Ramsay Objected To Justice Meted in 1830’s, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 19 April, 1962

Resident magistrates and other municipal reforms were among the governmental needs seen by progressive residents of Ramsay township in the ninth year of the settlement of the township.  These views of a Ramsay township gathering were sent to the Perth editor for publication.

Resolutions of a Public Meeting held in the Township of Ramsay on Monday the 4th January, 1830.

Resolved, 1st– That this meeting, viewing with alarm the manner in which they have been treated by his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for this District as far as concerns their Town Meetings, will petition His Excellency Sir John Colborne concerning the same.

2nd – That his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace are obliged by Law to grant a warrant for calling and holding our Town Meetings, and also a Constable to preside at the same.

3rd – That without said Warrant, a lawful intimation and a presiding Constable, our meetings are illegal, and of course our whole procedure at said meetings.

4th – That our present situation is not only unpleasant but disadvantageous, having neither overseers of roads, assessors, nor any office bearer whatever in the township.

5th – That some of our office bearers have been put to blush by those in authority, when applying to be installed in office, by being told they were not legally elected, as this town meeting was illegal.

6th – That the want of resident Magistrates in this township has and still does put us to great disadvantages in many respects, and the more particularly as concerns our office bearers, causing them to travel from home to Perth (no Magistrate being nearer) for the express purpose of being sworn into office, under the penalty inflicted by law, a distance of from twenty to thirty-five miles.

7th – That petitions formed on the basis of these Resolutions be drawn up and transmitted to the Hon. W. Morris Esq., M.P., to be by him presented to His Excellency Sir John Colborne on our behalf.

John Hutchinson, President ; William Wallace, Vice-president ; Committee : John Buchannan, James Bryson, Robert Carswell, Daniel Shipman, John Gemmill, Michael Corkery.

Needs of North Lanark

Public meetings of residents of North Lanark townships were held in January and March to consider the government’s claims for repayments of cash advances made in 1820 and 1821 to many of the settlers, and the civic disabilities of these settlers.  Commenting on the first meeting of the year the Examiner editor wrote :

We understand that a meeting of the delegates from the four Townships, Ramsay, Lanark, Dalhousie and North Sherbrooke, will be held this day, the 22nd January, in the village of Lanark, for the purpose of taking into consideration the condition of the Society settlers, and the profriety of petitioning the House of Assembly to grant them all the civil privileges which our constitution bestows.  Two persons deputed from each of these townships will attend.

We have received a communication from an esteemed friend pointing out some of the difficulties under which those labor who have not yet received their Deeds.

A further six years of struggle for responsible government were to pass before these numerous Scottish Emigrant Society settlers of 1820 and 1821 and the Irish assisted emigrants of 1823 were to receive their deeds and their voting rights.

Postscript of Military Administration

The last vestige of settlement assistance to North Lanark under military auspices and the approaching return to Scotland of the former settlement superintendent Colonel William Marshall were marked by a public dinner at Judson’s Hotel given in May, 1830, by “the Gentlemen of Perth and its environs, in order to express their high sense of Col. Marshall’s honorable character and many amiable qualities, and the regret they felt at his removal from this Colony.”  In April the government’s sale of “The Government store house at Lanark with nearly two acres of ground attached, together with the outbuildings erected by Colonel Marshall” had been made by auction.  It was followed by the purchaser’s advertisement in the Examiner: 

To Let.  The House and Premises in Lanark formerly occupied as a Government Store and lately fitted up as a retail store.  From its central location and bordering on the river Clyde, it possesses advantages either as a private dwelling or for a person in business.  Terms moderate, apply to W. Fraser, Esquire, Lanark, or at Perth at the subscriber. – April 27th, 1830.  W. Fraser.

Perth Pictured in 1829

A parting editorial picture of Perth in the winter of 1829-30 is given in terms of praise and future promise in the Bathurst Independent Examiner.

Our merchants and operatives are all busily employed and seem to be flourishing.  A complexity of rival interests has brought the price of all store goods to their proper level, so that the settlers do not, as many did formerly, travel a great distance to a neighbouring district to sell the surplus produce of their farms and to purchase articles for the use of their families.  The stores are abundantly supplied with goods of the best quality, which several of our merchants import directly from the home market.  The few stores in this town must, at the present time, contain nearly 20,000 pounds worth of goods.

A number of excellent houses have been built in the course of last summer ; some are making rapid progress to completion.  The public buildings are neat and commodious.  The houses of public worship for the different denominations (with the exception of the Methodist chapel, which is partly raised) are decent and comfortable, not to say elegant, considering the age of the place.

Although a large number of Half-Pay-Officers and Pensioners are settled in the town and its environs, whose habits are supposed to be of the most convivial kind, it has not been found necessary to establish….a temperance society.  The industrious and respectable population live in the fullest enjoyment of harmony and sociality, notwithstanding that a few Lawyers have crept in among us.

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