A Blupete Biography Page

General James Ogilvie

I have not been able to find out too much on Ogilvie. He was made Commander-in-Chief at Halifax in 1789 and stayed in that position until 1794.1 In the DCB we find: "The 4th was posted to Halifax, N.S., in 1787, and upon arrival Ogilvie was made brigadier commanding the Nova Scotia district. Little is known about his relations with Lieutenant-Governor Parr, but those with Lieutenant-Governor Wentworth were strained, largely because their jurisdictions overlapped."

With war having been declared between England and France in 1793, an expedition was fitted out at Halifax under General Ogilvie which sailed to the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. These French Islands gave up without a fight and a population of 1500 French inhabitants surrendered to the English authorities. Six hundred of them were brought to Halifax that June and imprisoned. In 1798, with the arrival of the Duke of Kent, Ogilvie was appointed as the administrator of Cape Breton.

On June 20th, Ogilvie and his suite boarded H.M Sloop of War, Rover (18 guns, Captain George Irvinat) at Halifax and sailed for Sydney. On June 24th the Rover struck on "a ledge of rocks near the Island of Scatari, one life was lost, and although efforts were made to save the rigging and other materials the Rover was expected to be totally lost on Point Nova."2 Notwithstanding the wreck of the Rover, Ogilvie made it to Sydney, there to occupy his administrative post. Ogilvie did not last long in this difficult position. After returning to Halifax in 1799, he held on until the Duke received his appointment, after which it seems he retired to London where he died in 1813.3


[1] Piers, The Evolution of the Halifax Fortress, p. 109.

[2] Fergusson, in his footnote at p. 106, Diary of Simeon Perkins (1797-1803).

[3] Ogilvie kept a diary and notebook for at least the years, 1798-1800. These are now at the National Maritime Museum: The Caird Library, Manuscripts Section, at Greenwich.


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Peter Landry
2012 (2020)