A Blupete Biography Page

The French Revolution, Part 7 to the Life & Works of
Sir John Wentworth

It is necessary, in order to understand the times, and in particular to understand the political conflict which was to unfold in Nova Scotia during the governorship of John Wentworth, to write a few words on the French Revolution.

When revolution broke out in France in June of 1789, Wentworth was busily going about his duties as the Surveyor-General of the North American woods, with Halifax as his base. Within three years of that, as we will see, with the death of Governor Parr, Wentworth was named the Governor of Nova Scotia. We have seen that at an earlier time he had been the governor of New Hampshire, a job he lost due to a revolution. Now there was a revolution in France.20 Next, so most of the English aristocratic class thought, would be the turn of England and her remaining colonies. In September of 1789 we see where Simeon Perkins, a local merchant and not of the aristocratic class, is writing in his diary, "Terrible accounts of a Revolution in France. Several Great Men have been executed by the prevailing party at Paris, where the people have The Rule, and all the public stores, magazines, fortresses, etc in their hands."21

Great principles, the greatest possibly upon this earth were now, during this age, to come into conflict. One side was represented by Edmund Burke, the other by Thomas Paine. If you had any ideas politic, and there were many in those days who did, more it would seem than exist these days, then you were obliged to pick a side. Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish born English Statesman and author, though sympathetic towards the American colonists and Irish Catholics, alike, in his work Reflections on the French Revolution (1790) attacked the principles of the French Revolution and the violence and excesses of its leaders.22 Thomas Paine (1737-1809), hardly new to the political scene,23 answered Burke with his work, Rights of Man (1791). The works of both of these men "were read and discussed with a simple eagerness natural to men plunged for the first time into political speculation."24

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Peter Landry
2012

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