Sir John Beverley Robinson: Bone and Sinew of the Compact by Patrick Brode

By Patrick Brode

John Beverley Robinson (1791–1863) was once one in every of higher Canada’s greatest jurists, a dominating impression at the ruling élite, and a number one citizen of nineteenth-century Toronto who owned an unlimited tract of land on which Osgoode corridor now stands.

The loyalists had based a colony company in its devotion to the Crown, with little room for dissent. As a real loyalist son, knowledgeable by way of John Strachan, Robinson tried to guide higher Canada towards emulation of what he seemed to be Britain’s perfect aristocratic society.

As a tender ensign within the York armed forces, he defended his sovereign at Queenston Heights, and as appearing attorney-general he prosecuted traitors who threatened to undermine the colony. Later, as attorney-general and de facto chief of the meeting in the course of the 1820s, he attempted to mold the govt to the British shape. yet elements he by no means understood—the impression of yankee democracy and liberalism within the Colonial Office—ensured that top Canada may by no means be a ‘new Albion.’

Robinson was once appointed leader justice in 1829, and his judicial profession spanned thirty-three years, in which he insisted the courts have been subservient to the legislature and confirmed precedents stating their function will be constrained to the enforcement of latest legislation, without self sufficient inventive functionality. His lengthy carrier at the bench represented either a maintenance and a strengthening of the British culture in Canadian law.

In this biography, early Toronto comes alive in the course of the eyes of a strong man—firm in his ideals, beautiful to ladies, revered by way of his fellows—who sought to mildew society to his personal beliefs. For historians, attorneys, and scholars of jurisprudence who search an figuring out of the roots of felony perform in nineteenth-century Ontario, it truly is crucial reading. 

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Extra info for Sir John Beverley Robinson: Bone and Sinew of the Compact

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While basking in the aftermath of victory, Robinson encountered his elder brother, Peter, who had arrived overland with a party of militia. Together the brothers escorted their prisoners to the depot at Chippewa. While this first effortless victory may have made the militia confident of ultimate success, such confidence was not warranted by the overall situation. Sir George Prevost, by an ill-advised armistice with the American commander, General Dearborn, had defeated Brock's intention to maintain the initiative by attacking Fort Niagara.

Hunt's meeting at the Spa Fields on 15 November 1816 degenerated into a riot. Robinson, as a curious spectator, was on hand for this demonstration and was caught up in the mob that marched on Castlereagh's house and smashed the windows. Robinson did not conceal his disgust: 'I was in the midst of them, and greater cowards I never saw. '31 It is indicative, perhaps, of Robinson's insensitivity that not once in his English narrative did he mention the mass unemployment and near famine that existed in England in 1816.

Nevertheless, he assembled fifty militiamen in an attempt to dislodge the Americans who by now were firmly entrenched on the Heights. The American fire proved to be far too intense and, after one fusillade, the Canadians retreated. They bore with them the body of their fatally wounded commander. Robinson bitterly commented that this ill-conceived sally had been 'dictated rather by a fond hope of regaining what had been lost by a desperate effort than by any conviction of its practicability/ After these attacks and counter-attacks, both sides were forced to pause and regroup.

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