John Graves Simcoe
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Family[change | change source]
Simcoe's father John Simcoe died of pneumonia shortly after the Battle of Quebec during the Seven Years War while serving in the Royal Navy. To honour his late father, John Graves Simcoe enlisted as an Ensign in the British Army.
Military service[change | change source]
John Graves Simcoe was then sent to Boston in the 1770's on the eve of the American Revolution. Simcoe fought for the British Empire against the Rebels during the Siege of Boston. Simcoe was then promoted to Captain. Captain John Graves Simcoe then fought for the Empire against the Rebels in Pennsylvania in the Battle of Brandywine. Rumour has it that at Brandywine Simcoe commanded his men not to shoot at a number of fleeing rebels one of whom was George Washington. Simcoe wanted to raise a Black Loyalist regiment made entirely of freed slaves. Instead, Simcoe was asked to replace Robert Rogers as the commander of the Queen's Rangers. Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe, Commander of the Queen's Rangers participated in several important battles of the Revolutionary War. Simcoe was at one point captured by the French and later freed by the Rangers. Simcoe also tried to expose Washington's Culper spy ring. Simcoe was shot in the Battle of Yorktown and sent back to England where he wrote a history of the revolutionary war from a British perspective.
Politics[change | change source]
Simcoe got married to Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim and he was elected to the House of Commons as a supporter of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger. Simcoe supported banning the slave trade and having Warren Hastings removed from his position as Governor of India. Simcoe also voted in favour of the Constitutional Act of 1791 which split Quebec into two provinces called Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Simcoe offered to lead the British in their war with Spain but instead he was named Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Simcoe was opposed to slavery and wanted to get rid of it. Because Simcoe wanted to abolish slavery a group of Upper Canadians sold a woman named Chloe Cooley to Americans and forcibly dragged her onto a boat to the United States of America. Simcoe was horrified by the Chloe Cooley Incident and used it to justify abolishing slavery. Simcoe said " The principles of the British Constitution are fundamentally at odds to that vile practice of slavery which Christianity condemns, when I assume the governorship of Upper Canada I shall never allow discrimination by dishonest practice against those of African, Indian or American descent." Because a number of people in the Legislative Assembly were slaveowners Simcoe wasn't able to ban Slavery outright. Instead Simcoe issued An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves also known as the Act to Limit Slavery which said that from now on one who was born in Upper Canada could not be born a slave and it became illegal to buy or sell slaves. Since there were not that many slaves in Upper Canada Simcoe's law abolished slavery within his own lifetime. After that a lot of slaves fled the United States to Upper Canada where they would be free to escape giving rise to what became known as the Underground Railroad.