationship with Sir Colin Campbell, the regional military commander had gradually deteriorated into open hostility through this interval and Harvey eventually was able to force him out. Harvey persuaded the military authorities in London to give him command of the troops in New Brunswick in July 1837, to have him placed on staff as a major-general in November of that year, and to grant him the pay and allowances of his rank in November 1839. Finally, in September 1840 Harvey replaced Campbell as commander of the troops in the Atlantic provinces and moved the over all regional military headquarters to New Brunswick.
Harvey's personal affairs were on a more secure basis in the late 1830's as well. In Ireland he had gone into debt, in Prince Edward Island his salary had not been sufficient to meet his expenses, and shortly after his arrival in New Brunswick he had been forced to negotiate a loan from the Bank of British North America. Due to the generosity of the New Brunswick legislature, which not only increased his salary but also made special grants for the upkeep of Government House and for a private secretary, and to the allowances and patronage attached to the military command, Harvey was on his way to solvency. Since he had no estates, he had provided for his sons in the only way that he could, by securing them commissions in the army and the navy. With considerable military patronage at his disposal, he was able to reunite his family under his roof in Fredericton. His only daughter married his aide-de-camp in 1839 and they lived at Government House. The death of his eldest son, on 22 March 1839, was the only tragedy to mar what Harvey would afterwards recall as the happiest years of his life.
Yet Harvey had already set in motion the sequence of events that would eventually lead to his recall. He believed that the agreement with Maine would serve to maintain the territorial status quo until the British and American governments could reach a final settlement of the boundary. Unfortunately, negotiations moved slowly during 1839 and 1840 and Maine gradually extended its authority in the area under dispute by building roads and establishing new settlements. Although Maine had agreed in March 1839 to withdraw its troops from the disputed territory, it retained an armed civil posse, which established a small base at the mouth of the Fish River during the summer. These actions did not break the 1839 agreement, but they were clearly contrary to it's spirit. Harvey gradually came to realize that he had underestimated Maine's determination and had signed an agreement which left the initiative in its hands. In November 1840 Harvey decided that Britain must reassert her authority and he asked Sydenham to dispatch a substantial force to Lake Temisquata (Lac Témiscouata, Que.) on the edge of the disputed territory. After reconsidering this request, Harvey appealed to Sydenham to rescind the order but the troops were already on the march. Foolishly, Harvey then assured the governor of Maine that they would soon be withdrawn. For this indiscretion Lord John Russell, the British colonial secretary, who was persuaded by Sydenham and by a bellicose Lord Palmerston, the foreign secretary, that Harvey's action would encourage Maine's transgressions, dismissed him.
For once, Harvey had totally misjudged the political situation. With Canada calm and with an enormous British force stationed in the North American colonies, the North American balance of power had shifted in favor of Britain, and the British government was determined to force the United States to the negotiating table over the boundary dispute. Harvey did not realize until too late that his policy of reconciliation was no longer in line with government policy. When the overseas mail arrived in Fredericton in February 1841, the first letter that Harvey opened was from his friend Sir Charles Theophilus Metcalfe predicting that Harvey would some day be appointed governor of Canada. The second letter was from George W. Featherstonhaugh, another friend, who had been deputed by Russell to inform Harvey of his dismissal. The blow, being quite unexpected, came as a tremendous shock to Harvey and his family. He had good reason to despair. Without a private income, he would be ruined. Fortunately, his advocate, Anglesey, persuaded Russell to appoint Harvey as the Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland in April 1841.
Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland (1841 - 1846)
After a brief visit to London, Harvey arrived in Newfoundland in September 1841. Both before and after the introduction of representative government in 1832, Newfoundland politics had been disrupted by sectarian animosities and by bitter disputes between the wealthy merchants of St John's, who were frequently transients, and the representatives of the rapidly growing resident population, which was engaged in the fisheries. Harvey's predecessor, Henry Prescott, had sought to mediate between the rival factions in the colony, but had succeeded only in dissatisfying virtually everyone. During the general elections in November and December 1840 this dissatisfaction led to considerable violence. When the Newfoundland legislature met in 1841 the assembly and the council disagreed over nearly every measure, including the annual supply bill. By the autumn of 1841 the British government had reached the conclusion that substantial changes would have to be made in the constitution of Newfoundland and, while considering the nature of the reforms to be introduced, it suspended the existing constitution. To some extent these developments worked to Harvey's advantage. Many of Newfoundland's political and religious leaders had been shocked by the escalation of violence and were prepared to cooperate, at least for the moment, with a new governor who sought to heal old wounds. Harvey, as the members of the St John's Natives' Society noted, had already established a reputation as a "political physician" and James Stephen at the Colonial Office believed that he was "more likely than any man I know to allay the storms which have so long agitated Society in Newfoundland." Unfortunately, the traditional enmities in island politics had not disappeared and Harvey's task was a formidable one.
The most disruptive force in Newfoundland politics was religion. Given his background, it is hardly surprising that Harvey was a committed supporter of the Church of England. He was devout and conscientiously attended services, gave generously from his meager salary, and continuously sought to advance the church's interests. His sympathies thus lay with the low-church party and he formed a close friendship with Aubrey George Spencer, the bishop of Newfoundland, a friendship cemented by the marriage of his youngest son to one of the bishop's daughters. Harvey also assisted the bishop in acquiring the land upon which a cathedral was eventually erected in St John's.
Although Harvey actively supporting the Church of England while he served as Lieutenant Governor of both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, he had endeared himself to dissenters by extending government patronage to their institutions. He was less successful though with the various Protestant sects in Newfoundland. In 1843 an education bill was introduced in the assembly by Richard Barnes, member for Trinity Bay, which provided for an equal distribution of funds between Catholic and Protestant elementary schools. Harvey strongly supported the bill, but only with great difficulty was he able to convince the dissenting sects that it did not unduly favor the Church of England schools. Harvey also aroused the suspicion of the dissenters by appointing Bryan Robinson, an outspoken advocate of the Church of England, to the Executive Council in 1843. Robinson, a prominent lawyer, had become involved in a bitter personal controversy with Chief Justice John Gervase Hutchinson Bourne over the functioning of the Supreme Court. Harvey became unavoidably entangled in the dispute when he sought to mediate between the two men. Harvey ascribed Bourne's refusal to abandon the controversy to the chief justice's alliance with "a certain party of Dissenters" who bitterly assailed "our venerable Church establishment."
Harvey maintained his efforts on behalf of the Church of England, but in 1844 he supported the founding of an academy, which would be free of religious instruction and in 1845 he advocated a policy of assisting all religious groups in the construction of churches. These policies were frustrated by Spencer's successor, Edward Feild, who had high-church leanings. In New Brunswick, Harvey had vainly tried to liberalize the charter of King's College, Fredericton. In Newfoundland too, he was similarly unable to convince his co-religionists of "the mischievous consequences of clothing Educational institutions with too exclusive a character."
These difficulties were overshadowed, however, by the problem of convincing the colony's Roman Catholics of the good intentions of the government. Harvey's predecessor Lieutenant Governor Prescott had entered into a vitriolic debate with Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming and had alienated almost the entire Catholic population. Like most of his contemporaries, Harvey was suspicious of the Catholic Church in general and of non-Anglo Saxon Catholics in particular. While serving in Prince Edward Island, he had attempted to prevent the appointment of any Irish or French Canadian Catholic to a vacant bishopric, because their clergy "meddle too much with Politics." He also subscribed to the popular stereotype that the Irish were excitable and easily misled by their religious leaders. None-the-less having seen both in the Canada's and in Ireland how discrimination and bigotry led to religious and political conflicts, he had actively and consistently sought the cooperation of Catholic clergy in Ireland, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick.
From the moment of his arrival in Newfoundland in September 1841 Harvey sought to end sectarian conflicts and conciliate with Catholics. As an initial "act of leniency," he released several prisoners arrested during the election riots of the previous December and he withdrew the garrison stationed in Carbonear. He then secured a promise from Roman Catholic Bishop Fleming to withdraw from politics, a promise which the bishop kept. Harvey's share of the bargain was to administer the government impartially and this promise was also kept. Despite Protestant outcries, he appointed the first Catholic magistrate in St John's. In December 1842 he also censured a Protestant magistrate for arresting the prominent Catholic politician John Valentine Nugent during an election. Harvey also supported the Education Act of 1843, which placed Catholics and Protestants on an equal footing in the distribution of funds, and to include provision for both a Catholic and a Protestant inspector of schools. When the assembly made provision for only one position, he alternated the appointment on an annual basis. His Executive Council was "composed fairly & impartially of Protestants & Catholics." According to Catholic politician John Kent, Harvey's "conciliatory conduct & strict impartiality" persuaded leading Catholics William Carson, Laurence O'Brien, and Patrick Morris to serve on this council. Even when some of them attended an Irish repeal meeting in St John's, and thus incurred the censure of the British government, Harvey defended their actions in July 1844 in his report to the Colonial Office.
Catholic support was critical for Harvey. The constitution introduced in 1842 by the Newfoundland Act, partly at Harvey's request, had been imposed against the wishes of the Catholics who dominated the Reform party. Harvey realized that without Reform support the amalgamated legislature of 15 elected and 10 appointed members would work no more efficiently than the old. Although he had encouraged the Colonial Office to try the experiment, he indicated to the Reform leaders that it was to be only a temporary measure. In theory, under the new constitution, the lieutenant governor, by controlling the initiation of money bills, would be able to exert a commanding influence upon the development of the colony. In practice, Harvey allowed the members of the Amalgamated Legislature to distribute the funds according to their perception of the requirements of the colony. Under these conditions the reformers were prepared to assist in making the legislature work. By 1846, however, even Harvey could not persuade the reformers to accept a renewal of the amalgamation bill when it was to expire the following year. In February 1846 the legislature voted by ten to nine for a series of resolutions, moved by Kent, advocating responsible government. Nine of the ten votes in favor were by Catholics and the tenth was by a Protestant dependent upon Catholic support. Despite this set back even Kent remained ready to defend Harvey's administration.
More remarkable is the fact that Harvey consolidated Catholic and reform support without antagonizing the Conservatives, whose leadership was drawn largely from the Protestant, mercantile community of St John's. Along with its rural areas the city represented nearly 40 per cent of the island's population, and Harvey quickly realized that he had to show its leading citizens that they could expect concrete improvements from his government. During his tenure in office he vigorously supported the ambitions of the St John's Chamber of Commerce by advocating for a more efficient postal service and steamship communications with the outside world and by protesting "the French invasion of our Fisheries." He also sought to improve the appearance of St John's and the quality of health and public services within the city. It is ironic that in his efforts at beautification he may have contributed, through removal of some natural fire-breaks, to the damage caused by the great fire of June 1846, which "suddenly swept away three fourths of this so lately wealthy and prosperous City." By appointing the candidate of the St John's Chamber of Commerce, William Thomas, to the Executive Council in 1842, by consulting frequently with the merchants, and by devoting himself "heart and soul to the local and general improvement of the country," Harvey reconciled the merchant eIite to the reintroduction of the old representative system. "His Excellency arrived amongst us," Charles James Fox Bennett* proclaimed in 1846, "at a period when the country had been torn and distracted by political animosities, when disorder and confusion had reigned on every side, and when the framework of our political existence had been disjointed and severed; but no sooner had he placed his foot upon our shores than he, as if by the touch of a talismanic wand, restored order, peace and happiness to the country."
This claim was of course exaggerated. Harvey had no magic wand, and he could not make ethnic, religious, and socio-economic rivalries instantly disappear. Whenever opportunity did present itself he sought to persuade the various groups within the community to focus upon the issues that united rather than those that divided them. He founded Newfoundland's first Agricultural Society at St John's in 1841, partly to provide an association to which both Catholics and Protestants could belong. He attempted to persuade the religious leaders of both to unite in a temperance crusade in 1844, and he became patron of the Natives' Society because he felt it was an organization that promised to transcend other loyalties. Yet many Protestants bitterly resented Harvey's efforts to distribute patronage to Catholics, and reformers and Conservatives remained at odds over the direction in which the colony should develop. Harvey did not remove the sources of friction, but he did create an atmosphere in which differences of opinion could be resolved more peacefully.
Despite this achievement, Harvey did not enjoy his sojourn in Newfoundland. Like his close friend Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle, he found the "Siberian" winters nearly unbearable. He was also plagued by financial difficulties. His sudden removal from New Brunswick had occurred before he had paid off his debts and it left him virtually destitute. He had already disposed of most of his household effects in New Brunswick at a heavy loss before he learned of his appointment to Newfoundland and he had had to request an advance to meet the charges on his commission and to purchase Prescott's furniture. To make matters more difficult the annual salary of £3,000 was £1,000 less than he had received in New Brunswick, St John's was a more expensive city in which to live than Fredericton and Government House was costly to maintain. Shortly after his arrival in the colony, the Bank of British North America demanded payment of his outstanding debts and Harvey was compelled to borrow money from his colonial secretary, James Crowdy to cover the debt. During the prolonged controversy with Bourne, this arrangement was brought to the attention of the Colonial Office. Ultimately, Harvey was exonerated of any wrongdoing, but he was reprimanded for indiscretion. It may not be for some to feel much sympathy for a man who earned more in a year than most laborers of his era earned in a lifetime, who traveled with a retinue of servants, and who entertained lavishly. However, Harvey must be judged by the standards of the age in which he lived. As befitted a man of his station he was expected to maintain a standard of living which, without a private supplemental income, he simply could not afford, and "the exercise of hospitality" was, as he claimed, one of the means by which a governor cultivated a "good understanding" in a colony. He also gave generously to charities and other worthy causes. If he lived beyond his means and engaged in activities that justifiably led to charges of conflict of interest, he really had little choice.
It was more than harsh climate and financial worries that led to Harvey's dissatisfaction though. His youngest son fell ill in Newfoundland and died early in 1846. His other sons were forced to seek employment elsewhere and his daughter was with her husband in Halifax. Harvey wished that he could reunite his family under one roof, and when the lieutenant governorship of Nova Scotia became vacant he eagerly applied for it. With almost unseemly haste, and to the consternation of the Colonial Office, as soon as he had received the new appointment he departed as quickly as he could from Newfoundland in August 1846.
Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia (1846 - 1852)
When Harvey arrived in Nova Scotia late in August 1846, he was hailed by the Yarmouth Courier as the man who could "check that spirit of discord which has been rife throughout this province for some years." Certainly Harvey hoped that by applying to Nova Scotia the methods that had worked so successfully elsewhere he could restore "this distracted Province to that condition of political & social tranquility, which I really believe to be desired by all" . But those methods had only limited success in Nova Scotia. Both the Conservatives and the Liberals were now relatively cohesive political parties. Although the Conservatives had a majority of seats in the house, Harvey sought to create a calmer political atmosphere than the one he had inherited from his predecessor, Lord Falkland, who had ostracized the leading Liberals and identified himself with the Conservatives. By friendly gestures to the leaders of the Liberal party and by inviting "the influential of all parties" to dine at Government House, Harvey succeeded in reducing tensions.
Yet, despite repeated efforts, Harvey could not persuade the Liberals that they should join with the Conservatives in a coalition government. Indeed, so confident were the Liberals of success in the approaching election that they only reluctantly abandoned their demand for an immediate dissolution and agreed to refrain from obstructing the final session of the legislature in 1847. Although these concessions in themselves represented a major victory for Harvey, they did not result in the formation of a coalition. Harvey's failure led Earl Grey, who had recently become secretary of state for the colonies, to enunciate in two important dispatches his willingness to accept party government in the larger British North American colonies. Harvey still continued to hope though that he could bring about "a fusion of parties" in Nova Scotia following the forthcoming general election.
On 5 Aug. 1847 the Liberals were victorious at the polls. After a final, but unsuccessful, effort to facilitate formation of a coalition government Harvey was left with no option but to accept the first administration based on party in British North America. However, until the assembly met in January 1848 and carried a vote of non-confidence by a margin of 29 to 22, Harvey had to carry on with a government that refused to resign until the house had pronounced its verdict. During this transition period he helped keep the situation calm by persuading the Conservatives not to recommend appointments that he could not approve and the Liberals to restrain their impatience to take office.
The transfer of power formally took place on 2 Feb. 1848, when James Boyle Uniacke became premier of "the first formally responsible ministry overseas." The transition was neither as simple nor as harmonious as many historians, particularly Chester Martin, have implied. A rudimentary system of cabinet government had been introduced into the Province of Canada in 1841, but in Nova Scotia the Executive Council did not consist of officials holding ministerial positions and the Liberals were determined to restructure the council into a cabinet of ministers. Harvey thus had to force into retirement the provincial secretary, Sir Rupert D. George, who had held office for 25 years, and to dismiss Samuel Prescott Fairbanks, who had been appointed provincial treasurer for life in 1845. He also agreed to the creation of several new ministerial posts. Lord Grey had already agreed to the principle of responsible party government, but he had hoped to limit to the barest minimum the number of ministerial positions that would change, and he was only reluctantly persuaded by Harvey of the necessity of converting the Executive Council into a cabinet on the British and Canadian models.
Harvey sincerely tried to persuade his new advisers to compensate generously with pensions those who were displaced, but he was only partially successful. As a result a stream of petitions were sent to the British government complaining of the changes. The Conservative press in Nova Scotia began to vociferously criticize Harvey for yielding to Liberal demands and James William Johnston, who had been forced to resign as attorney general, moved a resolution in the assembly to reduce the lieutenant governor's annual salary from £3,000 to £2,500. The crown revenues in Nova Scotia had not been surrendered for a permanent civil list and the Liberals had frequently condemned the high salaries paid to officials, many of whom were owed several years' arrears because of the inadequacy of the crown's revenues. Johnston's motion was designed to embarrass both the Lieutenant Governor and his advisers and the government hastily introduced a civil list bill which gave Harvey £3,500 per annum (£1,500 more than his successors were to receive), reduced the salaries of most other officials, and disallowed the arrears that had been accumulating since 1844. To Harvey's dismay Lord Grey refused to assent to the act and reprimanded Harvey for placing his own claims before those of other officials who were owed arrears or whose salaries had been reduced. Although Harvey ultimately persuaded the Liberal government to agree to Grey's terms, he was forced to abandon his claim to a higher salary. Harvey felt badly treated, but by foolishly consenting to the initial bill he had brought upon himself Grey's censure and given credence to the charge that he had "bargained with his Council, to promote his pecuniary interests."
During 1849 Harvey again became the subject of Conservative criticism when he agreed to a wholesale revision of the commission of the peace. Although it is frequently asserted that the reform ministers of this period withstood the pressure from their supporters for the introduction of the spoils system, in 1849 scores of Conservative justices of the peace were dismissed and several hundred Liberals were appointed. Believing that Harvey had become "a regular partisan of his present advisors," Grey vigorously protested against the change in the commission. Harvey was able to persuade his ministers to restore some of the dismissed magistrates to office, but he defended his government and correctly pointed out that there were limits to his influence. Party control over patronage was an inevitable concomitant of party government and Harvey at best could moderate the extension of this principle to Nova Scotia. Ultimately, he forced Grey to accept this fact and, without any prospect of Colonial Office support, the Conservatives of Nova Scotia began to adjust to the new system, although the attacks on Harvey continued.
Much of the criticism di