A Blupete Biography Page

The Appointment, Part 8 to the Life & Works of
Sir John Wentworth

During the summer of 1791 both John and Frances took a ship for England; it was necessary to take a personal hand to their tangled financial affairs. As mentioned in one of my footnotes on this page, they had left their English affairs in the hands of a relative, Paul Wentworth. Paul Wentworth felt obliged to abscond, and made his escape to France. In any event, the Wentworths were to arrive in England and intending to be there for a number of months. Now, as it happened, while the Wentworths were in England, Governor Parr died at Halifax. Of course, it was no secret that Wentworth wanted the governorship. However, he was not the only person vying for the job. While Wentworth had powerful friends both at Halifax and at London, it was indeed fortunate that he happened to be England when news of Parr's death was to arrive. Though it was not automatic, Wentworth was to receive the appointment. In mid-March of 1792, the Wentworths went aboard the naval ship Hussar (Captain Rubert George) which brought the new governor to Nova Scotia. They arrived at Halifax Harbour on Sunday, May 12th, 1792, to the salute of fifteen guns.

Thus it was that John Wentworth was to become the Governor of Nova Scotia. He had experience in such matters. He was, after all the Royal Governor of New Hampshire before the rebels caused all the problems. His experience, in some ways, was to serve him and the province very well, but there was a serious problem with John Wentworth, this 55-year old aristocrat of the old school. He had been tempered into the view that rebels, enemies of the crown, were lurking about him at all times. He of course was not alone in this view. Most all the members of the aristocratic class, both in England and in the colonies, were experiencing a dreadful unease in their privileged positions at this time. I quote John Richard Green:

"The cautious good sense of the bulk of Englishmen, their love of order and law, their distaste for violent changes and for abstract theories, as well as their reverence for the past, were rousing throughout the country a dislike of the revolutionary changes which were hurrying on across the channel; and both the political sense and the political prejudice of the nation were being fired by the warnings of Edmund Burke. ... [Burke hated] a revolution founded on scorn of the past, and threatening with ruin the whole social fabric which the past had reared; the ordered structure of classes and ranks crumbling before a doctrine of social equality; a state rudely demolished and reconstituted; a church and a nobility swept away in a night."25


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Peter Landry
2011 (2016)

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