The Loyal Whig: William Smith of New York & Quebec
Published: December 1969© 1969
264 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
William Smith is chiefly remembered in Canada as a distant advocate of a confederation that was not achieved until almost three-quarters of a century after his death. Born in New York, he was a member of the generation that led the American Revolution, and bore the hallmarks of a successful revolutionary. Able and ambitious, yet on the outside of his colony's establishment, he gained early prominence as a champion of religious dissent and plunged into the politics of colonial New York as a self-proclaimed Whig. However, when the revolution came, he sat out the crisis and in the end went over to the British. The reward for his loyalty to the Crown was his appointment as chief justice of Quebec.
Many of his contemporaries saw his career as the maneuverings of a selfish man unwilling to risk much in any cause that would endanger his own security. But Professor Upton in this study reveals a stratum of ideas beneath the surface events of his life that gives consistency to the whole. His account of Smith's career follows him through the convoluted process of New York colonial politics, through the Revolution and his years of exile in London to his final years as chief justice of Quebec.
This is the biography of an eloquent visionary who agitated for confederation, dominion status, and autonomy under the Crown years in advance of other men; it also reflects the spirit of those times, the turbulence of politics and war and the exciting growth of two new countries.